Born and raised in Calgary and inspired by her progressive, eco-focused parents from a young age – Kate Letizia became an unyielding combatant for equality, human rights and environmental health before she even knew how to 'fight'. Educational and professional adventures throughout Latin America, Sweden, the Philippines, and now her hometown, created opportunities to build and refine an arsenal to generate positive, lasting change.
While her education (MSc in International Development and Natural Resource Management) and recent career and community focus has been on reframing waste and legitimizing non-conventional forms of employment and living (check out Calgary Can), a recent fellowship opportunity with SiG International vaulted Kate into the world of complex problems, social innovation and transformational change across Alberta. Armed with an even more diverse toolkit of human-centered, generative changemaking devices, and a few years of climate and social justice activism under her belt, Kate is now ready to focus her energy on what may be the biggest battle she’ll ever face: transforming the way her local and provincial peers, counterparts and communities respond to climate change and our collective future. Kate wants to live in a city, and province, where climate change is taken seriously and responded to fairly, intelligently and creatively. Kate was a participant in Next Up Calgary (2013 - 2014) and in the 2015 Climate Leadership Program.
Aisha Zaman is a feminist, political junkie, food and wine enthusiast, and an activist. She joined Next Up as a participant in 2012 after completing her undergrad at the University of Calgary with a BA in Law and Society. During her years at the UofC she was involved in social justice causes related to the rights of children, Muslims, and First Nations in Canada. After finishing Next Up, Aisha organized a feminist book club with other Next Up participants and friends in order to give them a safe space to discuss the world through a feminist lens and be critical.
Aisha strongly believes in participating in democracy to shape better policies by being involved in campaigning and through political parties. Since the Harper government’s second win, she has been involved in every election Calgary has been effected by. She is most interested in policies around Climate Change, First Nations, and Immigration. Aisha studied Immigration Law through the University of British Columbia in 2015, and became a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in 2016. She also joined the Next Up staff in 2016 by becoming a Program Assistant for the Climate Leadership Program (CLP) which ran throughout Alberta for it’s first year. Sadly, Aisha won’t be able to work on the second year, as she is moving to Ottawa in the summer of 2017 to gain more work experience in the public sector.
When Aisha is not working on the aforementioned activities, she enjoys dining at restaurants with a local ingredient mandate and who serve natural wines, spending time in yoga studios, and running.
Kristin moved to Edmonton in June 2012 after accepting a position with Alberta Culture. She also convocated in June with a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Saskatchewan. Her academic interests include social, comparative and regulatory policy, along with broad topic areas such as international development and federalism. Kristin has been involved in a variety of social justice initiatives having worked at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan in a variety of roles, Crocus Cooperative (a drop in centre for people with mental health disabilities) as an Employment Facilitator, and as a volunteer with the World University Service of Canada assisting refugees through the settlement process in Canada. She was also a volunteer participant with Katimavik and Youth Challenge International.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Kristin grew up on a small mixed farm and actively participated in sports and small town community events. Kristin’s favorite things include visits to Guatemala, mountain biking at Jasper, yoga, cooking, going back to the farm that she grew up on and curling in the winter. She speaks Spanish, enjoys reading, following politics and has a particular fondness for vintage and antique items.
Eric grew up in Flamborough, Ontario, which is (was?) a sleepy rural area of cows and corn just outside of the Southwestern Ontario urban development complex. After completing his Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, he travelled to Edmonton to complete his Master of Public Health degree. In Edmonton he met an amazing lady, they decided to get married, and now he calls Edmonton home. Eric is passionate about implementing community engagement strategies that allow communities themselves to define how systems internal and external to their community may provide facilitators or barriers to their current health situation. Throughout his education and early career Eric has been engaging communities in the process of defining, implementing and evaluating projects and interventions. Examples of initiative topics include: exposure of northern Aboriginal/Inuit communities to environmental contaminants; exposure of Albertan communities to physical/built environments that are related to physical activity and healthy eating behaviours; and a currently-developing process that will engage an Edmonton Community League in a process of dialogue that identifies community physical/human resources for advocating for a shift to eco-mobility transportation options. Aside from community engagement and social justice, Eric’s professional and personal interests include: sustainability; active living generally and active transportation specifically; citizenship; backyard and indoor gardening; urban farming; and food security.
Carmen, a mother of two children, Quest and Pride, divides her time between, home life, school and volunteer work. Currently, she is involved with Standing Up For Peruvian Children Society, Next Up (Edmonton) and is working toward her degree in Social Work. If there are to be changes in the world that are positive, it begins with looking at ones self and our own behavior, from there it makes life much easier to come together and work collectively to make huge changes in this world…. On a side note, material items are just that material, …come on are we going to be able to take them to the other side???
Anna McRobbie is a RN, community organizer, festival junkie, event promotor and dancer. Radicalized by working with Common Ground Relief in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Anna believes in democracy, social justice, celebration and community. She is a founding member of ARK event productions, Mosaic Minds Unconferences and the creator of the youth voter initiative Voting Time is Sexy Time. Group process, organizational structure, environmentalism and health fascinate Anna. She combines these skills with a passion for empowerment and equity. We are the ones we have been waiting for, let’s create a better world!
Aliza Dadani is a participant of Next Up 4, and super stoked to be part of such an awesome crew! Her background is in Political Science and Women’s Studies, and has a particular interest in non-profit social services that seek to support women. Currently, she works for the Center for Race and Culture and does research for a women’s emergency shelter. She is the youngest member of a political Alberta Women’s Caucus, and sits on the Social Welfare Board for the Edmonton Ismaili Community. She is a big advocate for ‘personalizing the political,’ where taking the time to facilitate heart-to-heart conversation can be one of the most powerful tools of change.
Born and raised in the heart of Edmonton, I have been exposed to many of it’s issues at a young age. I have actively been involved with volunteering in the community for various events and fundraisers throughout my schooling career. After graduating I took time off to travel, and since then I have dabbled in various post secondary subjects such as Nursing, Nutrition and Environmental Studies though many of these issues led to my internal frustration with the way our current society conducts itself. Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Change for Children through a volunteer organization called Project HOPE, where we fundraised money to help promote equal access to education in the indigenous areas of Nicaragua. It was through this initiative that me and me teammates were awarded Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2012. These life events that have inspired me to per sue a career that will benefit society and really make a change. Recently I have had a opportunity to work with David Eggen on his 2012 campaign for NPD as well as continuing to work with Change for Children. Currently I have participated in hosting CFC’s Video Conference for Hope, an educational and cultural experience held throughout Canada, the United States and Nicaragua, as well as co-coordinating their Youth Council on Food Justice where I act as an advocate of my passions, sustainable living and food security, for adolescents. Other interests of mine include international/rural development, health, communal living, music festivals and world travel. I look forward to learning the tools to per sue my interests even further through the Next Up Program.
Noelle is an alumna of Next Up Edmonton 4. She recently completed a Master’s in Public and International Affairs, focusing on immigration/refugee issues and health policy. Prior to that, Noelle completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle Eastern and African Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, both at the University of Alberta. Noelle is currently the Government Relations and Outreach Coordinator at the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. She also teaches an interprofessional health course on working with vulnerable populations at the U of A, and is an Associate Consultant with the Centre for Race and Culture.
Noelle’s experience spans working on policy issues locally with a variety of non-governmental organizations, provincially with Alberta Health Services, and federally with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and at the Embassy of Canada in Vietnam. In addition to Vietnam, she has international development experience in rural areas of Kenya and Tanzania, primarily in community health. Noelle’s main area of community work right now is with refugee policy, and is currently working to address the exploitation of refugees through Canada’s refugee transportation loan program.
David just recently graduated last May from the University of Alberta. He currently holds a BA in Political Science and History. After graduating from university, David noticed that he unfortunately lacked the leadership skills that he desired and would need to have in order to make his imprint on the world. After reflecting for some time, David discovered that he had spent enough time analyzing and thinking, and it was time for him to act. Luckily, David became aware of Next-Up through the Parkland Institute and promptly applied. More luck came to David and now he is a Next-Up participant! By becoming a part of Next-Up, David hopes to gain certain experiences and to meet and connect with like-minded individuals who would also like to make a positive imprint on the world. Personally, David recently became interested in feminist critical theory and queer theory. As a consequence of these interests, David holds many social issues close to his heart (for example, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and rights for all disenfranchised groups in Canada). In addition, there is also the issue of the environment that is very close to his heart as well. With a bit of luck one day, David hopes to blend his work life with his activist life.