Our Board of Directors

Karel Mayrand - President & Chair of the Board

Karel Mayrand is the manager for the David Suzuki Foundation - Québec and is part of the management team for DSF's Vancouver office. He is also a trained Climate Leader for the Climate Reality Project Canada and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Before joining the David Suzuki Foundation, he was co-founder of Unisféra International Centre, a sustainable development think-tank wherein he created Planetair, a carbon offset programme leading the Canadian carbon credit sector. Karel has worked in the sustainable development sector now for over 12 years. He has served as a sustainable development consultant to many governments and United Nation agencies, including former Quebec Premier Marc Johnson  for more than a decade. Regularly invited to comment on environmental issues in the media, Karel is also co-author of Governing Global Desertification (2006, Ashgate Aldershot Editions, London) and Manifeste pour un Québec durable ( 2007). He is a 2005 Action Canada fellow and was a finalist for the Arista Provincial Competition in 2008 as Quebec's socially responsible entrepreneur of the year.

Jean-François Barsoum - Chair of the communications committee

As the leader of the Innovation and Environment consulting practice at IBM Canada, Jean-François Barsoum has helped create strategies for companies in several sectors, including financial, higher education, green tech, professional associations, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications firms. He has participated in the creation (and continues to work with) the international team supporting IBM's Smarter Cities initiative, aiming to transform cities' water and transportation networks.

Since the 1990s, Jean-François Barsoum has focused on promoting ecological, environmental protection and socially responsible actions both in IBM and with its customers. He was trained by Vice President Al Gore in 2008 and presented Mr. Gore's slide show to audiences as varied as armed forces personnel, school children, and banking executives. He has been guest speaker on the themes of innovation and social responsibility on four continents.

Chantale Després - Chair of the Fundraising Committee

Based in Montreal, Chantale Després is Director of Marketing Communications and Research at CN, responsible for the design and implementation of strategic marketing communication programs in support of multiple business units, as well as market research. Over the past two years, she has added environmental solutions to her responsibilities and has had the opportunity to work with many leading companies, consultants, and governments in the area of sustainability and environmental strategies. In April of 2008, Chantale completed the Climate Reality training in Montreal and at The Climate Reality Project's North American Summit in Nashville, in May 2009. She became chair of the fundraising committee in January of 2009 for Climate Reality Canada. Chantale holds a Masters Degree in Marketing from l'Université de Sherbrooke and a Business Administration Degree from l'Université de Moncton.

Ian Bruce - Board Member


Ian Bruce is a leading climate change policy analyst in Canada.

As manager for the David Suzuki Foundation’s (DSF) Science and Policy Unit, Ian co-heads the DSF’s national science, strategy, and stakeholder-engagement initiatives to advance environmental solutions.  Based in Vancouver, Ian led the Foundation’s landmark campaign to secure a climate action plan for British Columbia, which led to the introduction of North America’s first significant carbon tax in 2008. In the lead-up to the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, Ian managed campaigns to mobilize Olympic athletes, faith leaders, business leaders and more to demand climate leadership from the Government of Canada.  Ian is on the board of Al Gore’s non-profit organization The Climate Reality Project Canada, a steering committee member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Climate Justice Project, and an advisor on Metro Vancouver’s (Translink) Stakeholder Roundtable on transportation. He speaks often at events and is a frequent commentator on national and regional media.

Before joining the Foundation in 2002, Ian founded an innovative educational program on the impacts of climate change on mountain environments as part of Canada’s contribution to the U.N.’s International Year of the Mountains.  He began his career as a geophysicist for one of the largest oil and gas service companies in the world.

Originally from New Brunswick, Ian has a B.Sc. in geological engineering and a passion for backcountry skiing.

Gordon Hicks - Board Member

Gordon Hicks joined BLJC in 1997 and held a number of Executive roles until being promoted to President in 2006.

Gordon is a graduate Engineer of Carleton University, a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He is committed to supporting the Real Estate Industry in operating to the highest environmental standards, and served on the Board of Directors of the Canada Green Building Council from May 2007 to June 2010.  He recently was appointed as Chair of the CaGBC's Market Development Committee.

In April 2008, Gord became one of 275 Certified Canadian Climate Leader of Climate Reality Canada. In 2009, he also joined the Board of Directors of the organization.

Finally, in 2009 Gord was appointed the Cabinet Leader for the Real Estate Sector of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's Leaders for the Cure Program. BLJC was recognized by Canadian Business and Macleans magazines as one of Canada's "Top 30 Greenest Companies" in 2010.

Candace Labelle - Vice-President

Candace Labelle is based in Ottawa, Ontario, where she is the director for CSC's internal sustainability initiative known as CSC GreenWay. Launched in June of 2008, the program is responsible for developing and implementing CSC's short and long term corporate environmental and sustainability strategy. Through this program, CSC is actively engaging employees and reducing the environmental footprint of their global operations, supporting 92,000 employees in over 80 countries.

Candace attended Ottawa University, holds certifications for PMP, 6 Sigma Green Beltand ITIL Foundations, and has 15 years experience in the IT industry.

As an active Climate Leader, having attended the first Canadian training in Montreal in 2008, and well as Mr.Gore's US Summit and follow up training in Nashville in May of 2009, Candace delivers the urgent message on climate change and our need for action whenever an opportunity presents itself. Her presentations are updated with Canadian content and a solutions and activity focus, and then shared with various local audiences on a volunteer basis to help raise awareness about climate change, and inspire action toward change.

Tonio Sadik - Board Member

As Director of Environment at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Tonio has more than two decades experience working with First Nations across Canada on a variety of issues including environmental stewardship, land claims, and intergovernmental relations. He currently leads a range of environmental files – from climate change and species at risk, to fisheries and food security. He is a Principle Investigator for the First Nations Food, Nutrition, and Environment Study (UofO), and is a sitting member on several boards/steering committees including Fish-WIKS (a Dalhousie-based research initiative focused on the intersection between Western and Indigenous knowledge systems), Indigenous Innovations (a collaboration led by Catherine Potvin at McGill aimed at supporting Indigenous climate change and sustainability initiatives), and the Pathway to Target 1 (a Parks Canada initiative seeking to protect 17% of Canada’s terrestrial landmass by 2020).


Tonio has a PhD from Simon Fraser University (2008) and teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He is also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (ADRIO) and works as a consultant (Tonio Sadik & Associates) specializing in research, negotiations, advocacy and dispute resolution.


Tonio is based in Ottawa.

Leïla Copti - Board Member


Leïla Copti a fondé COPTICOM Stratégies & Relations publiques en 2011. Elle détient une maîtrise en psychologie. Cofondatrice de Transit, l’Alliance pour le financement des transports collectifs au Québec, et l’Alliance SWITCH pour le virage vers une économie verte au Québec. En 2004, chez National, elle coordonne la première édition du Forum Tremblant sur le développement durable et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises au Québec. Elle devient rédactrice en chef de Réseau Vert pour Greenpeace en 2006 et collabore à plusieurs mandats pour l’écologiste Steven Guilbeault. En 2008, elle devient conseillère politique et communications au Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal et contribue à l’avancement de plusieurs dossiers montréalais dont la biométhanisation des matières organiques, la protection du Mont-Royal et la réduction du chauffage au bois. Elle conçoit la stratégie de communications pour le Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal en 2012. Elle organise la première Table ronde canadienne sur l’économie verte en avril 2015. Leïla Copti siège au conseil d’administration du Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal et du Projet de la réalité climatique Canada.

Benjamin Trister - Board Member


Benjamin Trister holds Canadian and American law degrees. Prior to his retirement, he practiced law as a partner of Canada’s largest law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He has been recognized by American Lawyer magazine and Lexpert as one Canada’s leading 500 lawyers. Mr. Trister has almost forty years of experience as a volunteer. He has served as an appointee of the federal and Ontario governments as well as of the City of Toronto. Currently, in addition to being a director at our organization, Mr. Trister is involved in the leadership of numerous other not-for-profit organizations including: The Parkdale Community Food Bank (Chairperson), Theatre 20 (Past-Chairperson); Hospital Diagnostic Imaging and Repository Services (Treasurer); The Shoebox Project for Shelters (Secretary); Equality Trust Canada (Founder); and Canadians for Justice (Founder). Mr. Trister is the recipient of two awards issued under the auspices of the Governor General of Canada in recognition of his community service.


Melissa Buck - Treasurer

Melissa Buck has been a member of Richter’s Business Valuation, Litigation and Forensic Accounting and Transaction Advisory Services group since 2012. She specializes in valuations in the context of shareholder buyouts and tax reorganizations. Melissa is actively involved in sell-side advisory services.


Melissa is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is currently working towards obtaining her Chartered Business Valuator designation. She began her career at KPMG in the Assurance Group. Melissa graduated from McGill University with Great Distinction where she was awarded a scholarship for outstanding academic achievement.


Mike Gerbis - Founding President

Michael Gerbis as CEO is responsible for overseeing the growth and strategic direction of The Delphi Group and providing advice and insight to clients and project teams across Delphi's key services areas - greenhouse gas management and corporate sustainability.  Prior to joining Delphi, Michael owned and operated a successful environmental engineering consulting firm, which focused on developing and implementing corporate pollution prevention strategies.

Michael has over 17 years experience in both the operational and strategic aspects of environmental management. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Eng.  from Queens University and a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering  from McMaster University.

Michael is actively involved in the community working closely with organizations such as the Young Environmental Professionals (www.yep.ca), Algonquin College's Green Business management Program and OCRI's Clean Tech Cluster to advance sustainability.  Michael is also actively engaged in the education of youth through SHAD Valley International (www.shad.ca) and regularly making presentations to university and high school students around the country on issues such as climate change, clean energy and sustainable development.

Michael enjoys running, playing hockey and golf, and  experiencing what the world has to offer with his  wife Deb and his two boys Thomas and Kieran.

Désirée McGraw - Founding Vice-Chair/President

In 2007, Désirée was among a select group of 21 Canadians to complete a training in Nashville with former U.S. Vice-President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore as part of his Climate Project. In addition to conducting over 50 presentations (to date) to a broad range of audiences and professions, she (along with 5 other early Canadian trainees) went on to help found the Climate Project Canada and served as Vice-President of the Board. A public policy professional with a background in international affairs, Désirée has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, reporter, senior political advisor and spokesperson in the field of sustainable development, and has been described by the national media as "one of Canada's ten most influential people on environmental issues." She currently serves as Executive Director of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation where she is responsible for the overall management of the Foundation and its flagship Sauvé Scholars Program, affiliated with McGill University where she lectures on global environmental politics, including "Climate Diplomacy". As chair of a 2006 federal Liberal Taskforce on Environment and Sustainable Development, her ground-breaking report and recommendations are credited with providing a national blueprint for reconciling Canada's social and economic objectives with its environmental concerns and commitments. Previously, Désirée served as Director of Policy to Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, and has worked with various international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank. Désirée has served on the official Canadian delegations to UN conferences, including on Environment and Development (Rio, 1992), the Biodiversity Convention (Nairobi, 2000) and the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol (Montreal, 2005). Following her appointment by UN Under-Secretary-General Maurice Strong to serve as one of two Youth Ambassadors to the 1992 Earth Summit, she spent four years working as an international reporter for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. Désirée is a Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University and an associate of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. She has been involved in politics and election campaigns in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, where she conducted graduated studies as a Commonwealth Scholar at the London School of Economics. Désirée's became active in global affairs at age 16 when she embarked on a national speaking tour promoting peace and security issues during the Cold War era. The eight-month cross-country "SAGE" tour reached a quarter of all Canadian secondary schools and was followed by special invitations to the UN, the US and the former USSR. The tour was the subject of an award-winning documentary by the National Film Board of Canada, which also produced a 1989 video series co-hosted by Désirée and featuring David Suzuki entitled "Alive in the Nuclear Age".

Peter Corbyn

Peter began helping Canadian businesses and homeowners save energy and reduce their environmental footprint in the early 1990’s.
His past activities include launching the first Employee Energy Awareness Program in Ontario, Canada in 1992 for his employer at the time, Woodbridge Foam Corporation. He was the Environment Director for the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association in Toronto from 1996 to 2000.
Peter was a founding board member of The Climate Project Canada, and a co-founder of GreenNexxus, developers of sustainability focused web-based programs like the award winning Cisco Systems and CBC One Million Acts of Green campaign and the Rotary International Start with Water campaign, as well as software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs.
GreenNexxus has received multiple awards, including the 2009 KIRA Award for Most Promising Start-up and 2011 Award for Technology Advancement and Innovation for their Green Employee Sustainability Platform.
He was awarded the Canadian National Clean Air Day Award in 2007 for Excellence in Efficiency Outreach. He is also the co-author of Cool Comforts – Bargaining for Our Survival, which has over 15,000 copies in circulation.
Peter graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1987 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently lives with his family in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
He is acting on his belief that Information Technology can and will play a key role in addressing our global environmental challenges.

René Brunet

Since 2000, René has worked for Environment Canada's Biosphere, an environment museum. He is a Distance Learning and Videoconference Coordinator for pedagogic and public programs concerning weather, climate and the environment. In autumn 2005, as Montreal welcomed the International Climate Change Conference, he served as scientific advisor to the International Youth Delegation. He has been speaker and specialist for thousands of presentations on Climate Change and related subjects to media outlets, schools, and the general public. With the Association professionnelle des meteorologistes du Québec, he gave presentations to hundreds of schools across Québec

He became a Climate Leader in January 2007, and served on the Board of Directors of Climate Reality Canada in 2007 and 2008. He also served as mentor, science advisor and trainer for Al Gore's 3 day training seminar in Montreal in April 2008.

More than 25 years of his career has been in television. He served as on-air weathercaster and specialist to Global Television Québec and CBC-TV-NewsWatch and CBC radio in Montreal. In association with a production company, he hosted, wrote, and co-produced a series of 13-2 minute reports about Climate Change which aired on CBC-NewsWorld and Radio-Canada.

In his ten years with The Weather Network, he was a forecaster, trainer, on-air weathercaster and specialist. He hosted and co-wrote numerous educational, 'weather-info' type segments, as well as 2-one hour documentaries on El Niño/La Niña. Prior to 1989, he worked for several television stations in the United States where he was weathercaster and produced and hosted several documentaries on weather and hurricanes. In 1999, he was commissioned by St.Remi Press to design, research, and co-write a book about the weather/climate for the Discovery Channel.

He was born and raised in New Orleans and has a bachelor's degree in Meteorology with a minor in television communications.

Shelley Kath