Meet our staff
Next Up coordinators come from a wide range of backgrounds: public policy, community activism, labour, the non-profit sector, and research. We are all involved in social and environmental justice work. We’ve created this program because we believe that a better world is not just possible, but an imperative.
We believe that good solutions to the biggest issues are out there, and can be realized. We have different approaches to teaching and learning, but we all believe that a new generation of progressive leaders is needed and should be supported.
Kevin Millsip, Co-founder & Director // Next Up
Kevin is the Co-founder and Director of Next Up.
Over the last ten years Kevin has focused on building the capacity of young social change leaders across Canada, food security and climate change work.
Kevin has driven social change both locally and nationally. As the former Director and Co-founder of Check Your Head, he worked with thousands of high school age youth to become involved in global justice issues and through Get Your Vote On – a non-partisan campaign that he co-founded in 2004 - has run campaigns to register thousands of young people to vote in BC elections. He’s dabbled in municipal politics where he served as a Vancouver School Board Trustee. While a Trustee he drafted one of Canada’s strongest policies protecting students from advertising in schools.
Kevin does Sustainability Planning with the Vancouver School Board in the areas of urban food systems and active transportation.
He speaks and leads workshops on social change and public engagement for unions and other progressive organizations across the country.
Other stuff: Kevin is a Dialogue Associate with The Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue, a Fellow with the Broadbent Institute and serves as an advisor with Upstream, the Small Change Fund and The Centre for Civic Governance. He currently serves as the Chair of the BC Board of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the board of Theatre for Living.
Lindsay Ruth Hunt, Program Coordinator // Next Up Edmonton
Lindsay Ruth Hunt is a community-engaged theatre artist, critical educator, and researcher. She is passionate about the role of arts in activism and social justice projects and believes that critical education and art can provide a necessary means to intervene in/change our troubling social and environmental realities. In her work she aims to engage with communities and to transform social structures in a manner that improves the capacity of individuals, communities and society at large. She envisions and works with arts as a tool for promoting such change, advocating for a more equitable and just society through a creative means. Her practice has been focused on the use of Theatre of the Oppressed but more recently is branching out to multiple modes of art and community engagement…all in the hopes of educating, inspiring, provoking and working toward social justice.
Her background includes a BFA in theatre and development, an M.Ed. focusing on popular education and the arts, and she is currently a PhD candidate, investigating the potential of activist and interventionist art.
Mike Byerley, Program Coordinator // Next Up Calgary
Sentiment without Action is the ruin of the Soul
~ Edward Abbey
Sentiment without Action is the ruin of the Soul
~ Edward Abbey
Today the world is wracked in urgent crises. How are these to be faced and still leave space to work for the good of future generations? In Alberta I’m constantly told that the Petrostate economy is “how it is” and we have no alternative system to be a part of. As an Albertan, I can see how changes made through connecting on ideas and values has profound impact. As an educator I see that skills, capacity and collaboration create and empower personal and systemic change. As a community organizer I see that shared purpose, common action and inclusion are successful in building the movement for justice. These are exciting times, sometimes fearful, often hopeful. Lately I'm finding my inspiration in finding other action oriented people and taking the steps to create just solutions to the intersecting climate and social issues we face here in Alberta.
In addition to coordinating Next Up Calgary, I produce events, work for a waste diversion company and provide digital consulting. In other days I have worked as a: research scientist, team manager at a large co-op, petroleum geologist and civil servant. My volunteer efforts include serving on the boards of a variety of environmental and social justice groups. I also work as a grassroots organizer to support community and capacity building, corporate accountability and Indigenous rights.
Tracey Mitchell, Program Coordinator // Next Up Saskatchewan
Tracey Mitchell is a settler from Treaty 4 Territory (Moose Jaw), now living in Treaty 6 Territory (Saskatoon). A social justice and environmental activist since the age of 13, Tracey sits on the national board of The Council of Canadians and is a founding member of Bus Riders of Saskatoon. She has written for various publications including Briarpatch Magazine and the book and website Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution.
Tracey ran her own facilitation business from 2009 to 2014 and now works as a Peer Support Mentor at Mental Health and Addiction Services, putting her own lived experience of depression to good use in supporting others. Tracey has also been the Saskatchewan Coordinator for Next Up for five years, supporting the 7-month and 5-day programs. She is taking care of logistics for our time together so she's your contact for questions about food, travel, childcare subsidies, etc.
Hailing from southern Ontario, Sam moved to Ottawa in 2005 to pursue her undergrad at the University of Ottawa. Her major introduction to social movements began on campus, where her disdain for militarism led her to join the Student Coalition Against War. As an anti-war and anti-apartheid organizer, Sam has worked extensively with a variety of community partners to build up public pressure against harmful Canadian foreign policy. She spent several years working in the student movement, most recently as the Membership Coordinator of the Graduate Students' Association at Carleton University, where she organized campaigns.
While pursuing a master’s degree in political economy at Carleton University, Sam worked as Co-Chief Steward of CUPE local 4600, and promoted workers’ rights and labour solidarity among Carleton’s campus community.
Passionate about Indie media, Sam sits on the editorial board of RankandFile.ca, a site committed to providing Canadian labour news and analysis from a critical perspective.
Sam likes hiking, camping, and biking, and is stoked to finally set up shop on the West Coast, where Vancouver makes form some nice mountain gazing and gallivanting. In her down time, she seeks out different musical outlets, including drums, guitar, and ukelele.
Sam first got involved with Next Up as the founding coordinator for Next Up Ottawa. Now she’s looking forward to getting to meet and collaborate with the many networks of progressives and Next Up alumni throughout BC.
Seth Klein, Co-founder & Instructor with Next Up
Seth was hired to open the CCPA’s BC Office in 1996. Under his direction it has become a prominent and widely respected source of public policy research and commentary. Seth’s research deals primarily with welfare policy, poverty, inequality and economic security. A social activist for over 20 years and a former teacher, Seth holds a BA in international relations, a BEd from the University of Toronto and an MA in political science from Simon Fraser University. Seth is a founding board member with the Vancouver-based Centre for Native Policy and Research. He is also co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance, a board member of the Canada Without Poverty Advocacy Network, and an advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice. Seth has been listed by Vancouver Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in the city, and by Homemakers Magazine among the “60 men we love.” He does not know how he ended up on either list, but he humbly accepts the latter.
Rana Hamadeh, Program Coordinator // Next Up Ottawa
Rana Hamadeh is a Palestinian-Canadian student, activist, artist, and writer. Over the past six years, she has been immersed in community organizing, both locally in Ottawa, and in her second home, the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
While working on her BA in human rights and law at Carleton University, Rana became interested in organizing for students issues, from food poverty to reviving the fight for accessible tuition. On campus, she became a member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) and joined their battle for a socially ethical investment policy at Carleton. She also volunteers with the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), a centre for student organizing on the lines of social, environmental, and economic justice. In Palestine, she worked as an independent journalist and within local direct-action activism collectives.
Rana will always contend that change is possible if we push the right buttons. She is all about expanding practical understandings and building useful skills. Rana’s passion for work with oppressed and marginalized peoples is informed by her experiences: arriving in Canada as a settler and a refugee; growing up in the Palestinian diaspora, and resisting exile as an adult; and living in Canada as a woman of colour. She is interested in creating spaces where oppression and colonization can be addressed and deconstructed, for the betterment of our movements and ourselves.
Nadia Kidwai, Program Coordinator // Next Up Manitoba
Nadia was born and raised in Cardiff, Wales. After graduating from Oxford University with a B.A. and M.A. in Politics and History, she moved straight to Winnipeg in 2004 (it's her husband's fault, he's a Winnipegger). For the past decade, Nadia has worked across various sectors, each intersecting with her passion for working on issues related to diversity, multiculturalism, community development and capacity building, particularly within the newcomer community. She began working for several grassroots and non-profit organisations and then went on to work for the Government of Manitoba, Dept. of Multiculturalism and Immigration as a research consultant. In 2011 she began working for CBC Manitoba as a journalist and continues to freelance for CBC and write for the Winnipeg Free Press. Nadia was the co-founder and program designer of the Canadian Muslim Leadership Institute and program manager for CMLI from 2012- 2014. Currently Nadia is the Co-Chair of the Institute for International Women's Rights and board member of the Legal Help Centre. She is the mother of 2 young boys and therefore well versed in Minecraft, Pokemon and other equally important cultural phenomena.
Janelle Pewapsconias is a nehiyaw iskwesis (Plains Cree woman) from Little Pine First Nation, Treaty 6 territory. Janelle is a mother, volunteer and an advocate for environmental and social justice. She walks with “two eyes open”, meaning she always carries her traditional worldviews and values as she journeys through life in Saskatoon.
Janelle’s aim is to create a better living for Indigenous women and children, and for the planet. She works to create better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people on Turtle Island. She currently works at the University of Saskatchewan at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre. In her role she was able to create an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural relationship building program called Building Bridges, in partnership with the International Student and Study Abroad Centre.
In 2015, Janelle facilitated the Next Up: First Nations & Metis Youth in Action intensive program after participating in the 2014 program. She hopes to not only help strong young Indigenous people gain more skills and knowledge about social, environmental and cultural inequality, but also hopes to learn more about training young people and using tools to better build herself.
Kari-Dawn Wuttunee is a young Cree woman from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Treaty Six Territory who now resides in Saskatoon . Kari currently works with the Saskatoon Health Region as the Aboriginal Community Developer with Primary Health – in this role Kari is able to advocate for Aboriginal wellness and health while working in teams of health professionals and providers.
She has been spending her time passionately advocating for young women within her community, tackling issues such as reproductive health, anto-racism and anti-oppressive systematic policies. This work has opened up the platform for Kari-dawn to attend youth forums and gathering to provide insight and support of young Indigenous women providing a framework of understanding through anti-racism views.
She is currently a youth regional director for the Native Women’s Association of Canada and represents youth for the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation. Through her experience within her community and volunteer work with National Aboriginal Organizations, it became apparent that neo-colonialism and racism often govern the decisions of Indigenous peoples rights. This has sparked a fire that burns in Kari-Dawn, as she works towards facilitating change, and restructuring at different levels of governing systems. Kari is an alumnus of Next Up's 7-month program, and a member of our advisory committee. She will help facilitate the first and last day of our five days together.
The Next Up Partnership
Next Up is a growing network of social change leaders across Canada.
Each Next Up program city has its own advisory committee made up of great people in that community who are working to make a better world. Advisory committee members come from community organizations, the public andprivate sectors, not-for-profits and trade unions. The amazing people on the advisory committees volunteer their time to help with program design and delivery in their region and help make community connections between participants and leaders in the community.
One of the goals of NU is to build and support a network of young social change leaders across the country. NU grads are working on inspiring and amazing projects across Canada and around the world. The network is a way for the alumni to stay in touch, to work with each other and to support current program participants. The network currently consists of over 275 graduates.
The host and founding organization for Next Up is genius (the global youth education network society). genius is the art of non-habitual thinking, and that’s how we approach social change work. genius is a charitable not-for-profit that works in four areas: leadership, civic engagement, project incubation and cross generational collaboration.
In BC, Next Up partners with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)– BC Office. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute focused on social and economic justice. It is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.
In Alberta, we partner with The Parkland Institute. Parkland Institute is an Alberta-wide, non-partisan research centre situated within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. Parkland Institute studies economic, social, cultural and political issues facing Albertans and Canadians, using the perspective of political economy.
In Saskatchewan, we partner with the CCPA – Saskatchewan office.