The Centre has assembled a talented and experienced team of staff and associates. We are also very fortunate to have a fantastic, knowledgeable Board of Directors.
Cheeying is the executive director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, and has over 20 years of experience in community planning, engagement and sustainability. She provides strategy, creative process design and engagement for local governments, private sector clients, and non-profit organizations. She develops and executes innovative community development focused programs to support community goals, and works with multi-interdisciplinary teams to deliver project desired outcomes.
Prior to her role at the Centre, Cheeying was the Executive Director of Smart Growth BC, the leading province-wide non-governmental organization advancing sustainable land use and development that was largely responsible for getting ‘smart growth’ into planning practice in BC.
Cheeying is currently part of the BC Partners for Social Impact. Previously, she served as a member on the Prime Minister’s External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, on a term on the Board of Vancity Credit Union and Vancity Enterprises, and as a member of the Mayor of Vancouver’s Greenist City Action Team. Cheeying is a frequent speaker on leading practices in sustainability strategy, engagement and community planning.
Planning and Engagement Specialist
Shannon has worked in sustainability planning and management since 1996, in both the local government and corporate sectors. With the Centre, Shannon specializes in designing efficient and effective public engagement processes, helping organization create order and alignment through strategic planning, and planning for healthy sustainable communities. She holds an IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation, and a degree and post-baccalaureate diploma in environmental science.
Prior to working with the Centre, Shannon worked with the Resort Municipality of Whistler beginning in 2001 on various sustainability initiatives, including policy development, staff training and community engagement. In 2003, her main focus became co-managing the creation and implementation of Whistler2020 – Whistler’s award-winning sustainability plan and engagement process. Shannon’s work in the sustainability field began in Vancouver with Vancity Credit Union’s Corporate Social Responsibility Group, where she co-developed and managed the social and environmental audit and reporting process – the first of its kind in Canada.
Shannon skis and bikes and enjoys her community’s other amenities with her young family.
Community Planning and Monitoring Specialist
Dan has 15 years experience in the sustainability field and specializes in community and neighbourhood sustainability planning, developing implementation tools, monitoring and evaluation systems, and community energy /GHG reduction plans and programs. Dan works primarily with municipal governments in tourist-based economies where he also assists in evaluating tourism development and supporting the creation of tourism master plans. Dan also delivers on-the-ground municipal sustainability projects as well as greenhouse gas reduction training, using a business case approach, and coaching to businesses in the Whistler area.
Dan is a whiz at tying planning to on-the-ground action. Dan co-developed and delivered a citizen task force led action planning program for Whistler’s award winning community sustainability plan, Whistler2020, and developed the community’s comprehensive and robust economic, social and environmental monitoring and evaluation system, upon which many other communities and organizations model their monitoring program. Dan has also worked with the Fairmont Hotel and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resorts on strategy development and marketing.
Dan has lived on and off in Whistler for 20 years, only moving away to pursue his tourism commerce degree in Victoria, and his master’s degree in business and environmental policy in Sweden, as well as for other tourism business opportunities.
Lisa is a communications specialist with practical knowledge and experience in marketing and technical documentation. Capable of working her magic in Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud, Lisa polishes and creates engaging collateral for wide ranging audiences. And, she knows her way around a corporate style guide, which is handy to any team collaborating with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability.
Lisa’s communications projects have ranged from producing online learning units to marketing campaigns. Over the last 5 years, she has developed her skills in photography, videography and digital media, and looks forward to life-long learning opportunities in those mediums.
Manager of Special Projects
Ted is responsible for managing special projects for the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), including energy and emissions management. Ted is well recognized for his expertise and knowledge in the energy management field, and supports the Centre’s team in projects involving a detailed level of energy planning and management.
Prior to this position, Ted worked with the team to produce and manage the award-winning Whistler2020 sustainability plan, and facilitated the associated community action planning process for five years. He also led the development of the RMOW’s internal municipal policies and practices to align with Whistler2020, the results of which continue to be shared with communities across Canada. With a focus on energy and greenhouse gas emissions issues, Ted has collaborated with the Province, the Union of BC Municipalities, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on local government responses to the challenges of climate change generally, and to greenhouse gas inventories in particular. Ted is an avid skier and cyclist and is usually found on the mountains and trails around Whistler when not immersed in energy and emissions issues.
Sustainability and Engagement Specialist
As a sustainability and engagement specialist for over twenty years, Sandra Bicego combines her Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Arts, Community Planning background as a basis for all her services. From facilitating community or stakeholder meetings, boards, advisory committees, and public workshops, to strategic planning, and policy research and writing, Sandra uses her creative thinking and participatory planning skills to enable individuals and groups to achieve strong relationships and develop lasting solutions. Sandra has worked with great energy and commitment towards her mission: to meet and exceed client and participant expectations. She provides her services to non-profit organizations and governments at all levels in Canada and abroad including Mexico, the United States, and Europe.
Sandra immerses herself in an empathetic mode and excels in enabling clients and process participants to be involved in developing ideas and creating unique approaches to address challenges and opportunities. Whether it is in developing visions, new directions or developing policy, Sandra has the ability to help clients and participants engage, and bringing their views forward in a safe environment towards collaborative outcomes that have lasting effect. She recognizes that meaningfully designed processes will more likely keep stakeholders engaged, supportive, and active – and this will ensure greater success for an organization and its desired outcomes. When not working, Sandra can be found recreating in Sea to Sky Country where she lives.
Dawn Johnson’s passions are rooted in the life sustaining mountains, oceans, rivers and ecosystems that surround her. Dawn has been working primarily with Sea to Sky non-profit organizations in areas pertaining to community restoration and sustainability since 2006. Dawn is a founding director of Stewardship Pemberton Society and the One Mile Lake Nature Centre, as well as the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council. Through her work, she spearheaded successful social enterprises and catalyzed grass-roots community-based solutions. From supporting the development of nature-based education programming for children to community agricultural planning and beyond, the projects she works on result in tangible outcomes.
Dawn strives to actively support conciliation and cultural revitalization with Indigenous peoples, which has led her to work with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, as a project coordinator for their Squamish Lil’wat St’at’imc Business Start-up Program. She wears the hat of grant writer, project manager and consultant with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and regional Indigenous communities, where she aims to bring community driven goals and projects into fruition. Dawn studied restoration of natural systems at the University of Victoria.
Cora has managed dozens of planning, strategy and research projects aimed at advancing community and/or organizational sustainability. She has worked on award winning plans and has been contracted and appointed to advise on municipal, regional and corporate sustainability initiatives. Cora’s clients value her knowledge and experience in a broad spectrum of environmental issues including energy, air quality, climate change, waste minimization, and water stewardship. Cora is accomplished in project management, facilitating multi-stakeholder processes, and in developing and implementing communication and consultation initiatives. She has acted as Project Director, Project Manager, Facilitator, and/or Advisor for consulting projects for all levels of government, business, and non-profit organizations, and as President of a non-profit organization. Previously Cora was the Manager of Integrated Resource Planning & Stakeholder Engagement at the Sheltair Group (now Stantec). She also worked as a consultant in Toronto, and coordinated environmental education and awareness programs for the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO).
Marketing and Business Strategist
Diana Mulvey has a reputation as an innovative strategist, compelling communicator and creative marketer from her work with well-known brands. She completed a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Strategic Management at UBC along with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing at the University of Ottawa. Highlights from her career include: national marketing manager at KPMG, the first full-time marketing director at lululemon, where she also designed its first company-wide sustainability strategy, senior communications manager at the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and contract marketing and communications director for a range of enterprises. Through her consulting firm Seeds Consulting, a Certified B Corporation, she has created a variety of marketing and communications strategies for her clients; developing systems, templates and tools that help build capacity and implement measurable results. The majority of her work starts with leadership teams to clarify the vision and craft the strategies, while engaging the front-line for their insights on how to put ideas into action.
Registered Planner/Landscape Architect
Kristina Salin, MCIP, RPP, MBCSLA , is the owner and principal of KSalin Land Planning. Kristina is a registered professional planner and landscape architect in BC, with a diverse portfolio in Canada and the United States. Kristina is an accomplished land use professional with 20 years’ experience in urban and rural design, park master planning, downtown revitalization, playground design and event infrastructure projects. Kristina has a keen sense of what it takes to create and implement policy and how appropriate development can support sustainability.
Valerie Sheppard has over fifteen years of experience studying, researching, and teaching in the tourism industry. She holds an honour’s undergraduate degree in tourism planning and development and a Master of Arts in recreation and leisure studies, both from Brock University in Ontario. She is currently completing her PhD at Simon Fraser University in the School of Resource & Environmental Management. Her dissertation research investigates how resort community destinations develop and enhance their resilience when faced with critical events that threaten their long-term competitiveness and viability. Valerie also teaches sustainability and ethics classes at Royal Roads University in the School of Tourism & Hospitality Management and at the Justice Institute of BC. Previously, she worked as a researcher with Tourism BC and as a senior tourism development officer with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Province of BC.
Ione Smith, MSc, PAg
Director, Upland Agricultural Consulting Ltd.
Ione is an agrologist, agricultural planner and climate change adaptation expert who specializes in innovative agriculture & food policy and research. With over 14 years’ experience, Ione has the competence to manage complex deliverables that result in clear actions. She combines the research abilities of a skilled scientist with the knack of a communications specialist, ensuring projects are successful and effective.
Ione is a Professional Agrologist (PAg) with a MSc in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia and a BSc(Env) from the University of Guelph. She is a Board Member of Community Futures Sunshine Coast and at Steering Committee Member of the BC Food Systems Network.
Pieter van Gils
Economic and Finance Consultant
Pieter van Gils is principal of Headwater Capital Consulting. Headwater Capital Consulting provides community-based organizations with informed advice so they can make strategic decisions. Prior to founding the consultancy, Pieter was Managing Director of Ecotrust Canada Capital, the investment arm of Ecotrust Canada, a community development organization. He managed the Natural Capital Fund, which invested $12 million in conservation-based enterprises active in BC’s coastal resource sectors. He also led a team of professionals who were engaged as business consultants by coastal resource enterprises.
Pieter came to Ecotrust after working as Investment Manager at Vancity Capital Corporation. He helped write VCC’s business plan and provided subordinated debt to businesses and non-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland. Vancity Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vancity Credit Union, where Pieter spent five years as manager of Community Economic Development. He developed two micro-lending programs targeted at Canada’s poorest neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside.
Pieter holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Hull, UK.
Storyteller and Social Innovation Strategist
Denise Withers works in narrative engagement and social innovation, helping leaders use story and collaborative design approaches to inform and inspire positive change. Denise is a co-founder of the Sauder d.studio at UBC, Canada’s first strategic design studio, and co-designer of two social innovation labs for health promotion and sustainable livelihoods. An award-winning filmmaker, strategist, researcher and educator with a Master of Science in Interactive Arts and Technology, a Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education, and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television Arts, Denise has tackled sustainability, energy and environment issues for 30 years: exploring everything from early GMO research in Saskatoon, to residual drilling impacts in the Arctic, to land use planning in mining regions of Peru. Today, Denise works independently for clients across sectors, using narrative tools and practices to design everyday and extraordinary experiences to engage stakeholders in research and planning processes.
In addition to her design work, Denise teaches narrative leadership, innovation and engagement design for organizations and institutions, including the IAF, UBC, SFU, UVic and THNK School of Creative Leadership.
Board of Directors
Vice President of Finance and Operations, Tourism Whistler
Heather Boxrud is a born and raised Shuswapian, on a family run resort business on Adams Lake. She has lived in Whistler since 2003, and has been with Tourism Whistler for the past 9 years in various Finance positions; currently Heather is the Vice President – Finance and Operations at Tourism Whistler. Heather has a passion for mountain resort communities previously residing in Canmore and Banff Alberta where she started her accounting education at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and went onto finish an Honours undergrad degree in Accounting and Information Technology at the Southern Alberta University of Technology. While in Whistler, working at various finance positions at both Whistler Blackcomb and Tourism Whistler, Heather completed her Chartered Professional Accountant designation via the Certified General Accountant route, and in 2015 completed her MBA from Laurentian University. Heather previously sat on the Board of Directors for Whistler Animals Galore for 2 terms, resigning in order to pursue an MBA.
Jack Crompton (ex-officio)
Councillor, Resort Municipality of Whistler
Jack Crompton has deep roots in Whistler and is passionate about the future of his community. Jack’s professional life has focused mainly on transportation. He founded Whistler Resort Cabs and operated the company until 2008. He is now President of RideBooker, a company that offers ground transportation (taxi, bus, and limousine) across Canada and the United States. His company operates the Whistler Shuttle, a shuttle service that links Vancouver to Whistler. Jack’s business focus has been creating software tools for the transportation industry.
Jack has a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Kinesiology. He is currently working on his Master’s at Regent College, a seminary at the University of British Columbia. Jack is Vice President of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club. He is a board member with the Rotary Club of Whistler, the Whistler Interfaith Society (WIS) and The North Face Whistler Half Marathon. Jack lives in Whistler with his wife and four children.
Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager, Whistler Blackcomb
Arthur DeJong has been with Whistler Blackcomb for more than 35 years. Through various roles including Ski Patrol Manager and Mountain Operations Manager for Blackcomb, Arthur has gained an exceptional familiarity with our mountain terrain and a deep understanding of the workings of the mountain ecosystem.
Arthur pioneered work in the area of environmental planning on Whistler Blackcomb which has led him to his current position of Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager. In this role, Arthur works to marry planning techniques that both improve the guest experience and respect the natural environment.
Arthur has been an active member of the Whistler community for many years and believes that the key to effective planning is openness and community involvement. Arthur is currently active in numerous community social and environmental groups. He also dedicates volunteer time to crisis line counseling and international aid programs.
Manager of Park Planning & Design, City of Coquitlam
Andre is a Park Planning & Design Manager with the City of Coquitlam. Previously he worked as a Director of Planning & Development with the District of Sechelt, and Manager of Planning & Community Services with the resort Village of Harrison Hot Springs. Andre is passionate about sustainable community development, public space design, strategic planning, and governance issues in general. Andre holds a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Simon Fraser University. He is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP), member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP), and a member of the British Columbia Recreation & Parks Association (BCRPA). Previously he served as a board member with the British Columbia Library Trustees’ Association, Tourism Harrison Hot Springs, as well as Community Futures North Fraser. Andre is a co-author of the book Small Business and the City: The Transformative Potential of Small-Scale Entrepreneurship published by University of Toronto Press. The book examines the power that small-scale entrepreneurship has to transform cities and neighbourhoods, re-energizing urban vitality. In his free time Andre enjoys exploring hiking trails and running.
Chris has always worn a number of hats in pursuit of his passions. He is a former Whistler municipal councilor, business owner and operator, and director for The Whistler Chamber of Commerce in addition to other boards and committees. Serving on Council during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games exposed Chris to several experiences that influenced a change in his work and life path. He now serves his passion for regional economic and food security as the manager of the Whistler Farmers’ Market. His experience growing businesses has been transferred to assisting in organizational development of not for profit organizations, focusing on working with Farmers Markets across the province of B.C. He has found the perfect position to share his deep connection and experience in Whistler as the Morning Host for Whistler’s only independent radio station, Whistler FM. He has a great face for radio!
Serving on the board of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability gives Chris the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of Sustainability in Whistler, originally stewarded by the RMOW’s community owned and driven, Whistler 2020 planning process.
VP Global Sustainability at lululemon athletica
Esther is the VP of Global Sustainability at lululemon athletica. Prior to joining lululemon, Esther was Sustainability Director with Mountain Equipment Coop for six years. Before joining MEC, Esther was the principal of a sustainability consulting business that collaborated with organizations such as the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Vancity Credit Union and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. She has been involved with The Natural Step Canada for many years and was one of the early implementers of the framework both for decision making and capacity building. Esther was the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Mountain Equipment Co-op, director of the Aurora Institute and Net Impact Chapter Founder. She is currently on the Board of Bridgehead Coffee.
Esther holds an MBA and a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management
President, Ziptrek Ecotours
Charles has 30 years of business experience including 14 running Ziptrek Ecotours, North America’s first zipline tour company. His motivation for starting Ziptrek wasn’t the adventure, but rather to draw people into spectacular natural settings where they would be most receptive to learning about the importance of sustainability. Today, Ziptrek teaches more people about sustainability using a science-based framework called, “The Natural Step”, than the Natural Step itself does via their 11 global offices. Ziptrek operates in several languages and locations around the world, employing hundreds of people, and also works with high-profile special events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics.
Charles’ past experience ranges from International Strategic Planning at Nissan’s Tokyo headquarters, to the world of hi-tech where he started a company to implement advanced telemedicine systems for the British Columbia Cancer Centres and other hospitals in the U.S.
Charles is Chairman of the Board of the Whistler Center for Sustainability, Chairman, President and CEO of Ziptrek Ecotours Inc., a top graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and speaks several languages including Japanese.
Tim is a housing consultant, providing advice and strategies to communities on developing non-market housing models. Prior to this, Tim headed up Habitat for Humanity – Greater Vancouver.
Tim and his wife, Leslee, were owner/operators of the well-known Lake O’Hara Lodge in Yoho National Park until 1994, when they chose to move to Whistler to raise their daughters. In 1997, Tim accepted the position of Housing Administrator with the newly formed Whistler Housing Authority, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, to manage resident restricted housing. He became General Manager in 2000 and served in that position for 5 years. In 2005, Tim was elected to RMOW Council and also established a consulting business working with other resort communities throughout North America assisting with affordable housing infrastructure and administration. In this capacity he authored two documents on affordable housing for Smart Growth BC: a review of best practices, and an affordable housing tool kit for BC municipalities.
Tim sits on several other committees and boards, including the Whistler Housing Authority, the Transportation Advisory Group, Maurice Young Millennium Place, the Public Art Committee and the Whistler Community Services Society, and was been a volunteer for the 2010 Olympic Games. He is also a keen supporter of the community’s commitment to move toward sustainability through its adoption of the Natural Step framework and Whistler2020, the award-wining comprehensive sustainability plan.
Principal, New Climate Strategies
A background in journalism formed Nina’s broad understanding of social and environmental issues, and how the public is moved by them. Coupled with an MBA, Nina blends business management, marketing and operational skills with a commitment to engaging and supporting organizations in positive change, with a focus on sustainability.
Through New Climate Strategies, Nina has worked with a variety of clients on projects ranging from marketing strategy and organizational structure reviews to educational forums and persuasive writing.
She served as instructor in SFU’s Certificate in Sustainable Community Development and as a sustainability columnist for several publications. She is currently working on a PhD focusing on the identity formed by modern management/workplace experiences, and how it affects our ability to achieve sustainability. She is a deep believer in the power of story-telling to achieve social change.
Nina’s work background includes CBC Radio, Citizens Bank, Ecotrust Canada, Junxion Strategy, BC Hydro and the David Suzuki Foundation, in roles ranging from senior management to public engagement. She has served on the board/executive of FSC Canada, the Canadian Media Guild, Light House Sustainable Building Centre, and Green Teams of Canada.