RCA 2023 Conference – Speaker Session Announcement – Circularity in the Shire

Join us for the highly anticipated 2023 RCA Circular Economy Conference, at the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise from October 18 to 20. Immerse yourself in the theme, “There and Back Again: The Journey to Circularity,” inspired by the epic Lord of the Rings saga. Get ready for a transformative journey, featuring three days of captivating insights and engaging discussions on the circular economy. Each of our speaker sessions will offer a unique perspective on the circular economy. 

Let’s dive into the featured session, titled “Circularity in the Shire”. Hear from municipal leaders about the pivotal role municipalities play in leading the transition to a Circular Economy. This session will delve into the circular initiatives within these communities, highlighting that municipalities, being in close proximity to people and businesses are more nimble than higher-level governments, and have a unique opportunity to spearhead initiatives and learn from one another.

  • Marcos Alejandro Badra (City of Richmond) – Richmond’s Circular City Strategy
  • Jinny Toffelmire (Town of Okotoks) – Repair Cafes
  • Michael Hancharyk (City of Leduc) – City of Leduc: Using Artificial Intelligence to Reduce Contamination
  • Alison Abbink (City of Edmonton); Amal Alhomsi (Town of Banff) – Single-Use Item Reduction Bylaws

Full speaker bios for this session can be found below. Stay tuned for updates on speakers for our other sessions!

Marcos Alejandro Badra – City of Richmond

With extensive experience spanning over two decades in circular economy, sustainability, and environmental management, Marcos has led numerous initiatives across diverse sectors from chemistry to energy in Latin America, Europe, and Canada. Holding significant expertise in life cycle assessment, ESG, project management, design thinking, and systems thinking, Marcos has driven cross-cultural dialogue and stakeholder engagement towards sustainability and human development. As a lean six sigma expert, Marcos has implemented EHS programs in manufacturing industries and local governments. Currently serving as the Program Manager, Circular Economy at the City of Richmond, Marcos continually strives to promote innovative circular economy practices.

Jinny Toffelmire – Town of Okotoks

Jinny joined the Town of Okotoks in 2015 after completing a Master of Environment and Business degree with a focus on community based social marketing. Her role with the Town involves the development and coordination of a diverse and holistic community sustainability education program, which includes the Conservation Education program, the Environmental Education Centre, events such as the Repair Café and Green Living Workshops, and the Water Conservation Rebate programs. She also oversees the formation and implementation of public and corporate environmental sustainability policy and guidelines, including the Environmental Master Plan and Climate Action Plan. Jinny loves camping with her family, getting out on any waterbody with any kind of floatation device, and slowly replacing her grass with plants and trees.

Michael Hancharyk – City of Leduc

Michael is a prairie born graduate of the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Environmental Science. He’s worked with municipalities across the prairies to improve waste diversion and truly believes that sustainable education is the key to living a holistic lifestyle. Currently, as the Environment Manager with City of Leduc, he is working on modernizing the City’s Environmental Plan, reducing organics’ contamination using AI cameras, and adding recycling and organics waste streams to all multi-family properties in Leduc.

Alison Abbink – City of Edmonton

Alison Abbink is the Waste Reduction lead for the City of Edmonton, where she has been working since 2012 in a variety of capacities, including climate adaptation, red tape reduction, and water and waste utilities. During this time, she has supported a range of strategic projects, including the development of the 25-year Waste Strategy, a communal collection program for apartments and condos, and most recently, she spearheaded the implementation of the Single Use Items Reduction Bylaw.
Passionate about sustainability, strategy, and systems, Alison’s next adventure will involve the development of the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) strategy, which aims to encourage a paradigm shift towards a truly circular economy.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in modern languages and anthropology from the University of Alberta, as well as a certificate in translation studies. Currently, she is in the process of completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Practice and a graduate certificate in the Science and Policy of Climate Change from Royal Roads University. In her leisure time, she enjoys hiking and camping with her partner, young daughter, and stepson in Alberta’s magnificent mountain parks.

Amal Alhomsi – Town of Banff

Amal works for the Town of Banff as an Environmental Educator. His presentation will be about the Single Use Item Bylaw that the town recently initiated. Amal moved to the Bow Valley in 2018 after completing a literature degree in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Amal then pursued a master’s degree from UBC where his thesis explored green imperialist rhetoric in nature documentaries. He is the author of the book Senescence: A Year In The Bow Valley, and an Editor for Oesa Magazine.