Wellington Water Watchers Board Members
Rob Case - Chair of the Board
Rob is the Chair of the Wellington Water Watchers, and an assistant professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. Rob has been involved in local water issues since the days when Guelph International Resource Centre (GIRC) was a key player in raising public consciousness of local water issues through a volunteer-run rain barrel building and distribution program. Combining his experiences as part of GIRC's rain barrel program and related water efficiency initiatives in the city with his academic interest in community organization, in 2013 Rob completed a PhD based on research on Guelph's social networks of water activism. In his current academic capacity, Rob teaches in the area of community organization, and is continuing his explorations of community-based water activism and social movement building through academic research and through participation in the Wellington Water Watchers.
Rob has been serving as Chair since Mike Nagy's retirement from the position. He says he's involved in water issues because water gives individuals and communities a concrete, shared focus -- and the motivation -- to come together, across our differences, to figure out how to create a world together that is both ecologically sustainable and socially just.
Rajiv Kaushal - Treasurer
With an extensive career in finance, consulting and account management, I am ready to be involved with a board and organization where I can not only deliver additional value through my technical expertise but also be able to contribute to a valued cause that impacts us all. Having provided services to WWW in 2018, I had the opportunity to learn more about the organization, its vision, opportunities and challenges, and I have felt compelled to stay involved with both the team and its cause in any capacity. My experience and knowledge in several of the key areas required for the role of Treasurer is demonstrated through my years of experience working in the consulting and finance field.
Karen Rathwell - Member at Large
Karen is a seven-year member of Wellington Water Watchers and the current Treasurer. She believes that there is no more important legacy to leave our grandchildren than abundant, accessible community water. Water is more than a “resource to be managed”. It is different, something sacred, a part of each of us. It is a human right and while it’s our time here, we each have responsibility to defend water locally and globally for the generations that follow.
Karen brings her enthusiasm for life and her love of water to her volunteer work at Wellington Water Watchers. She joined WWW, and later stepped up to serve on the Board of Directors, after her retirement from a 28-year career in public education. She continues to pursue her interest in local and global water issues. She speaks about water stewardship to service, environmental, church and professional groups and presents to school groups at all levels.
One of Karen’s primary goals, in her volunteer role with WWW, is to encourage more to join this water journey. She aspires to being a “good ancestor”, leaving behind a legacy of pure and abundant water for those who follow for generations to come. She believes this can be achieved through teamwork, commitment and a shared collective vision.
Freshwater is every person’s rightful inheritance, not a commodity to be traded on the global market for profit or a “resource to be managed”, but a sacred gift. This rightful inheritance brings with it responsibility, to protect this life giving resource for future generations.
Tamanna Kohi - Member at Large
Tamanna Kohi has been dedicated to environmental advocacy from a young age, spending most of her childhood outdoors. What started as passion for nature turned into a Bachelor of Environmental Science/Studies (BESS) from Trent University in 2016. Tamanna's experience in social and environmental justice as a previous Board Member for the Kawartha World Issues Centre has motivated her to be a better steward of the Earth and waters for the generations to come. After volunteering with the Wellington Water Watcher's campaign "Water for Life, Not for Profit," Tamanna was nominated to be a Member at Large in late 2016.
She says it has been an incredible experience, as being part of the WWW Board, to meet and work with so many people who educate, advocate, and celebrate for the waters, since these values overlap with the values of the rare Charitable Research Reserve, where she works as the Development and Communications Officer.
Marguerite Campbell - Member at Large
I am interested in joining the Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) as a Board Member because I am very much aligned with the goals and focus of your organization and I would like to use the skills and experience I have gained over the course of my career both employed and volunteer to continue to work with community organizations and on projects such as yours. I am a recently retired Superintendent of Education at the Toronto District School Board. Over my 31 year career in education I have been an elementary school teacher, administrator, Course and Site Director for York University and OISE/UT. I have been Centrally Assigned Principal with the Board with portfolios including; literacy, numeracy, science, mathematics and outdoor education.
Rob Mackay - Member at Large
Rob is an organic vegetable farmer in Elora, ON. Indeed his farm, MacKay Farms, is located on Middlebrook Road just a short distance from the well recently purchased by Nestlé. Rob grew up in Kitchener and has an Honours Business Administration Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. A passionate environmentalist, he has planted nearly a thousand trees on the farm and created many pollinator friendly areas for bees and bluebirds.
Rob believes passionately that water should not be owned by a private company. Aquifers are running dry and still we are shipping water out of the watershed. In addition the pollution from water bottles is killing the planet in general and the oceans in particular.
There are environmental challenges that will take time to fix, but this is not one of them – we should quite simply stop bottling water NOW.
Susan McSherry - Member at Large
A long-time resident of Guelph-Eramosa Township and graduate of GCVI who went on to earn an M.A. before pursuing a career in business, Susan believes in social justice, environmental advocacy & the protection of potable water for all people as a fundamental, common, human right.
Having worked with Wellington Water Watchers during GETconcerned's campaign against a proposed float glass plant that would have used 1.6 million litres of water every day for up to thirty years, Susan learned just how able, skilled and committed WWW is to helping grassroots groups organize and build winning campaigns, but also realized the power of people to effect positive social & political change when the proposed heavy industrial development was stopped.
Joining the Board of WWW will give her the opportunity to continue advocating for the environment while working with and learning from an organization of engaged individuals whose mission to protect our precious water is the critical & increasingly urgent work of our time.
Rohin - Member at Large
I am a Grade 11 student at GCVI and am passionate about issues around water and climate change. I became aware of these issues first-hand after living in Malawi for several months, studying and learning about the human and environmental impact of climate change and water insecurity. During this time, I saw the impact of water scarcity on the lives of villagers and the health problems associated with these. After returning to Guelph, I decided to get involved with a Canadian organization called Rainmaker Enterprise doing local and international work on water issues and now I wish to help engage youth with the work of Wellington Water Watcher. At GCVI, I am a member of the Athletic Council, Social Justice Club and Model UN. I am also a member of the youth-led organization Artsy Activists and am connected to youth who care about these issues.
Sylvia Pivko - Member at Large
Sylvia is committed and supports all efforts that pay attention and reverse for profit use of our scarce water resources. Through serving on WWW Board she brings her extensive advocacy skills to our water crisis both locally and beyond.
Sylvia immigrated to Canada from Venezuela, grew up in Montreal and makes Toronto her home. Retired in late 2017, she was Executive Director of three not-for-profit organizations. Her career has had a significant focus on system change through partnership, collaboration and integrated planning. She has served on several local, Provincial and National Boards of Directors of community based not for profit organizations. In addition, she established positive relationships with (7) First Nations and Indigenous communities in Ontario.
Deirdre Pike - Member at Large
[more information coming soon]
Susan Glasauer - Member at Large
I decided to become an environmental scientist when I was 17. Since 2003, I've been a faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences at Guelph; I'm an Associate Prof. now. My training is broad across biology and Earth science. I did a minor in environmental economics during my Bachelors studies because I wanted to be able to bridge science, which sometimes has a hard time leaving the echo chamber, to policy and sound decision making. That seems even more important now, given the long reach of corporate interests into scientific research, and the willingness of governments to support those interests at times. I'm especially interested in resource extraction; my research is mostly in the remediation of mine waste and the protection of water using wetlands.
Staff of Wellington Water Watchers
Arlene Slocombe - Part Time Executive Director
Arlene Slocombe has been actively involved and committed to the work of the Wellington Water Watchers since its founding in 2007. She has been employed as Executive Director since 2009. Arlene, her partner, and two children learned a great deal about water stewardship living a simple off grid life along the banks of the Eramosa River just southeast of Guelph. While collecting the water that she and her family drink from a spring that bubbled from the ground by her home, Arlene had the privilege to viscerally experience the sacred nature of water that sustains all life.
Mike Balkwill - Campaign Director
[more information coming soon]
Meghan Clout - Communication Manager
Meghan’s passion for protecting water began when she was growing up in Northern Ontario on the shore of Lake Nipissing. Her passion for environmental and social justice led her to earn a degree in Environmental Governance from the University of Guelph in 2017. Meghan joined the Water Watcher Team in 2019.
Siyobin Blanco - 2Rivers Festival Coordinator & Take2 Coordinator
Siyobin Blanco has been an active part of the Guelph community as an organizer, activist and performer through founding The Feminist Creatives in 2011 and work with Invoketress Dance. She was awarded the “Queerator of Arts & Culture” award from The Guelph Pride Committee in 2019 for her work in creating inclusive spaces, shows, markets and more. These events aimed to serve as platforms for raising the voices of folks who are oppressed in our current system.
Social justice is one of her driving forces in life and environmental justice has been a large part of her life since she was a young student of the Trillium Waldorf School in Guelph.
She began her role as the 2Rivers Festival Coordinator in 2021 where she brings her experience organizing events, passion for social and environmental justice plus her enthusiasm for community building to further the impact of the 2Rivers Festival and the work of the Water Watchers.
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