Meet Embark's Board Director Candidates!

We are pleased to introduce the candidates for our board of directors! These amazing individuals are running for seven open positions, including: Chair, Director-at-large, Fund Development Officer, Grants Officer, Member Relations Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Read more about what drives them to work towards sustainability and why they are interested in joining Embark as a board director in their own words. Then RSVP to attend our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on February 23rd and vote! There will be an opportunity at the AGM to hear more about each candidate's relevant experience and ask questions. Embark's members, which includes all SFU undergraduate and graduate students, are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Chair

The Chair facilitates the Board's governing and strategic planning duties and acts as a liaison between the Board and the Executive Director.

Dima Lavrentyev

Dima.jpgIt is an exciting opportunity to be applying for the Chair position on the Embark’s Board of Directors and to have a chance to lead a team of individuals dedicated to sustainability at SFU. I am certain that the next year will be a crucial period in the development of our organization, therefore it is important that the Board comes together, bringing in different views and abilities. We have a lot of work to do in the upcoming year, therefore it is vital to have a Board that is bonded and functions as one, and I believe that my personal skills will help to create a supportive and family-like atmosphere within our Board. My experience as a Member Relations Officer gave me unique insights in the inner workings of our organization, our strengths and opportunities for development, as well as the ability to leverage them in a way that is beneficial to our members and organization. As the Chair I am determined to continue the path laid out by the outgoing board, but will encourage the incoming board to bring in new perspectives that will shape our organization.

I value diversity in opinions and believe that the best ideas are born during discussions and collaborations. Both my personal and professional decisions are guided by the principle that to help another person it is important to understand her or his situation first. Another principle I live my life by is that the most productive approach of changing someone’s life is to help them make small incremental steps. It is fascinating to see that the students who take their first small steps towards sustainability, grow over time and become sustainability leaders. I believe in Embark’s ability to facilitate this growth and support students at every stage of their sustainability journey.

There are so many questions that keep me up at night. Some of them are serious (like “What the intergalactic journey would look like?”), while others not so much (oh, that insoluble question of how many toppings you can mix on your ice-cream before it becomes unbearably sweet). But the biggest of them all is “How I can do better?” It might apply to school, work, or personal life; it does not matter. What matters is the desire to persistently and gradually improve yourself, your surroundings, and your life.

Director-at-large

The Director-at-large assists the other directors in carrying out essential board duties, most importantly in setting the strategic direction and working towards the mission of the organization.

Sam Humphreys

Sam.jpgI am excited at the opportunity to further explore sustainability, and begin to employ the skills I have gained through a joint major in business and environmental studies. To me, sustainability is becoming increasingly important to understand and implement, and will be an integral part of business, the environment, and human well-being in the upcoming decades. We live in a unique region that is pushing the current standards on what is possible in those realms, and I would like to become a part of the movement taking place in our community.

I look forward to collaborating with other members to further expand our reach and impact in the Simon Fraser University community. I want to actively participate in and learn from Embark’s multiple committees as the Director-at-Large. In the future, I wish to translate my experience in Embark to a career as an environmental/sustainability consultant for companies seeking to lower their environmental impact while improving their efficiency. Sustainable practices can improve work ethic, productivity, and morale, in addition to reducing overhead costs and negative environmental impacts. I want to help spread this information so I can aid people and businesses in realizing their sustainable goals.

Ultimately, I am eager to learn from the current and incoming board members of Embark; to add my knowledge and understanding to the pre-existing wealth in the society; and to interact with the student body, clubs, and faculty at our school to facilitate SFU’s sustainable operation.

Carina Xu

Carina.jpgAs an international student from China, there has been a lot of self-doubts triggered as I chose to step closer to the local culture here in Vancouver, even western values generally. In the first two years it has been me struggling to gain affirmation and recognition among my local colleagues, trying to blend in the local groups while having the shame of being ignorant about certain justice issues and lacking the ability to join in such discussions. Coming from a culture where economy and efficiency are valued the most, I grew up being told industrialization is helpful, though pollution is bad, we couldn’t really do much about it - and even that “it doesn’t matter”. On the other hand, attending club meetings about environmental justice, which were filled with a bunch of totally unfamiliar terms like “BoG meetings” just brought me more frustration about myself, as I go further down the wrong path of thinking “why couldn’t I just be more like Canadians”.

Though I was initially driven by shame and stubbornness, I was motivated to stick around SFU 350’s meetings and to find out more behind my colleagues’ amazing passion. Luckily I was welcomed and gradually introduced to bits and bits of the DivestSFU campaign and to the social activism around sustainability values. Besides being engaged in the process and me starting to contribute to it, I have come to learn how my thoughts and opinions coming from confusion or unfamiliarity due to my diverse background can be valuable as well.

Coming from far, as I am getting to gain confidence and being able to use my voice, I seek to learn more - whether it is about sustainability knowledge or about how non-profits operate to fight the battle for environmental justice. Me switching from SFU business administration to communication was partially for seeing the hope of communicating powerful messages in the fields like environmental justice, to countries like China who are continuously struggling with the dilemma between pollution and economic growth.

Lastly, I would like to apply for the director-at-large position. I have had great opportunities to work with my SFU 350 peeps in sub-committees we created, and those were valuable and fun experience I appreciated a lot. I might not have the perfect skills and complete knowledge in sustainable environment, but I will take good advantage of my stubbornness to reach a place beyond clarity; where passion for environment are not individualized, and the hope for sustainability multiplies. It rhymed.

Leah Yang

Leah.jpgBeing an Embark board member would be an important step for me because I have always been interested in sustainability and environmental issues, but never took the chance to do anything about it. Now that I am ready to start taking initiative, I want to make the best of this opportunity.

Having years of experience working in councils, I believe that I will be able to perform all of the required tasks efficiently and effectively. I am well-versed with giving presentations, organizing events, and taking part in formal committees. And because my area of study is related to the environment and healthy living, I may also be able to contribute some scientific knowledge to discussions.

I share many common values with Embark, some of which include community engagement, philanthropism, and leadership in climate action. As such, it will be personally rewarding for me to work with this organization – with like-minded individuals. I will do my absolute best to help them utilize their full potential.

Fund Development Officer

The Fund Development Officer leads the Fund Development Committee in identifying and securing grants and other funding opportunities to enable Embark's work.

Jon Boron

Jon.jpgI’m a second year graduate student in the School of Resource and Environmental Management and a researcher in the sustainable community development working group. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with an honours degree in Environment and Business and a legal studies minor. I’m interested in continuing my commitment to Embark as a board director and the Fund Development chair. Embark is an organization that exemplifies my values in personal and leadership development within the field of sustainability. Sustainable community development and campus sustainability are topics that I’m passionate about and I believe that my knowledge and experience would provide a complimentary and unique addition to the Embark Board of Directors.

I have operated as an interim director-at- large for Embark since two new board positions were created at the last AGM. During this time, I have worked diligently in my role, meeting every task and challenge faced by the board with enthusiasm. I’ve been an active member of the Grants committee for over a year, and have been co-chairing the Fund Development committee since its creation in the summer. I also was the lead director during the GSS referendum, where Embark was successful in achieving an increase in membership fees in order to increase the impact of our programing.

Aside from my participation with Embark, I am an environmental and social equity activist. While participating in various marches, rallies, protests and petitions, I’ve committed my future career to environmental and social justice issues. My current research surrounds indigenous land and resource governance and I work to support communities dealing with resource development within their traditional territories.

During my undergrad I was the president of my Fraternity, where I was responsible for setting the vision of our Chapter as well as ensuring our members upheld the values set out by our Charter. During my tenure I acted as the public face of the organization and main correspondence that dealt with other organizations including our International Fraternity Executive, as well as setting an operating budget and making decisions to effectively run a $10,000+ non-profit organization. During this time, I developed partnerships with community organizations in the interest of philanthropy and community service, while at the same time securing funding through partnered events with these organizations. I believe that this experience would serve me well as part of the Grants Allocation committee as well as the Fund Development chair, with developed skills in decision-making, budget allocation, and fund procurement.

Grants Officer

The Grants Officer ensures Embark’s Community Grant is promoted and reviewed by the Grants Committee for adjudication purposes.

Candidates not voted into their first choice position will have the option to run for Grants Officer at the AGM.

Member Relations Officer

The Member Relations Officer communicates with the members of the organization, soliciting and integrating their feedback into Embark’s initiatives, and builds positive relationships with student groups on campus.

Tosh Turner

Tosh.jpgMy name is Tosh and I have recently transferred to Simon Fraser University. When I was wondering the halls of AQ during orientation, passing the litany of smiling faces encouraging me to join their club, I felt alone. I stumbled across this booth called “Embark”. I spoke with Ali about the organization’s purpose and projects. After our conversation, I wanted to learn more about sustainability, non-profit organizations, and SFU’s internal structure. After getting a chance to speak with Erin, Kevin, Tessa, and Dima, I knew this group was what I wanted to be apart of.

I want to help the maintain and create of governance documents that will enabled the effective management of Embarks goals, the responsibilities of its team, and the rules by which the organization conducts itself. Moreover, I want to advocate for this organization. I want to help contribute to the future path of this organization, and enable the people within Embark to make the most of their contribution.

My experience in student government at my former university gives me confidence that I can contribute, in part, to the creation of policy as well as a clear presentation and advocation of Embarks goals and purpose. I believe, given my experience and perspective, I can contribute to a sense of enablement and confidence within Embark; ensuring that we are focused on the goals ahead and proud of the achievements made. I am guided by the simple premise that if I wish to see something change, I should be apart of that change. I cannot expect others to step up if I remain seated.

Yet, there was not a particular moment in which I knew that I wanted to work toward sustainability. There was no point when I rose and said “enough's enough”, but instead it was a gradual amalgamation of evidence from the news, conversations with peers, and self reflection. What continues to drive me is the massive size of the challenges ahead and the glacial pace in which our society is approaching them. However, what keeps me up at night is not what but how. How do I help people see a way out of apathy?

I try, but often fail, to not concern myself with what people have to say about me. I instead focus on what they have to say about what I do. I am tremendously proud to call myself a member of Embark, my hope is that over the course of my university career, I can engage with my peers so that they too feel the same pride that I do. No longer alone, proud together, to be apart of the sustainable future.

Thadoe Wai

Thadoe.jpgMy name is Thadoe Wai, and I am interested in applying for the position of Member Relations Officer for Embark. The Society has been run by students since its inception in 2003, and has worked alongside SFU and other related groups in bringing about progress towards sustainability, advocacy and student leadership. By joining the board of directors, I hope to help facilitate this vision alongside members of the student body, faculty and other community members.

I believe I am qualified for this role as I have been involved with different levels of student governance at SFU. From being co-chair for the Environmental Science Student Union to Faculty of Environment Representative for the Simon Fraser Student Society, I would like to make use of this experience to further Embark’s initiatives. I am also a Sustainability Peer member; I am working with the help of two teammates on the Circus Project, a campus wide sharing economy model with the goal of cycling shelved appliances and other materials which would otherwise be idle or disposed of, in turn indirectly helping to reduce further manufacturing. I have experience in engaging and networking with students and would like to put these experiences and skills to good use through Embark to help build a spirit of community, stewardship, and engagement.

Secretary

The Secretary helps the Chair create board meeting agendas and takes minutes during board meetings.

Nishee Patel

Nishee.jpgI am interested in the position of Secretary as a board director for Embark Sustainability. Embark creates projects that not only promote sustainability but encourage the student body to take action through their creative projects. Becoming a board member will not only connect me to a platform that puts my ideologies into perspective but it will also develop the skill sets and particular interests I have in order to make a difference in our environment through sustainability. Through my client care representative position at Miracle Ear I have developed my communication and organizational skills. I am able to facilitate discussions over the phone with clients about issues they may be having with their hearing and respond to them in a professional tone while accurately noting what they say. I am extremely prompt and take pride in planning and scheduling things throughout the day. I can answer questions students or members may have about Embark or future board meetings in a professional and engaging manner via email or in person. I am very passionate about the protecting the environment and that that will assist me while I am conveying ideas during board meetings and sustainability projects. I am able to multitask and complete several projects and tasks at once. Deadlines help me accommodate my tasks towards various tasks. Responsibility and innovation are values that I take pride in through my work. Taking full accountability in every task I am designated allows me to complete that task in a manner that will always provide me with internal motivation to do the task properly. Initially in high school I was introduced to a club called G-Force where we planned several school wide events like battery drives, an intensive recycling program, and bake sales. Doing little things for the environment gave me intrinsic motivation to continue incorporating these sustainability movements into my life as well as to close family and friends. I never accept plastic bags in stores and I have converted into becoming a vegetarian. I soon became the Director of Events at G-Force and together we saved 2850 kilowatt hours of energy school wide and won the BC Hydro Energy Conservation Cup in 2013. The environment cannot simply be protected by a proportion of the population. It must be an equal effort made by every inhabitant. My friends and family would describe me as very responsible and punctual. They would label me as someone who always completes the tasks assigned to her no matter what and also extremely punctual as I have never been late to work or any meetings. In all, I am very excited to be a part of Embark Sustainability and help improve sustainability through SFU’s campuses.

Treasurer

The Treasurer prepares an annual budget for the Society and regularly reviews the Society’s spending and finances to ensure they are consistent with the budget.

Sophie Dodd

Sophie.jpgIn grade ten I was fortunate enough to partake in the TREK Outdoor Education program in Vancouver, BC. If you are unfamiliar with TREK, it is a program designed to bring students together from different schools across Vancouver for one year. For half the year, we completed the regular curriculum of grade ten and for the second half of the year we learnt about sustainability and outdoor activities including but not limited to kayaking, canoeing and rock climbing. Through this journey, I discovered that I have a passion for making sure our impact on the environment is as small as possible without diminishing our standard of living. When I discovered that SFU had created a joint major in Sustainable Business I was elated. I quickly switched degrees and am now interested in how companies can operate with a small ecological footprint. My passion for sustainability, combined with my interest in finance and management had led me to apply for the position of Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Embark. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with people who are similarly driven as me and I am excited to enhance my skills working with budgets and finances.

Aaron Pardy

Aaron.jpgI am a Master's of Resource and Environmental Management student here at Simon Fraser University, studying under Dr. Mark Roseland with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development. Although I'm quite new at SFU, I've followed Embark's work closely. When a current Embark Board Director suggested that I apply for one of the Embark Board Director positions, I decided to jump on the opportunity. I would be honoured to be considered for the Treasurer Board Director position. I believe that my work and education experiences as well as my passion for sustainability have helped to prepare me for this position.

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in conservation and biodiversity, as well as supporting 'eco-friendly' and 'green' initiatives. However, it wasn't until I visited Badami, India and lived in Hanoi, Vietnam that I developed a passion for the concept of sustainability. Both these cities are currently undergoing rapid economic development. Hanoi, for instance, is in the midst of a traffic crisis; every month 15,000 motorbikes and 4,000 cars are added to the roads in the greater Hanoi area. The emissions from these vehicles and the production of goods and energy have degraded air and water quality, negatively effecting both human and environmental health. Every day in Hanoi I found myself thinking about how these problems could be addressed and how they could be prevented elsewhere. Back in Canada I am now more keenly aware that our consumption choices have direct effects on society, the economy, and the environment here and abroad, and that ambitious action needs to be taken so that we can move towards a more sustainable future.

In Hanoi, I worked for Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), a local NGO focused on environmental protection. In my role as Communications Technical Adviser at ENV, I led a small team on environmental public awareness campaigns. I managed all spending in the communications department and I gained experience setting and following budgets for the projects I managed. I know first-hand how important every dollar is to a small NGO trying to tackle big problems.

In my Master's research, I am studying strategies that can be used to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the local level in Canadian cities. While recognizing the importance that these types of international agreements can have in reaching sustainability goals, I truly believe that the power for change comes from the local level. This is why I find Embark's work so inspiring. By training and supporting the sustainability leaders of tomorrow, Embark fosters the necessary first steps for community-based change. Students that have been educated and empowered by Embark go out into their respective communities all over the world and continue to drive change outside of the SFU campus and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. I would be very excited to be part of this process as an Embark Board Director. Thank you for taking the time to review my application and I truly appreciate this opportunity.

 

Thank you to all who applied. See you at the AGM!

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