Senior Advisors

Our Senior Advisory Team provides RSI with an unparalleled resource of extraordinary expertise and performance, in business, government and academia. Each one stands at the top of their field, combining a record of pioneering innovation in sustainability and future-ready management, with a reputation for thoughtful engagement and decisive action.

Our Senior Advisors collaborate with RSI at the highest leadership level to deepen and enrich our strategic insight, and to expand our expertise in developing organizational, technological, social and economic solutions, for energy and climate preparedness on a medium- and long-term horizon.

Laura Barnett, MBA
Laura Barnett, MBA Senior Advisor
Laura Barnett is a risk management professional with experience in the financial services industry. She has spent the majority of her career focused on operational risk, including emergency preparedness, where she has worked to bring teams together for collaboration focusing on their commonalities and connection points.

Equipped with her BA in Linguistics from York University, Glendon and MBA in Risk Management from Walden University, Laura has used her educational background to connect her people-focused skills with operational efficiency in both her professional and volunteer community work. She is passionate about supporting people to discover and develop their skills for betterment of their own local communities.

Laura has served on not-for-profit boards in Toronto and has been involved in several community development projects, both in Toronto and through partnership with organizations internationally.
Peter Boyd
Peter BoydSenior Advisor & Climate Lead, Founder & CEO, Time4Good Group
Peter Boyd enjoys working where strategy, marketing and sustainability meet. In 2014 he moved from launch director and COO of the Carbon War Room, to independently launching The Time4Good Group. This now spans a social startup and consultancy, that includes advising The B Team on its Net-Zero initiative, and an Executive Fellowship at Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment.

He has over fifteen years of commercial experience with the Virgin Group, latterly serving as CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa. He started his career with McKinsey & Co. after graduating BA Hons. from Oxford University reading Philosophy, Politics & Economics.

In parallel to his work at Time4Good, he is a member of the board of trustees at Earthplace and serves on the mayoral Green Task Force in his hometown of Westport, CT (which also recently targeted a ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ sustainability goal).

Sylvain Charlebois, PhD
Sylvain Charlebois, PhDBComm, MBA, DBA, Researcher and professor in food distribution and food policy at Dalhousie University
Dr. Charlebois is also the Senior Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab, also located at Dalhousie University. Before joining Dalhousie, he was affiliated with the University of Guelph’s Arrell Food Institute, which he co-founded. Known as “The Food Professor”, his current research interest lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. Google Scholar ranks him as one of the world’s most cited scholars in food supply chain management, food value chains and traceability.
Paul Dowsett
Paul DowsettSenior Advisor and Former Chair
Paul Dowsett is the founding Principal Architect at SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building (STO), a professional architecture practice established in 2009. STO is a leader in an emerging movement of pragmatic sustainability – simple is the new smart - specializing in affordable, healthy and energy-efficient design. With more than three decades of local and international residential, institutional and commercial sustainable design and project management experience, Paul is uniquely qualified to lead a highly collaborative design team for projects of diverse scales, types, and complexities. Key projects include the Eco-Deco Deep-Green Energy-Retrofit of a 1930’s art deco masterpiece for the Daniels family; international competition-winning housing strategies for post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Sandy New York; and the ongoing, multi-phase, asset-based, authentically community-engaged reimagining of the East Scarborough Storefront and surrounding apartment towers in concert with the City’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal initiatives. At the core of Paul’s philosophy and practice is the belief that design and construction solutions should be simple, sensitive, and sustainable. Paul & STO have been friends of Rethink Sustainability Initiatives for the past few years, helping with the educational and promotional outreach efforts. Paul has been a volunteer instructor and program director since 1988, teaching kids with disabilities to ski and to snowboard, Paul is the current President of the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association Board of Directors. Additionally, Paul has been a volunteer instructor since 2012, teaching kids with disabilities to sail, Paul is the current Vice-President of the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario Board of Directors. Providing opportunities to people of every ability. Since 2001, Paul has been the architectural advisor on the Public Advisory Committee for the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant, an Art Deco architectural masterpiece in Toronto. Paul has also recently joined the Board of Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG). Paul & STO have been Friends of TBG for the past few years, helping with the educational and promotional outreach efforts to help pollinators.
Richard Fitzgerald
Richard FitzgeraldSenior Advisor
Richard (Rick) is recognized as a leader who sees the big picture and taps into the intelligence of teams, partners, alliances and data to drive growth, innovation and positive change.

Over a 30 year career he has provided CEO leadership for international and domestic consumer packaged goods and beverage companies. He led the planning and implementation of growth and innovation focused sales, marketing, operations, mergers and acquisitions. He has served on Canadian corporate, NGO and NFP Boards—creating impressive and sustained growth in shareholder value.

Rick is a Director of VIVO Cannabis Inc., and Founder/Chair of the Socks4Souls not-for-profit charity. Previously, he was Chair of the Board of Dillon Consulting, he served for eight years, as an Ontario Power Authority Director, Diageo Chairman, and Richmond Hills Philharmonic Orchestra Director and Chair.

He is a sought-after keynote speaker and advisor to CEOs and senior decision-makers on key issues that impact their businesses and address how to translate future readiness strategies into sustainable action.
Matt Hammond, PhD
Matt Hammond, PhDSenior Advisor & Chief Technology Officer, HiGarden
Matt is a systems thinker, who relishes working at the nexus of nature, technology and society. He is Chief Technology Officer and Biologist at HiGarden, where he leads the innovation of sustainable urban agriculture tech.

His overarching focus is on how biodiversity and ecosystem principles can pave the way for a more resilient future - whether in an urban farm or an ecosystem. As a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, he led a research program on the purposeful design of ecosystems to produce food and other valuable services like education. At the same time, he collaborated with the French National Centre for Scientific Research to develop methods for uncovering how biodiversity keeps natural ecosystems stable. He has helped secure numerous research grants, including a top-finalist in the prestigious NSERC Discovery Frontiers competition.

He has also worked on the wicked problems – and solutions – of conservation. He served as a Wildlife Ecotoxicologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, tracking the impacts of industrial pollution on the Great Lakes. He was also a consultant for the Bermuda Government and Bermuda Zoological Society, supporting the mapping and protection strategies of critical coral reef habitats. As a doctoral researcher, he innovated statistical tools for better biodiversity accounting and predicting ecosystem change. He continues to contribute to the science and conservation of biodiversity through publishing, conferences, advising and mentoring.

Matt’s conviction is that understanding, protecting and emulating nature is a key to transforming our planet for the better. He holds a PhD in Biology from McMaster University, and an MSc in Marine Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
Alexander Hay
Alexander HaySenior Advisor & Systems Risk Lead, Founder & Principal of Southern Harbour Ltd.
Alec is a globally recognized leader in Operational Risk, Resilience & Security Planning. He is headquartered in Toronto, as principal of Southern Harbour; and at the University of Toronto, as an adjunct professor focused on infrastructure strategy and the operational resilience of communities and corporations. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and expert advisor to CEOs and senior decision-makers on the impacts of climate change on business and community infrastructure, and what’s required for translating future readiness strategies into sustainable action.

Previously: DIALOG Resilience & Security practice leader; British Royal Engineers specialist for over 25 years in fortifications and infrastructure development in various global assignments (the Americas, High Arctic, South Atlantic, Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Asia); and, Infrastructure Protection planner for the NATO estate in Afghanistan.

A Chartered Engineer, licensed in Alberta and Ontario, Alec is a Fellow, mentor and peer reviewer of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Royal Engineers. He is also International Secretary of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists.

Other qualifications include: founding Director of the University of Toronto Centre for Resilience of Critical Infrastructure; Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers Capacity Building Panel, responsible for futuring civil engineering competencies in the 2025 international marketplace and beyond; Founding Trustee of the Explora Foundation and director of its veteran widows and orphans education charity and research not-for-profit; Author; and a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Alexander Hay is RSI Senior Advisor and was an RSI Director from 2014 to 2019.

Sandra Leigh Lester
Sandra Leigh LesterSenior Advisor
Director of Sustainable Buildings Consulting, Founder & CEO of Affecting Change Inc.

Sandra is an accomplished and seasoned sustainable design strategist and organizational development specialist. Based in Toronto, she is the Founder of Affecting Change Inc.; and is a Part-time Professor at the Humber Advanced Institute of Technology. She was formerly Visiting Professor and Adjunct at the University of Manitoba. Sandra is a sought-after guest speaker, facilitator and expert advisor.

She has the rare capacity of being both a building science expert as well as a strategist. Her projects cost-effectively achieve exceptionally high levels of sustainable design performance.

Previously: Sandra worked at HOK Architects as the Sustainable Design Area Leader on projects across Canada and the Middle East. She worked as a design professional for over 25 years on two continents; and did pioneering energy modelling work on off-grid building projects in the early 90’s.

Other qualifications include: Certified Passive House Designer; LEED-accredited Professional (with a Specialty in Building Design and Construction); Certified Sustainable Building Advisor; member of the Steering Committee for the Sustainable Transportation Hub and CMO for the City of Toronto; and Founder of the Cleantech Innovation Centre.

Sandra Leigh Lester has been a RSI Senior Advisor since 2022.
Peter Love
Peter LoveSenior Advisor and Founding Director
Peter Love provides strategic and policy advice on energy issues for companies, non-profits and governments. He is an Adjunct Professor at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and does consulting through Love Energy Consultants. He is on the board of Energy Efficiency Alberta as well as a number of corporate and non-profit Boards active in the energy/environment area. In 2005, Peter was appointed Ontario’s first Chief Energy Conservation Officer with the Ontario Power Authority where his focus was on providing leadership in electricity conservation and advancing a conservation culture in Ontario. He was a leader in setting among the most aggressive targets for conservation in North America and reported that Ontario met its first conservation target of a five percent peak demand reduction by the end of 2007. Previously, Peter was the Executive Director of the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, co-founder of the Summerhill Group and co-founder and first President of EnerQuality Corporation, the company that was created to deliver the R-2000 and Energy Star New Homes programs. An active volunteer, Peter is Advisor for the MaRS Cleantech practice and past chair of the Royal Canadian institute for Science. No stranger to the concept of a “cultural shift” in the Province, early in his career Peter worked as a project coordinator for Pollution Probe with the team that developed the 3Rs campaign “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. In recognition of Peter’s commitment to sustainable buildings and energy efficiency, he was inducted into the EnerQuality/R-2000 Hall of Fame and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Clean 50 Award which honours Canada’s top 50 contributors to sustainable development and clean capitalism in Canada. Peter has an MBA and BA from the University of Toronto and the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Liz McHardy
Liz McHardySenior Advisor, Partner at LURA
Liz McHardy is a Partner at LURA Consulting, a community engagement and collaborative planning firm in Ontario; with particular expertise in helping all size of communities to engage residents in developing a diversity of planning, climate change action and sustainability initiatives. Over the past two decades, her speciality has been in collaborative planning, facilitation, problem solving and strategy with and for people involved in the discovery of solutions.

“I am excited to join RSI Board of Advisors because its mission aligns with my personal and professional values and passion; for advancing the readiness of individuals and communities to reimagine and co-develop a more sustainable future.”

Liz holds an MBA in Leadership from Royal Roads University. As a lifelong learner and systems thinker, she has completed several executive development programs. In 2019 she was a recipient of the Clean 50 Award which honours Canada’s top 50 contributors to sustainable development and clean capitalism.
Habibur Rahman
Habibur RahmanPhD. Senior Advisor, Economist
Inspired by the transformational works of servant leaders like Dr. David Suzuki and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Habib uses his economic and marketing expertise to research, design and develop action biased sustainability and social impact strategies and solutions for and with communities and organizations in the GTA and beyond.

His purpose driven passion is backed with 30+years of local and global professional work experience in social and economic research, education and management consulting for well-known international development organizations including the UNDP, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Recently, he prepared the impact focused Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Plans to drive employment targets for the Government of Bangladesh and completed a needs assessment and cost analysis of requirements for achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets in universal primary education for Bangladesh.

A firm believer in paying it forward and making a difference in people’s lives, Habib volunteered with several community focused organizations: YMCA, School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario, and Woodgreen Community Services and more.

Habib holds a PhD in Economics from Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh and an MBA in Marketing from the Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo Canada.
Joe Tankersley
Joe TankersleySenior Advisor
Joe Tankersley is a futurist and advocate for better tomorrows. He uses his skills to help organizations and community groups re-imagine our tomorrows through the power of foresight and strategic narrative.

Prior to launching his own consultancy in 2015, Joe spent twenty years with Walt Disney Imagineering. During his time with WDI he worked as writer, producer, and internal futurist for Disney’s elite Blue Sky studio. Whether he was designing immersive experiences for global audiences or helping executives discover future opportunities Joe used the power of story to spark imagination and help individuals see beyond the horizon.

Building on his Disney experience, Joe developed his Strategic Narrative Foresight Technique. This unique approach to futures thinking combines rigorous research with the creativity of storytelling to help unlock future possibilities. Joe has used this technique to help fortune fifty companies, nonprofits, and community groups "Imagineer their best tomorrows."

Joe has long been an advocate for others working to expand our imaginative capacities. In 2021, he partnered with Karyn Zuidinga of Nextwave Innovation to start The Practopia Project. The project’s goal is to inspire positive tomorrows by showcasing the latest in imaginative foresight and speculative fiction.

Joe has served on the boards of directors of the Global Future Forum, Association of Professional Futurists, The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, The Blue Community Consortium, and the Whale Center. He is currently a community fellow at the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida.

Joe's essays and speculative fiction have appeared in professional foresight journals and popular environmental and business periodicals. In addition, his collection of strategic narratives, Reimagining Our Tomorrows, was published in 2018.

He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in English and received his M.A. in Communication from Florida State University.