Fourteen local women have been selected by the City of Toronto to participate in the second cohort of its Women4Climate Toronto (W4CTO) Mentorship Programme. Through a combination of mentoring, training and networking opportunities, the program will provide tools to help the mentees advance their climate-related projects or business start-ups in support of key City strategies including the TransformTO Net Zero Climate
Action Strategy, Resilience Strategy, Long-Term Waste Management Strategy, and Ravine Strategy.
Find out more about the W4CTO mentees and their climate-related projects and business start-ups here.
Over the course of the program, which runs until June 2022, mentees will consult with mentors from the public and private sector with expertise in a variety of fields, including climate change/action, business, finance, marketing and communications.
The Women4Climate Toronto mentors are:
Nadine Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, BrandEQ Group and President, Black Business and Professional Association
Nadine was recently appointed as the Black Business and Professional Association’s Acting CEO, a secondment from BrandEQ, her global agency specializing in social change marketing, communications, and public relations. Founded in 1983 and celebrating its 40th anniversary in the year ahead, the BBPA, a charitable organization, advocates for Canada's Black business community by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education, and economic development. She has been acknowledged in 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and has received numerous awards including the Harry Jerome Business Award, the United Nations Volunteer Award, among others. A dedicated Black community champion, her life’s work is fighting discrimination, battling poverty, and advancing women’s education. She strongly always supports equality for women and girls of colour and uplifting society’s marginalized people. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with Honours from York University and serves on the York Alumni Board, the Ryerson Diversity Institute Advisory Board, among others.
Jigna Shah, Regional Market Leader, Business Taxation Incentives, EY
Jigna is a Regional Market Leader and Senior Manager with over 16 years of business development and consulting experience, driving growth of the entrepreneurial and private client practice at EY. She is a mentor to several start up companies, advising on growth strategy and leveraging business tax incentives. Jigna is also an avid speaker and panelist presenting at incubators and accelerators. As the Ontario Co-Chair of EY's Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, she is responsible for leading and managing the nominations of this mentorship program that advances women entrepreneurs and helps them take their business to the next level.
Nancy Ruscica, Manager, Outreach and Engagement, Environment & Energy Division, City of Toronto
Nancy has a diverse background in television production, fundraising, event planning, communications and marketing in both the private and public sector. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Nancy worked in the television industry, producing fundraising programs for non-profit clients including Amnesty International, World Wildlife Fund, Toronto Humane Society, Hospital for Sick Children, and Greenpeace. Since joining the City in 2002, Nancy has successfully developed numerous environmental outreach programs including the Live Green Toronto Awards, the Live Green Toronto Festival, the Green Innovation Awards and Live Green Perks. In her current role as Manager, Outreach & Engagement, Nancy manages the award-winning Live Green Toronto and Smart Commute programs with a mandate to engage residents in climate action. Nancy has extensive experience building and nurturing partnerships with a wide range of networks including residents, community groups, school boards, NGOs, businesses and corporate sponsors. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development from the University of Waterloo.
Nicola Lashley, Program Manager, Public Energy Initiatives, Environment & Energy Division, City of Toronto
Nicola Lashley is a Program Manager at the City of Toronto's Environment & Energy Division. Committed to pursuing equitable outcomes and program design, Nicola works on engagement and financing programs to support deep retrofits and pathways to net zero for Toronto's single-family homes. Her career in public service has focused on community development and engagement in the youth, newcomers and environmental portfolios. Nicola is a founding member of the recently launched Black Environmentalist Alliance (bealliance.ca), which aims to support black professionals working in the environmental sector, build community, and pursue environmental justice.
Carol Aziz, Project Director, Climate Risk Institute
Carol is Project Director with the Climate Risk Institute (CRI). At CRI, Carol leads climate risk assessment projects, manages and delivers climate risk and resiliency training, and provides support for TCFD disclosures. Prior to CRI, Carol spent over 20 years in environmental consulting directing and managing a wide array of environmental projects in the areas of environmental and climate due diligence, groundwater and stormwater treatment and monitoring, and waste management. Dr. Aziz holds a Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and is certified by GARP in Sustainability and Climate Risk.
On a volunteer basis, she directs a small private foundation called Climate Impact Fund, which supports local community climate literacy and sustainability initiatives. She is an alumnus of Homeward Bound, a global transformational leadership program for women in STEMM and is active in mentoring young women.
Lynda Bowles, Retired Senior Audit and Assurance Partner, Deloitte
Started my career as a professor at the U of Guelph in the Foods department after receiving a Masters degree. After 5 years I change careers and went back to University to get credits to become a Chartered Accountant. In 1979 I joined Deloitte. I worked in several industries including Manufacturing, IT, Retail, Healthcare, Charities and Not For Profit companies as well as being in the tax pool, preparing personal income tax returns. I had a wonderful career and retired as a FCPA in 2012. I have served on several boards including WSIB, Technical Standards and Safety Authority, MLSE Foundation and Real Estate Council of Ontario
Mei Burgin, Vice President, Professional Services, Opus One Solutions
Mei Burgin is the Vice President of Professional Services at Opus One Solutions, a global leader in the distributed energy management space. She brings two decades of leadership experience in strategic consulting, product marketing, and offering management across corporate and startup domains. She started her career in IBM’s software division as a senior advisor to global executives on new opportunities, competitive strategy, and customer behaviour. She advanced to portfolio leader within IBM global services, overseeing IBM’s Smarter Planet industry solutions, before taking on a number of senior marketing roles, including North American marketing lead for cloud and blockchain products. Keen to stay on the leading edge of tech innovation, she joined the leadership team at MaRS Discovery District where she built and led a high-performance team delivering world-class products to thousands of startups, while also driving strategic partnerships and revenue channels. Mei has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, specializing in information systems and human-centered design. She has led various community initiatives, including board president for a non-profit child care organization, meetup organizer for Hyperledger, and currently sits on Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square board of management. She loves to ask questions, foster new ideas, and help develop human potential.
Candice Batista, Environmental Journalist, Founder of Eco Hub and Eco Expert at the Marilyn Dennis Show
Candice Batista is an award-winning Environmental Journalist and one of Canada’s leading eco advocates. Her career spans national and international media outlets, where she has used her background in environmental studies and media & communications to produce and report on various environmental and climate issues for primarily television and digital audiences. Candice is the eco expert for CTV and runs The Eco Hub, an online media publication.
Keerthana Rang, Corporate Communications Lead, Uber Canada.
Keerthana is a communications professional who’s inspired by city-building, dedicated to making life easier through technology, and who enjoys telling important, complex stories in everyday language to Canadians. She is the Corporate Communications Lead for Uber in Canada where she does strategic communications planning and media relationsfor both Rides and Eats. She has spent most of her career working in government and politics, including for Mayor Tory, Metrolinx, and Premier McGuinty. Keerthana has also worked in the private sector for Radical Ventures, one of the world's largest AI funds, and Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, where she led communications, issues management, and media relations for its Toronto project. She is a York University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies. Outside of work, Keerthana spends time with her family (especially her one-year-old daughter Anika), tries to close her activity rings on her Apple Watch, and scrolls through Twitter to stay on top of breaking news.