The University of St. Michael’s College (USMC) is a Catholic institution of higher learning federated with the University of Toronto. USMC strives to offer students a transformative educational experience in a diverse and engaged community, encouraging, and supporting students and graduates to share their gifts in the cause of the greater good.
The University's vision is to be a recognized leader in promoting respectful dialogue and action on care for our common home (Laudato si’) and solidarity with the human family (Fratelli Tutti).
Social Responsibility & Sustainability Advisory Council
The Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability Advisory Council (“Advisory Council”) provides advice to the Program Director on the creation and evolution of the SR&S: Diploma Program, Continuing Education and other actions that build a Community of Changemakers for a socially responsible and sustainable world.
Vision: St. Michael’s College Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability leads the Social Responsibility and Sustainability field in creating the “architects of intention” for an emerging sustainable world.
Mission: St. Michael’s Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability will purposefully build a leadership/changemaker community to create positive social and environmental impact in the world. A community practiced in systems, ethics, futures and critical thinking and ever learning the fundamentals of the emerging Social Responsibility, Sustainability and ESG field.
JESSICA PELCHAT, Chair
Jessica Pelchat is a permaculture designer and social entrepreneur that teaches, consults, and practices regenerative landscaping in order to reconnect people with nature. She is a graduate of the Social Responsibility & Sustainability Graduate program at USMC and is Permaculture Design Certified (PDC).
Her multidisciplinary work over the last two decades has been focused on creating a more sustainable future through the building of social purpose organizations and actioning climate change remediation of various forms. She served as Chief Sustainability Officer & Executive Vice President for a Canadian Profit 500 company, led the Canadian arm of a purpose-driven management consulting firm, and currently serves as a member of the Climate Action Advisory Committee for the Municipality of West Grey and board member for PAN (Permaculture Association of the Northeast).
She has long been an advocate for the return to more natural processes and self-sustaining systems, and is a USMC Program Mentor for emerging leaders in sustainability. www.wildchildregeneration.com
YVONNE JEFFERY, Vice Chair
Yvonne is VP, Sustainability, Vermilion Energy Inc. She is a Certified Sustainability CSR Practitioner, and a Community investment and sustainability professional, passionate about corporate citizenship, social responsibility and the achievement of shared value for both communities and corporations.
Yvonne’s skills and experience include:
• Sustainability program development and GRI G4 reporting, including materiality analysis and stakeholder engagement, and aligning community needs and corporate vision
• Community investment program management, from major opportunity identification to implementation and ongoing stewardship with an emphasis on positive social and environmental impact
• Staff engagement through volunteer programs, including internal fundraising campaigns, natural disaster response, ongoing community service programs and event management
• Community engagement and relationship building in diverse cultural and social contexts, such as developing nations, rural Canada and economically disadvantaged urban areas
• Communication planning, management, implementation and analysis
SARA GELGOR, Chair, Marketing & Recruitment Subcommittee
Sara is a corporate and not-for-profit board director, ESG and sustainability leader, governance expert, and lecturer.
She was a member of the 2020-2021 Graduate Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability cohort and designed a corporate ESG strategy for her Capstone Project.
Sara is a regular speaker at conferences, addressing a variety of ESG themes and topics, and was a member of the steering committee that developed the Governance Professionals of Canada designation program (GPC.D), for which she continues to design and deliver the course curriculum on corporate ethics. Sara obtained her undergraduate and MBA degrees at the University of Toronto, has an LL.B. from Queen’s University and a Master of Laws from Cambridge University. Sara holds the ICD.D designation and has completed the Osgoode Certificate Program in ESG & Climate Risk Law.
REBECCA LOUZADO, Chair of the Curriculum Subcommittee
Rebecca is Director, Enterprise Strategy & Transformation, Royal Bank of Canada. She is a strategic thinker and trusted leader with over 15 years of financial services experience. She managed and delivered a cross-segment social impact portfolio and helped develop triple bottom line strategies for public and private entities. She is committed to delivering impactful solutions and is a champion of diversity and inclusion.
Rebecca has served as a Mentor in the Diploma program.
She holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Toronto and an Executive MBA from Ivey Business School.
ERIC SAARVALA, Chair of the Alumni Engagement Subcommittee
Eric Saarvala is the Executive Director of the Raymond James Canada Foundation and Head, Corporate Sustainability of Raymond James Ltd. His 20+ years of consulting and management experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors focuses on social impact through sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), strategic philanthropy and social purpose.
Organizations have relied on him for successful strategies, sales, programs and operations, environmental, social & governance (ESG) initiatives, partnerships, stakeholder engagement, business sustainability and digital transformations to power their social impact goals. Eric has also helped organizations advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Eric holds an Executive MBA from the Ivey Business School, Western University, is a Certified Sustainability Practitioner (CSR-P) and is a graduate of the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto.
RICHARD BLUNDELL, Council Member
Richard has over 35 years of senior executive management and consulting experience in the global environmental services and technology sectors. His experience includes operations management, corporate and market development, mergers and acquisitions, new business initiation, and consulting. Mr. Blundell’s international experience includes running businesses in East and West Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia (12 countries from India to China). He has significant experience in new business creation and management of growth-stage businesses in global markets. He has completed over $500 million in combined corporate M&A transactions and private equity funding for early-stage companies.
From 1989-2004, Mr. Blundell held senior leadership positions with Laidlaw Inc., Canada’s largest waste management company, as Director of European Business Development; SGS SA, a global company in inspection, testing, and certification services as SVP of the Global Environmental Services Division; and Hagemeyer Cosa Liebermann, a technology marketing company in Asia Pacific as EVP of the Technology Division. During this period and since 2004, Mr. Blundell has held founder and/or executive management positions in ten early-stage, cleantech companies, including a number of Board of Directors appointments.
He joined the MaRS Discovery District in 2018 to lead the development of applied innovation networks for global, corporate partners. In 2019, he was appointed Managing Director of the Cleantech Venture Services group. MaRS is Canada’s largest innovation hub with 1M ft sq of office space in downtown Toronto serving over 1,400 startups, from early-stage to high growth companies in the Cleantech, Health Sciences, Fintech and Enterprise Software, including a focus on AI, IoT, AR and other fourth industrial revolution technologies.
He is an Executive-in-Residence at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He joined the Rotman faculty in 2016, where he teaches MBA, Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA courses in sustainability and entrepreneurship. He is also an advisor to the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability charity.
Mr. Blundell holds a BSc from the University of Toronto and an MBA from IMD, Lausanne.
MIKE DEGAGNE, Council Member
Dr. Mike DeGagné (Ojibway from Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation) helps Indigenous students find, and achieve, their life purpose in his role as President & CEO of Indspire, Canada’s largest Indigenous charity. He previously served as President and Vice Chancellor of Nipissing University in 2013, becoming one of the first Indigenous presidents of a Canadian public university. While President of Nipissing, Dr. DeGagné dedicated much of his work to Indigenous issues and ensuring that Nipissing University took a leading role in the Indigenization of the post-secondary education sector. He later served as the first President of Yukon University, a new hybrid post-secondary institution in Whitehorse, Yukon.
In 1998, Dr. DeGagné became the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation where for 15 years he worked to encourage and support community developed, delivered, and culturally based initiatives addressing the intergenerational effects of abuses suffered in the Indian residential school system. In recognition of his support for residential school survivors and First Nation communities, Dr. DeGagné was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada – Canada’s highest civilian honour – in 2014, and was also awarded the Order of Ontario. Dr. DeGagné is a Visiting Fellow at the University of St. Michael's College and a graduate of the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of St. Michael's College, in the University of Toronto.
BINDU DHALIWAL, Council Member
Bindu is VP, Environmental, Social and Governance, CIBC. Bindu is a purpose-oriented leader with over 15+ years experience in legal and regulatory related roles. She has deep expertise in the areas of customer experience, whistleblower programs, regulatory compliance, crisis management and environmental, social and governance (ESG). Recognized as a strategic thinker she has transformed processes and structures resulting in increased group performance. As a strong people-oriented leader she has created and managed high performing teams and built strong relationships across the organization.
Bindu is also a frequent speaker and advocate for equity and inclusion and an experienced non-profit board member.
Bindu is a graduate of the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of St. Michael's College in the U of T.
STEVEN FISH, Council Member
Steven has served the Sr. Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Aurora Cannabis and Founder of ESG Ledger, a blockchain platform to collect, verify and publish corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosures.
Previously he was Executive Director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR).
As an entrepreneur and thoughtleader, Steven has played a seminal role in the advancement of responsible business leadership in Canada. He has deep experience in socially and environmentally responsible supply chains and stakeholder engagement. Steven is a Mentor Leader in the Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability at the University of St. Michael's College in the U of T.
M.J. (MIMI) MARROCCO (Ex-Offico Member)
Mimi Marrocco is the Faculty Leader for the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility at St. Michael's College. She started the program in 2001 in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada; while serving as founding Director of Continuing Education at St. Michael’s.
She is the past Chair of the EthicsCentre CA (formally incorporated as the Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy). She also served as President of the Ontario Council for Lifelong Learning from 1999-2000 and went on to become President of the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) (2005-2007).
Mimi is the founder of Sense & Sustainability, a consultancy focused on affective approaches to leadership, stakeholder engagement and Corporate Social Responsibility. Mimi holds a Ph.D. in English Literature specializing in the work of modern writers of satirical fiction. Mimi brings a unique reflective and transformational perspective to the program. Mimi is an Instructor and Mentor Leader in the Program.
MELODIE BUHAGIAR (Ex-Offico Member)
Melodie is the Director of the President’s Office at the University of St. Michael’s College. Melodie brings with her a decade of experience working at the University of Toronto, as well as time spent with the City of Toronto.
She who holds a degree from Carleton University’s School of Journalism, begins her duties at St. Michael’s on November 29, 2021.
Melodie joined the University of Toronto in 2011 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant in the Dean’s Office, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where her duties included providing operational management of the Dean’s Office, leading a variety of special projects, rolling out major initiatives, and providing support to academic recruitment, tenure, promotion and retention processes at the School.
Most recently, she worked in U of T’s Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life, as Project Support and Faculty and Academic Life Consultant, where she provided service on a full range of academic human resources matters to academic divisions across the University of Toronto.
Before joining the U of T in 2011, she worked for the City of Toronto, including time as a political staffer.
KATHRYN COOPER (Ex-Offico Member)
Kathryn is President of the Sustainability Learning Centre; a learning and networking hub for sustainability. The Centre focuses on the development of practical Sustainability Core Competencies and Whole Employee Engagement for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Centre delivers sustainability focused professional development workshops to hundreds of people each year, through public and in-house programs instructor-led programs and E-Learning.
She participated in the International Society of Sustainability Professionals’ Task Analysis and Body of Knowledge development for sustainability. Kathryn is also a member of a Canadian initiative to conduct a nation-wide consultation and survey on the certification of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility professionals.
Kathryn teaches Corporate Social Responsibility and Culture Change and Engagement for Sustainability at Conestoga College.
She is a graduate of York University with a Master of Education on Sustainability and the Environment. She holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph.
Kathryn has been a Certified Sustainability Associate under the International Society of Sustainability Professionals; past Board Member of eMERGE Guelph, an NGO focused on reducing the environmental footprint of Guelph residents; and of the Upper Grand District School Board including the Board’s Environmental Education and Responsibility Committee. Kathryn is an Instructor and Mentor Leader in the Program.