People

2006/2007 Fellows

Jane Ambachtsheer

Jane Ambachtsheer is a National Partner of Mercer Investment Consulting, based in Toronto. She leads Mercer’s global responsible investment business, and consults to investors in North America, Europe and Australasia. In March 2000, Jane joined Mercer Investment Consulting’s London office, and transferred to Toronto three years later. Prior to joining Mercer, Jane worked for the pension benchmarking firm CEM, in Amsterdam and Toronto. Jane was consultant to the United Nations through the development of the Principles for Responsible Investment. She is a global advisor to the Carbon Disclosure Project, and sits on the board of the Canadian Social Investment Organisation.

In 2005, Jane was recognised by Global Proxy Watch as one of the top 10 “Architects of Governance”. Jane holds a Bachelor of Economics and English literature with honours from York University, and a Master of Social Science from the University of Amsterdam. She is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, where she co-teaches a graduate course on responsible investment.

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Caroline Charest

Caroline Charest is interested in economic development issues, both at the national and international levels. With experience in provincial politics and in the private sector, where she worked as an analyst, economy and management, with SECOR Conseil, Mrs Charest has acquired a solid knowledge or some key sectors of the Québec economy. In her free time, she endeavours to convince companies to adopt sustainable development practices. She has a Master in Science in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, a Master in Economics from the University of Montréal, as well as a Bachelor of Art, Administration, from HEC Montréal.

During her studies, her research focused on fiscal imbalance and remuneration issues in Canada and on fiscal relations in Nepal. She also participated in a World Bank mission in Nepal. Caroline has been an active member of the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal, where she is on a committee for the promotion of sustainable development in Montréal business circles. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish. She participated in two half-marathons and would like to run a full one next year.

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Darren Fung

Darren Fung is an award winning Canadian film composer. He caught the composing bug at age fifteen when he wrote a piece for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composer Project. After finishing his degree at McGill and living and loving Montreal for twelve years, Darren is now based out of Los Angeles. Amongst his credits, Darren recreated Canada's second national anthem, the beloved Hockey Theme, for CTV and TSN. Every weekday morning his music is heard on CTV’s flagship morning news program, Canada AM. His work was the focus of Bell Canada’s Orchestra spot, run during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and was voted as Canada’s top commercial by readers of The Globe and Mail. His critically acclaimed work on the mini-series Lost Years garnered him a 2012 Canadian Screen Award nomination.

His much-lauded score to The Great Human Odyssey, recorded with members of the Edmonton Symphony and Pro Coro Canada, was recently released on the prestigious Varèse Sarabande label. His feature and short film scores have been heard at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance. Darren currently serves as the Second Vice President of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and acts as a Program Advisor for the Canadian Film Centre's Slaight Music Residency. He also sits on the Creative Ecologies Advisory Board for the Banff Centre’s Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute.

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Sana Halwani

Sana Halwani is a partner at Gilbert’s LLP, in Toronto. Her practice is focused on patent litigation, primarily in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. Prior to pursuing the law, Sana received a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in biochemistry from Queen’s University and attended the University of Sheffield as a Chevening Scholar and Celanese Fellow, earning a Master’s degree in Biotechnological Law and Ethics. Her thesis explored the varying access in the UK to reproductive technologies for infertile couples.

Sana has published a number of articles in the health law field, including a chapter on potential government liability for harm to clinical research subjects and a report for the Ontario Human Rights Commission on racial inequality in access to health care services.

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Bart Kasowski

Bart Kasowski is a Ph.D. student in the department of philosophy at the Université de Montréal and also works with the real estate firm Aeroterm on new business development and public-private partnership projects. He plans to pursue a career as a professor of business ethics and to focus on the role of individual conscience in corporate governance and decision-making. He has worked for Reebok International and adidas-Salomon, where he was Product Manager for the North American launch of Salomon In-Line Skates.

He received his M.B.A. in 2005 from HEC Montréal where he served as president of the M.B.A. Student Association. He obtained his B.A. from Harvard University in 1993 where he was an editor of the student-run daily newspaper. He lives in Outremont, Québec with his wife Francine and their young son Maximilien.

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David Kelton

David Kelton is currently a Fellow in Vascular and Interventional Radiology at the University of Toronto, University Health Network. He specialized in radiology, with an interest in open source software innovation, at the University of Toronto. As the former vice-president of the Toronto Medical Society, he focused on research and advocacy for under-represented minorities in medical education. Prior to medical school, David studied life sciences at Queen’s University.

Drawing on his diverse health research experience, he has led projects in basic science at McMaster University and in clinical research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard.

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Jake McEwan

Jake McEwan is the former founding President of the Aquilini America Group - a real estate development and construction company based in Los Angeles. He is currently the Vice President of Development for Aquilini Development and Construction Inc, based in Vancouver. At Aquilini, Jake leads several major projects being done in partnership with three First Nations. Jake is also the founder of Arete Ventures Inc, an investment company and the founder of Jarvis Services Inc, a technology company that will change the way personal services are delivered in Vancouver.

A 2006 Action Canada Fellow, Jake was once very active in politics having served as a Chief of Staff to several Ministers in the Premier Campbell Government and as a campaign manager for the B.C. Liberals.

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Jason Mitschele

Committed to equality and social justice for all Canadians, Jason Mitschele practices law as a federal prosecutor for the department of Justice in Toronto. Jason is also a proud advocate for the promotion of equality for persons with disabilities. He is currently serving his second term on the board of directors of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS). He is also a member of the International Development Committee of the Counsel of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), where he advises the organization and the Canadian government on international law in policy. Jason has most recently been part of the CCD’s advisory group on the negotiation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities currently being discussed at the United Nations in New York.

Jason is a graduate of the faculty of law at the University of Toronto where he focused on international law and development. Prior to attending law school, Jason completed an internship with Disabled Peoples South Africa where he gained valuable experience working with local and national organizations in shaping human rights law and policy in the new South Africa. He plans to share his perspectives on equality as an Action Canada Fellow. According to Jason, “The time is now to make significant improvements in the lives of Canadians with disabilities”.

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Rick Nielsen

Rick was born and raised in the Yukon Territory and has made his home there ever since. He is passionate about learning and making a difference. His quest has taken him down an eclectic career path as a tradesman, commercial pilot and entrepreneur with businesses in both Yukon and Alaska. He has served as a director and chairman of both the Whitehorse and Yukon Chambers of Commerce and has been active on public policy initiatives. He is a staunch advocate for trades training for young Canadians and is the past chairman of the Yukon Apprenticeship Advisory Board and the Inter-provincial Alliance of Apprenticeship Board Chairs. Rick was a founding member of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum.

He has been active with the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada as a volunteer, principally focusing on improving the participation of Aboriginal Canadians in apprenticeship training. He attended the Banff School of Advanced Management which sparked his interest in public policy and governance. Rick is currently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Premier of Yukon.

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Aaron Pereira

Strongly dedicated to social activism, Aaron Pereira has most recently worked to develop a new financial institution focused on financing Canadian social sector organizations. Vartana, through an innovative partnership with Vancity, will unlock millions of dollars in new financing for social and environmental organizations. He is a co-founder of CanadaHelps, an online organization that engages Canadians to donate their time and money to causes across the country. Aaron’s commitment to social activism reaches back to high school when he was involved with a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) project to raise money for displaced Kurds following the first Gulf War.

Aaron completed a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Queen’s University in 2002. Past committee memberships include the Ethics Committee of the Washington-based e-Philanthropy Foundation; the Federal Government’s National Roundtable on the Social Economy; and the Strategy Committee of Queen’s University. In recognition of his work, he became the youngest ever member of the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004, joining a global fellowship of outstanding social entrepreneurs. Aaron is currently studying at Oxford as a Skoll Fellow.

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Emmanuelle Richez

Emmanuelle Richez is of Franco-Vietnamese heritage and grew up in Gatineau, Québec. She is currently a doctoral student in political science at McGill University, where she is specializing in the impact of Supreme Court judgements on Canadian citizenship. Previously she obtained an M.A. in political science from Université Laval, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Ottawa, where she graduated magna cum laude. While studying in Québec City, Emmanuelle worked as an aide to Québec’s minister of intergovernmental affairs and democratic reform.

She has also worked in Ottawa as a page at the House of Commons and as a legislative assistant to the MP for the riding of Portneuf. She also worked at Magna International Inc. after being a finalist in Magna’s As Prime Minister Awards essay contest. In her spare time, Emmanuelle likes to cook, rollerblade, and shop for bargains on eBay.

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Benjamin Shinewald

Benjamin Shinewald’s diverse professional experiences reflect his interests in both public policy and private enterprise – and the interplay between the two. Benjamin is presently on an Executive Interchange, serving as a senior analyst in the Economic and Regional Development Secretariat of the Privy Council Office. Prior to this position, Benjamin practiced corporate and securities law for three years at Torys LLP, one of Canada’s top “ Bay Street” law firms. His earlier employment experiences include serving as a law clerk to Chief Justice Aharon Barak of the Supreme Court of Israel; working at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, a major “Wall Street” law firm in New York; interning for Hon. Martin Lee, chair of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong; serving in the Permanent Delegation of Canada to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris; and working for the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club of the National Hockey League.

Benjamin earned a Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Toronto, where he also served as the president of the Students’ Law Society and was a fellow at Massey College. He earned a Master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics, where he was a fellow at Goodenough College; and a B.A. (first class honours) from the University of Manitoba, where he also participated in a one-year exchange at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Benjamin has earned approximately 15 scholarships, including a Rotary Foundation Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship to France. He is fluent in English, French and Hebrew and speaks some Spanish. Benjamin has also been active in the community, volunteering as a Big Brother in Winnipeg. He has held a wide variety of positions on various charitable and community boards, including the United Way, the Asper Foundation and the London Goodenough Association of Canada. He has traveled to approximately 30 countries, spending approximately a quarter of his life abroad. He is also an avid photographer, runner and hockey player.

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Alexis Wise

Alexis has always demonstrated an interest in the intersection of social and economic policies and outcomes. In her three years as a consultant at Monitor Group, an international management consulting firm, Alexis provided strategic counsel to both private and public sector clients across a wide variety of industries including media and publishing, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, transportation, and healthcare. In 2004, Alexis decided to pursue her passion for entrepreneurship. She worked as an independent consultant, primarily in the healthcare field, and co-founded LifeSpeak Inc., a national company providing work-life integration solutions to leading Canadian organizations.

In 2008, Alexis moved to London, England. There she returned to her work in healthcare and currently works as a policy lead for the regulator of the English National Health Service. Raised in Toronto, Alexis is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and completed her MBA at London Business School (both with distinction). Alexis spends her free time with her husband and three young children, her friends and her community through a variety of volunteer, athletic and continuing education interests. She is also an avid downhill skier and looks for any opportunity to get away to the mountains.

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Stéphanie Yates

Stéphanie wants to work against the ambient cynicism directed towards Canadian democratic institutions. She holds a B.A. in communication with a public relations specialization from University of Quebec in Montreal and a Master’s degree in public communication from Laval University. She centered her Master’s research on lobbyism in Quebec, work which earned her a place among the finalists for the Jean-Charles Bonenfant Award for the best Master’s thesis on Quebec politics. Stéphanie’s professional career is characterized by its diversity. After assuming responsibility for the public relations and marketing portfolio of an environmental multinational business for three years, she decided to jump into the political arena. After successfully completing a one-year internship at the National Assembly of Quebec, she worked as a political attachée for the office of the Premier of Quebec, and then became press attachée and vice-chief of office for the Minister of e-government, also in Quebec.

She was actively involved in preparing Connecting Québec to its Citizens, a report used by the Québec government to orient its development efforts around the e-government initiative. As her political career has produced more questions than answers, Stéphanie is now doing her PhD in political science at Laval University. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is helping her in her studies with their most prestigious scholarship. Having already published some of her work, Stéphanie studies how interest groups use communication and information technologies in a context where e-democracy initiatives have the support of governments and where these efforts can contribute to re-establishing citizens’ trust in their democratic institutions.

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Rebekah Young

Rebekah Young is Senior Advisor to the Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C. She is currently on leave from Finance Canada, where she was Chief of Development Policy, managing Canada’s $4.7B/yr international assistance spending. Prior to joining government, Rebekah worked on development and private sector issues with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Switzerland and Hatch Associates in Toronto

She holds an MBA from INSEAD (France/Singapore), a Master’s degree in environmental assessment and evaluation from the London School of Economics (UK), and a chemical engineering degree from McGill University. She was an Action Canada Fellow in 2006-07. She comes from Nova Scotia

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