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On June 21, an exceptional lineup of presenters shared their knowledge experience and insight at the CURI symposium

Ashley Hamilton

Ashley Hamilton is Principal at Ashley Hamilton Consulting, an independent consulting firm that helps organizations implement investing strategies built on the principles of corporate accountability, environmental stewardship and respect for human rights.

She has worked with Canada’s leading responsible investors and managed complex shareholder engagement dialogues for both large and small clients.  Ashley received her Master of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in responsible investment and corporate social responsibility. She is an accomplished public speaker and published author, including chapters in the forthcoming book “Investing in a Changing World.”

Ashley serves on the Employer Recognition Committee of the Vancouver Living Wage Campaign and is a blogger for

Benjamin Richardson

Professor Benjamin Richardson is a member of the UBC Faculty of Law, and holds the Senior (tier 1) Canada Research Chair in Environmental Law & Sustainability. Previously, he was a Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University (2003-10) and earlier was a Senior Lecturer at the law faculties of the University of Manchester and University of Auckland. Prior to working in academia, Professor Richardson was a policy advisor to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in Australia, and a legal consultant to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) in Nepal and Kenya.

Professor Richardson’s principal research area is socially responsible investment and its regulation, as a means of promoting environmentally sustainable development. His scholarship also includes Aboriginal peoples and the environment, and climate change law. His recent publications include the books Climate Law and Developing Countries (Edward Elgar, 2009), Indigenous Peoples and the Law (Hart Publishing, 2009), Socially Responsible Investment Law (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Environmental Law for Sustainability (Hart Publishing, 2006).

Among his professional responsibilities, Professor Richardson is an elected member of the Governing Board of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, and co-chairs the SRI Research Cluster of the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network.

Christine McLeod

Christine McLeod is the Portfolio Manager (Partner) at Genus Capital Management. Christy serves Aboriginal communities, as well as clients who prefer Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI) options, and high net worth individuals. Born and raised in Vancouver, she attended UBC and has been in the investment industry since 1977. She serves on the board of the Social Investment Organization. Prior to joining Genus in 1999, Christy served with the University of British Columbia Faculty Pension Plan for five years. Before that, she worked with a national investment dealer as a retail broker and manager.

Coro Strandberg

Coro Strandberg, principal of Strandberg Consulting, is an influential sustainability strategist and thought-leader. She has been working in the responsible investing and corporate sustainability field for over two decades, initially as board member and then Chair of Vancity Credit Union, where she was a founding director of Ethical Funds Inc. During this time she worked in the BC Government, where among other roles, she helped launch and manage the Green Economy Secretariat in the late 1990s.  Through her consultancy, Coro advises companies and organizations on how to integrate sustainability into their governance and operations, including through finance, risk management, procurement, and management systems.  For the past few years she has been supporting Community Foundations of Canada to introduce responsible investing to the nearly $20 billion in foundation assets in Canada, including the launch of the first responsible investment website for foundations.  She has also supported a number of institutional asset managers to adopt socially responsible investment policies. Coro has produced some leading tools for the responsible investment community, including an SRI continuum of practice, a publication on the future of SRI and RI questions to ask fund managers.

Gary Hawton

Gary is a veteran of the investment industry having purchased his first stocks at the age of thirteen. He has spent most of his career in the investment industry in a variety of roles including providing sales management to financial planning sales teams for two national financial institutions. Gary was part of the management team during the start up phase of two of Canada’s leading discount brokerage firms and most recently was part of the executive management team at a full service brokerage house. He assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Meritas Financial in September of 2000 and has been instrumental in bringing to the market a new family of socially responsible funds, under the brand name of Meritas SRI Funds.He attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario obtaining his Bachelor of Business Administration.  He has followed up his schooling with a variety of investment courses and is certified as a Canadian Investment Manager and is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.

Jane Ambatchsheer

Jane Ambachtsheer is a National Partner of Mercer Investment Consulting, based in Toronto. She leads Mercer’s global responsible investment business, and consults to investors in North America, Europe and Australasia. Prior to joining Mercer, Jane worked for the pension benchmarking firm CEM, in Amsterdam and Toronto.  Jane was consultant to the United Nations through the development of the Principles for Responsible Investment. She is a global advisor to the Carbon Disclosure Project, and sits on the board of the Canadian Social Investment Organisation. In 2005, Jane was recognised by Global Proxy Watch as one of the top 10 “Architects of Governance”.  Jane holds a Bachelor of Economics and English literature with honours from York University, and a Master of Social Science from the University of Amsterdam. She is a faculty member at the University of Toronto, where she co-teaches a graduate course on responsible investment.

Jason Robinson

Jason Robinson is the Founder & CEO of Sustainability Television, an independent social enterprise media company which shares proprietary and crowd-sourced content encouraging healthier, more vibrant communities and lifestyles.

Prior to founding Sustainability Television, Mr. Robinson held various finance related positions, most recently as a Bank Manager with CIBC, an Investment Advisor for BMO Nesbitt Burns, and VP Marketing of Synnova Capital Corporation’s – Corporate Finance Division.

Mr. Robinson’s broad based leadership skills are derived from venture capital consulting, 18 years experience in the media industry, and involvement in various community non-profit organizations’ committees and boards of directors.  He is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking, recreational hockey and the occasional swim in the ocean.

Jennifer Coulson

Jennifer Coulson is the Manager of Corporate Engagement for NEI Investments. Jennifer has been with the predecessor company, Ethical Funds, since 2001 and her primary responsibilities currently include managing Canada’s leading Corporate Engagement Program. This involves overseeing engagement on over 50 companies in the Ethical Funds portfolio and proxy voting activity for the entire fund family company.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Environment & Resource Management from The University of Western Ontario and a graduate degree in Environmental Studies from York University. She has also obtained a Certificate in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Seattle, Washington.

Kevin Ranney

Kevin brings more than 13 years of experience in the field of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research to his role as a director of Jantzi-Sustainalytics’ advisory services team. He has played a key role in the development of the firm’s research and rating methodology and has more than 10 years of experience working with a variety of asset owners and investment managers to incorporate ESG considerations into their investment policies, strategies and processes.
Kevin also plays a key role in overseeing Sustainalytics’ thought leadership activities. Kevin is a former director of the board of Canada’s Social Investment Organization (SIO) and a current member of the SIO’s Policy and Advocacy Committee. He also sits on the board of Oikocredit Canada and is a member of the Global 100 Council of Experts as well as the Advisory Committee of the Climate Change Adaptation Project of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Kevin holds degrees from the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and the University of Notre Dame.

Lisa Hayles

Lisa Hayles is Head of Client Services (North America) at EIRIS.   Founded in 1983, EIRIS provides research on corporate environmental, social, governance (ESG) and other ethical performance indicators to more than 150 institutional investors around the world. EIRIS’ clients range from those who use our research for stock selection or exclusion, to pension funds and other institutional investors applying an engagement or sustainability overlay to their investment strategy.

In her current role, Lisa supports institutional fund managers and pension funds in North America seeking to implement a variety of RI strategies in their investment processes. She also serves as a resource person on RI issues to several independent investment committees. She joined EIRIS in November 2003 and previously worked at the Social Investment Organization in Toronto, Canada where she was assistant director.

Lisa holds degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph in Canada and Université de Toulouse Le Mirail in France.

Martin Bourqui

As a student at Tufts University, Martin took on the challenge of raising awareness and questions about his university’s commitment to being a more responsible investor with the support of REC. He now has has the privilege of supporting campaigns and initiatives on campuses nationwide as REC’s national organizer. Martin was born in England, raised in Texas, educated in the Boston area, and now lives in New York City. While REC has shaped and informed his activism and organizing above all for the past several years, he has also worked with Citizens for Voter Choice, a grassroots campaign to propose instant runoff voting on the Massachusetts ballot, the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, and at Americans for Democratic Action in Washington, D.C. When not discussing our political, economic, and educational systems, Martin enjoys playing the piano and guitar, and looking for the next big ideas that will shape our society’s future.

Natalie Beinisch

Natalie Beinisch runs the Academic Network at the PRI. She is responsible for facilitating research on responsible investment and ensuring that research is well communicated to the investment community. In this role she has the luck to work with several universities and research networks including the Sustainable Investment Research Platform, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, St. Andrews and the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard. Natalie’s professional background is in executive development, having previously worked at Duke Corporate Education.

She has lived and worked in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and Singapore. Apart from her work at the PRI, Natalie is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, studying chocolate and toy regulation and blogs for the Global Policy Journal. When not consumed by these activities, she is most likely out for a run.

Olaf Weber

Dr. Olaf Weber, associate professor at the School for Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) holds the Export Development Canada Chair in Environmental Finance. His research and teaching interests are in the area of environmental and sustainable finance with a focus on sustainable financial and credit risk management, socially responsible investment, social banking and the link between sustainability and financial performance of enterprises. Part of this research is financial risk and opportunities caused by carbon markets and carbon regulations. Before joining the University of Waterloo he was head of the Sustainable Banking Group of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich.

Paula Barrios

Paula Barrios leads SHARE’s research and shareholder engagement on environmental issues, including oil sands reclamation, sustainable forestry, climate change, toxic chemicals and sustainability reporting.

She brings over seven years of experience doing research on a range of environmental issues, both as a graduate student and as a legal advisor to Colombia’s Ministry of Environment.

For the past six years, she has been a report writer/editor for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), covering United Nations conferences and multilateral negotiations related to the environment. She also covered a number of international environmental negotiations as a freelance report writer for the United Nations office in Nairobi (UNON).

Paula holds a Ph.D. in international environmental law and a Masters degree in law from the University of British Columbia, as well as a law degree from the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.

Tessa Hebb

Tessa Hebb is the Director of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation at Carleton University.  Her research focuses on the financial and extra-financial impact of pension-fund investment in Canada and internationally with particular emphasis on responsible investment and corporate engagement, and is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Hebb is also a senior research associate with the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (in the U.K.) and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (in the U.S.). In 2008, she completed a multi-year research project funded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations on the role of U.S. public-sector pension funds and urban revitalization, based at the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School.  Dr. Hebb has published many articles on pension-fund investing policies and is the co-editor of the volume Working Capital: The Power of Labor’s Pensions. Her latest book published by Cornell University Press in 2008 is No Small Change: Pension Fund Corporate Engagement.

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