Before joining SPEC, Oliver worked for several non-profit organizations in his home country of Argentina, in the areas of environmental education, integrated water management, poverty reduction and micro-finance. He earned a master’s degree in sustainability planning from the University of British Columbia, a graduate diploma in non-profit organization management, and a BA (Hons) in business economics. Oliver loves walking, running and cycling in the Pacific Spirit Park with his family and friends. He has been with SPEC since 2012.
Fund Development Coordinator
Barbara brings extensive experience in community engagement, communications consulting, development and marketing to SPEC. Her work with leading charitable organizations and the City of Vancouver has been recognized with several awards. Many of her stories and interviews as a TV host, reporter and writer focused on issues related to the health of people and the environment, and she is an advocate for integrity in food and cosmetic ingredients and labeling. Barbara is the loving parent of two young adults and her bird-friendly backyard is a welcoming oasis for a wide variety of fly-in guests.
School Gardens Program Coordinator
Sharlene is a graduate from the University of Waterloo and Sheridan College. As a Community Development specialist, she has many years experience working with the Not for profit sector and municipal government developing community programs, partnerships, volunteer programs and community capacity building. As a Master Gardener, she is an advocate for the benefits of time spent in nature and in the garden. Currently, she is enrolled at KPU Farm School and seeking to expand her knowledge on regenerative agriculture and small scale farming. Sharlene looks forward to sharing her passion by seeking to engage and inspire the next generation about the importance of food security and connecting to the natural world.
Farmland Ecosystem Services Project Coordinator
Georgia brings over a decade of experience working in local food systems, communications, research and non-profit management in BC. She completed her BSc in Sustainable Food Systems at UBC and has worked at the BC Association of Farmer’s Markets for the last 10 years, supporting farmers, small businesses and markets. She is passionate about the intersection of environmental sciences, food systems and policy and is currently completing a Master’s of Land and Water Systems at UBC, focusing on the role of agriculture in climate change mitigation. Georgia grew up in East Vancouver, where she still resides with her partner and their backyard chickens. In her spare time, she loves being by the ocean, exploring nature and cooking.
Textile Lab for Circularity - Collaborative Innovation Project Partner - Leverage Lab
As the Founder and CEO of the Leverage Lab, Sara dedicates her time and energy addressing systemic real world problems. Specifically, she supports organizations in mitigating climate change through effective facilitation, inspiration and strategic planning. Her passion for engaging people has gifted her with a vast network and an uncanny ability to know who to connect to and when; finding ways of working across silos and building collaborations that are in service to a wider agenda. Over the last five years, Sara has had the pleasure of working with: The City of Vancouver, Government of Alberta, Lululemon, H&M, Value Village, Salvation Army, Intuit, UBC, Surfrider Foundation, Social Innovation Generation (SIG), Intact Insurance, Vancouver Economic Commission, Vancouver Pride Society, United Way, Starbucks, and Hootsuite. Sara was selected and mentored through the Women 4 Climate C40 Mentorship program to advise on the fundraising execution and outreach for the TLC Pilot Project.
Textile Lab for Circularity - Collaboration Strategist
Emily is an experienced Project Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in sustainability and change management. With a Bachelor of Bioresource Engineering, she has specialized in two primary fields: waste prevention and resource recovery and the grassroots evolution of collaborative organizational and governance structures. In the past, Emily has designed and executed waste audits and solid waste management plans for private and public institutions, municipal and regional governments. Emily co-founded and co-facilitates the Master Recycler Vancouver program through SPEC.
Textile Lab for Circularity - Sustainability Scholar
Maria is a UBC Sauder School of Business MBA candidate with experience as an environmental consultant and a B.Sc. in Environmental Geoscience. She has experience managing and coordinating projects where she collected, analyzed, and distilled data into comprehensive recommendation reports for clients. Maria thrives in cross-disciplinary team environments and excels at solving problems by combining a macroscopic perspective with critical reasoning. With the TLC she will translate this skillset to help build the business case for circular strategies available to the apparel and textile industry in the Lower Mainland and BC.
Textile Lab for Circularity - Communications Coordinator
Megan is a marketer and creative communicator with a passion for sustainability and social justice. She is an experienced writer and graphic designer with a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry. As a graduate from the Fashion Marketing program at Wilson School of Design, she has developed a specific interest in the intersection of fashion and sustainability and social justice. She is eager to apply her creative skills within the environmental movement and build a career that makes a positive difference. In her spare time, she enjoys curling, camping, reading and painting.
Claiming Our Role as Elders - Program Coordinator
As a professional wordsmith, Barbara works with businesses, industry, government, non-profit organizations, and individuals to research, write, edit, and publish a wide range of content. She has led and collaborated in diverse community education and development initiatives for over 30 years.
SPEC Board of Directors
Kate is completing a Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management from SFU. Her research focuses on assessing the condition of butter clams in the traditional territory of the Metlakatla First Nation and developing a monitoring and management plan to protect clams from adverse cumulative effects. Kate has a background in sustainable food systems and graduated with a BSc from UBC’s Land and Food Systems faculty. Kate’s work experience spans from food systems research to First Nation’s forest management. As the co-chair of SPEC’s board, Kate enjoys collaborating with SPEC’s amazing staff and volunteers to do community-centered work that brings people closer to nature and provides tools for living more sustainably from the individual, to the household, to the neighbourhood scale, and beyond. Like many of you reading this, Kate is an outdoor enthusiast and follows the words of Edward Abbey who says “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it”
Ruth Elizabeth Briggs
Ruth has a passion for sustainability and the connectivity of our environment. She has been a volunteer with SPEC since 2014, and is currently the Secretary of the SPEC Energy & Transportation Committee. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences from UBC, and focused her studies on physical sciences such as hydrology and meteorology. Ruth helped the Village Vancouver Transition Society develop their Food Energy Descent Action Plan and loves being involved with community events. In her professional and personal life, Ruth thrives on learning and teaching, and is very excited to learn and contribute as a member of SPEC’s Board of Directors.
Shayla had the opportunity to grow up on Quadra Island, BC; the traditional, unceded and ancestral lands of the We Wai Kai Nation. It was here that she developed a passion for the ocean and environmental conservation. Through her undergraduate studies at Quest University Canada, she has travelled the world from the Arctic to the Amazon studying biodiversity and working with Indigenous youth. Shayla currently works as a Marine Conservation Planner to create, establish and manage Marine Protected Areas with the federal mandate to have 25% of Canada’s oceans protected by 2025. She is a proud member of the Métis Nation and is interested in bridging the intersectionality of environmental conservation with Indigenous ways of knowing the land. She believes that recognizing our diversity and differences is a way to build strength and find solutions together.
Matt is a finance professional with a passion for sustainable living, the environment and the outdoors. He has more than 18 years of finance and operations experience across multiple industries in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. He has experience in all aspects of financial operations and has spent the majority of his career helping scale and grow local startup and technology companies. Matt is a member of both the Chartered Accountants of British Columbia and the Certified Practising Accountants of Australia.
Although born and raised in Australia, he has called Canada home since 2005 and lives in Vancouver with his wife and kids. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, cycling and travelling.
Robin grew up on the unceded territory of the Duwamish Nation in Seattle and is a graduate from the University of British Columbia with a BA in Psychology and Political Science. She has worked a number of roles at SPEC – most recently as the Communications and Volunteer Coordinator. She is currently working as a Product Designer and brings various experience in design, communications and public relations to support SPEC as a board member. Robin is an advocate for environmental justice and brings that lens to every aspect of her work.
Dr. Carole Christopher
Director - Guiding Elder
Carole has a doctorate in nutrition and has developed and taught university and adult education courses for 40 years, promoting local, sustainable, and just food. She’s been a SPEC director since 1996, and adds her experience being on community boards to the SPEC Executive. She is the past-chair of the Vancouver Food Policy Council, advising City Council on food security; a master gardener, with 35 years of organic gardening experience; and an enthusiastic camper and creative cook with her partner Rick. She speaks and offers workshops on a range of topics that pertain to food security and gardening, is an avid jazz and gospel singer, and is a dedicated meditation practitioner. In 2018, Carole was acknowledged by the City of Vancouver for her thirty five years of volunteer work in the community as the recipient of the Vancouver Award of Excellence in the category of Healthy City For All.
Alison was born and raised on the unceded territories of the Syilx Okanagan and Scw’exmx Nations, and has been a visitor on the traditional territory of the Musqeuam people for the past ten years. She is a certified teacher who specializes in experiential curriculum design, and she has previously worked with Vancouver Community College, Tsawwassen First Nation and the Vancouver School Board. Ali is currently working as an Education and Training Specialist with UBC’s Indigenous Research Support Initiative, where she co-develops experiential learning programs with Indigenous partners in the areas of ethics, stewardship, cultural competency and cultural humility to meet the TRC’s Calls to Action for education and research. Her background also includes a Master of Arts in Educational studies, where she completed a community based research project designed to enhance school learning for vulnerable students. Ali is dedicated to inspiring learners of all ages to move forward with their own passions and actions. Dogs, hiking, feminism and cheese are a few of her favourite things.
Chris is a technology integrator and project manager with a passion for technologies that simply make sense. He works to provide local residents with expertise in resolving their technology needs, from solar cells to bicycles. He enjoys teaching youngsters of all ages how technologies work, with hands-on activities. Volunteering at the Ponheary Ly foundation in Cambodia, to help school children keep their bicycles on the road, was one of his first initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in IT, he has managed projects from garden sheds to data centers. Chris holds a B.Sc in Electronics and is a certified Project Management Professional.
Daniel has an M.A. in Conflict Resolution and his mission is to engage in society’s large, multi-party, cross-sector problems. This has brought him to the world of waste, where he now operates a consultancy at the crossroads of waste management and behaviour change. He has experience working in waste planning research, private recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). He also has been co-facilitating and developing the Master Recycler Vancouver program since 2015, empowering new and local waste reduction and prevention champions. His main focus with the Board is in applying the sociology and psychology of behaviour change to help SPEC achieve its mission and vision. Daniel is thankful to be able to live and play and work on this beautiful land and tries to live in a way to protect it for generations to come.
Eyal has more than 25 year of experience as a waste management coordinator and consultant. For the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, he has volunteered on its waste committee for 27 years, holding the lead role for over a decade. He has been coordinating the Car Free Day Green Team for the last 5 years. As a volunteer on SPEC’s Zero Waste Committee, he was part of the team that developed and launched SPEC’s Master Recycler Vancouver program in 2015. Eyal is a Dr. of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, as well as a master herbalist in western herbal medicine. He works in his private clinic in Vancouver.
Farhad is a project management professional and studied sustainable business leadership at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He managed several social responsibility and public affairs projects prior to joining SPEC. Farhad is passionate about community engagement and development and enjoys conducting research related to the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. Farhad and his wife Maryam, love to travel around the world, gain new experiences and learn about other cultures. Reading history, hiking and playing soccer are his other favourite things to do.
Dr. Tara Moreau
Tara is the Associate Director of Sustainability and Community Programs at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden in Vancouver Canada. She is co-chair of Vancouver’s Food Policy Council and has been a board member at SPEC for over 10 years. She has worked internationally as a consultant with the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization. Her publications, presentations and educational programs relate to climate change, food systems, sustainability education, agriculture, pest management and food policy. Her ideal Vancouver day involves biking to Spanish Banks and spending low tide skim-boarding with her family and friends. She has been car-free since 2006.