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Our People

Meet Dogwood Initiative's team

Will Horter
Executive Director

Matt Takach
Operations Director

Laura Benson
Laura Benson
Beyond Coal Campaign Director

Don Gordon
Don Gordon
Head of Revenue 

Celine Trojand
Organizing Director

Ian Birch

Maggie Gilbert (sm)
Maggie Gilbert
Development Associate

Lyndsey Easton

Karl Hardin
Karl Hardin
Digital Strategist

Kai Nagata
Kai Nagata
Energy & Democracy Director

Arie Ross
Ariel Ross
Beyond Coal Organizer

Alisha Brown, Supporter Services Coordinator
Alisha Brown
Supporter Services Coordinator

Christina Smethurst, Communications Coordinator
Christina Smethurst
Communications Coordinator - on leave

Dave Mills, Provincial Organizer
Dave Mills
Provincial Organizer

Tracey Maynard, Provincial Organizer
Tracey Maynard
Provincial Organizer

Terry Dance-Bennink
Terry Dance-Bennink
Regional Organizer

Dan Mesec, Regional Organizer
Dan Mesec
Regional Organizer

Mary Leighton, Provincial Organizer
Mary Leighton
Provincial Organizer

Keira Zikmanis, Development Assistant
Keira Zikmanis
Development Assistant



Jennie MilliganJennie Milligan - Board President

Jennie has been actively involved in the environmental movement in BC for over ten years.  While attending the University of British Columbia in the late 90s, she was president of the Student Environment Centre.  While attending the University of Victoria, she was on the executive of the Environmental Law Centre throughout her three-year law degree.  She also conducted research on a volunteer basis for The Land Conservancy.  Jennie has worked for the Environmental Youth Alliance and Sierra Legal Defence Fund, first in donor relations and then as a legal researcher.  She is currently a practicing lawyer in Vancouver.

frankarnoldFrank Arnold - Treasurer

Frank heads The Pinch Group, a Victoria-based investment advisory practice that focuses on socially and environmentally responsible investment solutions for both individuals and institutions. A graduate of the University of Victoria's School of Environmental Studies, Frank also studied mathematics prior to entering the investment profession. In addition to serving on the board of Dogwood Initiative, Frank currently serves on the board of Living Carbon Investments and the Land Trust Alliance of BC, on the fundraising and communications committee of Habitat Acquisition Trust, as an external advisor to the Sierra Club of BC Foundation, and on the external advisory board of UVic's School of Environmental Studies. Frank's passions in life are protecting biodiversity and promoting green philanthropy. When he's not enjoying his time with his two children, you may find Frank on the ski slopes (if so, make sure you ski behind him).


Jess Dempsey - Director

Jess is a professor at the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria where she teaches classes in political ecology. She received her doctorate from the Department of Geography at UBC, focused on the rise of market-oriented environmental law and policy. As co-founder of the international network the CBD Alliance, Jess has participated in over a decade of major negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and worked with many NGOs and social movements (from the North and South) to develop analysis and positions on global biodiversity issues. Jess and her partner Ryan live with their three kids in Vancouver.

Michelle BonnerMichelle Bonner - Director

Michelle is Vice President and Training Manager at Climate Smart, a social enterprise that helps businesses measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to joining Climate Smart in 2008, she worked in the U.S. and Canada in fundraising and program direction and delivery with Ecojustice, Earthjustice, Evergreen, and the Hollyhock Leadership Institute. Michelle holds a B.A. in English Literature and Environmental Studies from McGill University and is a certified Greenhouse Gas Inventory Quantifier. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, two sons, and a goofy dog.



In addition to its Board of Directors, Dogwood Initiative works closely with an Advisory Round Table of experts in sustainable land reform issues.

These people are:

David Boyd - Environmental Lawyer, former Executive Director Sierra Legal

Anita Burke - Corporate Research Consultant

Jessica Clogg - Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law

Helga Knote - Labour and environmental activist

Anne Levesque - former Executive Director,CPAWS & East Kootenay Enviro Society

James MacKinnon - writer, former Senior Editor, Adbusters

Michael M'Gonigle - Eco-Research Chair, Environmental Law & Policy, University of Victoria, Founder, Greenpeace International

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  • © Dogwood Initiative, 2015

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