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Our Board

Executive 

Paul Uys

Paul Uys

Chair

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Paul is a retired executive with over 40 years’ global retail experience specializing in brand creation, food product development and sourcing. During his 25 years at Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest food retailer, he headed product development department & innovation, and in his latter days he spearheaded its sustainable procurement initiative. Since retiring from Loblaw, he has become Director, External; OAC at the University of Guelph. He is a Board member of Ontario’s Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, and internationally is a Trustee on the Board of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). He also sits on the “International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Foods” (iPES-Foods). In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws by the University of Guelph in recognition of “Innovation brought to the Canadian Food Supply System” and “leadership in Sustainability”. He is the founder of a consulting company, FMG Consulting Inc., which supports responsible food product development and sourcing.

Anne McConnell

Anne McConnell

Vice Chair

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Anne is a professional engineer and President of McConnell Hirning Consulting Ltd., where she works on a variety of environmental, regulatory, and sustainability topics. Previously, Anne was a leader in R&D, regulatory affairs and environmental sustainability at Procter & Gamble. Her experience includes working with Canadian and U.S. industry, non-governmental organizations, and all levels of government. For many years, Anne has been a champion for progressive chemicals management and waste diversion programs. Since 1997, she has been a dedicated participant in Birdathons for Birds Canada, and helped to raise over $20,000 working together with family, friends, and neighbours. Anne’s educational training includes degrees from UBC in chemistry and biology, and in agricultural engineering. She hails from British Columbia and now resides in Toronto, Ontario. Anne’s recreational pursuits include birdwatching and native plant gardening, and she is also an avid walker, cyclist, and community volunteer.

Sean Macey

Sean Macey

Treasurer

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Sean recently retired from Basics Office Products Ltd., where he worked for 25 years. He began in merchandising and marketing, was appointed Vice-President, and served the last 12 years as President. The company has dealers across Canada. Sean led total sales growth to over $700 million. A keen birdwatcher and lister for most of his life, Sean has been enjoying Birdathon fundraising for Birds Canada for over 30 years. He lives in Cambridge, Ontario, and visits Long Point regularly. Sean offers Birds Canada a wealth of experience useful at the board level, including in general business, governance, senior management, and working in partnership with stakeholders.

Gwen Chapman

Gwen Chapman

Secretary

More about Gwen

Gwen is the founder and Principal of DonorFocus 360 which helps nonprofit organizations improve their touchpoints with constituents so they can increase their impact in the field by engaging supporters and increasing revenue. Gwen has more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector in South Africa, England, the United States, and Canada. Her experience includes eight years with World Wildlife Fund – as Marketing Manager in the UK and as Membership Director in Canada. She has also worked with Endangered Wildlife Trust (RSA), Save the Bay (USA), the Student Conservation Association (USA), and many other nonprofits. Gwen currently serves as Membership Chair of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) Vancouver Island Chapter.

Rodger Titman

Rodger Titman

Director

More about Rodger

Rodger retired as a wildlife professor from the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University after 36 years, where his principal academic interest was in behavioral ecology (the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior). With his graduate students he has worked mainly with waterfowl and other birds, but his research has involved a variety of animals from Musk Turtles to forest-dwelling bats. This has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has been a participant instructor in McGill University’s Canadian Field Studies in Africa program with Canadian students during winter semesters in East Africa. Rodger was on the Board of Bird Protection Québec from 1978 to 2009, serving a term as President. He has served on the Boards of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Conservation de la Nature Québec, and the St. Lawrence Natural History Society Ecomuseum. Dr. Titman is a volunteer with the McGill Bird Observatory. He has also worked as an environmental consultant concerning environmental impacts upon vertebrate animals and has led birding tours to East Africa.

Directors

Kathleen Blanchard

Kathleen Blanchard

Director

More about Kathleen

Kathleen Blanchard is founder and head of Intervale, a nonprofit organization which conducts programs in biodiversity conservation, principally in Newfoundland and Labrador. For 25 years she worked for Québec-Labrador Foundation, serving as President of QLF Canada for six of those years, and now consults for QLF. She has completed work for many government departments and conservation NGOs, including Canadian Wildlife Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, Wildlife Habitat Canada, World Wildlife Fund, and Ducks Unlimited. Her passion for seabirds began in her late teens working for National Audubon Society, when she helped restore a breeding colony of Atlantic puffins. She later organized an award-winning multi-stakeholder initiative, lasting for two decades, along the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Since then, most of her work has focused on recovery of species at risk and demonstrating the efficacy of stewardship. Kathleen has served on the Board of Birds Canada, Stewardship Association of Municipalities (NL), North American Association for Environmental Education, and the Commission on Education and Communication for the World Conservation Union.

Betty Chanyi

Betty Chanyi

Director

More about Betty

Betty is a lifelong resident of Norfolk County, Ontario and a long-time Friends of LPBO volunteer, serving weekly in spring and fall migrations at Birds Canada’s Old Cut Research Station. She is a former Norfolk County Councillor, school principal, and education administrator. Betty enjoys and supports many local organizations, including being a past member of the Norfolk County Woodlot Owner’s Association and present member of the Delhi Community Health Centre Board. Betty offers a wealth of regional experience, expertise in volunteerism, municipal government affairs, education, and professional experience. She is an enthusiastic Birdathon participant and will provide an important link to Birds Canada’s founding community at Long Point/Port Rowan.

Thor Diakow

Thor Diakow

Director

More about Thor

Thor is National Film Critic for Breakfast Television Vancouver and CityNews. He is a bird-lover and watcher, who has covered Vancouver’s Bird Week and joined Birds Canada’s British Columbia Program Director, Dr. David Bradley, on a Great Canadian Birdathon. Thor’s passion for birding began before he could read words but could already correctly identify bird species in a North American field guide! His love for the avian world continued with a speech about the hoatzin in Grade Seven that helped him win a tri-school speech competition. Thor has birded all over the globe in places such as: Point Pelee National Park, Big Bend National Park, New Zealand, Thailand, Palenque, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Trinidad’s Asa Wright Nature Centre. Thor brings skills and experience in media, marketing, and communications, as well as an enthusiasm to help people discover, enjoy, and protect nature through birds and birding.

Brian Finnigan

Brian Finnigan

Director

More about Brian

Brian Finnigan is a partner with Waterous, Holden, Amey Hitchon, LLP. Brian has extensive experience with non-profit and charitable organizations, both as a solicitor and as a board member. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Western University, and a Master of Laws from York University. As a lawyer, Brian has advised environmental organizations on a variety of matters. He has a held board positions on Participation House, Brantford; Brant Community Place Homes; Brant County Community Legal Clinic; the Alzheimer Society of Brantford; and Nova Vita Women’s Services. Brian skis, cycles, sails, hikes, and tries to get out as often as possible to appreciate nature, and birds in particular, with his wife, Theresa (an environmental lawyer) and their four children.

David Love

David Love

Director

More about David

David has been raising money, mostly for the environment, for 50 years. His current obsession is helping environmental and social justice organizations reap the benefit of the coming legacy tsunami. After running WWF-Canada’s fundraising program for 20 years from 1979 – 1999, he returned, part-time, to WWF from 2015 – 2018 to run their legacy program – a program he started in 1982. In between, he worked as a consultant, did some leadership training for WWF International and ran The Living City Foundation for TRCA (now called The Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation). Now, he works one day a week with his daughter’s direct response company, Agents of Good, where he is affectionately known as “The Godfather of Good.” David has extensive board experience. He was chairman for Long Point Bird Observatory, Birds Canada, and the Sustainability Network. He has also served on the Board of Sierra Legal Defence, now Ecojustice. He’s currently on the Board of Small Change Fund and The Natural Burial Association.

Cher Mereweather

Cher Mereweather

Director

More about Cher

Cher Mereweather is President & CEO of Provision Coalition Inc., a for-profit social enterprise born out of its success as a non-profit. Cher helps food and beverage companies increase revenue, reduce costs and elevate their brand – purposefully. Cher is an advocate for change and a passionate spokesperson that is dedicated to advancing sustainability within the Canadian food system. Cher is currently a Board Director for the National Zero Waste Council and was the Chair of the Board for two years at the Campus Child Care Cooperative of Guelph. Cher’s career has included time with NSF International where she established and directed the Sustainability Consulting Business Unit, and executive positions in environmental economics and policy with the Canadian agri-food think tank, the George Morris Centre. Cher holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Environmental Economics and Policy and is certified in both project and change management. Cher enjoys spending time in nature, and finds herself in bird identification debates with family around the dining room table. If elected to the Board of Birds Canada, Cher would be pleased to apply her experience in sustainability, business, and the food system’s impact on the environment and conservation needs of birds.

Sébastien Rioux

Sébastien Rioux

Director

More about Sébastien

Sébastien is currently Director of Wildlife Initiatives with the Fondation de la faune du Québec, based in Québec City. The foundation’s work supports partnerships with communities, industry, nonprofit organizations, and other partners to promote conservation of wildlife across Québec. One such project has been the recently published Second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Southern Québec, for which the foundation is a Gold Level sponsor. Sébastien has been scientific advisor for the Regroupement QuébecOiseaux to the exciting and popular film series on the birds of Canada, “Fou des oiseaux” or “Crazy about Birds”. Sébastien has been an outdoor and wildlife enthusiast all of his life, and offers Birds Canada his experience from across Québec and a desire to support conservation of birds across Canada.

Trevor Swerdfager

Trevor Swerdfager

Director

More about Trevor

Trevor Swerdfager is a recently appointed Professor of Environmental and Oceans Studies at the University of Waterloo. Prior to that, his career centred on senior management service in Parks Canada (Senior Vice-President), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Senior Assistant Deputy Minister), and Environment Canada (Director-General of the Canadian Wildlife Service). Trevor resides in Ottawa and Waterloo. He would be delighted to have the opportunity to be a Birds Canada member of the Board of Directors. If elected, he would bring widespread knowledge and experience concerning environmental science, policy, and conservation across Canada, with particular experience in the federal government’s responsibility for migratory birds and habitat.

John Taranu

John Taranu

Director

More about John

John is a birder and long-term supporter of Birds Canada. With a Masters of Environmental Studies in GIS from the University of Waterloo, John works at Google in Toronto, helping clients with their journey to the cloud. Recently, John led a Google charity fundraising drive for Birds Canada, boosting awareness for Birds Canada and raising a significant amount from his peers, including company matching contributions. He also convened company employees to assist with several volunteer events, such as plantings at Birds Canada’s landscaping project at the Humber Arboretum. Other community service interests have included board roles with Cycle Toronto and the Deer Park Residents Group, and volunteer roles with Birds Canada’s SwiftWatch program and various winter and summer counts. John offers experience to the Board and senior staff with business, data management, IT, mapping and GIS, volunteer engagement, employee engagement, and fundraising.

Nathalie Zinger

Nathalie Zinger

Director

More about Nathalie

Nathalie is on special assignment for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, addressing conservation engagement and program development. Previously, she served for a decade as NCC’s V-P for Québec, leading all aspects of land acquisition, property management, and donor stewardship. Earlier, she was the Executive Director for Heritage Montreal, and before that, WWF-Canada’s Program Director for Québec. An important early influence was working in the communities of Québec’s North Shore on the sustainability of seabird harvesting. Fluently bilingual, Nathalie is a lifelong resident of Montréal, with experience in conservation, fundraising, management, human resources, and media. She is an avid traveller and enjoys arts and sketching.

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