Cara Clairman is the founder and CEO of Plug’n Drive, a leader in Canada’s Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. She is also the proud recipient of the 2017 WIRE Woman of the Year Award. With over 25 years in the sustainability, energy and environmental fields, she aims to continue expanding Plug’n Drive’s initiatives to provide a more sustainable commute for consumers and to reduce GHG emissions to the environment.
Kehkashan Basu is the founder of the Green Hope Foundation, which is focused on giving a voice to children and youth in a discussion that arguably impacts them the most – the future. She is passionate about sustainability, inter and intragenerational equality, girls and women’s rights, and climate justice. Speaking at several United Nations and international summits, Kehkashan continues to share her message far and wide encouraging today’s youth to participate in and engage in a world that is building their future. She has received international recognition including for 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, the 2017 Turner Prize for Social Change and the 2017 National Energy Globe Award, and was elected Global Coordination for the United Nations Environment Programme – achieving all of this before she’s even reached the age of 18.
Jayamali Kasige is the Director of Engineering at Potentia Renewables, a leader in the renewable energy industry in Toronto, Ontario. Potentia is an experienced developer, owner and operator of renewable energy systems. The company develops solar and wind energy projects. Since 2016, Jayamali has participated in over 600 operating solar projects for clients such as the Toronto District School Board TDSB’s 300+ projects. She is an electrical engineer and a licensed Professional Engineer (PEng), and manages a team of 18 junior and senior engineers.
Tracy provides support to the legal function at Northland Power Inc. where she assists all aspects of Northland’s business with general corporate and commercial legal advice. Tracy also contributes to important special projects and initiatives including legal compliance and governance policies to support Northland’s overall operations and future business strategy.
Tracy brings with her a wide-range of legal experience and knowledge of the energy industry gained through over four years with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP as a lawyer in the Energy Markets Group where she worked with a number of energy industry participants and assisted Northland Power on many of its projects and transactions. Prior to joining BLG, Tracy was legal counsel at Enersource Corporation, the electricity distribution company serving the City of Mississauga. For the past four years Tracy has been with McMillan LLP as the Manager of Professional Growth & Management.
Michelle Hassen is Business Development Manager at Invenergy LLC. She has over ten years of experience working with corporations, non-profits and government representatives on renewable energy projects, community development, market development, stakeholder engagement, training and policy analysis. Michelle holds an IMBA from the Schulich School of Business, and a BA in International Relations from the University of BC. She has lived and worked in Canada, Benin, Guatemala, Mexico and Switzerland.
Avis Petersen is a professional engineer with over a decade of coast-to-coast experience across the energy industry. She has worked on a number of solar and wind installations, including working with remote franchisees in Kampala Uganda to empower communities to install and maintain their own solar panels. From large to small-scale, Avis has worked on projects across the pipeline; in her current position as Project Manager at S&C Electric Canada Ltd., she’s drawing upon her extensive experience to help manage one of the first community microgrid projects in Canada, the North Bay Community Energy Park Project.
Lyne Parent-Garvey is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Hydro Ottawa. With over 25 years of experience in human resources in a variety of sectors including municipal, health care, not-for-profits and energy, Lyne leverages her expertise to prepare Hydro Ottawa’s workforce for the future. She is a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Canadian Electricity Association’s Human Resources Committee.
Valerie has been an active member in the renewable energy industry for the past decade. She’s worked with the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA), and has been Manager of Renewable Energy Approvals at wpd Canada Corporation, a large-scale renewable energy developer with a global presence. Val has worked both sides of the coin, as an active policy advocate, and on the development side under the Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act. But before she entered the renewable energy industry, Val’s academic interests were moving in a seemingly very different direction – studying health sciences, she had planned to practice medicine. Partway through, it became clear it wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life; job shadowing in the field made her realize it wasn’t for her. She was still largely interested in health and overall well-being, but came to terms that the field of medicine wasn’t the “day-to-day” she was looking for.
Jen had worked in the insurance industry for more than 5 years before she ventured into renewable energy. At that point in her career, she was growing frustrated with risk management insurance, and wasn’t sure she saw the “point” – she wanted to be more proactive in making a positive change in the world. Jen had grown to love and appreciate nature after spending time on Canada`s west coast; she wanted to play an active part in giving back, by adding value to the sustainable industry movement.
Kathy Lerette is the Senior Vice President of Business Transformation at Alectra Utilities. Alectra was formed by the recent merger of Enersource, Horizon Utilities and PowerStream and the acquisition of Hydro One Brampton. With a career spanning over three decades in the electrical utility industry, Kathy has seen and worked on it all, including the construction, operations, and engineering side.
Mary Warner's passion for social justice and the environment began in university. Her initial interests were focused on international development, and she attended a post-grad program for International Project Management. It was there that Mary's personal priorities shifted – in the age of the “global village”, exploring the international perspective can change the way we look at our own communities, and Mary realized she wanted to refocus her career to make an impact locally.
Jennifer Manning is Vice President and General Counsel of NRStor Inc., a Toronto-based energy storage project developer. She has a great deal of experience in both large-scale energy and infrastructure projects, including the Eglinton Crosstown project. Jennifer is also involved in other sectors, including being a member of the Board of Directors for the Fred Victor Centre, the board of epic School, the Torys LLP mentorship orogram of at-risk youth, and the Women’s Infrastructure Network.
Debbie Ellis is a 26-year veteran and the current District Sales Manager with G&W Electric Canada, a global supplier of electric power equipment since 1905, which supports its sister company Survalent Technology, a supplier of advanced distribution management systems which includes SCADA, OMS, and DMS since 1964. We had a chance to interview Deb from G&W, and to ask her about her journey to where she is today.
Bonnie Hiltz is the Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Advisor for ENGIE Canada (formerly known as GDF Suez). She has a breadth of policy experience across several sectors, both locally and abroad, and was part of the team responsible for Ontario’s renewable energy policy development, ranging from the first Renewable Energy Supply procurements (RES), the Renewable Standard Offer Program (RESOP), the coal phase-out, and the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. She then worked with the Ontario Power Authority (now known as the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)) managing the Feed-in-Tariff contracts. Bonnie serves on the Board of Directors for CanWEA and CanSIA.
An electrical engineer by trade, Michelle Chislett was bitten by the renewable energy bug and decided to complete her MBA to broaden the roles she could play in the field. She is passionate about the ever-changing renewable energy field and advises women interested in the industry to “join us!” As 2015 WiRE Solar Power Woman of Distinction Award, Vice President and Country Manager at SunEdison Canada, former Chair of Canadian Solar Industry Association, and mother of a young daughter, she feels the work of organizations such as WiRE are crucial to make sure women feel they can share their voice in the industry.
Jennifer Taylor is completing her PhD at U of T, focusing on the production of knowledge in renewable energy transitions, specifically focusing on interesting controversies such as the wind turbine health studies. She also teaches a course in environmental impact assessment and carries out research for Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative. Prior to that, she worked in offshore wind at Trillium Power and the Community Power Fund. A quote she likes is, "If you always do what you what interests you, at least one person is pleased." - Katherine Hepburn
Sarah Simmons is a member of the Energy and Environment Practice at Sussex. She 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.
Kathleen Alexander is an Environmental Scientist at R.J. Burnside & Associates in the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Group. Primarily working on feasibility and environmental constraints studies for solar and wind projects, serving a wide range of clients from municipalities, private developer, to First Nation communities. She has also been an Environmental Technician with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in the Enforcement Branch. Worked with Environmental Officers performing inspections at a wide range of facilities, including wind farms, to ensure proper approvals are in place and conformance with terms of the approval.