WiRE Guest Speakers February 2016: Laura and Sarah will discuss best practices for community engagement with respect to renewable energy projects.  They will review key best practices for public outreach as well as the role of media and social media as a means to improve communications and awareness on key community issues. 

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Sarah Simmons Sussex Strategy Group, Senior Associate

Sarah Simmons is a member of the Energy and Environment Practice at Sussex.  Sarah has in-depth knowledge on matters related to the electricity system, energy supply and natural environment.  In her capacity as Senior Associate, Sarah works with clients to understand their concerns and implements top-line government relationship strategies.

Prior to joining Sussex, Sarah was responsible for Canadian government affairs for a large-scale solar PV developer, helping to navigate the policy, planning and procurement market for solar power generation across the country.  Her responsibilities included regulatory affairs, government relations, market protection and market expansion.

Sarah is well-known in the Ontario energy sector, having also worked as a core member of the FIT program team at the former Ontario Power Authority during the development and launch of Ontario’s FIT program in 2009.   Additionally, Sarah has been an active member of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), and is the past Chair of the Ontario Solar Photovoltaic Caucus.

Sarah has a Master’s Degree of Environmental Studies specific to electricity policy from the University of Waterloo. Additionally, she has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph which focused on environmental monitoring and analysis.


Laura Fracassi Sussex Strategy Group, Communications Associate

Laura is a communications associate responsible for assisting Sussex clients and internal personnel with their strategic communications needs.

She has contributed to many client successes across numerous sectors including healthcare, environment, and finance. Additionally, Laura has served as the primary communications liaison for major energy developments across Canada and their associated community relations efforts.

As part of our highly specialized communications team, focusing on media relations, media training and crisis communications, Laura contributes value to every aspect of our clients’ communications challenges.

Laura joined Sussex after having worked at a major Toronto law firm and holds a BA (High Honours) in Criminology, Sociology and Political Science from The University of Western Ontario.