Keynote Speakers

Dr. William Rees

Dr. William Rees is a human ecologist, ecological economist, former Director and Professor Emeritus of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.  His research focuses on the ecological requirements for sustainable development and on the behavioural and socio-cultural barriers to change. Best known as the originator of ‘ecological footprint analysis’, Prof Rees has authored over 160 peer-reviewed and numerous popular articles on sustainability (or lack thereof).  He is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the One Earth Initiative; and a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute. In 2006 Prof Rees was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and named as one of BC’s top public intellectuals by the Vancouver Sun.  Rees was awarded both the Boulding Prize in Ecological Economics and a Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr Mathis Wackernagel) in 2012 and also received an Honorary Doctorate from Laval University that year.  In 2014, Dr Rees was elected a full member of the Club of Rome; in 2015 he received the Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics and, in 2016, was awarded a Dean’s Medal of Distinction (UBC Faculty of Applied Science).

Dr Lisa P. Nathan

Dr. Lisa P. Nathan is Assistant Professor at the School of Library Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia (the iSchool@UBC). Dr. Nathan joined the iSchool in 2009 after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Her dissertation focused on ecovillages, sustainability and information practices. For the past six years Dr. Nathan has served as the Coordinator for the school’s First Nations Curriculum Concentration. Dr. Nathan’s research interests include the design of information practices, Indigenous information initiatives and sustainability & human-computer interaction. Dr. Nathan is a recipient of the prestigious ASIS&T Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award (2016). The citation aptly describes Dr. Nathan as a “radical, passionate and inspiring teacher who challenges her students to take risks, address the challenges facing our society, and take ownership of their own learning.” She teaches courses in the MLIS, Ph.D. and Bachelor of Media Studies programs. As a recipient of UBC’s Remote Community-Based Learning Fund she organized student trips to work with members of Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella in collaboration with UBC Librarian and Heiltsuk community member Kim Lawson.

Dr John B. Robinson

Dr. John B. Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto; an Honorary Professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at The University of British Columbia; and an Adjunct Professor with the Copenhagen Business School. At the University of Toronto, he is also Presidential Advisor on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability. Prof. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability; the use of visualization, modeling, and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures; sustainable buildings and urban design; the role of the university in contributing to sustainability; creating partnerships for sustainability with non-academic partners; and, generally, the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behaviour change, and community engagement processes.

Invited Speakers

Rohit Aggarwala

Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala is Head of Urban Systems at Sidewalk Labs. Previously, he headed the sustainability practice at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm that serves city governments. He is also an Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and co-chairs the Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area. Rit served as Special Advisor to the Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group from 2010-2013, guiding the organization’s strategic transformation into a global leader. During that period, he also developed the environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, which grew to a total of $145 million in grants under his management. Rit served as Director of New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability from 2006-2010, and led the creation and implementation of “PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York.” PlaNYC has been hailed as one of the world’s best urban sustainability plans, leading New York City to a 19% reduction in its carbon footprint since 2005. Prior to joining City Hall, he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Rit holds a BA, MBA, and PhD from Columbia University, and an MA from Queen’s University in Ontario. He was born in New York City, where he now lives with wife and daughter.

Lauren Baker

Lauren Baker, PhD, has over 20 years of experience working on food system issues. Her expertise ranges from agrobiodiversity in Mexico to negotiating and developing municipal food policy and programs. Lauren has consulted on farm to fork initiatives and food systems policy development across Canada, and globally. Her current clients include the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, a coalition of foundations committed to leveraging their resources to help shift food and agriculture systems towards greater sustainability, security, and equity, as well as the City of London, Ontario and Evergreen. From 2011-2016, Lauren was the Food Policy Specialist with the Toronto Food Policy Council, leading a citizen advisory group embedded within the City of Toronto’s Public Health Division, and from 2009-2011 she was the Founding Director of Sustain Ontario: the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming. Lauren is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and is a research associate with Ryerson University’s Centre for Studies in Food Security. She is the author of Corn meets Maize: Food Movements and Markets in Mexico (2013), amongst other publications.

Elliott Cappell

Elliott Cappell is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Toronto. In this role he is leading the development of Toronto’s Resilience Strategy and the City’s participation in the global 100 Resilient Cities network. A native Torontonian, Elliott also held various roles in the Government of Ontario and worked with Global Affairs Canada. He is passionate about adaptation, urban development, the environment, and wildlife. Elliott has also worked in over 20 countries internationally, including in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He has worked with and for a range of government clients including international donors such as the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and UNDP. Most recently, he was the head of North America and head of Infrastructure and Climate Change strategy at Adam Smith International, a consulting firm. Elliott holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and a B.A. Honours from McGill University.

Sara Diamond

Dr. Sara Diamond is the President of OCAD University, Canada’s university of the imagination. She holds a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering from the University of East London, and a Master’s in Digital Media theory from the University of the Arts London. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists, and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Digital Pioneer Award from the GRAND Networks of Centres of Excellence. She is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. In 2014, Toronto Life described her as one of “Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People.” While retaining OCAD University’s traditional strengths in art and design, Diamond has guided the university in becoming a leader in digital media, design research and curriculum through the Digital Futures Initiative, new research in inclusive design, health and design, and sustainable technologies and design. She also played a leading role in OCAD University’s establishment of the unique Indigenous Visual Culture program. These initiatives have built strong partnerships for OCAD University with science, business and communities in Ontario and abroad. Currently, Diamond serves on the boards of Baycrest, ORION (Ontario’s high-speed network), Women in Communications and Technology; and i-Canada; and is Chair of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto Advisory Committee.

Maria Angela Ferrario

Maria Angela Ferrario is a Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University, UK, and Marshall McLuhan Centenary Fellow in Digital Sustainability at the Digital Curation Institute, University of Toronto. She has a background in computer science/AI, interaction design, philosophy and social psychology. Working at the intersection of human computer interaction (HCI) and software engineering (SE), her research interests lie in agile and participatory methods to technology development and the role of digital technology in environmental and societal changes. Maria Angela is experienced in leading complex and distributed community-university partnerships that include hard-to-reach groups such as the homeless, rural island communities and adult with autism. Before joining academia, she worked with a not-for-profit European agency supporting peace building and reconciliation in the Irish cross-border through technology and economic development.

Tim Frick

Tim Frick is CEO of Mightybytes, a Chicago-based digital agency and Certified B Corp with a 20-year track record helping conscious companies and large nonprofits achieve sustainable growth. In 2017, Mightybytes was named Best for the World by B Lab and was one of just a few companies statewide to earn an Illinois Sustainability Award. Tim is also the author of four books on digital marketing and sustainable design, including most recently, Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services, available from O’Reilly Media. His books are used at higher learning institutions around the world. He regularly presents at conferences and offers workshops on sustainable design, social enterprise, and problem solving in the digital economy.

Yasmin Glanville

Yasmin Glanville is the founder and chief strategist for CTR Inc, an innovation and future focused communication and business transformation practice. She is also a director and founder of Re-think Sustainability Initiatives, an information exchange to advance the sustainability and resiliency of businesses, institutions and communities to thrive into the future. She is a recognized leader in the field of systems thinking applied to designing, transforming and marketing business enterprises and initiatives for multi-nationals, start-ups and consortiums in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean. She In 2018, Yasmin launched – a multi-disciplinary group of senior experts – to help entrepreneurs and executives, of all ages, make better decisions on what’s next, how to get there. Prior to this, she was a principal and solution accelerator at E&Y/CGEY; a senior marketing and business transformation leader for IBM and Nortel, respectively; and contributed to the development and launch of President’s Choice Financial. She’s the recipient of numerous awards for strategy, change management and leadership, including the Global Trailblazer Award presented by Sir Martin Sorrell, the Social Architecture Award for Windward Cooperative Housing (101-unit, integrated community on Bathurst Quay, Toronto) and Inter-Generational Mentorship Awards.

David Hulchanski

David Hulchanski is a professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto, and since 1997 holds the Dr. Chow Yei Ching Chair in Housing. He served as the director of the Centre for Urban and Community Studies from 2000 to 2008. His PhD is in the social and community aspects of urban planning. In the 1980’s he was a professor of community planning at the University of British Columbia and director of the UBC Centre for Human Settlements.  He is a former North American editor of the journal Housing Studies. Professor Hulchanski’s research and teaching is focused on housing need, homelessness, neighbourhoods, community development, and social and economic rights. He teaches courses on housing, homelessness, community development, and a PhD seminar on research design and the conceptual framing of research. He is the principle investigator of a 7-year $2.5 million SSHRC Partnership Grant focused on neighbourhood change in six Canadian cities with international comparisons, known as the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership. Partners include local United Ways, social planning councils and other community agencies in the six Canadian cities. See: In 2013 he received a University of Toronto Award of Excellence, the Carolyn Touhy Impact on Public Policy Award.

Sanjay Khanna

Sanjay Khanna is a futurist, speaker, and thought leader. He was a 2014-2015 Visiting Scholar at Massey College, University of Toronto, Canada’s leading interdisciplinary institution, where he researched Strategic Foresight. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Mr. Khanna was the College’s inaugural Resident Futurist. Mr. Khanna turns original thinking into strategic insight for today—and years ahead. Amid growing risks and uncertainty, he helps businesses, governments and not-for-profits to Adapt to the Future. Mr. Khanna was one of 21 global experts interviewed for KPMG International’s major report Future State 2030: The global megatrends shaping governments. Mr. Khanna is also an expert on how key megatrends may affect mental health, productivity and decision making among leaders and citizen-consumers. In 2008, he reported on the emerging scientific basis for linking climate change with mental health. Soon afterwards, in 2009, he launched the world’s first conference on how climate change may affect human psychology, society and culture. In 2011, Corporate Knights, the magazine for clean capitalism, named him “an exemplar of social well being,” highlighting his message that growing economic and environmental uncertainty makes it essential to build social capital. In 2010, he was nominated as a “Transformational Canadian” in The Globe & Mail and in 2009 as a TED Fellow. Mr. Khanna’s articles and op-eds have featured in Nature, The Huffington Post, Corporate Knights, Yes! Magazine, Reuters, Worldchanging, Grist and more. He has been quoted in publications such as Corporate Knights, winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence; the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation newspaper; and MWorld, the American Management Association’s member-only magazine.

Alex Miller

Alex Miller is president and founder of Esri Canada, which provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions to Canadian organizations in the public and private sectors. He founded Esri Canada in 1984 and has led the company through more than two decades of growth. In his role, Mr. Miller is responsible for the overall strategic direction of Esri Canada. He has broad experience in surveying, mapping, engineering, information systems design and management consulting. He also has extensive expertise in the application of information technology to land, natural resource and environmental management. An advocate for promoting Canada’s advanced technology sector, Mr. Miller is a member of the Government of Canada’s Open Government Advisory Panel that seeks to harness opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing. He was previously chairman of the Natural Resources Canada Earth Sciences Sector Advisory Committee, co-chair of the GeoConnections Policy Advisory Committee, chairman of the Geomatics Industry Association of Canada and a member of the Federal Department of Natural Resources Minister’s National Advisory Board on Earth Sciences. He is also a past member of the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment Advisory Committee. In addition, Mr. Miller is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, one of Canada’s largest non-profit educational organizations focused on making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. He is also Chairman of the Planet in Focus Foundation, which produces an annual film and video festival that showcases outstanding works focused on environmental themes and subjects by Canadian and international filmmakers.

Elyse Parker

Elyse Parker is the Director of the Public Realm Section, Transportation Services at the City of Toronto where she is responsible for the Toronto Street Furniture program, the implementation of the Toronto Walking Strategy (52 actions to make Toronto a more walkable city), neighbourhood improvement projects and the City’s Graffiti Management Plan and StART, Toronto’s street art program. She has degrees in Landscape Architecture (University of Toronto ), and Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (Harvard University). Elyse received a 2008 Ontario Assocation of Landscape Architects award for Public Practice and a 2012 Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for professional contribution to Canadian municipalities. Her particular passion is “Everyday Urbanism”, the often small interventions and design moves that build and shape cities incrementally and have an extraordinary impact on the everyday lives of the public.

Marianne Touchie

Marianne Touchie is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, and is cross-appointed in the Departments of Civil & Mineral Engineering, and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering. She completed her BASc (2009) and PhD (2014) in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. Upon completion of her PhD, Marianne became the Building Research Manager at the Toronto Atmospheric Fund and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Dr. Touchie’s research focuses on improving the energy performance and indoor environmental quality of existing buildings to make them more comfortable, healthy and sustainable through comprehensive retrofits. This work includes monitoring and characterizing building energy performance and environmental parameters such as temperature, mean radiant temperature, relative humidity, air velocity and leakage, lighting levels and contaminant concentrations to determine the influence of potential retrofit approaches, both active and passive. Much of her research has been in the multi-unit residential sector and particularly social housing buildings. Dr. Touchie is also the Academic Director and Chair of the Building Science Specialist of Ontario (BSSO) Committee for the Ontario Building Envelope Council (OBEC).