SPN Executive Committee
Chair: Maria Topalovic
Maria Topalovic is an environmental professional with experience in sustainability awareness, environmental compliance, community and stakeholder engagement, and policy analysis. She is passionate about promoting healthy and sustainable lifestyles and wants to work toward shaping policy that enhances and sustains the world’s built, natural and social environments. Maria pursued her studies at McMaster University, where she received a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering & Management and a Master of Engineering & Public Policy. She has always called Hamilton home and enjoys working towards making it a more resilient city!
Vice-Chair: Liz Nield
Liz specializes in organizational design, training, and collaborative planning – especially in developing community and corporate sustainability plans. Her approach focuses on empowering people to discover, dream, design, and deliver. Liz is a creative and strategic systems-thinker and uses appreciative inquiry methods to establish integrity and trust in process participants. She is a strong and respected integrator, ensuring that community values and ideas are synthesized and embedded into public policy in every project she works on. Liz, has an MBA from Royal Roads University, and is also an accomplished speaker, trainer and proponent of “Guided Learning”. Liz is the CEO of Lura Consulting (www.lura.ca)
Jay Carter - Collaborations
Jay moved to Hamilton from Nova Scotia in 2007 to pursue his undergraduate degree at McMaster University in Geography & Environmental Studies and very quickly fell in love with the city. Since uprooting from his rural life, Jay has stayed involved in the sustainability scene starting with MacGreen and the McMaster Office of Sustainability leading into various roles with different City of Hamilton departments, as well as non-profits such as Environment Hamilton, SWANA, and most recently, Evergreen CityWorks. As Collaborations Coordinator and current Master's of Environment & Resource Studies (MES), Jay puts his diversity of interests to use to ensure the work of SPN reflects the most pressing and contemporary social-ecological issues and their solutions.
Jayde Liebersbach - Communications
Jayde endeavours to be the change she wants to see in the world around her, as she strives toward a brighter future for our planet. Through her years in architectural design in Hamilton and abroad, Jayde has always tried to apply innovative sustainable design practices to create healthy and efficient homes and communities. It is her belief that humanity can achieve a natural symbiosis within our environment, through comprehensive design strategies that incorporate: aesthetics, usability, life cycle costing, and eco friendly and carbon neutral alternatives. As a lifelong student she continually improves her knowledge on sustainability and community building and it is her hope to one day live in a world where designs that incorporate the aspirations and desires of the people with the intrinsic beauty of nature, are more prominent in every aspect of society.
Peter Topalovic - HIVE Liaison & Projects
Peter is a Project Manager and policy analyst specializing in transportation policy, municipal and regional affairs, environmental economics and sustainable infrastructure design, analysis and research. Interests: Sustainable Infrastructure Policy Research (including the areas of transit, green building design, alternative energy, and source water protection) and the Business Case for Sustainability (rapid transit, the barriers to attracting sustainable companies to municipalities, and the advantages and disadvantages of voluntary corporate governance).
Janelle Trant - Events Coordinator
Janelle works for the City of Hamilton as a Project Manager, Transportation Management and is an active volunteer in the Hamilton community.
Janelle obtained a Master of Science, Earth Sciences from McMaster University, a Bachelor of Science, Environmental Sciences, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Project Management from Sheridan College.
Kate Whalen - Education and Mentorship
As Senior Manager, Academic Sustainability Programs at McMaster University (asp.mcmaster.ca), Kate directs the development and operation of various aspects of academic sustainability at the University, including providing the overall direction for the Sustainable Future Program, Sustainability Internship Program, GUCEL Program, and Minor in Sustainability. Community engagement, as it relates to academic sustainability, is central to Kate's role and includes building and fostering relationships, and forming collaborations with students, faculty, staff, and members of the broader Hamilton community.
In her role as SPN’s Educational and Mentorship Coordinator, Kate focuses on the Community-based Leadership in Sustainability (CLS) initiative (http://www.hamiltonspn.com/community-based-leadership-in-sustainability-cls/). The members of the CLS sub committee work with various individuals, groups, institutions, and organizations within Hamilton to facilitate educational and networking events with the goals to develop a culture of sustainability through education, community engagement, and collaboration that inspires practical implementation. All CLS events are free and open to all.