City of Toronto announces third cohort for Women4ClimateTO mentorship program

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Toronto has selected 11 women for the third cohort of its Women4Climate Toronto (W4CTO) mentorship program.

Through a combination of mentoring, training and networking opportunities, the program provides tools to help women advance climate-related projects or business start-ups. Projects align with city climate goals.

“Through Women4ClimateTO, the city is following through on its commitments to climate action and equity, while supporting a growing network of emerging leaders who are working to make our communities more sustainable,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “With access to mentorship, expertise, and other tools, we are investing in diverse ecosystems and I look forward to seeing what this year’s cohort will build.”

W4CTO is a partnership with C40 Cities to support the development of emerging female climate leaders – a network of mayors from nearly 100 cities collaborating to deliver urgent climate action to address the climate emergency.

Participants and their climate-related projects and business start-ups are:

  • Amy Castator, Carbon Conversations TO: workshops that equip individuals to make lifestyle changes, build community and take collective action to effectively cope with climate distress.
  • Ana Cuciureanu, Splash on Earth: a community-building event and competition that engages participants in environmental action through art and games.
  • Angie Buado, Building Residents Capacity for Textile Waste Reduction: engages local residents in reducing textile waste through educational workshops, training on clothing alteration and repair, and organizing clothing donation and swap events.
  • Cara Des Granges, Seedy Farm: encourages Ontarians to adopt sustainable gardening practices by selling non-invasive organic locally-grown plants from a low waste start-up that uses environmentally-friendly, low-emission practices.
  • Ellise Gasner, #wheredoesyourraingo Poster/Essay Contest: aimed at raising awareness among middle school and high school students about the benefits and applications of green infrastructure, such as permeable surfaces in stormwater management.
  • Julia Morgan, Toronto Home Retrofits: a non-profit organization providing community-based retrofit coordination services to homeowners in an effort to rapidly and equitably increase the pace of home retrofits across Toronto.
  • Lisa Chen, Oceanic Impact: a social enterprise aimed at making a positive impact on waterways through projects such as the Marine Way platform for reporting lost fishing gear and aquatic animal entanglements, and Debris Mine a gamification geocaching platform for waterways that attaches monetary value to garbage, empowering communities to keep their shorelines clean.
  • Natalie Duncan, AI-enabled Urban Insect Farms: precision agriculture for urban insect farms using AI-enabled technology to sustainably produce nutritious alternative protein foods, while reducing food miles and reusing waste heat from facilities to offset GHG emissions.
  • Niki Cesta, The Wasteland Plan Foundation: outdoor events, eco-trips and environmental campaigns, which foster waste education, nature reconnection and conservation-based solutions that generate measurable, positive and equitable socio-environmental impacts.
  • Priya Patel, Earth Analytics: uses machine learning and satellite remote sensing data to develop models that can inform urban planning decisions and help build heathier communities.
  • Tina Safaei, PAHK Solutions: a platform for personal carbon footprint management.

Over the course of the program, which runs until June 2023, mentees will consult with mentors from the public and private sector with expertise in a variety of fields, including climate action, business, finance, marketing and communications.

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