People

Research Team

We are a small but nimble team with big hopes of changing the world.

Dr. Stephanie Bertels

Dr. Stephanie Bertels

Founder and Executive Director

Steph founded the Embedding Project and leads our research program, oversees the development of our resources and tools, and supports their implementation in our partner companies. She is a leading expert in sustainability strategy, governance, and culture and supports executive teams and boards around the world as they embed sustainability.  Steph is the VanDusen Professor of Sustainability and the Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Ever the pragmatic optimist, Steph wants to believe we can transition to an inclusive and regenerative economy. Steph on LinkedIn

Rachel Dekker

Rachel Dekker

Director, Knowledge

As Director, Knowledge, Rachel oversees and engages in the creation of Embedding Project resources and knowledge mobilisation and curation. Rachel is a social sustainability strategist and corporate social impact professional with extensive international work experience in natural resource, agriculture, circular economy, and cleantech industries, as well as the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors. She has an MPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford and a passion for systems thinking, community resilience building, business strategy, and social innovation. Rachel enjoys hiking, losing herself in books, and is particularly partial to a good cup of Earl Grey tea. Rachel on LinkedIn

Sally Crane

Sally Crane

Partnerships Director, North America

Sally oversees our North America peer network and is responsible for leading advisory services, business development, and partner support. She hosts our global peer-learning events, contributes to the development of resources on embedding sustainability, and manages the piloting of new tools with partner companies. A certified corporate responsibility professional with a degree in psychology and a master’s in business management, Sally has years of experience supporting companies on their sustainability journey and has worked in a variety of sectors including investment banking, travel, fashion, international development, and recruitment. Her international work experience has given her an appreciation of sustainability best practice across various geographies and cultures. Sally on LinkedIn

Dr. Jess Schulschenk

Dr. Jess Schulschenk

Partnerships Director, Africa & Middle East

Jess oversees our Africa and Middle East peer network. She is also the Director of South Africa’s Sustainability Institute and a lecturer with the University of Stellenbosch. She brings a wealth of research and practice knowledge from past roles in private and public sectors, including Senior Researcher with EY and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Network for Business Sustainability South Africa. Jess has a BSc in Ocean and Atmosphere Science and Environmental and Geographic Science, a MPhil in Sustainable Development, and a PhD in Business Administration. When not getting lost in the oceans and mountains, Jess can be found with her hands in the soil, helping things grow. Jess on LinkedIn

Makhegu Mabunda

Makhegu Mabunda

Engagement Manager, Africa & Middle East

Makhegu is responsible for advisory services to member companies, contributing to the development of our resources, and supporting our peer-learning events. Makhegu has 10 years of corporate sustainability experience, with practical knowledge acquired from her past role at Woolworths Holdings Ltd. She has a master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology from the University of the Western Cape, and a post graduate diploma in Sustainable Development, from the Sustainability Institute at the University of Stellenbosch. Makhegu’s downtime involves reading African fiction, trying out a new recipe in the kitchen or catching up with family. Makhegu on LinkedIn.

Ariel Fabbro

Ariel Fabbro

Knowledge Manager

As a Knowledge Manager, Ariel develops resources and writes guides, with a focus on embedded strategies and rethinking value chains. He also supports our partner companies in conducting self-reflective sustainability assessments. He has a degree in Global Studies and completed his MS in Sustainability Management at the University of Toronto. Ariel’s changemaking career in the sustainability field follows on the heels of his playmaking career on the football field. Ariel on LinkedIn

Brandon Toews

Brandon Toews

Knowledge Manager

Brandon emerged from the woods one day, as all strange things do. A master of finding the unfindable and bringing order to chaos, Brandon oversees our goals and positions databases and curates our Resource Wheel. Brandon also develops guidance and tools to help companies understand credible goal setting and take a credible public position on key issues. Brandon has a degree in History, an MBA, and can tell you more than you might want to know about freshwater fishing. Brandon on LinkedIn

Alexandra Cooperman

Alexandra Cooperman

Finance and Operations Manager

Alex oversees our day-to-day operations and financial planning and administration. She has been with the Embedding Project from the beginning and has contributed to the development of the embedding framework and the practices assessment process. Alex has a BBA and a certificate in Bookkeeping for Small Business. In her off-work hours, Alex enjoys paddle boarding and board and video games. Alexandra on LinkedIn

Christie Chan

Christie Chan

Video Production Specialist

Christie supports with graphic design and video production for the Embedding Project by interpreting abstract sustainability concepts and developing them into engaging motion graphics, animations, and videos. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Christie enjoys a good cup of coffee and can usually be found hanging out with her cat Bo, surfing around for a great film or TV show to get lost in. Christie on LinkedIn

Marina Starck

Marina Starck

Sustainability Specialist

Marina contributes to the Embedding Project by conducting research on corporate sustainability and governance and incorporating these materials into the Embedding Project Databases. She also assists in writing blogs, reports, guidebooks, and social media content. Marina has a BA from Sciences Po Paris, a BCom from UBC, and an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the University of Edinburgh. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and pretty much anything else you can do on a mountain. Marina on LinkedIn

Alexandra Hallman

Alexandra Hallman

Sustainability Specialist

Alexandra joined the Embedding Project to research and analyze corporate sustainability policies, reports and ESG documents and integrate them into the Embedding Project goals and positions databases. Alexandra has a BA in Environment, Resources and Sustainability and a Diploma in Environmental Assessment from the University of Waterloo. In her free time, Alexandra can be found skiing, camping, or off on an adventure with her dog River. Alexandra on LinkedIn

Research Collaborators

We collaborate with some of the top global business scholars that share our commitment to shaping practice in business sustainability.

Dr. Stephanie Bertels

Dr. Stephanie Bertels

Lead Researcher

Stephanie directs all the activities of the Embedding Project and is the focal point for the partnership’s research efforts. She founded the Embedding Project in 2010 when she developed the embedding framework in a systematic review on Embedding Sustainability into Organizational Culture. Since then, she has worked with global firms to refine the framework into a comparable diagnostics assessment tool and build a set of resources and tools to support its implementation. Stephanie is also the Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She has worked in industry as an environmental engineering consultant. She has a BSc in Geological Environmental Engineering, a MSc in Petroleum (Environmental) Engineering, and a PhD in Strategy and Global Management and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Jen Howard Grenville

Dr. Jen Howard Grenville

Research Collaborator

Jennifer Howard-Grenville is the Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies at the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Her research is focused on how people generate and navigate change within and beyond their organizations. She is an expert on organizational culture, identity, and identification, leveraging her insights into these topics to understand how they both impede and enable change. Jennifer has conducted in-depth studies on how people seek to make meaningful change to address sustainability issues in the semiconductor manufacturing, athletic apparel, oil and gas, and other sectors. Jennifer received her PhD at MIT, her MA at Oxford, and her BSc (Eng.) at Queen’s University, Canada. She has taught extensively on management and sustainability topics at the MBA, Executive MBA, doctorate and undergraduate level. Jennifer is author or editor of four books, has published extensively in top management journals, and serves as a Deputy Editor at Academy of Management Journal, one of the field’s premier journals. She is a Fellow of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge.

Dr. Ralph Hamann

Dr. Ralph Hamann

Research Collaborator

Ralph is Professor and Research Director at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business. He researches and teaches on business sustainability, social innovation, and cross-sector collaboration. He has published in leading management and development journals, and he is an executive editor of "Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development." Ralph co-founded the Southern Africa Food Lab, for which he received UCT’s Distinguished Social Responsiveness Award. Much of his tertiary training was in environmental science at UCT, and he has a PhD on corporate responsibility in the South African mining sector from the University of East Anglia in the UK. He grew up in Africa, Asia, and Europe and has travelled widely, including a sailboat crossing of the South Atlantic (despite a propensity for sea-sickness).

Dr. Jess Schulschenk

Dr. Jess Schulschenk

Senior Researcher

Jess is a Senior Researcher with the Embedding Project. She is also the Director of South Africa’s Sustainability Institute and a lecturer with the University of Stellenbosch. She brings a wealth of research and practice knowledge from past roles in private and public sectors, including Senior Researcher with EY and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Network for Business Sustainability South Africa. Jess has a BSc in Ocean and Atmosphere Science and Environmental and Geographic Science, a MPhil in Sustainable Development and a PhD in Business Administration. When not getting lost in the oceans and mountains, Jess can be found with her hands in the soil, helping things grow.

Dr. John Watt

Dr. John Watt

Research Collaborator

John Watt is a researcher at the Embedding Project. He is also a freelance researcher, trainer and consultant specialising in sustainable procurement. John has coordinated and delivered green, social and circular procurement projects for the European Commission, UN, OECD, and national, regional and city authorities. He holds a PhD on sustainable procurement from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and carried out postdoctoral research at the Technical University of Vienna on the effects of socially responsible public procurement on labour standards in supply chains. John believes that every procurer has the power to be a hero. The way we purchase can save lives and create a better world! John on LinkedIn

Dr. Charlotte Cloutier

Dr. Charlotte Cloutier

Research Collaborator

Charlotte's research focuses on strategy practice in pluralistic organizations (industry associations, government ministries or agencies, hospitals, universities, NGOs, etc.) with a particular focus on how such practice shapes and is shaped by the wider institutional environment in which these organizations are embedded. In addition to her academic credentials, Charlotte has fifteen years of professional experience, including several years in senior management positions, held both in the private and public sectors. She has worked as Executive Director at the Newton Foundation; as Director of Development at Université de Sherbrooke; and as Director of Development – Faculty of Management at McGill University. She is a trained facilitator, professional fundraiser, and has worked as a freelance strategy consultant, notably for private foundations seeking to increase the impact and reach of their funding programs.

Advisory Board

We collaborate with a set of global practice leaders that help shape our research agenda.

Brigitte Burnett

Brigitte Burnett

Executive Head: Sustainability, Group Strategy at Nedbank Limited

Brigitte Burnett is the Executive Head: Sustainability and member of the Group Strategy Cluster Executive team at Nedbank Limited. She provides long-term systemic strategic advice to the Nedbank leadership teams and keeps the various executive and board structures informed of progress in terms of the bank’s delivery as a purpose-led organisation. She drives the execution of Nedbank’s purpose-led business strategy and integrated sustainability initiatives across the bank.

She represents Nedbank on the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Financial Institutions’ Positive Impact Working Group; the Banking Association of South Africa’s Positive Impact Working Group; on the board of the Embedding Project; and on the board of the National Business Initiative.

Brigitte’s formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce; a postgraduate Bachelor of Law (LLB) and an Advanced Diploma in Banking Law. She is an Accredited Person of the South African Futures Exchange and Bond Exchange and completed the GIBS Global Executive Development Programme.

Gigi Dawe

Gigi Dawe

Director, Corporate Oversight and Governance, CPA Canada

Gigi is a corporate governance thought-leader and educator for companies, and individuals responsible for the oversight of organizations. Gigi has extensive knowledge in corporate governance structure and is an authority on board performance, strategy and risk oversight. 

Gigi has created and produced public forums, presentations and guidance publications through the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. A leader in corporate governance with a pragmatic and strategic approach, Gigi has been a member of boards throughout her career. Currently, she is on the advisory board for Women Get on Board and board committees for the International Federations of Accountants and the International Corporate Governance Network. Gigi has a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Mark Fattedad, CFA

Mark Fattedad, CFA

Director & Portfolio Manager, Institutional Management, Jarislowsky Fraser

Mark is Director & Portfolio Manager, Institutional Management at Jarislowsky Fraser, where he manages institutional client portfolios and sustainable investment solutions. He is a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and is Co-Chair of the Sustainable Investment Committee, which supports the implementation of the JFL Sustainable Investment Policy through the development of ESG-related research tools, portfolio solutions, transparency, as well as external collaborations. In this capacity, he contributed to the firm’s early adoption of TCFD-aligned climate reporting. He is a registered portfolio manager and advises his clients on investment policy design, risk management, and portfolio strategy. 

Mark is also actively involved in the community. He serves on the Finance Committee of the Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation, a Canadian registered charity with the goal of increasing the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students graduating from science and engineering programs in Canada. He is also Co-Chair of the Up the Down Market Dinner, a charity event that helps individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential.   

Jamie Gray-Donald

Jamie Gray-Donald

Senior Vice-President, Sustainability & EHS, QuadReal Property Group

Jamie Gray-Donald joined QuadReal as the VP, Sustainability in February 2017 and has been promoted to Senior VP, Sustainability & EHS, as of January 2019. From development through to asset management, Jamie finds ways that sustainability practices can enhance prudent growth and sustainable returns. He helps colleagues play effective roles in nurturing vibrant communities and residential and commercial environments. In his role as leader of QuadReal’s Environmental, Health and Safety team, Jamie works to ensure they quantify and manage a range of environmental risks such as contaminated soil through to providing training and on-going support, so their employees have a safe and healthy workplace. 

Jamie was formerly the VP of Sustainability at Bentall Kennedy, and the Associate VP, Sustainability with Sears Canada. Previously he held the position of Research Coordinator at the Centre for Sustainable Futures in Plymouth, UK and worked in the Philippines at the International Rice Research Institute. Jamie holds a PhD in Adult Education and an MA in Geography from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts Philosophy from McGill University.

Nathan Maycher

Nathan Maycher

Director, Climate Change & Sustainability Integration at Suncor Energy

Nathan is a professional engineer, currently fulfilling the role of Director, Climate Change & Sustainability Integration at Suncor Energy. Nathan leads a team that holds accountability for climate strategy and policy advocacy and for integrating sustainability into key business decisions. Nathan has been involved in the Embedding Project for years and has used the unique experience to inform and enhance his strategic approach to sustainability.

Formerly, Nathan held the role of Director, Environment and SD Systems and Manager Sustainable Development at ConocoPhillips Canada. His team held accountability for strategic sustainability projects, environmental strategy and policy advocacy, external reporting and SD risk management.

Esther Speck

Esther Speck

VP Sustainability, Lululemon Athletica

Esther has extensive experience providing strategic sustainability consulting to some of the world’s leading outdoor athletic brands. She also has advisory experience across sectors, from tourism to financial to real estate. Prior to her role at lululemon, Esther was Head of Business Sustainability with Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) for six years, preceded by three years as a Board Member. As a Board member, Esther co-championed MEC’s Futures Project, fostering longer term thinking and value creation through the use of scenarios. As management, Esther built on this work by developing and leading MEC’s next level sustainability strategy.

Esther sits on various boards, is an associate with the Natural Step Canada, and is a frequent speaker on sustainability strategy, integration and culture. She was recently recognized with the Clean16 Outstanding Contributor to Clean Capitalism 2015 award. Esther holds an MBA and a Master of Applied Science in Resource and Environmental Management (MRM). She has also completed certificate programs in cooperative economics and in leadership.