Jacie is a Nihiyaw iskwew, child at heart, and member of Bigstone Cree Nation of Treaty 8 territory. She left home at an early age, attended school in Edmonton where she faced many milestones and rose to meet numerous adversities apart from her family and community. Her personal growths led her to understanding the importance of one’s connection to culture, land and community for success and well-being.
During her Post-Secondary education Jacie began her journey as a mother. Her two daughters further inspired her academic endeavours and reaffirmed her journey toward reconciliation for her people. She attained a Bachelor of Arts in International Indigenous studies with a minor in Geography at the University of Calgary. Her involvement with academia, the Native Centre and the greater student body revealed many truths about history, pedagogies, and her own past. Jacie served as External executive to the student club, the First Nations Students’ Association, Jacie enlarged her personal circles and ventured to the Peruvian Amazon. Introduced to local Indigenous groups, and participate in ceremony, this carved a deeper path on her healing journey toward reconciliation for a more culturally and spiritually based connection to land and people.
Her deepest strengths and inspirations are drawn from being a mother. Her daughters exemplify the importance of kindness, creativity, adaptability and playful nature to face the world in times of change. Combining her academic education, spiritual growth and experience she intends to dig up medicines written in land practices, and rekindle identities through reclaiming our stories, our songs, ceremonies and lifeways to reveal truths. To nourish enduring spiritual and cultural ties to guide understanding, unity and strength for the purpose of moving forward for future generations.
Born and raised in Calgary, Holliston (Holly) is honoured to call Calgary home. Holly is a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, and has a proud Saulteaux-Scottish heritage. Holly attended the University of Calgary, where after many degree changes she found her passion and graduated with a B.Sc. in Psychology. She continues to be involved in psychology research at the Addictive Behaviours Laboratory at the University of Calgary, where she is currently researching lay epidemiological perspectives of video game addictions.
Currently, Holly works as a Charity Relations Coordinator, Lead at Benevity – a locally founded B-Corporation. As a Charity Relations Coordinator, Holly assists charities world-wide in building relationships with a network of corporate giving, matching, and volunteering programs. She is passionate about supporting the non-profit sector, and has experience working within various non-profits herself, including the Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Initiative (N.A.P.I. Program), and Wellspring Calgary.
In her free time, Holly volunteers with a variety of charitable organizations around Calgary. She currently sits as a member of the Board of Directors at Pathways Community Services Association, and as the Social Media Team Lead for the Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge Committee at Wellspring Calgary. In her down time, you can often find Holly curled up under a blanket watching Netflix and crocheting.
Through Next Up, Holly hopes to explore the many diverse social and environmental issues facing our communities today, and intertwine these learnings into her current community involvements.`
Emily is a social worker and feminist. Right now she works in reproductive and sexual health at an abortion clinic. She is honored to offer compassion and respect to individuals and believes this work is about justice and liberation. She has also worked in areas of mental health, addictions, and pediatrics. Emily tries to find points of connection with others in order to understand their diverse experiences of human suffering and resilience within a justice context.
Emily’s background in feminism and women’s studies anchors her approach to relationships. Emily has experienced privilege, invisibility, and oppression. It has been immensely meaningful to use these experiences to learn and unlearn ways of acting as a white settler on Treaty territory.
Emily has discovered a passion for engaging groups of people around sensitive issues, such as sexual assault public education. It has been humbling to be involved in dialogue about the influence of power systems on our lives and relationships.
Emily enjoys extra long walks with her dog, cycling all over Calgary, film noirs, and trying to understand organized sports.
Arielle’s interests are built around self-education and waste reduction. She dreams of basic income, renewables, gross happiness, open-source tech, and a free world without waste. She supports arts and music by any means necessary, and enjoys acquiring skills that challenge her to learn patience like aerial arts and violin.
From Québec, Arielle explored the frozen and flourishing backwoods of Saguenay and Gaspésie with a little axe as company, until she moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where she graduated high school and learnt about the importance of good governance, diplomacy, compassion, and the many impacts of civil unrest and inequality. She learnt a trace of Arabic and Spanish during this time, and speaks French and English natively.
Subsequently, she spent some years with her nose in countless books and finished a Bachelors in English Literature and Psychology from McGill. After noticing a lack of effective and resilient sustainability initiatives while working as an urban planning researcher and writer, she sought further education and enrolled in a Sustainable Community Development program at Simon Fraser.
She currently works with Green Event Services, a social business dedicated to diverting waste from our landfills, and volunteers with Calgary Can, a grassroots recycling initiative in support of Bottle Pickers. Her efforts are focused on bolstering business practices and developing sustainability efforts to support local communities and the move towards zero waste. Garbage be gone!
She has every intention of enjoying the company of friends, getting a Master’s degree, perfecting groovy dance moves, and exploring the many linkages within sustainability. She’s a special fan of screwball humor, and innovative big-picture thinking.
Chloe is a born and raised Calgarian. She studied Painting at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and is currently working in the fields of waste management, arts, and human services. Though they are under multiple positions at the moment, she dreams of ways these areas of interest can intersect. Important issues for Chloe are improving waste and consumption practices, gender equality, environmental justice, vibrant communities and compassionate living.
Remaining in her hometown, a city with an evolving identity, she is determined to push the boundaries of the city’s ability to be a leader in social change. She wants to contribute to the growth of the city by engaging with communities that are as inclusive as they are innovative. With a belief that positive change is happening as a direct result of an individual action, as well as coordinated efforts, she places value in surrounding herself with people that can inspire and challenge her to question what contribution on an individual level can look like. She strives for progress through open communication, patience, and a willingness to prioritize mission over comfort.
Charlene is a 1.5 generation Canadian, having spent her childhood in Makati and her formative years in Toronto. She earned an Honours BA in International Relations, Political Science, and Sociology from the University of Toronto, where she became interested in critical race and gender studies as well as qualitative research methods.
Charlene has been working in the field of public policy for several years. She has worked in both federal and provincial governments to analyze various policy areas including public health, epidemiology, Indigenous communities and engagement and currently, intergovernmental and international issues in labour. Her dedication towards equitable public policy has grown over time, as she begins to understand the profound consequences of programs and policies for everyone, especially marginalized groups. From this perspective, she is particularly interested in contradictions, intersections between theory and practice, gaps and areas of improvement within policies.
Charlene’s passion for social justice is rooted in and shaped by her experiences of violence, oppression and marginalization, as well as those of her loved ones. Growing up, she struggled with internalized racism and is in the process of forging a path and community for herself as a woman of colour from a working class family. She is a survivor of family violence and is now a volunteer and a Member of the Board of Directors for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. In the near future, she hopes to further her education, become more involved in community and grassroots initiatives, and be a mentor to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Charlene’s idea of success is to build upon the work and activism of her predecessors that has allowed her to navigate through her life’s challenges so far. Ultimately, her goal is to share her abilities and resources so that others may have a better chance of having a good quality of life.
During her free time, Charlene divides her time between Calgary and Edmonton. She likes to be with her loved ones, binge watch on Netflix (she is currently watching Naruto Shippuden), take care of her cat and her plants, and browse the furniture section of kijiji. Her proudest accomplishment is finally being an aquarist, something she’s always wanted to do. She raises pet shrimp and will gladly give baby shrimp to those who ask.
Born in Gatineau, Quebec, Thana spent his early years living in Ottawa where he was raised speaking French, English and Thai. He attended the University of Guelph, where he was actively involved in student politics and graduated with a Bachelors of Engineering Degree.
Thana currently works in Calgary as an Environmental Engineer with a company that specializes in stormwater management and wetland designs. His role is strongly focused on engaging politicians and stakeholders on removing barriers to innovative technologies in Alberta. Thana earlier worked in environmental compliance and oil and gas air emissions analysis.
Thana was a candidate in the Calgary Centre riding for the Green Party of Canada in the 2015 Federal general election. He also ran in the 2016 Calgary-Greenway Provincial by-election, representing the Green Party of Alberta. Furthermore, Thana is the Director of Sustainability for the Marda Loop Community Association, an Ambassador for the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, and a Shadow Cabinet Member of the Green Party of Alberta. He volunteers frequently at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, and attends meetings and discussions throughout the city on homelessness, sustainability, energy, and other local initiatives.
From a young age, Thana has been passionate about politics and the environment. Having been raised in an ethnic community, he understands that it is important to include all cultural and socio-economical groups when developing policy.
In his spare time, Thana plays hockey, is an avid snowboarder, writes music, dabbles in photography, learns about anything space related, and is often in the mountains enjoying Mother Nature.
Jana is a feminist, advocate, and critical thinker who loves to learn, challenge herself and explore the unknown. Originally hailing from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Jana graduated with a Bachelor degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary in 2011 with her senior practicum taking place in Pune, India. While living in Calgary, Jana worked on the frontlines of the homelessness sector and volunteered at the Distress Centre on a crisis line. Jana then traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2013 to complete her Master of Social Work degree where she engaged in anti-oppressive practice and (un)learning. During her time out east, Jana worked with the Nova Scotia Advisory Council Status of Women where she researched for development of their provincial sexual violence prevention strategy and assisted in organizing a Campaign School for women. Currently, Jana works as a Social Worker at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, volunteers for the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, and is a board member for Starfish Family Resources. Jana enjoys reading, being active, and engaging in dynamic conversations around dominant social discourse. She hopes to continually be a part of anti-oppressive change within herself, community, and society.
Although Jenn now calls Calgary home, she is grateful for learning experiences in British Columbia’s interior and along its west coast, the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec and the cape flats of South Africa. She works in a professional role that combines her interest for public policy, the environment, and indigenous people and is motivated by a sense of urgency to act on the issues that matter most to her. Jenn believes that growth happens when we move outside of our comfort zone and strives to create meaning not only in her life, but also in the lives of others.
Jenn enjoys cycling, reading, and listening to podcasts. She dreams of beginning a community garden behind her downtown apartment and remains inspired by the power of storytelling and the importance of understanding history. She is an advocate for recycling and waste reduction and using her plant press whenever she is out on a hike. Jenn is committed to working towards a better world and believes that the best conversations are had over a piece of dark chocolate.
Joseph is a multilingual, musically talented, science-loving Calgarian who is passionate about creating an empathetic Canada. He pursued his passion for music and travelled across Canada in a band. This opened his eyes and gave him pride, faith, and optimism in Canadians. His studies in zoology, or the "art school of science" as he puts it, from the University of Calgary led him to job in a veterinary parasitology lab and the opportunity to travel to Nunavut to collect samples and do community outreach to schools there. After graduating, he spent 8 months in Italy travelling and connecting with his family to learn more about where his parents grew up.
Currently Joseph spends his time playing music, learning languages and working at Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre, creating environmental and water based school programs. Joseph wants to promote the Canada he believes in, our unique caring qualities and to restore Canada's compassionate and caring reputation in the world.