Meet our Team
Amber Church, Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition email@example.com
Amber is the National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and a M.Sc. student in Earth Science at Simon Fraser University. She studies glacier retreat, climate change, water, and natural hazards in the Yukon. She founded and co-chaired the International Polar Year Youth Steering Committee (now the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists – APECS). The committee’s goals are to involve youth in all aspects of polar research and policy, to increase collaboration between the sciences, arts and education, and to foster respect for different ways of knowing. Amber’s passion is climate change. She was part of the official youth delegation to the UN Climate Change Meetings and was one of 200 Canadians selected by the Climate Project Canada to be trained by Al Gore to present an updated version of the award-winning Inconvenient Truth slideshow. She was recently honoured to be named part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 15, the United Nations Climate Change Meetings taking place in Copenhagen in December 2009. She travelled to Antarctica in 2006 with Students on Ice as part of their education staff and joined them again in August 2008 for their Arctic Expedition. She is currently working with SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team, working with Me to We and Apathy is Boring, and in her free time facilitates workshops for Waterlution, a non-profit organization who brings young professionals together around complex water issues. She and her husband, Tyler Kuhn, currently split their time between Whitehorse, Yukon and Vancouver, British Columbia, while they try to pool enough financial resources for their next adventure.
Adam Lynes-Ford, Former Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
Adam served as National Director for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition for an interim term from February to September 2009. He is the proud father of two, an avid cook and gardener, and a passionate devotee to climate justice. Raised on a small island on the west coast, he worked for many years on farms and various construction sites. He is the founder of Eatable East Van, a community food sustainability network. Adam is also a Board Member of YouthCO AIDS Society, a former educator with the Gulf Islands Centre for Ecological Learning, and worked as Education Director for Check Your Head: the Youth Global Education Network. He is an experienced educator and facilitator and has delivered workshops on social and environmental justice in many contexts, including high schools, community halls, prisons, labour union events, and elementary schools. His passions include protecting the public health care system and he has served as a BC Health Coalition steering committee member, where he co-developed an initiative to educate and engage youth in BC around the issue of publicly- vs. privately delivered health care services. When he’s not up to all that, he publishes articles in local publications and writes songs that get played in various bars and dives around BC. He holds a B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Geography and Creative Writing. He lives in BC with his beloved partner, their children and Romeo the dog.
Tria Donaldson, Power Shift Coordinator
Tria Donaldson loves building community through activism. And Karaoke, but luckily for you Power Shift involved activism, and not karaoke – because her conference organizing skills are much more well honed then her singing skills. Tria first got bit by the organizing bug in elementary school, where she sat on a committee to naturalize her schols land scapes. Since then she has worked a numerous social justice and environmental causes – like access to education, anti-racism, and campus sustainability. Tria is very passionate about addressing climate change in a fair an equitable manner that also addressing systemic oppression and inequality. She is an active volunteer with several organizations, including the Sierra Youth Coalition and CYCC. She has recently been accepted to be part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 15 and she is very, very excited. In her spare time, Tria works for goBeyond, a youth driven climate project that works with 12 post-secondary institutions in BC. Tria spends too much time working and is currently taking time off of her Bachelor of Journalsim at Thompson Rivers University. And she likes trying to grow food.
Tracey Anne Guptill, Logistics Coordinator
Tracey has been an environmentalist since days of painting fish near sewer grates with her brownie troupe. Since then she has been working to increase her understanding of the world around her by studying in various fields, from theatre to ethics to municipal politics. She has a degree in Philosophy and Environmental Studies from the University of Ottawa and since graduating she has been fighting climate change at the local level by learning first-hand about sustainable farming and teaching elementary students how to grow their own produce with the Canadian Organic Growers’ Growing Up Organic program. She was a main organizer for Ottawa’s two City Social Forums and for last year’s Organizing For Justice conference. Lately she has also been leading workshops based on Augusto Boal’s techniques: exploring oppression through forum theatre, as well as facilitating workshops in schools on cycling and activism drawing from her two-month educational cycling tour with The Otesha Project.
Ryan, born and raised in Toronto and currently residing in Ottawa, is a fourth year undergraduate student at Carleton University, who will graduate with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Technology, Society, and Environment. Ryan’s interest in the environment includes themes such as environmental security and social vulnerability. After completing his undergraduate degree, Ryan plans on continuing his education by entering into a graduate program. Ryan recently finished an internship with the Polaris Institute where he worked on the project Tracking the Tar Sands: A Tri-City Youth Tour. He is also employed with Carleton University as an ESP Facilitator, responsible for running a weekly Geography workshop for first-year Carleton students.
Kimia Ghomeshi, Outreach and Recruitment Lead Coordinator
Kimia Ghomeshi is an Iranian-Canadian currently based in Toronto, Ontario. Her passion and commitment to environmental and climate justice was sparked after her participation in a Community Environmental Leadership Program in high school, and further ignited through her volunteer experiences in Costa Rica and Panama where communities are facing the devastating effects of large scale agricultural production. She graduated from McGill University in 2005 with an Honours degree in International Development Studies, focused on the Latin American region. Inspired by TakingITGlobal’s dedication to youth development and global issues, she worked as their National Program Manager for three years and coordinated the Creating Local Connections Canada program. As CYCC’s Campaigns Coordinator, Kimia has the exciting role of building the climate youth movement in Canada through projects and campaigns including, the Power Shift Canada summit, the Green Jobs campaign and the Canadian Youth Delegation to Copenhagen. She’s also happily involved with Rainforest Action Network’s Freedom From Oil campaign, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group. Kimia has a love for languages (with an undeniable crush on the Spanish language), laughing from the gut, travelling, and is always down to try something new.
Maggie Knight, Outreach and Recruitment Lead Coordinator
Hailing from Victoria, BC, Maggie grew up in the natural splendour of the West Coast, and has been passionate about the environment ever since. After being heavily involved in environmental organizing at her high school, Maggie moved to Montreal to pursue a Bachelor of Arts & Science in Environment with a minor in Economics at McGill. Now in her third year, she works as Environment Commissioner for the Students’ Society of McGill University as well as with campus groups Greening McGill, Journalists for Human Rights, and the McGill Food Systems Project. She worked for the Sierra Youth Coalition for two summers in BC (organizing training camps for youth sustainability leaders), and now sits on SYC’s Executive Committee. After university, Maggie would like to WWOOF in Europe and travel back to Russia and through Asia before settling down to a career in environmental policy. Maggie is passionate about local food, building the Canadian youth climate movement, sustainability governance, capacity-building, creating connections between like-minded people, and the power of media to create change. In her spare time she can be found singing, playing soccer, making soup, and decorating her apartment with pictures of trees. After coordinating the McGill delegation to Power Shift 09 in Washington, DC, she is super excited to help bring hundreds of young Canadians to Ottawa! It is going to be AMAZING.
Emma Brittain-Boisvert, Logistics Lead Coordinator
Emma is a recent McGill university graduate who studied Business and Biology. It seems like a strange combination, but it made sense at the time. She currently has a job with the federal government for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Strategic Business Management of the Science Sector. She works with many scientists doing research on climate change and how it is affecting Canadian Oceans. Climate change is having devastating effects on all walks of life and it is up to the youth of today to make the changes we need for tomorrow. She got involved with Powershift because it is a great way to share in the enthusiasm that is the environment and it provides a strong voice to the people who can make a difference.
Ben Powless, Logistics Lead Coordinator
Ben Powless is of Mohawk and Ojibwe ancestry, having grown up in Ottawa. He is in his 6th (yes, 6th) year of his undergrad degree, having switched programs and universities four times before settling on Human Rights, Indigenous and Environmental Studies at Carleton University. Way back when, he was even a co-founder of the CYCC, and went on to start a successful Ottawa chapter before it went dormant. He has been employed by and sat on the board of the Youth Environmental Network (now defunct), and the National Council of the Canadian Environmental Network. He works as well with the Indigenous Environmental Network on issues of climate justice. He is often found hopping from meeting to meeting around the world, taking photos as he goes. He also loves learning languages, speaks Spanish and a reasonable amount of Brazilian Portuguese and French.
Greg Ross, Logistics Lead Coordinator
Greg Ross, an Ottawa native, graduated with a BComm from The University of Western Ontario. He played five years of varsity football along with three years of varsity basketball. During his university summers, Greg tree planted in Northern B.C. for four years, planting approx 300 000 trees. Every tree planted made him realize that his passion in life lay within the environmental field. Currently, enrolled at the University of Ottawa for a bilingual degree in environmental studies, Greg works for the Sierra Youth Coalition (www.syc-cjs.org) and was a participant of PowerShift 2009 in Washington. Also a volunteer with Ecology Ottawa, Greg plans to work hard in order to fulfill his stewardship towards the earth and its wonders.
Adam Shedletzky, Fundraising Lead Coordinator
Born in Toronto, Canada, Adam has spent the majority of his youth exploring the world’s beauty and diversity. From awe-inspiring Antarctica to the heavenly Maldives to culturally intriguing Bhutan, Adam has been extremely fortunate to have seen and learned from much of the world. After graduating from McGill in 2006, Adam moved to New York and worked in high finance (management consulting) for several years, including a 7-month stint in India. While those years at Oliver Wyman were exceptionally challenging, fun and rewarding, Adam knew his passions lay elsewhere. After spending some time writing a business plan in China and attending various conferences from Washington to Germany, he decided to make a major career change. He is planning on pursuing a joint degree in Law & International Relations starting in 2010, and in the meantime is volunteering his time to help organize Power Shift and C-Day: Fill the Hill, to pressure the Canadian Government into accepting strong, binding legislation capping Co2 emissions that will give our children a chance at living in a peaceful, successful world that is not ravaged by extreme poverty, forced migration or other severe humanitarian crises!
Sarah Xu, Fundraising Lead Coordinator
Born in Beijing, China, Sarah wonders why the sky was grey in her hometown but blue in all the storybooks she reads. Sarah moved to Canada when she was 9 and basks in the grass and sun, now she would like to preserve our environment for all the kids around the world to experience. She will graduate from McGill with a degree in International Relations and minor in Environment sciences in 2011. She is also working for Chinese Volunteer Association of Quebec as a Environmental Coordinator doing community projects in Montreal’s Chinatown. Sarah was inspired by Power Shift 2009 in Washington and wants be make Power Shift Canada a success! Her hobbies includes travelling, reading, and comedy and she is not as Asian as she looks in the picture.
Sofia Fortin, Communications Lead Coordinator
Born and raised under the midnight sun, Sofia has returned to the Yukon to make her home. She tried to be a big city girl for a while but found the draw of mountain vistas, and lakes around every corner too strong to resist. So she’s back home attempting to make a career out of environmental social marketing. She has a degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University with a minor and publishing. While pursuing this degree she found herself totally inspired by her global change class in resource environmental management and has never looked back. Every since she has been learning everything she can about climate change, especially in the north, and how to create and foster sustainable behaviour change in our communities. Her passions including painting, learning how to knit and felt, talking – a lot, writing, and helping people share their stories.
Matthew Carroll, New Media Lead
Matthew is an environmentalist, scientist, and change agent, living in Vancouver, Canada, where by day he works as a Climate Action Facilitator for the Ministry of Environment. By night he lets his closet geek out to play, organising Power Shift Canada’s new media. He has a masters degree in atmospheric chemistry from University of Leeds and University of Toronto, and over eight years’ experience educating, facilitating, and engaging youth in local, regional, national and international decision making. Matthew firmly believes that climate change is the defining social justice issue of this generation, and that young people have a pivotal leadership role to play in building a just transition to a low-carbon future. He has worked as youth engagement coordinator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 9th Conference of Parties in Milan, 2003; communications and lobbying lead for the international youth delegation at COP 11 in Montreal, 2005; and for five years at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York. From 2005-2007 he was honoured to serve as the international coordinator for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development’s Youth Caucus during the cycle on Climate Change, Energy, Air Pollution and Industrial Development. Matthew has worked and volunteered with the Sierra Youth Coalition, Youth Environment Network, Rising Tide, Climate Outreach Information Network, C-Change, University of Guelph, University of British Columbia, and Free The Children, among others, and has served as a trustee for Woodcraft Folk and a council member for Energy Action Coalition. In 2005 he co-founded itsgettinghotinhere.org, Dispatches from the Global Youth Climate Movement. In his spare time Matthew loves rock climbing, ski-mountaineering, singing, and eating cherries straight from the tree with no hands at his fiancée’s 7th-generation fruit farm.
Derina Man, Programming Lead Coordinator
Derina Man signed on as our Programming Coordinator in June and immediately fled the country a week later. Currently residing in California, she continues to work on projects and is looking forward to taking the train back across the continent to be part of the Power Shift Canada in October. Having actively worked with numerous grassroots initiatives over the past 6 years, some of her experiences include working as the Environmental Commissioner at her university, co-authoring the student union’s first sustainability assessment and co-organizing the Montreal COP-13 demonstrations. Derina is dedicated to raising awareness about social and climate justice issues and enabling change in local communities. Having recently retired from teaching, she now dedicates her time to fighting for an equitable and sustainable future.
Amara Possian, National Volunteer Coordinator
An Armenian-Canadian from Toronto, Amara is a third year undergraduate student at McGill University pursuing a joint honours degree in Political Science and Middle East Studies with a minor in International Development. Having spent several summers working on wilderness survival training courses in northern Quebec and Western Nova Scotia, Amara loves the outdoors and according to one of her wise roommates is “an environmental crusader, out to protect all things natural – from the noble moose to the lowly woodlouse.” Since participating in Power Shift 2009 in Washington, DC, she has been inspired to help build the Canadian youth climate movement. When she isn’t coordinating PSC’s volunteers, Amara works as a research assistant, waitresses at a local pizzeria, is stage managing a production of The Caretaker at McGill, and is eagerly awaiting and planning her adventure studying abroad at Sciences Po Paris this January. Amara is interested in studying the devastating impacts of climate change and of the natural resource crisis on global peace and security. Her fluency in English, French, and Armenian, her conversational Arabic, and her (soon-to-be) conversational Swahili will serve her well in her aspirations to prevent global natural resource-driven conflict.
Shawn Khan, National Volunteer Coordinator
Shawn is from Toronto, and has been around Canada and the World to help people in all walks of life. He has worked with Sierra Club and Sierra Youth Coalition on Tar Sands related issues. He has been heavily involved with Climate Change related issues for as long as can remember, and is passionate about climate justice.
Erica Young, Francophone Working Group Coordinator
Erica works as the Youth Coordinator of the Manitoba Eco-Network where it’s her job to help connect and support environmental youth groups in Manitoba. She has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Winnipeg but feels that the most valuable parts of her education came, not from the classes she attended, but the student organizing she was involved in in between them. From an anglophone family, she feels fortunate to have attended a French Immersion school and is always looking for opportunities to keep practicing her second language, from hosting French dinner parties to helping with the Power Shift Francophone Working Group. Local food is one of her passions and while working on Power Shift she is also busy trying to put up lots of delicious Manitoba-grown fruits and vegetables for the winter.
Tyler Kuhn, Web dude & designer
Tyler is a northerner at heart, having grown up in the Yukon. He is currently working on a Masters of Science degree from Simon Fraser University. He is interested in using paleontological information to help guide animal conservation. Part of his M.Sc. work uses ancient DNA recovered from fossil caribou to improve our understanding of caribou’s relationship with their environment, changing climates and natural disasters (e.g. volcanic eruptions). The other aspect of his thesis involves examining the impact humans have had on global bird and mammal biodiversity. Tyler helped create the International Polar Year Youth Steering Committee (now known as the Association of Early Career Polar Scientists, APECS). This project was envisioned to ensure that youth and young researchers were given the maximum benefit and opportunities from the massive international polar research program (IPY). Tyler has spent much of his recent free time exploring how to ‘sell’ climate change and environmental action in a positive light. In addition, he is a semi-professional photographer, using his work to try and connect viewers with the natural world.