My road to becoming the President of The Delphi Group started in a fire tower in Northern Alberta.
I grew up in a small town outside Montreal, with Laurentian forest as my backyard. Maybe that’s why I always felt deeply attached to nature. As cheesy as it sounds, I also knew I wanted to change the world for the better—I just didn’t know what that would or even could look like in terms of a career.
While at Dalhousie University pursuing a combined degree in international development studies and biology, I spent summers working outdoors. I tree planted in Alberta. I fished for salmon in the Yukon with a traditional Dene fish box. And yes, I sat atop a fly–in fire tower for two summers, alerting the forest service when I saw any telltale signs of smoke.
Those summer jobs were a window into how I could follow my passion for the outdoors—and for sustaining it.
From East to West to East and Back Again
I was deeply fortunate to be nominated by Dalhousie for a Rhodes scholarship, and as a result ended up doing my master’s degree and a PhD at Oxford. My PhD was focused on wind power in China, which was the start of an ongoing fascination with technology as a solution to environmental problems. The origins of that fascination? It could be because I’m a naturally optimistic person, and these solutions represent hope – and a better future.
I always knew I wanted to solve real-world problems, so once out of academia I came back to Canada from China to work for the Ontario Ministry of Environment. It was a fantastic experience on a couple of fronts: I got great insights into how policies are made, and I met my future husband and father of my two daughters. Energy and environment was clearly going to be my thing, and in the early 2000s there was a lot happening in Alberta, so I packed my bags and headed west.
All Roads Lead to Delphi
I initially worked with the amazing folks at Climate Change Central, a non-profit that was funded by the Alberta Government, to develop the first offset system in the province. After I had my kids, I re-connected with Mike Gerbis, our group’s CEO, about doing some part-time consulting work for Delphi.
The rest, as they say, is history. My family comes first, so I was keen to build a work schedule around my family, and Mike—and then Ted Ferguson, who followed him as President—were early supporters of work-life balance. Over the years, I’ve been able to grow and keep learning through a number of roles: serving as practice lead for our cleantech work and driving collaborative projects forward, such as the Scaling Cleantech in Canada initiative; becoming a VP and serving on the executive team; and most recently serving as interim leader of GLOBE Series, overseeing our signature events until the inimitable Elizabeth Shirt was appointed last summer. All the while, exploring ways in which we could build our team and have more impact. This is not a group of people who are satisfied with high-quality work products alone…we are singularly focused on influencing and shaping a better future.
Entering the Decade of Innovation
We are in the decade of innovation. By the time COP26 in Glasgow rolls around in November this year, countries responsible for 78% of global GDP will have pledged net-zero emissions by 2050 or, in the case of China and Brazil, 2060. One-fifth of the world’s largest corporates have set net-zero targets. This is an incredibly important first step. The next one? Figuring out how they’re going to deliver. Innovation will be key—and not just technologies, but business models, strategic partnerships, and change management.
Policy, consumer awareness, corporate commitments…I have never seen everything line up this way before. After decades of working in this space, I can now confidently say that net-zero strategies, sustainability strategies, circular strategies ARE corporate strategy. It didn’t always feel that we’d get here, which just goes to show that you need to just keep at it (one of my personal mantras).
I’m incredibly excited about helping our clients transform the way they do business. Our job is to help them cut through the noise so they can focus on what’s most important and deal with the pace of change. So, they can stay true to themselves and figure out the right course of action and the right level of ambition when it comes to their objectives and strategies. It really feels like a huge opportunity to shift course towards a—you guessed it—more sustainable, prosperous and socially just future.
As we look to the future, I expect we’re going to see more and more consumer choices that empower them to leave a lighter footprint, from clothes to food to cars. Consumers voting with their wallets are going to play a big role in shaping what the future looks like. In addition, look for continued ingenuity, and an explosion of clean solutions—not just hard and soft tech, but also business models, policy instruments and partnerships. The road to net zero is not going to be easy but, if we to stick to our guns, we have a good shot of getting there.
My two teenage daughters might not fully understand what I do all day, but they know that I’m trying to address climate change, and to ensure they have a safe and healthy future. I feel so lucky to be able to do work that reflects my personal values, and that allows me to collaborate with our teams and our clients to build a better world for my kids, and yours.