SEANA IRVINE – CHAIR
For over 25 years, Seana Irvine has brought diverse stakeholders together to strategize and create solutions for making stronger, more resilient communities.
As the Chief Operating Officer with the Centre for Social Innovation, Seana oversees finance, HR and facilities, connecting organizational ‘backbone’ with emerging programs and real estate opportunities that help CSI serve and grow its membership base.
Prior to joining CSI, Seana’s strategic leadership and management skills helped Evergreen, a national non-profit charitable organization, scale its impact to grow from a small start-up to one of Canada’s largest urban sustainability and social enterprise organizations.
Seana is a founding team member behind the $55 M transformation of Toronto’s Don Valley Brick Works from an abandoned brick factory into an award winning global showcase for innovation and urban sustainability that attracts over half a million visitors each year. Her recent portfolios included leading the $18 M redevelopment of the 53,000 sq. ft. former kiln building into the Future Cities Centre, among Canada’s first carbon neutral buildings, and leading the collaborative design and strategy development to create Toronto’s largest urban park, the Don River Valley Park.
From 2010-2016, Seana was Evergreen’s first Chief Operating Officer, leading the organization through a period of over 100% growth, launching several social enterprises and developing plans, processes and policies for ensuring sustained organizational growth.
A skilled facilitator, strategic thinker and communicator, Seana has helped numerous organizations develop strategic plans, work through change processes and create fundraising and program plans. Seana brings experience working in consulting and government sectors. An active volunteer, Seana currently chairs the board of the equality effect and serves on the board of Wanapitei Wilderness Centre. Previous board involvement includes The Stop Community Centre and The Sustainability Network. She holds a Masters in Environmental Studies (Planning) degree, Honours BA in Environmental Studies and has leadership and governance certificates from Harvard Kennedy Executive School and Rotman’s Business School.
Beth Burgess, a BComm from Queen’s University, worked for Bain Management Consultants in London, England and in Strategic Planning for American Express in Toronto. Beth has worked in direct marketing and development with clients such as Branksome Hall School, the Canadian Opera Company, Kids Help Phone, Feed the Children, Charles Mulli Family Foundation in Kenya and various other charities. Beth has been involved with the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Film Festival, and Human Rights Watch where she is currently on the Canada Committee, the Women’s Rights Division and is Chairing the 2015 Voices for Justice Dinner.
Jacquie Labatt is the founder and president of CanAIDia International, a research and development organization dedicated to social issues with a focus on global health and human rights. Jacquie is also a freelance photojournalist and writer through which she seeks to advocate for positive change. Her work has appeared in print and online publications that include the Canadian Press, USA Today, Good Morning America/Yahoo, Huffington Post, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, and ELLE Canada.
In addition to photojournalism, Jacquie’s professional experience includes fifteen years as an international marketing executive for two Fortune 500 companies. In that capacity, and pursuant to her non-profit board appointments, Jacquie has travelled extensively throughout the world. She currently sits on Human Rights Watch’s Canada Committee, McKinsey & Company’s Global Gender Study advisory board, and is Director of the University of Toronto Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry campaign cabinet. Past board involvement includes Dignitas International and Sick Kids’ Healthy Kids International.
Fluent in English and French, with a working knowledge of Russian and German, Jacquie is a graduate of McGill University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Patricia Nyaundi is the Secretary and CEO of the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights. Prior to her current position with the KNCHR, Patricia was the Secretary and CEO of the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. In 2012 Patricia was the Dame Nita Barrow Fellow at the University of Toronto. She has served as the Executive Director of the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya (FIDA-Kenya). Patricia is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and she holds a Master of Laws in Human Rights law from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Before joining FIDA Kenya, Patricia worked as a State Counsel in the Attorney General’s office and was also an advocate in private practice.
With 20+ years of finance-related business experience in entrepreneurial environments within the financial services and software development industries, Theresa Widdifield started her own business 8 years ago. She manages family offices for high net worth individuals and their families. Prior to that, Theresa was a principal at Coventree Inc. and previously she served as CFO of Leeward Hedge Funds Inc. and CertaPay Inc.. Theresa spent over 8 years at progressive roles in the finance and operations areas of Trimark Financial Corporation. Theresa’s volunteer experience includes having sat on the Board as Treasurer of the KiBO Foundation which aims to alleviate poverty through education, based in Uganda, and the Centennial Infant and Child Centre Foundation. Theresa is a Chartered Professional Accountant and received her MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.