Board of Directors

Nick Bakish is a Financial Advisor currently living and working in Montreal and its surrounding areas. Nick graduated from McGill University’s Economics and Finance program with joint honours. Throughout his twelve year career, Nick has consistently been one of Investors Group’s top Consultants. He has built his reputation on understanding clients. Nick was approached by one of his clients who had a strong involvement at Sierra Club and was immediately intrigued. Since that time two years ago, Nick has been an advocate and supporter and now Board Member of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. Before his official involvement in the cause, Nick was also president of Country Solar, a company in the field of solar panels and sustainable energy. Nick is passionate about raising an awareness of environmental issues that affect us individually and on a global scale.

Michael Bernard has extensive experience as a communications strategist working for non-governmental organizations in the field of environmentalism. He has worked as a Communications Officer for Climate Action Network, Media Relations Director for Sierra Club Canada and as a Press Secretary for Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada. He currently sits as President of Sierra Club Canada Foundation and has been involved with the Club, in one way or another, for almost a decade. Michael graduated from the University of Windsor in 2005 with an M.A. in Communication and Social Justice. He moved to Ottawa shortly thereafter. He loves backcountry camping, hiking with his dog Farley, and all kinds of music. Michael currently works for Humane Society International/Canada, part of one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, as HSI/Canada’s Political Officer.

Alexandra Bly is a second year Masters student, studying Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College that is affiliated with the University of Waterloo. Originally from Ottawa, and she has a Bachelors in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the University of Ottawa, She spent her final semester abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam working at a vocational college as a student services officer. Alexandra is passionate about social justice. Her interests include: gender studies, social movements, the empowerment of civil society, and the connection between the environment and human rights. She loves coffee, pizza, baking, travel and, of course, her dog. She is currently the Youth Representative to the board.

Jeremy Gawen brings a strong science background as a commitment to environmental issues to the Sierra Club Foundation Board. After immigrating to Canada from the UK, he worked for CIL for many years, eventually serving as Group President responsible for the Explosives and Agricultural businesses. Following that, he was President of two Agricultural Biotechnology companies before retiring in 2001. Jeremy has a strong interest in environmental issues, particularly as they relate to Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes. He has served on the Board of the Georgian Bay Association for about 10 years and the Board of the Moore Park Residents’ Association. He is part of Great Lakes Section of Sierra Club Ontario (of which he is also treasurer). He is president of West Carling Association, a cottagers’ association in central Georgian Bay and a board member of Restore Our Waters International (ROWI), a relatively new bilateral organization, dedicated to restoring the St Clair River between Lake Huron and Lake St Clair to its natural state. He has also been on the Board of Open Studio, Canada’s largest artist print making organization, for 14 years, 10 years as Chair.

Mary Kainer has been active in environmental issues for more than twenty years. Currently, she is also serving as Environment Chair of the Lake Kasshabog Association and has successfully fought particulate and noise pollution from a nearby mine. Eight years ago, she brought about changes in aggregate extraction regulations for the area. From 1990 – 2000 she was very active in environmental transportation groups including: Environmentalists Plan Transportation; Co-Chair of a Auto-Free Cities Conference; City of Toronto’s Automobile Emissions Committee, Railways to the Future. She has extensive experience in non-profit management serving as the Executive Director of national, regional, and local non-profits (Scadding Court Community Centre, The Writers’ Union of Canada, the Social Planning Council of Peel). She has also been involved in numerous community and school associations. For the past decade she has been a professional artist. In 2014, she won a prestigious award at the John B. Aird Annual Juried Contemporary Drawing Exhibition for her political drawings on fracking.

Deirdre King brings to the Board a background in the field of education. She taught English and Media Studies for many years at John Abbott College in Montreal before retiring in 2013. While at the college, she was active in many capacities, serving as chair of the English department, secretary of the John Abbott Faculty Association and coordinator of the Read/Write Project, an initiative to enhance student literacy skills across the curriculum. When the College’s Environmental Studies was founded, she was an active participant. This included offering a course on how the media coves the environment. Deirdre traces her love of nature back to the summers she spent in the lower St. Lawrence region as a child. She is currently the Quebec representative to the Board.

Gordon Mair is a Chartered Professional Accountant who has been managing finances in the local NGO community for the past fifteen years. He is currently working as the Director of Finance and Administration for Amnesty International in Ottawa, and previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Sierra Club Canada and as the Director of Finance and Administration with the North-South Institute in Ottawa. Gordon has also managed finances internationally as Assistant Country Director of the CARE mission in Lusaka, Zambia, as Finance Manager for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia, and as the Director of Finance and Administration for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in San Jose, Costa Rica. He currently sits as Treasurer on the SCCF Board.

Graham May is an undergraduate student in Environmental Studies and International Relations at Mount Allison University. Graham hails from the coastal B.C. rainforest, where his interest in environmental issues established during a childhood of cold, wet hikes. He has founded multiple environmental education initiatives, including an eco-pledge program that engaged more than 15,000 international youth, and bike-powered workshop tours across Canada and Turkey. In summer 2013, Graham had the pleasure to co-found the Youth Arctic Coalition, a circumpolar forum for Arctic education, culture, and policy initiatives. Graham’s current research addresses how rural and indigenous communities can develop natural resources while maintaining local control and benefit. Graham loves to sing, sail, and swing dance, though usually not all at the same time. H e is currently the Atlantic Representative on the SCCF Board.

Gabriela Rappell grew up in Toronto and has been active in the Sierra Club family since high school when she joined the Sierra Youth Coalition (SYC), serving as an under-21 member of the Executive Committee and as a youth representative on the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club of Canada. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Kingston, with a BSc Eng. in Mining Engineering, focusing on Mineral Processing and the Environment. Upon graduation, she joined the staff of SYC, serving as Coordinator of the Sustainable High Schools Project, then as National Director of SYC, then as Youth Programs Director for the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. She currently works in the Office of Advancement at Queen’s University. Gabriela has also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, le Partenariat Jeunesse pour le Développement Durable, and the Sustainability and Education Policy Network. She is currently the Ontario representative on the Sierra Club Canada Foundation Board.

Peter Smith has extensive experience in the energy and electricity sector, most notably in positions where he had responsibility for negotiating and managing multi-million dollar energy supply contracts and oversaw the financial operation of gas-fired, wind and hydraulic generating facilities. Recently retired, he has been active locally in environmental issues. He has given talks on climate change to the Bluewater Sustainability Initiative, the Professional Engineers groups, Green Drinks as well as open, public workshops to service clubs and churches. He has responded to climate deniers in the media and generally talked about the issue at every opportunity, sometimes to hostile audiences. He has about 20 years of board experience in other organizations, including the St Clair Child and Youth Services (Children’s Mental Health), Sarnia Community Girls’ Home and Lambton County Science Fair. He chaired the Children’s Mental Health Advocacy Committee of Sarnia-Lambton that successfully advocated for increased funding from the province. He recently joined Adopt a Scientist, an organization that puts retired scientists and engineers into the classroom to demonstrate science. He joined the Sierra Club to help make a difference.

David Snider is a strong believer in ecological wisdom, respect for diversity and sustainability. His education, B.Sc. Honours Physical Geography, and LL.B., both from McGill University, has provided him with a broad-based understanding of environmental issues. In 2013, David retired from the Canada Revenue Agency after 30 years of service. While at the Agency, he was the founding chair of the OECD Sub-group on Tax Crimes and Money Laundering from 2003 to 2006. He co-chaired the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Underground Economy Working Group from 2008 to 2013. He also led an OECD Task Group from 2010 to 2012 that surveyed over 30 countries and produced the report: Reducing Opportunities for Tax Non-compliance in the Underground Economy. David is a life member of the Canadian Kennel Club, a lure coursing judge, and a director on the board of Cantley 1889, Cantley’s historical society.


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