The WiRE Advisory Committee consists of women drawn from sectors across the spectrum of the energy industry in Canada. Committee members meet monthly, and commit their time voluntarily to build awareness of the group, organize events, raise funds, and outreach for new WiRE members and partners. They serve a one-year, renewable term. If you would like to be considered for a position on the Committee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Black, WiRE Co-Founder & Co-Chair
A creative marketing and communications professional, Rebecca Black founded Black Current Marketing in 2006. Building on fifteen years of experience in the international music industry, and armed with a Masters degree in Business and the Environment from Schulich (York University), Ms Black has applied her project management, marketing and business development expertise to help her clients achieve their sustainability and sales goals on time, on budget and in style. Ms Black’s portfolio includes renewable energy developers, technology providers and industry associations, and she also possesses specialized expertise in the social finance and sustainable built environment sectors. She serves on the Boards of the TREC Renewable Energy Co-op (Co-Chair) and SolarShare.
Joanna Osawe, WiRE Co-Founder & Co- Chair
Joanna Osawe is the Business Development Manager at DMC Power. DMC Power’s Unique Swage system, comprised of custom designed Aluminum and Copper Power connectors and a patented 360º Radial Swage Tool, has helped utilities, energy and industrial projects around the world install new and perform maintenance on existing projects faster and safer with just the push of a button. Joanna has over 10 years of management experience at leading renewable energy sector companies. She has worked in Canada and USA, carrying complex projects through many stages. She believes that renewable energy and emerging technologies play a vital role in Ontario’s and Canadian energy mix and needs to continue moving forward.
With over 15 years of insurance industry experience, Jen identified, pioneered and imported a suite of risk mitigation insurance products specifically targeted towards the unique demands of the sustainable energy and energy efficiency industries in Canada. Her work includes consulting with industry leaders on products that have reduced risk for manufacturers, project owners, installers, home and business owners. Jen’s passion for the renewables industry is illustrated by her initiative to pioneer an insurance product suite for the solar industry in conjunction with the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), and also in her work with insurance companies and consistent industry speaking engagements.
Jen is a passionate community volunteer and advocate. She is prior President and Board Chair of Touchstone Youth Centre, a 32 bed emergency youth hostel in Toronto, with a leadership focus on the greening and self-sustainability of the centre. She serves as the current Chair of CanSIA’s PV Fire Safety Committee working with multiple stakeholders to develop training, amendments to standards and codes as well as notification processes of PV installations from the OPA to fire halls.
Debbie Ellis is the District Sales Manager for G&W Electric Canada, global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905 and Survalent Technology, supplying leading-edge SCADA systems and accessories since 1964. A 22 year veteran with the company, she joined G&W as the Inside Sales and Marketing Coordinator, today she assumes responsibility for the Ontario Market. G&W manufacturers products for the Renewable Industry in Ontario: Wind tower load and fault interrupting switches designed to fit within the access door of the tower; Padmount load and fault interrupting switchgear designed for application on collector systems; Padmount Sectionalizing Cabinets designed for application on collector systems; and reclosers designed to provide overcurrent protection permitting an economical alternative to circuit breakers. Survalent, also headquartered in Ontario, has for many years been known as the market leader for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) with the release of a fully integrated OMS and Distribution Management System (DMS). The system platform is now an Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS).
Brandy Giannetta is the Regional Director for Ontario at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). CanWEA is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry. An integral member of a dedicated and passionate team, Brandy and her colleagues actively promote the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of CanWEA’s members, and for the benefit of all Canadians. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits.
Valerie Kitchell has been driven by her passion for environmental sustainability, energy, education, and stakeholder engagement for the past 10 years. Currently serving as Manager of Renewable Energy Approvals with wpd Canada Corporation, Valerie is active in wind energy development. With a background in health science, business and environmental policy, Valerie worked with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association to drive the expansion of renewable energy in the province. As co-lead of the Canadian Chapter of Women of Wind Energy, Valerie is dedicated to expanding the involvement of women in the industry, and as a proud member of the Women in Renewable Energy Advisory Committee, Valerie is dedicated to furthering education and awareness surrounding renewable energy development and policy in Ontario.
Claire Westgate, M.Ed
Claire Westgate manages industry partnerships and graduate student career development for the University of Toronto's Master of Science in Sustainability Management Program, housed within UofT's new Institute for Management & Innovation. Claire's work focuses on engaging industry partners, professionals and organizations active in (and committed to) sustainability initiatives with students and Faculty, with a view to supporting the ever-growing network of sustainably-minded professionals in Canada.
Stephanie Landers is the Communications and Public Relations Advisor for the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA). OWA represents the common and collective interests of the waterpower industry in Ontario. Membership includes generators, engineering firms, environmental consultants, legal, project financing and insurance firms, Aboriginal communities and many other organizations. Stephanie is responsible for OWA's communications and public outreach strategies and often plans and supports member tours/events all over Ontario in order to engage, outreach and expand the public’s understanding of renewable energy and environmental stewardship. Over the past 10 years, Stephanie has worked in the environmental private, public and non-for profit sectors and has gained valuable experience in several environmental fields, including renewable energy, natural resource sciences, waste management, forestry, recreation and outdoor education. She believes that smart, environmentally conscious policy planning and sustainable development will be the key to modernizing infrastructure, improving environmental challenges and strengthening communities/economies, but that public outreach and education will play an extremely vital role in the success of this transition.
Mary Warner has worked at TREC for over 6 years, and as the Office Manager, she manages the bookkeeping and financial reporting for TREC and its many renewable energy co-operative clients. TREC recognized that there was a need for support, from project conception to project commission and beyond in this growing sector. By building a team of knowledgeable, efficient and professional staff, as well as a proprietary platform to manage membership data and interest calculations, TREC is able to streamline operations for its clients. Through TREC Services, clients find savings by pooling their back-office requirements and benefit from the experience of staff who work with other co-operatives in the sector and are highly knowledgeable about the tasks and processes required to manage a growing or established business. Current clients co-ops with solar, wind and bio-gas projects. Mary is dedicated to improving the financial reporting of renewable energy co-operatives and helping boards better understand their financial position through clear, timely and customized reporting. At TREC, Mary also manages the books for TREC Education, a charity with the vision of a world powered by renewable energy that provides hands-on, curriculum linked, educational programming. Mary is a passionate cyclist who loves exploring the bike paths and trails of Toronto and commutes to work by bike most of the year.
Julia Cushing joined AECOM's Impact Assessment and Permitting Team in 2010 and has over 8 years of experience conducting environmental assessment for various industry sectors. In her role as a Senior Environmental Planner, Julia is responsible for managing projects, liaising with clients, developing business opportunities and mentoring staff. Julia has a passion for renewable energy and has focused her career on conducting impact assessments for renewable energy projects. She possesses a thorough understanding of the Ontario Renewable Energy Approval process and has extensive experience undertaking stakeholder consultation programs. Through her involvement with WiRE, Julia looks forward to meeting and supporting other professionals in the industry. She values the networking and career development focus of WiRE, in addition to the mentoring opportunities offered through the group. Julia is inspired by meeting successful people who are excited to share their experiences and support others in the industry.
Jennifer is the General Counsel of NRStor Inc., a Toronto-based energy storage project developer and owner focused on accelerating the development & construction of industry-leading energy storage technologies. Prior to joining NRStor, Jennifer served as Senior Legal Counsel at Infrastructure Ontario where she was part of the team leading the negotiations for the Eglinton Crosstown project, Ontario’s largest public transit construction project in more than half a century. She was also a lawyer in the Project Finance group at Torys LLP.
Jennifer also actively dedicates her time to the Board of Directors and Governance committee of the Fred Victor Centre, the board of epic School, the Torys LLP mentorship program of at-risk youth and the Women’s Infrastructure Network.
Aisha Bukhari is an engineer and entrepreneur. She enjoys work that involves creating a positive social impact, leading change and developing integrative solutions. She is passionate about clean energy, innovation and social justice.
Aisha spent the formative part of her career at Toronto Hydro. In her engineering role she lead development of innovative technology solutions to facilitate integration of renewable energy in the power distribution grid. A career highlight includes leading the utility aspect of a consortium-based Community Energy Storage project - the first of its kind in North America – from concept to field installation. Subsequently, in her business development role, Aisha worked on the mergers and acquisitions portfolio. Aisha has been an active participant in shaping the energy storage policy and framework in Ontario.
Most recently, Aisha was a co-founder of an EdTech startup, Attollo Social Enterprise, where she worked for two years. Aisha completed her undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto. She received her Masters degree in Electric Power Engineering from the University of Waterloo and her MBA degree from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario
Sara has spent the last 10 years establishing partnerships and economic opportunities between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous stakeholders. She has worked with a wide range of industry partners to facilitate discussions with Indigenous groups on major projects across Ontario.
A results-oriented strategist, Sara is a skilled organizer, researcher, writer and facilitator from Six Nations of The Grand River Territory.