2021 CPAWS AGM Notice and Nominations for the National Board

The CPAWS Annual General Meeting will be held by video conference on Monday, September 27, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

To confirm your attendance, please contact Andrée Charlebois at acharlebois@localhost. She will provide the virtual meeting login information and circulate the AGM agenda and other corresponding materials in advance of the meeting.

Nominations for the CPAWS National Board

Under CPAWS’ bylaws, members of the Board of Trustees are elected for three-year terms. Trustees can be re-elected for a maximum of nine years. All Trustees are volunteers.

Each year, the CPAWS Board Development Committee recommends candidates to fill vacancies arising from Trustees reaching their term limits or deciding to resign. The Committee follows policies which are intended to ensure that the Board has a combination of relevant skills, experience at the chapter level, and geographic balance. It seeks suggestions through the CPAWS website and from current and past Trustees, Chapter Directors, and friends of CPAWS.

Proposed Nominees for Election to the CPAWS Board of Trustees, September 2021

There will be nine vacancies on the Board. Four of these vacancies will be created by existing Trustees completing their current term and standing for another term.

The Board Development Committee is proposing eight candidates for election as national Trustees this year. The Board will continue to seek a candidate to fill the additional vacancy who meets demographic gaps in the Board’s current composition, and under its bylaws may appoint Trustees to serve in an interim capacity until the subsequent AGM.

Alexandra Tzannidakis, Ontario (standing for a first term)
Alexandra is a partner at the law firm of Drache Aptowitzer LLP in Ottawa, where she has specialized in tax and charity law since 2013. She works with organizations of all sizes across Canada to help them navigate the complex world of taxes, corporations, governance, and non-profit/charity regulations. She has served as a member of the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Charities & Not-for-Profit section for several years, as well as a director of various socially-minded charities. She frequently speaks and writes on topics of interest to charities and non-profit organizations, and her work appears in high-profile industry publications.

Denise Withers, British Columbia (standing for a first term)
Denise is a leadership coach who’s been helping social and environmental changemakers grow their impact for 35 years. She discovered her passion for wilderness as a white-water kayaker on the Ottawa River in the early ’80s and has spent her life finding ways to explore and protect it ever since, as an award-winning filmmaker, non-profit leader, and change consultant.

Working with clients from governments and educators to scientists and start-ups, Denise has done things like promote clean energy, protect endangered species, preserve ecosystems, advance Indigenous health care, and accelerate climate action leadership. Her storytelling work has inspired millions of people around the globe to take action for good, through media channels that include Discovery, CBC, National Geographic, the UN, and Financial Post. Most recently, she helped an ocean non-profit almost double its size, revenue, and impact in less than a year.

Denise has served on several boards, including spending two terms as Vice-President of the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. For fun, she hikes and paddles the west coast of Vancouver Island with her two dogs and starts campfires in the rain.

Jennifer Smith, Québec (standing for a first term)
Jennifer brings over a dozen years of experience with environmental non-profit organizations, including in governance and in local and national conservation issues. Born and based in Tiohtià:keMontréal and fluent in French, Jennifer served as a board member for SNAP Québec for 6 years, including as president, vice president, and director of the Planning and Conservation Committee. In addition to SNAP Québec, she has worked for CPAWS Nova Scotia and CPAWS National Office and has volunteered with CPAWS New Brunswick and CPAWS Southern Alberta. She is a founding member of Pour nos enfants / For Our Kids Montréal, a group of families working on solutions to the climate crisis and has also worked for the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Alberta. With a master’s in biology, Jennifer currently works as a managing editor in the sciences.

Charles Côté, Québec (standing for a first term)
Charles Côté is a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Previously, he was a journalist for more than 20 years, covering the environment at La Presse in Montreal for most of his career. He was trained in law, graduating from Université de Montréal (LL.B. 1989). He practices many outdoor activities, hiking, canoeing and cross-country skiing with his wife and two teenage children.

Richard Paisley, British Columbia (standing for a second term)
Based in Vancouver, BC, Richard Paisley is a practicing lawyer and the Director of the Global Transboundary International Waters Governance Initiative at UBC. His current research, teaching, graduate supervision, and advisory interests include domestic and international water and energy law and policy, international business transactions, international negotiations, and environmental mediation/conflict resolution. Richard served as a board member of CPAWS BC for 7 years. He is an avid downhill and cross-country skier, cyclist, backpacker, and kayaker. Richard is currently Chair of the CPAWS Litigation Committee.

Don McMurtry, Ontario (standing for a second term)
Based in Waterloo, Ontario, Don has been a CPAWS major donor for 20 years. After his retirement from RIM (VP Sales) in 2006, he served on the board of Ontario Nature for 6 years. He is actively involved with Engineers without Borders and is on the Board of Directors of Ridley College where he serves on the Advancement Committee. He is an avid canoeist and has visited a provincial or national park or remote wilderness areas in every province and territory.

John Grandy, Ontario (standing for a third term)
John Grandy is a retired financial services executive and research analyst, based in Toronto. He is now dedicating his life to working with Canadian environmental causes. In addition to his work with CPAWS, John is a Director of the Ontario regional board of Nature Conservancy of Canada, Executive Vice President of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, and a director of Wildlife Preservation Canada. In 2013, he wrote Environmental Charities in Canada, the first research report on the Canadian environmental not-for-profit sector, on behalf of Charity Intelligence Canada. John was educated at the University of Toronto and at Oxford University. He is currently Treasurer and Chair of the CPAWS Finance Committee.

Erik Val, Yukon (standing for a third term)
Erik Val is a retired park planner from Yukon who is on the CPAWS Yukon board. He was director of the Parks Branch of the Department of Environment Yukon Government. He has a Master of Arts in Geography – resource management (U Waterloo) and a B.Sc. of science – Biology and Geography (McGill). He has over 30 years of experience in project, staff, budget and contract administration and management, Indigenous land claims negotiations and implementation, park planning, management and operations. He could make contributions in park and protected area planning, management and operations, natural and cultural resource management, public education, Indigenous land claims and macroeconomic assessment. He is bilingual. Erik is currently the CPAWS Vice-President.

Other Candidates

While the Board Development Committee makes every effort to put together the best slate, our bylaws allow any member who feels that the slate falls short of the needs of CPAWS to submit alternative candidates. Any such nominations should be submitted no later than August 21 to Sandra Schwartz, National Executive Director, at nominations@localhost. Nominations must include the name of the nominee, their written consent, address, phone number, email, a brief biography, and the signatures/support of 25 members of CPAWS.

Thank you for your support. On behalf of the National Board of Trustees and the CPAWS team, we look forward to your participation in the CPAWS 2021 AGM.