Twelve local women have been selected by the City of Toronto to participate in the third 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, 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:

Amber Nasrulla, Communications Advisor, Strategic Communications, City of Toronto

Amber Nasrulla has more than 15 years experience as a marketing and communications professional, supporting and providing strategic advice to clients such as Aga Khan Museum, CTV Television, TELUS, the Assembly of First Nation, entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. Amber started her career as a journalist and has reported from across North America, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and north African countries, contributing to news outlets online, magazines and newspapers. She has a special interest in human rights and women’s & children’s health. While in South Sudan and Iraq, for instance, she covered extreme climate change impacts such as rising temperatures, severe drought and flood events and food insecurity, all of which took lives and livelihoods while disproportionately impacting women and girls.  She works at the City of Toronto and is passionate about supporting diverse, equity-deserving communities.

Giselle De Grandis, Manager of Business Development and Market Strategy

Giselle is Manager of Business Development & Market Strategy with Ontario’s largest electric utility, Hydro One. She is a policy master’s graduate with a decade of experience in clean energy and transportation policy with the Government of Ontario. Giselle grew up in Toronto and holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MSc from Erasmus University Rotterdam and more recently completed Yale University’s one-year Financing and Deploying Clean Energy professional certificate program. A strong motivation to accelerate the energy transition through innovation is what drives her, and in 2020 she was trained by Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader. In her free time Giselle enjoys growing food, managing her investment portfolio, and reality TV.

Mary Cochrane, Associate Director, Demand Generation

Mary is a seasoned marketer with over 20 years of experience in both B2C and B2B industries, she has developed a deep understanding of how to create successful brand campaigns that connect with customers. She has worked for some iconic Canadian brands including Canada Post, Rogers, LCBO, PC Financial, Loblaws and Sobeys. Throughout her career, she has developed a passion for staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in marketing, and has cultivated a growth mindset that drives her to continuously learn and improve. She takes great satisfaction in sharing her knowledge and insights with others. Mary is currently an Associate Director of Demand Generation at EY where she is focused on building comprehensive marketing plans that drive strategic growth and advance EY’s position in the marketplace.

Nancy Ruscica, Manager, Outreach & Engagement

Nancy is the Manager, Outreach & Engagement for the City of Toronto’s Environment & Climate Division. Nancy has a diverse background in television production, fundraising, community engagement, event planning, communications and marketing in both the private and public sector. In her current role, Nancy manages the award-winning Live Green Toronto and Smart Commute programs with a mandate to engage residents in climate action. Nancy is proud to lead a passionate team dedicated to planning and delivering outreach and engagement programs, projects, events and campaigns to support the City’s TransformTO Net Zero strategy. 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. Prior to joining the City, Nancy managed television fundraising programs for non-profit clients including Amnesty International, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and the Toronto Humane Society. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development from the University of Waterloo.

Ohemaa Boateng, Executive Director Black Creek Community Farm

Ohemaa Boateng is a long-time resident and farmer in the Jane/Finch community, who educated and advocated for her community’s right to food through the Backyard Garden and Chicken project and with the Urban Hens TO group. She has extensive experience spearheading parenting, literacy, and mental health initiatives for young mothers and their children living in transitional homes or who are out on parole, living in halfway housing. During the pandemic she ran weekly outdoor educational, land-based and peer mentorship programming for Black and Indigenous girls, ages ranging 10-17 years old. She supported partnered local school’s eco-clubs to promote STEM learning and address climate action, which comprised of 70% of young women ages 11-18 years old. Ohemaa is also an entrepreneur who offered mobile childcare for conferences, meetings and community events called Baby Steps.

Selina Young, Director, Indigenous Affairs Office, City of Toronto

Selina is Métis from the Prairies. She has been a guest on Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee territory in and around Tkaronto her whole life. She is an active volunteer including roles with Katimavik, Park People, Peel Children’s Aid Society, Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Public Library, the Urban Land Institute and 880 Cities through the Ontario Community Changemakers. Selina is passionate about water and land; you can find her paddling local waters, hiking and running along the Great Lakes, through urban parks and rocky trails, including the Bruce Trail. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in aquatic toxicology and environmental studies. Selina also has decades of experience in public service, having worked for governments in Ontario, Canada, and Scotland, and is currently the Director of the Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto. The Office strives to strengthen the City’s relationship with Indigenous communities and works to advance truth, justice and reconciliation.

Shatha Qaqish-Clavering, Director, Strategy and Operations

Shatha brings strategic leadership with over a decade of experience working in the clean technology, sustainability, and innovation eco-systems. She has experience managing large government grant programs to drive innovative climate change related technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She has led multidisciplinary teams and executed many commercialization plans and technology development strategies. She is also a mentor at various start-up incubators and accelerators and is an active panelist and speaker at events. She currently leads the Climate Positive Energy strategic initiative at the University of Toronto. Shatha is fluent in English, French and Arabic and has a PhD in Chemistry.

Sunali Swaminathan, Senior Manager, Brand and Marketing

Sunali Swaminathan is a Senior Brand and Marketing Manager at Evergreen. A national not-for-profit headquartered at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, Evergreen is a leader in urban sustainability and placemaking. Since joining Evergreen in April 2021, she works to share Evergreen's unique story of impact by building a brand experience that is catalytic, inspiring and welcoming. Sunali has over a decade of experience in marketing communications and the non-profit space, she has the joy of bringing good ideas to life. She loves building community and believes that everyone has a role to play in making cities more sustainable, connected and vibrant. Prior to Evergreen, Sunali led the Marketing and Communications Campaign Strategy for International Justice Mission - Canada and North America, a global social justice organization. Outside of her day job, she teaches Marketing Strategy as an Adjunct Lecturer with Western University's Continuing Studies Program and serves on the Board of Humana Community Services in London, Ontario. She graduated with her HBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and calls London, home.

Susana Vaz, Manager - Business Growth Services in the City of Toronto's Economic Development and Culture Division and leads the Entrepreneurship portfolio

Suzana works with entrepreneurs and stakeholders in Toronto's startup innovation ecosystem space and leads a dedicated team of public servants focussed on growing Toronto's economy on a foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship. Her background is an international trade which has helped many companies grow and expand over 25 years of her economic development career in Canada and abroad. She is also the staff lead on Collision and has managed the coordination of the City's support of the conference with all levels of government, that brought over 35,000 attendees to Toronto in June 2022. Prior to her work at the City of Toronto, Susana has worked at the Indo-Italian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and The Council of European Union (EU) Chambers of Commerce in senior leadership roles. In both of these positions, she fostered relationships with numerous economic development stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, organised several diplomatic, business and political delegations all over the EU and in Asia, led the Europartenariat program (India) and helped EU companies expand in India. She has a combination of academic and work experience with diverse international business and marketing expertise, including a Bachelor's of Science, Master's in Business Administration & International Trade and Public Administration. She is a proud mother to four amazing boys and lives in the Greater Toronto Area with her husband.