Staff and Board

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Staff

AEN’s team of staff are located in Calgary and Edmonton. They are responsible for the ongoing operations of the network and supporting members.  

Natalie Odd

Executive Director

Natalie Odd (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Alberta Environmental Network (AEN) and has worked in the environmental nonprofit sector in Alberta for over 20 years. AEN has a membership of more than 50 environmental groups that connect, collaborate, mobilize and impact ecosystems. Over the past two years, Natalie has worked to partner AEN with other organizations for the Defend Alberta Parks (CPAWS Northern & Southern Alberta) and Protect our Water - Alberta Beyond Coal (Council of Canadians - Prairies-NWT Region) ground campaigns. Natalie is also working collaboratively to build Drawdown Alberta - a crowd-sourcing, climate-solutions movement that has also emerged in BC and Ontario - and to advance a Just Transition in Alberta. Natalie has run in four federal elections, advocating for environmental and social justice. She was born in Holland and has lived in England, France, Sweden and Ecuador.

Russ Miyagawa

Director of Operations

Russ Miyagawa (he/him) has provided administrative, communications, information technology, and technical services to environmental and community non-profit groups for over two decades. He is resides in Edmonton's Queen Alexandra neighbourhood, where he is an active member of the Queen Alexandra Community League's Board of Directors. He holds a BSc in Civil Engineering, and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Preet Kang

Program Coordinator

Preet Kang (she/her) is truly passionate about renewable energy and climate action. Preet’s formal education in chemical engineering has led to the understanding that the way energy is produced has a lasting effect on our world. She believes satisfying the increasing energy demand while maintaining sustainability and social equity is a huge and complex issue in our communities. As a youth, she is curious about this challenge and eager to delve into opportunities that support climate policy and action. Preet is currently the Program Co-ordinator at the Alberta Environmental Network, working to advance a Just Transition in Alberta as the province moves to a low-carbon economy.

Molli Bennett

Director, Alberta Talks

Molli (she/her) lives in Mohkinstsis, also known as Calgary, AB. She is an experienced leader who is passionate about building community and organizing for change. She joined AEN to build her skills and have meaningful conversations with Albertans about climate change. She finds it rewarding to connect with people and builds hope for the future by taking action. She believes that we need a variety of perspectives to be able to address the climate crisis. She holds a Bachelors of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership from Mount Royal University. She is currently the Director of the Alberta Talks program for AEN. She loves spending time outdoors and is nerdy about the way we build and move through urban landscapes.

Melanie Hoffman

Associate Director, Alberta Talks

An Albertan by choice, her curiosity about making nanoparticles and skiing in the Rockies brought Melanie (she/her) from Germany to amiskwaciy waskahikan, or as it is known in English: Edmonton. Mel fell in love with this province and this city, and is passionate about learning and connecting, and exploring how to do everything in a good way. An educator and Ph.D. chemist by training, she has spent recent years deeply in climate communication, reconciliation, and the mosaic of Project Regeneration / Project Drawdown climate solutions – co-founding Drawdown Alberta. She arrived here through her family, her work with the King’s Centre for Visualization in Science, the Climate Reality Project, collaboration with Canadian Drawdown groups and Paul Hawken, and exploring climate action in education through EcoSchools in Alberta. Mel loves life (she bets just like you do!); in particular horses, growing food, dancing, and trail running.

Varvara Belenko

Coordinator, Alberta Talks

Varvara has had the privilege to live, learn, work and play in Moscow, New York, London, and Phoenix, observing complex interactions between citizens and their built and natural environments. Following her post-graduate studies in Economics, Management and Planning, she led cross-functional analytical teams in consulting, supporting municipalities and investors in shaping long-term visions for urban communities and engaging in collaborative research within a global context.

Now making her home in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), Varvara is thrilled to realize her passion for sustainable development through hands-on climate action work as part of the Alberta Talks team. She is excited about mastering the groundbreaking Deep Canvassing tactic to create lasting community impact and connect the dots between prosperity, equality and the environment through meaningful conversations.

Ella Haggis

Coordinator, Alberta Talks

Ella Haggis joined AEN at the beginning of 2023 to work on the Alberta Talks Deep Canvassing project. Ella was born in Calgary (Mohkinstsis, Treaty 7 Land) and when she was 18, moved to the UK to work and study in London and Manchester. She holds an English Language BA (Hons) from the University of Salford. In 2020, she received a Skill Up! certificate from the University of Salford's Start-Up school and was awarded pitch competition funding for her podcast production company Mystery Planet. In 2022, she moved back to Canada with the hope of putting her skills to work taking action on the climate crisis. Ella says, "working on the Alberta Talks project is a dream come true. Every day is exciting and different. It feels amazing to be part of this work in Alberta."

For general inquiries, send a message on our contact form and we will direct your message.

The Alberta Environmental Network (AEN) is a non-profit organization that is governed by a volunteer board of directors. AEN members, which includes individuals and representatives from member groups, elect the board of directors at the annual general meeting. The network’s priorities, operations and staff are guided by the board.

Current board of directors

As individual members or representatives from member groups, AEN’s board of directors embodies the diversity of the network. The current members on the board are:

Chair: Joshua Buck
Vice-Chair: vacant
Secretary: vacant
Treasurer: Robert Lees-Miller
Director: Norman Campbell
Director: Brian Deheer
Director: Rebecca Kauffman
Director: Jodi Thesenvitz

 

Join the Board of Directors

Any individual member or a representative from a member group is eligible to sit on the AEN board. Directors are elected at the annual general meeting to two-year terms on the board. Members that are interested in becoming a board member are invited to contact Natalie Odd ([email protected]).