Originally hailing from Calgary, Aleah grew up in British Columbia and completed her undergraduate studies in Montreal, Quebec. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University. Throughout her time as a student, she is grateful to have had the opportunity to travel abroad, living briefly in upstate New York, San Francisco, and Sweden. She developed a passion for social justice at a young age, in large part due to her incredibly supportive family. She has worked with organizations such as Rotary International, Farm Sanctuary, End Poverty Now, Avaaz.org, and the Climate Project. She served on the Greenpeace USA Student Board from 2009-2011 where she honed her community organizing skills and co-created a training manual for youth to become active leaders in their communities.
Aleah currently works with the Council of Canadians and the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. She is involved with Alberta’s NDP and is also honoured to serve on the board for the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation.
She’s proud to call herself a new Edmontonian and is looking forward to working towards a more inclusive, liveable, participatory community in Edmonton and beyond. She loves to speak French, watch documentaries, and makes a pretty mean batch of popcorn.
Tess is 27 years old which, according to certain belief systems, means she is experiencing the “turn of Saturn”. This is known to be a time of great change, where one may experience both significant challenges and also rewards.
Tess recently took a leap of faith in ending her seven year career in Oil and Gas, and comfortable lifestyle that came along with it, for exciting and uncertain new prospects. She has since spent time learning about Urban Farming, engaging heavily in the local music scene, collaborating with her neighbours in Cliff Bungalow, and most recently exploring social justice and activism through Next Up.
In addition to dedicating much of heart to various community initiatives, Tess is a self-described passionate socializer and holds her personal relationships (including her dog, Dash) to very high regard. Her preferred form of transportation is in a bicycle gangs, she enjoys writing poetry, and looks forward to volunteering at Folk Fest which she refers to as hippie Christmas in July.
The way Tess chooses to live her life stems from her belief that, “We live now, but we exist for the future; if we didn’t, why would we care about anything?” She looks forward to what exists on her horizon, and in the mean time she embraces the learning and growth that this time of change offers.
Warren Greeves is constantly searching for ways to challenge himself. He is a thoroughly involved student at the University of Calgary, a political junkie, and a social activist.
Majoring in Economics, Warren is passionate about social as environmental sustainability and is searching for meaning beyond the growth and profit model. This desire to change the yardsticks has Warren continually challenging himself to expand his knowledge while working effectively with others for positive change.
Warren is especially interested in the relationship between energy and the environment, and has been involved in the Solar Decathlon solar-home building competition and the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy Students Association. Warren is excited to see where his involvement in NextUp will take him.
Thulasy recently returned to Calgary after living in Zambia for the past five years where she worked on various projects that served economically marginalized Zambians, first with Engineers Without Borders and then with a technology company Zoona. Her experiences have drawn her to self-organizing people who care deeply about what’s happening in the world and are game to do something about it. While she has high hopes for the future – world peace and all that good stuff – she tries to live with intention, to be present and engaged, to learn, grow, and simply practice. Thulasy keeps herself busy spending time with her husband Graham and baby daughter Marya, bringing together friends around the dinner table, following her nose through good books, and making things happen with people who want to do the same.
Seth Leon has roots in Nova Scotia and Quebec, but has spent the last five years in Calgary and southern Alberta. He currently works as a research officer for the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association. His focus is on supporting communities to form opportunity development co-operatives that finance community owned businesses. Currently he is trying to get a handle on a handful of other co-op projects related to worker-ownership, local-food, and supporting Aboriginal led economic development. Seth finds this fun, and hopes it will contribute to creating a more co-operative, equitable, and democratic economy. Seth and his brother Ben also play in a rock and roll band called Jeremy Clarkson.Last summer they played twenty-four shows in twenty-four hours in twenty-four different locations. It was very tiring.
Madeleine discovered her passion for change-driven community while studying at the University of Lethbridge, through her involvement as a board member with the Lethbridge Public Interest Group (LPIRG). Since moving back to Calgary, Madeleine has been a strong advocate for the queer community. From producing short queer history films for the Fairy Tales Film Fesival, to producing the Coming Out Monologues, YYC, Madeleine has continued to build strong allies and focus on resiliency in the LGBTQA community.
Looking back, Madeleine attributes her focus on social issues to a number of personal life experiences. Her passion for social justice has been encouraged through the opportunity to travel at a young age. Experiencing other cultures, religions, and seeing how they affect social structure has helped to broaden Madeleine’s cultural perspective. At home, Madeleine enjoys an outdoor extremist lifestyle. In addition to having spent time working with Parks Canada, Madeleine identifies as a cyclist, runner, backpacker, climber, and alpine skier. Through these pursuits, she has experienced first hand, policy changes that directly affect her outdoor lifestyle.
Madeleine is all about protection of natural spaces, building community, feminism, anti-consumerism and conscious living. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to further develop her involvement in these issues through Next Up. Most days you can find Madeleine on her bike, canning, gardening or spending time with friends, family and her amazing partner.
Leyland was unleashed into the world in Halifax, Nova Scotia, starting a journey that would lead her to the West Coast of Canada and eventually Southern Alberta. Ready to spread her wings, Leyland enrolled at the University of Lethbridge (U of L), where she became actively involved in the Students’ Union as the VP Operations & Finance. While in this position, her engagement with the community flourished, not only becoming well versed in balancing budgets, but also contributing to federal advocacy. Leyland was on fire. In brief, she served on the LPIRG board, became the News & Campus Beat editor for the Meliorist student newspaper, and captivated radio listeners with her contributions to the Coalbanks Dispatch and other programs for CKXU 88.3 FM. Convocating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology, Leyland was motivated to expand her horizons and ventured North, finding herself in Calgary. She currently attends the University of Calgary, pursuing a BA in Communication Studies, as well as spending some of her time blogging for the National Music Centre. Leyland dreams of becoming either a journalist or a lawyer, in a place where humanity is sensitive to their youth, equality permeates every corner of society and oppression is no longer substantiated.
Always in the midst of an adventure, Leslie loves exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning new things. A social justice and human rights advocate, Leslie is driven to deconstruct power structures and build communities based on equity, inclusivity, and empowerment. She is occupied with issues of poverty, the criminalization of poverty, civil liberties, and political structures. One area Leslie is currently exploring is how arts-based methods can be used to bring about social change, empower marginalized communities, and overcome barriers to political inclusion and civic participation. Leslie has a degree in Development Studies from the University of Calgary and works in Calgary’s non-profit sector in the areas of social research, policy advocacy, and initiatives targeting poverty reduction.
Leslie was born and raised in Calgary, but she’s been travelled around the world: she has biked across Ireland, cross-country skied Norway, and hiked through Central America. While living in India and attending the University of Delhi, Leslie was able to travel throughout the subcontinent – one of her best adventures to date. Leslie spends much of her time engaged in visual and textile arts, blowing her money on vinyl, biking around the city, and exploring the mountains.
Although her communities have changed, and grown to encompass many areas of Canada, Laura-Leigh is revelling in finding her voice in Calgary. Her narrative articulates a passion for sustainability, local initiatives, and environmental awareness. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and is expressed and disseminated through her work with REAP, an organization indentifying and celebrating local businesses and initiatives.
Experiencing firsthand the fundamentals of permaculture, and sustainable living in the context of the Canadian west coast, Laura-Leigh is exploring the medium of storytelling to facilitate the translation of the visceral emotions evoked by such experiences to a wider population.
Disillusioned and unable to reconcile herself to a job in government, Laura-Leigh has reoriented herself, a welcome change on many fronts. Back home in Calgary, she is positioned closer to family. Connecting, be it with family or friends, serves both as platform to transmit ideas, and provides a space to reflect.