Stay tuned as we continue to update the list of presenters for PLACE 18

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Aaron Paquette

Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 4

Councillor Paquette a lifelong Edmontonian raising his family of four children with his wife, Clarice, in Ward 4. He is committed to building strong, healthy communities and promoting good, stable jobs in a diverse economy.

Prior to his election to Council, Aaron worked as an award-winning Indigenous artist, author and business owner. His artwork can be viewed in museums, schools, hospitals and LRT stations across our city. His novel, Lightfinder, is taught in schools and post-secondary institutions across Canada. He has also worked with local schools in Edmonton’s north side to help create mural projects.

His passion for education also led him to work with Alberta Education, various school boards and teachers associations to help develop art curriculum and improve academic achievement.

He sits on Executive Committee, Utility Committee and the City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee.

He has sponsored the Council Initiative on Food and Agribusiness Diversification, and has also taken a leadership role working on the Child-Friendly Edmonton, End Poverty Edmonton, Multiculturalism, Literacy, and Urban Isolation/Mental Health Initiatives.

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Andrew Knack

Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 1

Andrew was born in Edmonton, raised just west in the city of Spruce Grove and has lived in Ward 1 since 2001. Andrew received his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta in 2006 and managed a retail business based in the ward until being elected.

He is a strong advocate of our community league system and served on both the Meadowlark and Jasper Park Community Leagues. Andrew currently serves as the Council representative on the City of Edmonton Youth Council and Edmonton NextGen. He also is responsible for five Council Initiatives: Seniors, Transit, Public Engagement, Post-Secondary and Active Transportation.

Andrew is honoured to have the opportunity to serve the people of Ward 1 and the rest of Edmonton.

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Ashley Salvador

President, YEGarden Suites

Ashley is a researcher, community organizer, and urban planner. She has conducted extensive research on laneway housing, including the first-ever comprehensive study on Garage/Garden Suites in Edmonton. She is involved in Edmonton's infill community and specializes in the social and relational aspects of the built environment. Born and raised in Edmonton, Ashley completed a BA Honours in Sustainability and Sociology from Dalhousie University, and is currently pursuing a MA Planning at the University of Waterloo.
Ashley is the founder and president of YEGarden Suites, an Edmonton-based non-profit organization dedicated to educating and informing citizens on the benefits, challenges, and regulations surrounding Garden Suites. She has also worked with the City of Edmonton and the City of Waterloo on projects aimed at combating social isolation through built and social infrastructure, and is engaged in research on affordable housing, seniors housing, demographic change, and employment precarity. 


Bob Coutts

Deputy Mayor of Forestburg, Alberta
Chair of the Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership

Bob Coutts is currently the Deputy Mayor of Forestburg, Alberta and the Chair of FIP (Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership). Bob has served on council in Forestburg on and off for close to 30 years and his day job is a owner and manager of Coutts Home Hardware in Forestburg. FIP is an organization that started with 11 municipalities in 2003 who's mandate is to partner and collaborate to ensure long-term prosperity and quality of life as a region of communities. The Flagstaff region is in East Central Alberta with a population of approximately 8500 rural and urban.


Brian Murray, Hon.B.A., RPP, MCIP

Associate, B&A Planning Group

Brian Murray has over 13 years of experience working within a municipal planning context and more recently planning within the private sector. His experience has centered around downtown and mature area planning, including TOD, as well as, corporate strategic planning. Brian was part of the project team who advanced the current Downtown Plan and Zoning Bylaw, has worked on numerous redevelopment projects in the Downtown and core area neighbourhoods, and is currently leading the revitalization of the Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre.


Claire St. Aubin

Principal Planner, City of Edmonton

Claire St. Aubin is Principal Planner with the City of Edmonton. Claire has two bachelor degrees in Horticulture and Urban Planning, and was a recipient of the PJ Smith Medal in Planning. She also co-founded Lactuca, Alberta’s first Urban Farm. Prior to her work for the City of Edmonton, Claire was a construction project manager for a decade.


Dallas Karhut

Dallas Karhut is a Transportation Engineer with over 10 years of experience in the private and public sectors. Dallas has a keen interest in how the analysis and design of our transportation systems evolve to better adapt to the needs of people who walk, bike, ride transit and drive. His current role with the City of Edmonton focuses on developing higher-level transportation plans and policy such as the Edmonton Bike Plan and Comprehensive Parking Review (a review of the parking requirements outlined in the Zoning Bylaw). Dallas also has experience in site- and neighbourhood-level traffic and parking planning including roadway and site design.

Dallas holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta (2008) and completed the Next Generation Transportation Certificate program from Simon Fraser University (2015). Dallas currently serves as President of the Northern Alberta Section of the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers.


Dan Rose

Communications Coordinator, Edmonton Heritage Council

Dan Rose is the lead volunteer with HeritageForward, an advocacy organization for Edmonton’s historical places. He was born and raised in the south side Edmonton community of Mill Woods. Dan firmly believes in the power of communities and places to tell unique stories, looking for new and creative ways to interpret, preserve and share Edmonton’s diverse heritage. He is also a director of the Edmonton Historical Board and communications staff with Edmonton Heritage Council. Dan can often be found fixing road bike tires on the side of highways throughout the Edmonton Metro region, scouting fishing holes on the North Saskatchewan River, and standing in the middle of the road trying to take pictures of old buildings for his Instagram account.

Danielle Koleyak

Danielle Koleyak, M.EDes., P.Ag

Environmental Project Manager, City of Edmonton

Danielle is currently an environmental project manager with the City of Edmonton. Her current work focuses on climate change adaptation planning, environmental management, and environmental policy. She has a background in environmental science, with a Masters Degree in Environmental Design, focusing on the integration of environmental objectives into land use planning. 


Darha Phillpot, MCIP, RPP

Manager, Land Use Planning Unit, Government of the Northwest Territories

Darha is the Manager of the Land Use Planning Unit with the Government of the Northwest Territories. A champion of collaborative planning, Darha has spent her career working in partnership with Indigenous Governments to develop innovative approaches to strategic land and resource planning. Working within the unique socio-political landscape of the Northwest Territories has given Darha valuable insight into the power of planning in reconciliation and self-determination. Darha holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Geography from the University of Victoria (2003) and a Masters Degree in Planning from UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (2010).

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David Ridley

Executive Director of the Edmonton Heritage Council

Executive Director of the Edmonton Heritage Council, David has guided the organization’s work on Historic Urban Landscape (working with Dr. Kevin Jones and Vanessa Zembal), as well as other initiatives such as the Edmonton Living Rooms Project, Edmonton Maps Heritage and the Edmonton City as Museum Project. His previous work includes serving as Director of Research for the Heritage Community Foundation and as a curatorial researcher with at the Royal Alberta Museum, documenting historical experience and memory in Alberta’s cultural communities. He has helped lead key community discussions about culture and place and its importance in social development .


Dianne Gillespie, MA

Community Development Coordinator, City of St. Albert

Dianne is a Community Development Coordinator with the City of St. Albert. In addition to her previous degrees in Urban Planning (BSc) and Health Promotion (MSc), from the University of Alberta, Dianne recently completed an MA in Human Geography. Dianne's MA research investigated how planners and policy makers in Bedford, Nova Scotia perceive and plan for sea level rise.


Duncan Fraser, BES, MES, RPP, MCIP

Sessional Instructor, University of Alberta

Duncan Fraser is a Sessional Instructor in the School of City Planning at the University of Alberta. He recently retired from the Sustainable Development Department, City of Edmonton as the Senior Planner for the downtown core after 35 years of planning practice. During his career he was well known for leading complex planning exercises in city building, including the development and implementation of the Capital City Downtown Plan. He has led teams of planners and consultants who have been responsible for 12 international, national, provincial, and municipal awards in planning. He is a Registered Professional Planner and a member in good standing with the Canadian Institute of Planners. 


Erin O’Neill, RPP, MCIP

President of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute
Director of Provincial Recovery Coordination with the Government of Alberta

Erin O’Neill is the President of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute and has recently started a position as the Director of Provincial Recovery Coordination with the Government of Alberta.  Previously, Erin was the Operations Manager for the Wildfire Recovery Task Force with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Fort McMurray.  Being responsible for re-entry back into Fort McMurray and championing the recovery pillars of rebuild, environment and mitigation; Erin was proud to be involved in the recovery of the Fort McMurray community.  Erin has held positions in Land Administration, Current Planning and Long Range Planning in Fort McMurray, the Town of Sundre and the City of Ottawa.  Erin received her Masters of Science in Planning from the University of Guelph and her Bachelor of Arts from Bishop’s University.    

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Josef Filipowicz

Senior Policy Analyst, Fraser Institute

Josef Filipowicz is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Centre for Municipal Studies at the Fraser Institute. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson University. His work with the Fraser Institute includes the New Homes and Red Tape series focusing on the regulatory landscape surrounding home-building in Canada’s municipalities, as well as analysis of the impact land-use regulation has on the housing supply in Canada’s largest cities. Mr. Filipowicz’s work has been featured in news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, and Vancouver Sun. He continues to work on urban issues including housing, municipal finance, and governance.


Julie Paquette, BA

Julie is currently pursuing her master’s in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Alberta and works part time as a Research Assistant in the Urban Environment Observatory and as a Planning Intern at the City of Leduc. Her master’s research is focused on planning strategies for Canadian cannabis legalization. Her research interests also include the intersection of Human Rights and municipal planning, the city at night, and reducing social isolation through planning. Before undertaking graduate studies, she worked in Community Relations at the City of Edmonton’s Waste Management Services department, as an English Teacher in Shaoxing, China, and as a Neighbourhood Connector, facilitating community engagement in her neighbourhood in Edmonton. Julie holds a B.A. (Hons) in Environmental Studies from The King’s University in Edmonton.

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Kalen Anderson, RPP, MCIP

Director, City Plan, City of Edmonton

Kalen Anderson is the Director of the new City Plan in Edmonton's Urban Form and Corporate Strategic Development Department. The City Plan will be Edmonton's modernized, and combined, Municipal Development Plan and Transportation Master Plan which will help propel Edmonton's urban shift. She leads a dynamic team of multidisciplinary professionals who co-create a long-term planning strategies to enable new development and mobility opportunities, steward positive growth and change, and host critical conversations to achieve a livable, accessible and sustainable city. Collaborative decision-making and integrated thinking are at the heart of her practice. A passionate Edmontonian and committed city-builder, Kalen has worked for the City of Edmonton for over a decade in a variety of capacities and key leadership roles. She currently serves as Vice President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism, is a board member for Arts Habitat, sits on the Faculty of Extension’s advisory board for the City-Region Studies Centre at the University of Alberta, and is a past Councillor of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute. 

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Dr. Karen Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC

Associate Professor of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta

Dr. Karen Lee joined the Division of Preventive Medicine in the University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine on February 1, 2018. Trained in Medicine at the University of Alberta, and having completed a Masters of Health Science and a residency in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Toronto, Dr. Lee recently returned from her decade and a half away in the US, undertaking work first for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Epidemic Intelligence Service and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, followed by her position for nearly 9 years in the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as Deputy to the Assistant Commissioner of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Inaugural Director of Healthy Built Environments, and Senior Advisor of Built Environment, Active Living and Healthy Housing during Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. Her international award-winning collaborative work with non-health sectors like Urban Planning, Transportation, Architecture, Housing, Affordable Housing, Education & School Construction, Facilities Management, Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development, among others, has produced resources now used by these sectors around the world to improve health and wellbeing considerations within their practices and policies. Along with NYC’s comprehensive environmental approach to chronic disease prevention and control during the Bloomberg administration, NYC experienced increases in life expectancy of over 2 years with rates of increase exceeding those in the rest of the US. Longstanding increasing childhood obesity trends were reversed. Her team has also consulted and mentored many cities and organizations around the world in this work. She has acted as Special Advisor to multiple World Health Organization regional offices on intersectoral collaboration issues to address the social and environmental determinants of health, and to improve health equity. Dr. Lee was awarded the Canadian Institute of Planners President’s Award in 2017. More information on her previous work and available free resources can also be found at

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Kevin Cooper, B.U.R.Pl

Born and raised in Edmonton, Kevin is passionate about seeking solutions for creating strong communities through high-quality affordable housing. Listening to the stories of those experiencing homelessness first inspired him to begin this work nearly ten years ago. Since then Kevin has continually sought innovative solutions for affordable housing developments through a combination of work experiences in the non-profit, public and private sectors as well as graduating from Urban and Regional Planning Program at Ryerson University. With four years of project development planning experience among a diverse range of working capacities, Kevin has been afforded the opportunity to develop into a detail-oriented and well-rounded planning and project management practitioner that plans to make a dent in housing affordability in Alberta. 

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Dr. Kevin E. Jones

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta

Dr. Jones is an interdisciplinary social scientist at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Extension and associated researcher with the Faculty's City-Region Studies Centre. His work on cities is focused on the relationships between governance adaptations, expertise and community participation in city-building. Closely engaged with Edmonton's urban transformation over the past 8 years, Kevin's research explores, and helps support, the unique and meaningful contributions of communities and publics to city-building.

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Kim TallBear

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment
Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta

Kim TallBear is Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. You can follow her research group at Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society at and @indigenous_sts. TallBear is author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (2013). She is a founding faculty member of the Summer internship for INdigenous people in Genomics (SING). She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She tweets @KimTallBear.


Mark Connolly

Edmonton AM, CBC

Mark Connolly is the host of Edmonton AM, CBC's local morning radio show. Mark grew up in Edmonton and was a long time sports reporter for CBC before taking on the radio job in 2013. He continues to work for CBC television as an Olympic commentator, having covered 10 Olympic games, doing play by play for bobsleigh, luge, skeleton & cycling. Mark is a proud Edmontonian and created CBC Yegwalk to show off his city in the spring of 2018.


Michael Phair

In February of 2016 the Provincial Government appointed Michael Phair Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta. Previously he was part time Executive Director with the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society, an Educational Coordinator with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta and from 1992-2007 an elected member of Edmonton City Council.

In the Edmonton community Michael Phair has have been active for over 25 years with Edmonton’s LGBTQ community, founder of HIV Edmonton, and a current board member of NeWest Press, Pro Coro Music Society, Paths for People, Edmonton Homeward Trust, and Edmonton Pride Senior Group.

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Michael Scheidl

Michael is currently employed with Alberta Municipal Affairs and works on the Municipal Dispute Resolution Initiative as the Manager of Dispute Resolution Services.  The Municipal Dispute Resolution Initiative provides municipalities, regional boards and regional service commissions with an opportunity to use mediation to resolve disputes between themselves. The Initiative also includes a collaborative governance and an education component.  Prior to this Michael was in the Municipal Organizational Development Unit conducting Amalgamation and Dissolution Studies for the ministry. 

Michael worked with Alberta Community Development Volunteer Services providing facilitation services to non-profit groups in the areas of public input, issue resolution, team building, governance, business planning and special event planning.  Michael was also a Recreation Director with the Town of St. Paul for five years.

In his spare time Michael instructs with Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta and is a Master Facilitator with Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada. Michael has a certificate in conflict management and a BA in Recreation Administration.


Michael Walters

Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 10

Councillor Michael Walters was first elected to Edmonton City Council in 2013 and recently re-elected to his second term on October 16, 2017. Prior to entering public office, Michael spent two decades working as a community organizer and public policy leader, committed to helping people and organizations across Alberta. Michael has received numerous awards for his work in the community, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his work with homeless populations, Avenue Magazine’s Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine for his work as a champion of neighbourhood revitalization and smarter urban planning, and Alberta’s Next 10 Most Influential Leaders by Alberta Venture Magazine.

Michael's vision for Edmonton and Alberta is to build vibrant and affordable neighbourhoods that can fill us with joy, an amazing city and province where we can raise healthy and resilient families, and strong community networks that enable people to work together to make the world a better place.


Nalini Naidoo, MCIP RPP

Director of Planning & Development, City of Yellowknife

Nalini Naidoo is the Director of Planning & Development at the City of Yellowknife. A lifelong Yellowknifer, Nalini and her family have lived in Yellowknife since the 1970s, calling the city home for three generations. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University in Kingston. Nalini has worked with the City of Yellowknife for over a decade. She has held the positions of Manager of Planning & Lands, and Director of Communications & Economic Development, before assuming her current position. Prior to her roles with the City, she was an Associate with Dillon Consulting Ltd.

In her spare time Nalini can be found planning the next vacation with her three sons and husband. She’s a big believer in walking to work and shopping locally.


Nicole Bonnett, BSc

MA Candidate, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

Nicole recently completed a BSc (w distinction), Planning Specialization, from the University of Alberta’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), and is now pursuing an MA in Human Geography, as a SSHRC Fellow, in Dr. Birchall’s coastal community climate resilience research group, EAS. Nicole’s research involves analysis of the incorporation of climate change adaptation into strategic planning at the regional district scale on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

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Nola Kilmartin, RPP, MCIP, MUP

Senior Urban Planner, Kennedy

Nola is the Senior Urban Planner at Kennedy, a design studio in Edmonton with expertise in complex redevelopment projects. A Registered Professional Planner and an experienced public consultation practitioner (IAP2), Nola brings creativity and clarity to the planning and development process. She believes successful implementation requires strategy, as well as technical knowledge and passion.

Nola currently serves on the Standing Planning Committee for the Urban Development Institute Edmonton Region, EEDC’s Office Conversion Task Force, as a Director for Momentum Walk-In Counselling, on the Planning Committee for Women and Money Canada, and actively contributes to the City of Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, in addition to other city building initiatives. In 2016, Nola was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 for making Edmonton a more livable city.

Nola grew up in Vancouver, earned her urban planning degrees in Montreal, and has lived and worked in Whistler, Courchevel, Dublin, London and Barbados. A lover of cities and nature in equal measure, Alberta provides wonderful access to both.


Rob de Pruis

Director, Consumer and Industry Relations, Western

With 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, Rob has held various senior management roles in the areas of claims and risk management for some of the leading insurance companies in Canada. Rob joined IBC in May 2016 as the Insurance Industry Claims Liaison where he served as the primary claims liaison for the insurance industry in Fort McMurray and was instrumental in facilitating insurance assistance to those impacted by the wildfire.

In his new role as Director, Consumer and Industry Relations, Rob directs the activities of the Consumer Information Centre for the Western and Pacific region. He acts as a liaison between IBC’s member companies and consumers to find negotiated solutions on issues that impact both parties. He also provides insight on insurance to consumers and facilitates collaboration between industry and relevant stakeholders. Rob has achieved the following professional designations: Fellow, Chartered Professional (FCIP), Claims Major, with Honours; Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP); Canadian Risk Management (CRM); Canadian Personal Property Appraiser (CPPA); Associate, Canadian Condominium Institute (ACCI), specializing in Insurance; and Associate Customer Service (ACS). He also has a Law Enforcement and Security Diploma from MacEwan University. A former President, Arbitration Chair and Treasurer of the Northern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Insurance Claims Managers Association, Rob has been a guest lecturer for the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta, Insurance Institute of Canada and MacEwan University.


S. Jeff Birchall, PhD

Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Alberta

Jeff recently joined the University of Alberta’s Urban and Regional Planning Program, having previously served as Marsden Scholar, Royal Society of New Zealand. Jeff’s research explores the nature of local scale climate impacts and the decision dynamics around how climate adaptation is incorporated into strategic policy and planning. Prior to academia, Jeff held posts at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.


Dr. Sandeep Agrawal, PhD, AICP, MCIP

Director, Urban & Regional Planning Program, University of Alberta

Dr. Agrawal, the Director of the Urban and regional Planning Program at the University of Alberta, is an urban and regional planner whose research interests include land use and regional planning, international planning, multiculturalism and human rights, and public policy. His most recent works are on human rights and municipal bylaws, and regional and rural planning in Alberta. His international works include high density rural regions of India, effects of tall buildings in Colombo, Sri Lanka and evaluation of housing affordability programs in the United Arab Emirates. His newly co-authored book “Understanding India’s new Approach to Spatial planning and Development: A Salient Shift?” is published by the Oxford University Press. He recently completed a SSHRC/IRCC funded project on documenting the settlement experience of Syrian refugees in Alberta. His SSHRC-funded pan-Canadian work on human rights and the city is currently ongoing. Dr. Agrawal served on City of Edmonton’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. He recently stepped down from serving on the Alberta Municipal Government Board.

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Sara Ahlstrom

Chartered Mediator, Government of Alberta

Sara Ahlstrom is a Chartered Mediator and dispute resolution professional with over 20 years’ experience building relationships, trust and collaboration capacity across Alberta. In my various roles with the Government of Alberta (GOA), I have been able to bring diverse groups of people together to resolve conflicts and influence policy decisions that would have benefits to all Albertans.


Sarah Hamilton

Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 5

Sarah Hamilton is proud to be City Councillor for Edmonton’s Ward 5. Prior to her election, Sarah worked as an educator, a journalist, a small business owner, and in various public service-oriented roles in provincial and municipal government. Sarah grew up in Lessard and graduated from the University of Alberta. Later, she received a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before returning home to Edmonton to be closer to family.

In her role with the Minister of Health, Sarah worked on several projects such as the Southwest Wellness Initiative, which sought to bring together wellness strategies at different levels of government. As an adjunct professor in Chicago she taught Media Studies and Communications, working with students from diverse backgrounds to help develop their communication and critical thinking skills. Most recently, Sarah founded and operated SPARROW Communications & Public Relations, working with several non-profit businesses throughout Edmonton. Sarah has spent much of her life steeped in volunteer work. Most recently, she served as the Marketing and Communications for the World Partnership Walk and was a board member for the Lessard Community League and Latitude 53, an artist-run art gallery here in Edmonton. Other organizations she has volunteered for include the YMCA and Fort Edmonton Park.

In her downtime, Sarah enjoys spending her time with family and friends. She does yoga regularly, is an avid consumer of local arts and culture, and as a former Chicago resident remains a die hard Cubs fan. She enjoys hiking and cycling through Edmonton’s River Valley and familiarizing herself with the many hidden corners of the city.

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Sean Lee, MScPl

Planner, City of Edmonton

Sean has over 8 years of experience across a diverse practice in planning, including public sector, private consulting, and NGO environments. He has worked in various Edmonton Metro region municipalities, the Greater Toronto Area, and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on projects from zoning and subdivision, to city master planning and redevelopment, economic development, and TOD development. 

Soumya Ghosh

Soumya Ghosh MBA, PMP

Director, Digital Enablement, City of Edmonton

Soumya Ghosh is the Director, Digital Enablement with the City of Edmonton's Open City and Technology Branch. Soumya leads the business technology innovation portfolio with initiatives such as Smart City and Open City. He is responsible for managing the award-winning open data program and developing the smart city strategy and proposal for the Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. His latest project involves improving the health of Edmontonians through the use of data and smart technology.

Prior to joining the City, Soumya worked as an IT consultant with Fortune 500 companies such as Oracle Corporation, McKesson Corporation, and Deutsche Bank. He completed his MBA from the University of Alberta, has an Engineering Degree, and is PMP certified.


Sunny Wang, B.Sc., P.Biol.

Environmental Consultant, Community Development

Sunny is a Professional Biologist and an University of Alberta alumni. With a specialty in wetland ecology, environmental land use planning, and regulatory approvals, Sunny brings an integrated multi-disciplinary approach to community development and environmental planning.

Sunny currently works as an Environmental Consultant with Stantec’s Community Development team in Calgary, has been involved in municipal and regional environmental and biophysical planning, integrating environmentally significant areas, species of management concern, archaeological and cultural resources into new communities and developments. Her ecology background combined with her planning expertise strikes a unique balance for preservation and sustainability of sensitive landscapes while taking advantage of the economic, tourism and social opportunities of development.


Taylor Varro, MPlan

Manager, Regional Projects, Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board

Taylor completed his Bachelor of Arts (Urban and Regional Planning) in his hometown at the University of Lethbridge and further explored his academic interest graduating with a Masters of Planning from the University of Calgary. At the University of Calgary, Taylor developed critical design skills he utilized in a community redevelopment strategy and a main streets analysis while with the Urban Lab.

Following graduation, Taylor completed the Alberta Municipal Affairs: Municipal Internship Program with the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB) in conjunction with the Town of Gibbons - a program that fosters the development of next generation planners. Currently as a project manager at the EMRB, he is contributing to the creation of a Regional Agriculture Master Plan, Metropolitan Region Servicing Plan and on-going Regional Growth Plan implementation.


Tim Smith, MCIP, RPP

Principal, Urban Strategies Inc

Tim Smith is a Principal with Urban Strategies Inc. and has over 22 years of planning and urban design experience. His work has taken him to cities large and small across Canada and in several American states. He has prepared policy plans and urban design guidelines for downtowns, waterfronts, campuses, new communities and business parks, with much of his work focused on revitalizing urban cores and transforming suburbs into sustainable communities. He is currently leading projects in Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa and St. Albert, Alberta. In 2017, he was appointed to the Hamilton Design Review Panel.