CREW is powered by a fantastic team of hard working volunteers from various backgrounds who have all brought a different skill-set and varied wealth of knowledge to the team.
Sheila Murray is a writer, documentary filmmaker, sound editor and communications specialist. Her 2009 - 2013 research, communications and outreach for the Omega Foundation’s community-based project, SmartSaver, contributed to reaching thousands of Toronto community workers and families and creating successful partnerships and networks. Sheila has led the Toronto based organization, Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW), since 2014. She has a BAA in Journalism and MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies.
In her original career as a researcher and science teacher, Madelyn recognized that environmental problems would not be solved by science alone, but through dialogue among stakeholders, including local communities, with all parties working toward consensus-based decisions.
As a result, Madelyn turned to studies of organization development and policy and became a certified facilitator. She led projects that, along with a scientific framework, emphasized relationship-building, mapping and values clarification to strengthen stakeholder understanding on the way to consensus. She has used mapping techniques to gather local community knowledge on a number of scales, from watersheds to local neighbourhoods in Toronto and Paraguay. She was a pioneer in the inclusion of the GTA’s ethno-cultural residents in environmental activities, with funding she negotiated for a multi-city agency. As well, she has served as the volunteer chair of a grass-roots organization in downtown Toronto and a charity working with Somali and Hispanic populations in the City.
Torn between her love for the bustling city and peaceful green spaces, Santessa joined the urban environmental industry: intrigued by the relationships between the two and the ways in which they coexist, she studied GIS and urban/environmental studies, graduating from the University of Toronto in 2016. She is excited about building on her knowledge as a Master of Planning Candidate at Ryerson University.
Santessa’s professional experience has been with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Evergreen, and the City of Toronto’s City Planning Division. Most recently she started her own environmental group, EcoChx, which helps other young urbanites adopt green lifestyles
Santessa has been a mapmaker for CREW since early 2016, assisting with the development of the Neighbourhood Resiliency Map for Ward 13 & 14. Post-launch she continues to provide technical assistance and conduct community presentations. She is eager to help expand this interactive and informative resiliency study to new areas.
Jose is a dynamic and results-oriented environmental sustainability professional. He has extensive project management experience focusing on environmental projects, sustainability management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and GIS analysis. His working motto is “think globally and act locally” in order to achieve any goal.
Through a career in the public and private sector he has acquired remarkable collaborative working experience with a diverse network of stakeholders in organizations, municipalities, and small and medium enterprises. Jose has helped to develop and implement long‐term strategic planning in areas such as environmental protection, resource management, and sustainability.
His experience with the Cuban Disaster Risk Reduction Program means that he is a valuable ally in the development of sustainability strategies in his new Toronto communities. Jose developed a resiliency indicator system for CREW that is modelled on San Francisco’s Climate and Health Profile.
Lidia is the former Executive Director of FutureWatch Environment and Development Education Partners, a leading organization in community based environmental and capacity building initiatives of the City of Toronto. Lidia trained in Argentina for seven years to become an architect and urban planner and came to Toronto from Paraguay in 1999. Since 2000, she has used her ability to engage with Toronto’s multicultural communities to form bridges with mainstream institutions. She has led projects related to urban naturalization, environmental protection, revitalization and community capacity building.
She is known for bringing diversity and leadership to Canada’s environmental movement. After only four years of working in Toronto, her skills and talent were recognized when she received the Vital People Award, from the prestigious Toronto Foundation, for her outstanding community work.
Quinn is a local anti-poverty activist and student researcher with a focus on urban inequality and community development at a neighbourhood level. Through her housing advocacy and outreach work in Toronto and Winnipeg, she has become a firm believer in the potential of grassroots community-based organizations to drive lasting change on local and non-local scales and strongly supports CREW's mission and vision for Toronto. Quinn is currently pursuing her Masters in Human Geography at the University of Toronto with a thesis on neighbourhood stigmatization and community organizing with Winnipeg’s North End.
Rita is a climate activist. After reading The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, in 2008, there was no question of anything but. She has engaged with schools, faith groups and civil society groups, MPs, MPPs, Councillors, and the City on climate mitigation and adaptation. Rita is a Board member of Climate Action Network Canada, as well as of Science for Peace. She is a founding member of ClimateFast.Rita is Co-Chair of Green 13, residents concerned about the impact humans are having on our climate and environment. Located in Parkdale-High Park, Toronto, Green 13’s goals are to:
• increase public awareness about climate and other environmental concerns
• encourage public discourse on sustainability
• advocate for policy and behavioural change, and
• build resilience in our our community.
She is a founding member of CREW, Community Resilience to Extreme Weather.
Nicolas is a knowledge manager who has developed his career creating and sharing information and knowledge with policymakers, academics, and writers, in the fields of ecology, languages and policy. He has consulted for the UN, universities, companies, nonprofits, and many others. He has been awarded as a poet, policymaker and a professor. His personal, most prized contribution was the creation of the first ecocriticism course in Latin America at University of Chile. His working motto is “there is no difference in between ecology and social justice."
Ciara joined CREW in 2016 when she moved from south-west Ireland to Toronto. With a diploma in Environmental Management and a passion for environmental issues Ciara has worked for CREW since the summer of 2016 on their website and social media accounts.