GWF2021 Keynote Speakers

Dr. Elena Bennett is Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Sustainability Science at McGill University. Her work focuses on the interactions among ecosystem services and how we can manage those for more multifunctional working landscapes. She was the leader of the Montérégie Connection project that worked with stakeholders to understand the role of landscape connectivity in the provision of a dozen ecosystem services and how those might change across a range of future scenarios. She is now leading ResNet, a large NSERC Strategic Network that builds on the Montérégie Connection to compare ecosystem services provision in six exemplar working landscapes across Canada. Her most recent work focuses on using radical transformative experiments in society as ‘seeds’ to improve storytelling and sense-making about how we might achieve a “good Anthropocene”. Dr. Bennett was a Leopold Leadership Fellow (2012), and a Trottier Public Policy Professor (2013-2014). She won the Macdonald Campus Award for (Undergraduate) Teaching Excellence in 2012 and the Carrie M. Derick Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision in 2013. She was an NSERC EWR Steacie Fellow (2017 -2019) and is a member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

Dr. Elena Bennett
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Ms. Chelsea Lobson is Programs Director for the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF). Chelsea oversees LWF’s program development in line with the organization’s mission, with specific responsibility for the Lake Winnipeg Community-Based Monitoring Network. Chelsea has overseen the growth of LWCBMN since 2017. Chelsea coordinates network activities, manages critical partnerships and oversees lab and data analyses. Chelsea received her Master of Science from the University of Manitoba in 2018.

Chelsea Lobson
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Prof. Danika Littlechild is a member of Ermineskin Cree Nation in Treaty No. 6 territory in Alberta.
Danika is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University’s
Faculty of Public Affairs. A former practicing lawyer in Alberta, her practice included Indigenous
laws/legal orders as well as Canadian laws and policies pertaining to environment, water, conservation
and protected areas, health, international law and human rights. She has served as an advisor to the
Assembly of First Nations on water, wastewater and environmental issues since 2007. Danika has served
as the Co-Chair for the Indigenous Circle of Experts under the Pathway to Canada Target 1. Danika
served for a term as the Vice President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, in addition to a decade
long history of service to CCUNESCO. Danika is the recipient of the Esquao Award for Justice and Human
Rights from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Alberta, as well as the Alberta
Aboriginal Role Models Award for Justice. Danika is leading the Ethical Space Research Stream of the the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership.

Prof. Danika Littlechild
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GWF2021 Panelists – Part One

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Mike Schreiner

Mike Schreiner is the MPP for Guelph and was the first ever Green MPP elected to the Ontario Legislature. He has also been the leader of the Green Party of Ontario since 2009. Before entering politics, Mike was an entrepreneur and small business owner focussing on sustainable food production and he grew up on a family farm.

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Javier Gracia-Garza

Dr. Gracia-Garza became a Special Advisor, Agriculture and Climate Change at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada(AAFC) on October 2020.  He previously contributed to the department as interim Associate Assistant Deputy Minister and Director General in the Science and Technology Branch. He has been part of the department since 2016 where he led national and international science departmental priorities such as genomics, antimicrobial resistance and the nexus between agriculture and the environment, including climate change.  


Prior to joining AAFC, he held various senior level positions throughout the federal government, including: Director General, Science Program Branch of the Canadian Forest Service at Natural Resource Canada (NRCan);  Deputy Chief Scientist for NRCan (Jan 2014 to October 2015); Director General, Science and Technology (S&T) Strategies at Environment Canada; Policy Director on the Ontario Federal Council (OFC) Secretariat; and Regional Director, Strategic Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, Ontario and Nunavut Region with Health Canada.  Dr. Gracia-Garza joined the federal government as a scientist with AAFC in 1998. 

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Shawn Marshall

Shawn Marshall is a glaciologist at the University of Calgary, where he held the Canada Research Chair in Climate Change from 2007 to 2017.  He studies glacier-climate processes and glacier response to climate change through a combination of theoretical, modelling, and field-based studies in the Rockies, Arctic Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.  Marshall is the Canadian representative to the Cryosphere Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committe (IASC, 2016-2022) and is serving on the Science Leadership Council of the international Mountain Research Initiative (MRI, 2020-2023). Marshall is currently seconded to the Government of Canada, where he is working at the science-policy interface as the Departmental Science Advisor at Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Lou Di Gironimo

Lou Di Gironimo is General Manager of Toronto Water, a division of the City of Toronto. Under his leadership, the 1,700 staff in Toronto Water focus on providing quality water services – supplying drinking water, treating wastewater and managing stormwater – essential for protecting public health, property and the environment.


The division serves 3.6 million residents and businesses in Toronto and portions of York and Peel, and has more than $28.6 billion in infrastructure.


Lou has a diverse background in both the private and public sectors at the municipal and provincial levels of government. Some of the organizations he has been associated with include the City of Hamilton, the Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Ontario Development Corporation. He has also worked for private engineering and land development companies. During his career, Lou has had extensive experience managing municipal infrastructure and urban development issues.    


Crystal Davis

Crystal M.C. Davis is a respected professional with a career in government affairs that bloomed in Columbus, Ohio and Washington D.C. Crystal is currently with the Alliance for the Great Lakes as its Vice President of Policy & Strategic Engagement, leading the organization’s efforts related to Lake Erie, drinking water policy advocacy and relationship building across the region. To return to Greater Cleveland, Crystal left a position in D.C. as the Federal Relations Director for Kent State University, where she established KSU’s federal office and policy agenda on Capitol Hill. Her previous experience includes stints with the Ohio House of Representatives, the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


Crystal is a graduate of Kent State University, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., an Ohio Lake Erie Commissioner, Environmental Commissioner and member of the J.E.D.I. Committee for the City of Twinsburg, Ohio, 2018 Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 under 40 Honoree and winner of the 2015 Ohio Trio Trailblazer Award. She is an Akron, Ohio native and now lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their two young children.

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Sean Carey - Panel Moderator

Dr. Carey directs the Watershed Hydrology Group and his research interests include hydrological, biogeochemical and land surface processes in natural and human impacted environments.


The group Dr. Carey uses field, laboratory and modelling approaches to understand how hydrological processes interact and influence ecosystem, biogeochemical and catchment processes across scales. Dr. Carey has a particular interest in cold environments and has been working in Yukon Territory for over 20 years. In addition, the influence of landscape disturbance on catchment processes has been an area of focus as the group seeks to help both industry and regulators understand and mitigate large scale disturbance in northern regions.


Dr. Carey serves on the Global Water Futures Strategic Management Committee and is the Principal Investigator for the Mountain Water Futures program.


GWF2021 Panelists – Part Two

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Kat Kavanagh

Kat Kavanagh is the Executive Director of Water Rangers, an organization aiming to build tools to make it easy for anyone to collect and view water quality data. Kat has 15 years of design and tech experience, plus a Master's degree in Integrated Water Resource Management.


Kelsey Leonard

Kelsey Leonard currently represents the Shinnecock Indian Nation as the Tribal Co-Lead on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body of the U.S. National Ocean Council. This planning body consisting of tribal, federal, and state entities is charged with guiding the protection, maintenance, and restoration of America's oceans and coasts. As a Shinnecock citizen and environmental leader, Kelsey strives to be a strong advocate for the protection of Indigenous waters through enhanced interjurisdictional coordination and meaningful consultation.


In 2012, Kelsey received a MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from St. Cross College, one of the thirty-eight colleges of the University of Oxford. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Public Policy in the Department of Political Science at McMaster University where she focuses on Indigenous water security and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. She is McMaster University’s Philomathia Trillium Scholar in Water Policy and is a Research Assistant for the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN). Kelsey has previously worked for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) as a legislative associate on tribal climate change adaptation. She holds an A.B. in Sociology and Anthropology from Harvard University and a J.D. from Duquesne University. Kelsey is an enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.


Liz Hendriks

With a lengthy background in water policy, Elizabeth leads WWF-Canada’s Freshwater team to reverse the decline of freshwater ecosystems across the country through policy, technology and community building. Elizabeth has considerable experience working internationally and nationally on water policy and leads the release of the national assessment of the health and stressors to Canada’s freshwater. Elizabeth holds a BA in International Development from Dalhousie University and a MES from the University of Waterloo.

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Sondus Jamal

Sondus Jamal is a PhD candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include wastewater treatment, water management, trace organics and environmental monitoring. Aside from research and teaching, Sondus has experience working with a variety of non-profit organizations and is currently the co-chair for SWIGS (Students of the Water Institute Graduate Section). She graduated with a B.ENG. and an M.A.Sc. from the University of Guelph in Environmental Engineering with a Collaborative in International Development Studies.

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Mark Fisher

Mark Fisher was appointed President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), which comprises CGLR Canada, CGLR USA and the CGLR Foundation, in 2014. He is a seasoned public policy professional with 23 years of experience in policy-making, strategic business planning, corporate communications, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, and issues management.

Mark brings a wealth of experience in international affairs, with a focus on advancing the United States-Canada relationship in the areas of trade, security, natural resource development and environmental protection. He also brings extensive experience providing advice to key decision-makers and influencers, including the Prime Minister of Canada, provincial premiers and ministers, parliamentarians, and C-level executives from the private and not-for-profit sectors.

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Jennifer Baltzer - Panel Moderator

Dr. Jennifer Baltzer is a Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change at Wilfrid Laurier University and studies the impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems globally. As part of Laurier’s longstanding research partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Baltzer’s recent work has focused on how climate warming-induced disturbances, including permafrost thaw and wildfires, are impacting the resilience of Canada’s boreal forest and tundra ecosystems. In 2017, Dr. Baltzer was elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and in 2020 she was named Laurier’s University Research Professor. Dr. Baltzer serves on the Strategic Management Committee for Global Water Futures. 

GWF2021 Parallel Session

Invited Speakers


Max Maurer

ETH, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science & Technology


Max Maurer’s research focusses on infrastructure transition management, smart urban water management and modular urban water management. As professor for Urban Water Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH; he is the director of the institute for Environmental Engineering and is also heading the department of Urban Water Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag,

Dr. Maurer has a background in chemical engineering. Since 1992, he has worked at ETH, Northwestern University and Eawag on biological and chemical processes in wastewater treatment and novel concepts for urban water management. Current research projects focus on guiding existing water infrastructures into a sustainable future, develop technology and concepts for the digitalization of urban drainage systems and to investigate the large scale applicability of modular (decentralized) wastewater treatment. As a board director of the Swiss Water Pollution Control Association (VSA) and professor at ETH he is playing an important role in disseminating and transferring scientific results into practice.