Meet Our Staff
CIF-IFC National Office Staff
The CIF-IFC Staff is made up of full-time, part-time, and contract positions and works hard to implement the Institute’s operations and strategic plans through programming, initiatives/projects and communications. Staff members also provide ongoing support to the various CIF-IFC Committees and Task Forces.
Mark Pearson brings a strategic and integrated approach to policy development and planning. With over 20 years of executive-level experience in Canada’s Public Service, Mark has built consensus with domestic and international stakeholders on sustainable development, resource transparency, intergovernmental affairs, international strategies and agreements, and regulatory governance, including, the creation of Canada’s Major Projects Management Office.
Working as a senior executive in strategic policy at Natural Resources Canada has provided Mark with the opportunity to shape Canada’s natural resources story of which forestry is a major contributor. Mark has led the development of market diversification strategies and supported the Minister of Natural Resources during missions to Asia that promoted the use of Canadian wood in construction. As the Head of Performance Measurement for Natural Resources Canada Mark led the development of the Departmental Results Framework, which utilizes key indicators to track forest sector innovation and competitiveness.
Mark has publicly made commitments to gender equity and is proud to note that in June of 2019 he addressed a global audience in Paris, France on the subject, ‘Gender Equality Matters: Canada’s Best Practice Experience in the Natural Resources Sector’. (https://eiti.org/blog/building-movement-for-gender-equality-in-extractives) In his presentation Mark highlighted the importance of Canada’s first public-private funded gender-equity project led by the Canadian Institute of Forestry – Institut Forestier du Canada in partnership with the Centre for Social Intelligence.
Mark led a small team in the development of Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act – a new law and a key commitment of the Prime Minister of Canada at the 2013 G8 Leaders’ Summit. Mark collaborated with resource companies and associations, provinces and territories, Indigenous leaders and civil society to develop policy, legislation and reporting tools to support the coming into force of the legislation in June 2015. In addition, from 2009-2019, Mark was Canada’s representative on the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Chair of the Validation Committee – helping to advance resource governance and transparency in over 50 implementing countries world-wide.
Office and Finance Manager
Kerry joined CIF in February of 2014. Becoming the Office and Finance Manager for CIF was a second career for Kerry as she rejoined the workforce after her son started school. Kerry and her family live in Mattawa and she splits her time between work and chauffeuring her busy son to all his various activities. Over her time at CIF Kerry has met many great people from across the country who have a passion for Forestry.
Director of Programs and Initiatives
Prior to joining the CIF-IFC in the fall of 2016, Natasha worked in the forestry and outreach/communications sectors in British Columbia, Southern and Eastern Ontario for various consulting firms and not-for profit organizations. In her current role as Projects and Programs Manager, Natasha works closely with the entire team providing leadership on knowledge exchange and transfer programs and projects for the CIF/CIF-SEEK at a National level, maintaining strategic partnerships and leading in the delivery of workshops, demonstrations, and tours that promote knowledge exchange, innovations and applied learning. Natasha holds a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto.
After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, majoring in Natural Resources Management, Jen worked in the environmental sciences/agricultural field for the government as well as an applied research association in northern Alberta. Upon moving back to Ontario in 2017, Jen joined the CIF-IFC Team as the Conference and Communications Coordinator, returning as the Projects and Communications Coordinator in 2019. Since then, she has transitioned to Communications Manager. Jen will lead CIF-IFC communications strategies and provide program and project support.
Projects and Programs Officer
Steph Robinson joined the CIF-IFC team in October 2019 as part of a 12-month internship before transitioning to the position of Projects and Programs Officer. In here current role, Steph assists the entire team with knowledge exchange and transfer projects and programs for the CIF-IFC, by helping to coordinate the delivery of events, workshops, and demonstrations that promote knowledge exchange, networking, outreach and applied learning within the context of forestry. As a CIF-IFC intern, she was involved in a variety of projects including coordinating the first ever Virtual 2020 CIF-IFC National Conference & AGM. Steph is a graduate of Lakehead University with a degree in Forestry and a graduate of Sault College with a Natural Environment Technologist diploma. Her experiences vary from administration to timber cruising to aerial photo interpretation. Steph is looking forward to continuing her journey into forestry with such a significant and long-standing forestry institution.
Forest Communications Advocate
Prior to joining the CIF-IFC in the summer of 2021, Matt worked in federal and provincial politics, with a focus on public relations, communications, and digital media. In his role as Forest Communications Advocate, he supports the Institute’s communications and advocacy efforts. Matt is a graduate of Trent University where he received his BA in Business Administration and Politics. He is passionate about rural economic issues and ensuring generations to come can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Canada’s forests.
John joined the CIF-IFC in May 2021 as a Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Research Fellow to support the CIF-IFC’s Free to Grow in Forestry Initiative (Gender Equity in Canada’s Forest Sector National Action Plan). Before joining the CIF-IFC, John worked as a joint Postdoctoral Fellow with the School of Environment and Sustainability and the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan. As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, John will conduct additional research to gather evidence on the barriers and challenges faced by under-represented groups in Canada’s forest sector, including women and Indigenous peoples, immigrants, people with disabilities, visible minorities and LGBTQ2S+. The research outcomes will provide policy recommendations on programs and actions to support Free to Grow in Forestry for the advancement of gender, diversity, and inclusion in the sector. Professor Maureen G. Reed of the School Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, serves as the academic supervisor for John’s research.
John holds a doctoral degree in Environment and Sustainability from the University of Saskatchewan.
Forest Education Coordinator
Tanisha grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and always felt a deep appreciation for urban green spaces. The parks, creeks and forests were an oasis of peace in a chaotic world. It wasn’t until her third year of undergrad at the University of Waterloo at an Earth Science elective lecture that she felt that the environmental sciences could be her calling. Upon graduating, she explored this more by working in the environmental field and later getting a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Guelph. She has since worked with the Credit Valley Conservation, Toronto Botanical Garden, and the Humber Arboretum as an outdoor educator. She is now thrilled and humbled to join the CIF-IFC Team and looks forward to working with like-minded people with a passion for our splendid forests.
SHARON (SIYAO) YANG
Forest Science Program Coordinator
Sharon received her Master of Science in Forestry and Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. Her previous working experiences at Lakehead University include helping students with registration issues and preparing annual reports for research labs. During her free time, Sharon enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and crafting. Her role at CIF-IFC includes assisting the staff in the coordination and delivery of national forest science programs. She is excited to use her strengths and knowledge to build a bridge between forest professionals and practitioners across the forest sector to promote sustainable forest management practices and researches!
Liz (Elizabeth) graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences degree in 2017, and then furthered her education at Nipissing University, where she obtained her Masters of Environmental Sciences degree in February of 2022. During her years as an MESc candidate, Liz focused on the ability of oxygen isotope signatures of charred tree bark to identify forest fire severity. Liz has worked for the Regional Municipality of York in both a Natural Heritage and Forestry position, as well as in records management. In her spare time, Liz is an avid canoe tripper, hiker, and downhill skier. Liz is very excited to be part of the CIF-IFC team!
Isabella has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s degree in Renewable Resources. She spent the two years of her master’s studying carbon sequestration across different forest types in Quebec to help meet climate change mitigation goals, such as carbon neutrality. Isabella also worked for the Centre for Forest Research (CFR) with forestry professionals from across Canada as a research biologist studying urban forest growth in major cities across the country. In addition to her research background, Isabella also worked for the federal government on a multitude of environmental and sustainability projects. Her passions are geared towards sustainable development and encouraging gender equality in the forest sector. She’s very excited to be joining the incredible team at the CIF-IFC in 2021!
Forest Science Outreach Coordinator
Asad Choudhry started in January 2020 with CIF-IFC as part of a year long internship. Asad is a graduate of the University of Toronto in Forest Conservation and Biodiversity Sciences. Asad is passionate about sustainable forestry and environmental education. Asad has experience facilitating the Schad Biodiversity Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum and delivering community programming with the Clarington Public Library. Asad will be involved in preparing for the CIF-IFC 2020 Annual General Meeting and Conference and helping deliver CIF-IFC E-Lectures. Asad is excited to meet forestry professionals from across Canada and looking forward to working with passionate staff at the CIF-IFC in beautiful Mattawa.