© Tom Arnbom / WWF-Sweden Willov on Ellesmere Island in Canada's Arctic archipelago.

Board of Directors

Composed of a committed group of volunteer leaders from the scientific, Indigenous, conservation and business communities, Our Board of Directors exercises overall responsibility for the policies, programs and direction of WWF-Canada and provides advice and counsel on a broad range of policy and operational matters.

The Board, whose members are elected for four-year terms, is chosen to reflect a broad range of expertise, with all members having a strong and demonstrated commitment to nature conservation. Members may serve a second successive or non-successive four-year term.

Meena Ballantyne
Chair of the Board

Meena Ballantyne retired from the Public Service of Canada as Deputy Minister of Status of Women Canada in 2017 after over 30 years of experience in senior executive positions, predominantly in Health Canada, Privy Council Office and Canadian Heritage. Meena has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa, as well as Director designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Meena is the Chair of the World Wildlife Fund of Canada and also serves on the Boards and various Board Committees of the Renfrew Victoria Hospital, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and AdMare BioInnovations. Meena’s deep knowledge of the machinery of federal government, her experience in leading organizations and her policy/governance skills bring a unique perspective to advance the work of these organizations over the coming years.

Jamie Biggar
Vice-Chair of the board
Jamie is currently the co-founder of My Climate Plan, a membership program and technology platform helping people build climate safe communities. Prior to launching My Climate Plan, Jamie was Senior Global Director of Campaigns for Change.org, a digital campaigning platform used by over 400 million people globally, where he led 80 expert campaign staff support petition starters to win victories on three continents. Jamie also co-founded Leadnow.ca, Canada’s first digitally empowered progressive advocacy group, and served as its founding Executive Director and Campaign Director.
At Leadnow, Jamie led campaigns that mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to take action online, organized tens of thousands to rally and volunteer offline, and raised millions of dollars from over thirty thousand donors for a wide range of progressive causes.

Leadnow has won many progressive victories and its innovations in connecting online campaigning to face-to-face organizing have had a wide impact on Canadian non-profits and political parties.

Before starting Leadnow, Jamie completed a master’s degree in political ecology at the University of Victoria, co-founded two student-led climate and sustainability organizations, and served on the board of a range of social, environmental and educational organizations.

Linda Sampson
Chair of the Audit Committee

Linda Sampson is Microsoft’s General Manager, Industry and Partner Solutions Finance. Her responsibilities span strategy through execution to unlock total addressable market and accelerate commercial cloud growth across every industry, leveraging first and third-party capabilities.
Linda joined Microsoft in February 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft Canada. Linda has had over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting with prior experience at Hewlett Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in France, the UK and Canada. Her varied assignments have included country, EMEA region and global roles spanning services finance, financial strategy and transformation, accounting, and compliance.

Linda holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration degree jointly from the University of Alberta in Canada and Grenoble’s Ecole De Management. She is also a Certified Management Accountant.

Outside of work, Linda and her family enjoy getting out in nature, reading, and travelling with her family.

Anne-Marie Boucher
Chair of the Governance Committee

An experienced and well-respected tax professional and philanthropist with international experience in large organizations, both for-profit and non-profit. She earned her law degree from the University of Montreal (1989) and her master’s in Tax from the University of Sherbrooke (1995).

She was a founding partner of one of Montreal’s fastest growing law firms, BCF, where she practiced tax and corporate law, specializing in tax and succession planning for most of her career. As a director of the Quebec Association of Tax and Financial planning she was part of a delegation of Canadian experts including two Provincial Deputy Ministers from Quebec and Canada, mandated to assist the Government of Brazil with their tax reform. She taught tax and estate planning for several years at University of Montreal, University of Sherbrooke, and McGill University.

Today, she remains of counsel to BCF, a firm with close to 300 professionals, and is a founding investor and member of the investment committee of BCF Ventures, a very successful early-stage venture capital fund. She also provides active oversight of the holdings and investments of the Garber-Boucher Family as part of Iconiq Capital, the San Francisco based global multi-family office. She is an investor and Board member of Lynx Air, Canada’s newest airline led by esteemed private equity groups Indigo Partners and TorQuest, as well as a board member of Carebook technologies inc., an industry leader in providing powerful digital health solutions.

She has a formal education in Board governance and best practices from the Corporate Directors College and sits on a number of leading Montreal, Canadian and international Boards, including the prestigious Weizmann Institute of science in Israel, Alpine Canada, the McCord Museum, the Jewish Community Foundation, the World Wildlife Foundation and the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation as the immediate Past Chair.

She is an active athlete and former triathlete. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish, is a former member of the Canadian’s arm forces, has lived and worked in more than 8 countries, including Spain, Peru, Brazil, Israel, England, Gibraltar, Canada and the USA. She currently lives in Montreal with her husband and two adult sons.

Julie Gelfand
Julie has over 35 years working in the field of environment, sustainable development and corporate social responsibility for government, non-government organizations and the private sector before becoming the federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
She is now a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and sits on the Board of Directors of MakeWay, Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping and the Advisory Board for the Auditor General of Ontario.  She chairs the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (beginning in May 2023) and is a member of the Statistics Canada DAC (beginning in March 2023).

As federal Commissioner in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada she reported to Parliamentarians on the implementation of their legislation and policies. She led the first collaborative audit on climate change with the Auditors General of all the provinces and territories which tabled in 2018. She also led audits on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the National Energy Board, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal gas tax fund, aquaculture and fisheries management, fossil fuel subsidies, environmental monitoring of the oil sands, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, biodiversity conservation, severe weather preparedness, ‎pesticides and chemicals in consumer products.

She served on the International Expert Panel reviewing the German government’s sustainable development plan and she worked internationally with Auditors General from around the world on the implementation of the SDGs (Agenda 2030).

In the private sector, Julie was Vice President of Environment and Social Responsibility for the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Company of Canada where she co-led the company’s negotiations with first nations on Impact Benefits Agreements and she managed greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and fish habitat and water effluent issues. As Vice President of Sustainability with the Mining Association of Canada she worked to improve the environment and sustainability of the mining sector leading the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative.

Julie spent 20+ years working for various nature conservation groups at the staff and board level, nationally and internationally. She was President of Nature Canada for 16 years and on the Global Council for Birdlife International for 10 years. During that time, she:

  • advocated for the Canada’s Oceans Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act
  • co-led the 9-year campaign for the Species at Risk Act
  • lobbied for the creation of many new national parks and for the strengthening of Canada’s national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries
  • helped with the establishment of Canadian Environmental Assessment Act
  • co-led one of Canada’s first Traditional Ecological Knowledge projects in working with Cree and Inuit around Hudson’s and James Bay
  • founded the Green Budget Coalition which has been lobbying to remove perverse subsidies since 1999
  • served as a Board member of Wildlife Habitat Canada, the Sustainability Network and a member of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative.

Melissa Grelo
Smart, sassy and informed, Melissa Grelo has added co-host of The Social to her expanding resume and also acts as the show’s moderator. She is also a contributing host on CTV’s flagship national morning show, Your Morning. Melissa was the long-time co-host of the most watched morning news show in the greater Toronto area, CP24 Breakfast, and she anchored and reported on the biggest stories in Canada’s largest news market.

As Canada watched from the edge of their seats, Melissa gave the front-row perspective when she co-hosted CTV’s Olympic Morning program from B.C.

No stranger to glitz and glamour, Melissa has covered the Toronto International Film Festival red carpets since 2009 and was in Los Angeles in 2013 reporting for CP24 and CTV on the prestigious Academy Awards. She’s also co-hosted the Santa Claus Parade on CTV since 2010, and contributed to the Grey Cup Weekend on TSN in 2012 and Daily Planet on Discovery in 2013.

When away from the office, Melissa enjoys horseback riding, fitness, reading and travelling with her family. As a former teacher, education and giving back to the community are very important to her. She champions young, female leaders in her role as ambassador for Girls E-Mentorship. She has worked with charities like Artbound and Free the Children, which have built schools in Kenya, India and other developing nations. She also dedicates time to raising funds for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) and the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled (CARD) with horseback-riding demonstrations. She is passionate about creating a sustainable future and serves as ambassador for HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales’ Campaign for Wool. She speaks at many fundraising events, specifically with the GTA’s youth, whom she encourages to become involved in charitable work and contribute to their communities.

Most recently, Melissa was named as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by WXN.

Bruce Poon Tip
Passionate about the power of travel to change the world for the better, Bruce Poon Tip is a global leader in social entrepreneurship, leadership, immersive travel, and innovation. He is best-known as the founder of G Adventures, the world’s largest small group adventure travel company and pioneer of community tourism. Bruce’s first book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, became a New York Times Best Seller.
In 2018, Bruce was honoured as one of Canada’s Most Admired CEOs in the category of social entrepreneurship, and in 2019 he made his top 10 debut on Glassdoor’s Top CEOs in Canada list.

Bruce has been granted three honorary doctorates — two in laws from Capilano University and the University of Victoria, and an honorary doctorate of business from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, United States. Bruce is also the executive producer of the 2022 documentary film, The Last Tourist, which examines important issues facing travel and tourism, and empowers audiences with the knowledge to fundamentally change the way we travel. The Last Tourist was awarded with the “Special Jury Prize for Social Impact” by the Canadian Documentary Jury at the 2021 Calgary International Film Festival.

Dr. Supriya Syal
Dr. Supriya Syal is a leading expert in research and evidence-based policy innovation in Canada.
She is a Deputy Commissioner at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, where she overseas the Agency’s Research, Policy, and Education functions.

She is the former Chief Science Advisor to the Treasury Board Secretariat Talent Cloud, and the former Chief Behavioural Scientist of the Privy Council Office Innovation Hub. Prior to joining the public sector, Supriya was VP Research and Innovation at BEworks Inc. She is also the founder and former President of Dulcimer Labs, a purpose-driven company that creates social impact through evidence-based decision making.

She has won multiple awards, published in top academic and popular journals, and has coauthored a number of policy white papers. She is a regular invited speaker at research, tech, and innovative government conferences and events, as well as on crowdcast, podcasts, radio and television.

Supriya holds a PhD in Psychology from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree in neuroscience and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

Michael Etherington
Michael Etherington is an Omushkego-Cree from Treaty No.9 and a member of Fort Albany First Nation with lived experience both on and off reserve in northern Ontario. He is currently an Indigenous Consultant for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) with career highlights that include: TEDx Talk Speaker, United Nations Habitat Keynote Speaker 2nd World Summit, Season 1 feature interviewee in APTN’S TV show Future History, Keynote Speaker at inaugural Treaty Recognition Week in Province of Ontario alongside Premier Wynne and appearing in multiple national and international news outlets. 
He is also songwriter and executive producer of Bring the Children Home National Charity Song which is as an international call for unity, healing and to commemorate Indigenous Children who never returned home, which premiered on City TV Breakfast Television and CTV National News on the Second Annual National TRC Day in 2022 and is currently available on Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.

100% of the proceeds of the song support the work of Downie Wenjack Fund. Influenced by his northern upbringing, Michael has always stayed connected to community, spending much of his personal time volunteering through Passages Canada as a speaker to schools, colleges, and universities.

This, along with his prior experience as Manager of ReconciliACTIONS with The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, Cultural Program Manager of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, and trainer for the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, have garnered Michael the personal and professional recognition as a valued speaker. Also a well respected cross-cultural trainer, Michael has been a leading voice in supporting organizations both public and corporate to working effectively with Indigenous Peoples in the workplace through the promotion of Indigenous Reconciliation Plans to steer organizations on a path to begin the journey of reconciliation.

Regional Chief Kluane Adamek
Regional Chief Kluane Adamek (Aagé) is a proud northerner and citizen of Kluane First Nation, and she acknowledges the Matriarchs who have welcomed her into the Dakl’aweidi (Killerwhale) Clan. Kluane is an Indigenous woman with mixed ancestry. Having lived in both northern and southern parts of the country, her lived experiences give her the ability to analyze the world around her from several different perspectives.
Kluane continues to press for change in the ways that women, young people and the next generation are included in decision-making forums, and she is committed to advancing solutions while approaching leadership from a place of values.

She has served as the AFN Yukon Regional Chief since January 2018. As the AFN’s lead on climate change, she has succeeded in establishing the environment as a top priority for the organization and supporting the climate action movement as a key representative at international conferences and the global environmental conversation. Most recently, was appointed on the Advisory Body to Minister of Environment and served as Co-Chair of the COVID-19 Northern and Remote Communities Working Group. She also holds the Modern Treaties portfolio and Mental Health and Wellness and is deeply committed to the 14 Yukon First Nations and works closely with the leadership and members to advance their priorities and interests, both regionally and nationally.

Tammara Soma
Dr. Tammara Soma MCIP RPP is an Assistant Professor at the School of Resource and Environmental Management (Planning program) at Simon Fraser University and is the Research Director of the Food Systems Lab. Tammara holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies (Honours) from York University, and a Master’s of Science in Planning and PhD from the University of Toronto where she was selected as a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholar (2014). Hailing from West Java, Indonesia, Tammara conducts research on issues pertaining to food loss and waste (FLW), food systems planning, food security, and the circular food economy. 
Dr. Soma is a co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Food Waste, and co-founder of the International Food Loss and Food Waste Studies group, a global network of food loss and waste researchers and practitioners.

Dr. Soma was selected as a committee member of the US National Academies of Sciences and co-authored the consensus study, A National Strategy to Reduce Consumer Food Waste.  She is routinely featured in international and local media to discuss food systems issues (BBC, The Guardian, CBC, TVO, CTV, Huffington Post, National Observer, Chatelaine and more). The Food Systems Lab was recognized as one out of the four women-run projects that are redefining agriculture by the Canadian Organic Grower. Tammara was a 2021 YWCA-Scotiabank nominee for the “women of distinction award” in the sustainability category, named in Chatelaine magazine as one of the 10 inspiring Canadian women saving the environment, and a Style Canada 30 Changemakers. In addition to food systems research on earth, Tammara is a Research Affiliate with Project Galileo at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where she contributes her expertise to exploring the societal implications of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. She is a registered professional planner and a proud mother of three.

Vince Gasparro
Vince Gasparro is the Managing Director & Head of Sustainable Finance at Roynat Capital — Scotiabank. He provides strategic direction, leadership, and oversight – for the design and execution of the coverage model, platform, and specialized offering — for Sustainable Finance in Business Banking. This includes clean energy & growth and environmental, social and governance (ESG) themed business — creating clean capacity/transitioning environment-intensive sectors, driving positive social impact within underserved communities and facilitating greater participation within economic progress, and elevating good governance.
Vince originates, advises, structures and finances across all asset classes (incl. senior term, mezzanine, project & construction; equity) and delivering specialized banking solutions and transaction structures. Vince adds deep experience involving clean technology, government guarantees, private/public off-takes, and social inclusion.

Vince brings 20 years of leadership, experience, relationships and innovation in both finance and government. Most recently, he was Managing Director, Corporate Development & Clean Energy Finance, at Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), where he successfully built a leading sustainable finance business, and earned the reputation for being a respected thought leader and trusted innovator across structuring transactions and meeting public policy imperatives. Renewable assets financed have included solar, wind, geothermal/geo exchange, wastewater to energy, EV/EV infrastructure, battery storage, and building retrofits. Prior, he was Principal Secretary to Toronto Mayor John Tory, where he led the implementation of multiple public policy objectives. He has also served Prime Minister Paul Martin as Special Assistant, Ontario. His background crosses all levels of government. Following on his appointment by the Government of Canada to join the official delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Vince was once again appointed to join the official delegation to COP27. He has a BA (Honours) from York University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an Executive MBA from Villanova University. Vince was born and raised in Toronto where he resides with his wife Nicola and his two daughters.

Ziya Tong
Patron of the board
Ziya Tong is the author of The Reality Bubble, an award-winning science broadcaster and former board member. For a decade, she served as the co-host of Daily Planet, Discovery Canada’s flagship science show. In the US, she worked as a host and field producer for the PBS national primetime series, Wired Science and as a correspondent alongside Neil de Grasse Tyson in NOVA ScienceNOW. In Canada, she was host, writer and director for the science series The Leading Edge, and she received a Gemini Viewer’s Choice Award nomination for her work on the CBC’s Emmy-nominated series ZeD.
In the spring of 2019, she participated in CBC’s annual “battle of the books”. After a national four-day debate, she won Canada Reads. Ziya received her master’s degree in communications from McGill University. She is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and serves on the boards of PEN Canada, The Narwhal and WE Animals Media. Retired from the WWF-Canada board after serving two full terms, Ziya currently serves on the WWF-International Board of Directors.