Advisory Council

The advisory council supports the Board of Directors, Executive Director and working team with strategic guidance and the fostering of key relationships and partnerships. These individuals are not voting members of the board, but rather help support and advise the organization where possible. They therefore have no terms of reference, nor expected length of service.

Darryl Reed (York University)

darrylDarryl Reed is Professor of Business & Society at York University (Toronto). His research interests include fair trade, alternative development models and development ethics. He is the president of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Studies.



Donna Dagg (Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Corporation)


Donna has a master of science degree and over 20 years of professional experience in the environmental field. As the Sustainable Development Practitioner at Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL), Donna assists with advancing the corporation’s environmental goals, which include minimizing waste, conserving water, reducing carbon emissions, and advancing responsible procurement. In 2006, MBLL received an award for excellence in government finance for integrating sustainable development into business decisions from the Government Finance Officers Association. In 2007, MBLL was recognized as a Summit Award finalist for leadership in green procurement. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries continues to incorporate responsible procurement processes when acquiring goods and services, and assesses and monitors the performance of vendors for adherence to specifications that support social procurement.

Gavin Fridell (Saint Mary's University)

GavinGavin Fridell is a Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University and a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. He has authored numerous books and articles on fair trade, free trade, and global commodities, including Coffee (Polity Press, 2014), Alternative Trade (Fernwood Publishing, 2013), and Fair Trade Coffee (University of Toronto Press, 2007). 

Jennifer Williams (Firefly Insights)


Jennifer is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about the intersection of social purpose and business. Jennifer has a degree in anthropology and political science and has lived and worked in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, and Ghana. Until 2013, Jennifer was active in the growth of La Siembra Co-operative, a fair trade worker-owned company, and she currently owns a local and organic food business in Ottawa with her partner. In addition Jennifer consults with ESOP Builders on the design and implementation of Employee Share Ownership Plans for Canadian companies. Jennifer is the mother of four beautiful and energetic children. She loves dancing, experiencing different cultures, and spending time in nature.


 John Forsyth (Florists Supply)


For over 30 years John has been active in the floral industry. He has been involved in almost every aspect from delivering flowers, sales, purchasing, logistics, design, and marketing. He currently manages the cut flower operations, production, ecommerce and logistics for Florists Supply. He has travelled extensively to Colombia and Ecuador and has worked with hundreds of flower farms. He is active in the fair trade and sustainable floral movement and encourages all florists and consumers to consider the impact their purchasing has on developing countries.


Karimah Hudda (Mondelez International)

Karimah HuddaKarimah has worked in the fair trade movement since 2001, when she helped pavement dwellers in Mumbai build a handicrafts cooperative based on fair trade principles during her CIDA IYIP internship. She subsequently moved to Germany and began working at Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). She gained a broad and deep knowledge of the FLO system via her diverse roles in auditing, producer support, market development and strategy formation via her role as Head of Producer Services and Relations (PSR) Asia and global product responsible for tea. During her time at FLO Karimah had the privilege of supporting nearly 300 producer organizations across Asia and seeing the impact of Fairtrade first-hand, as well as participating in the exponential growth of Fairtrade's market and consumer reach. Since her return to Canada in 2010 Karimah has played a leadership role in a Toronto-based international NGO, helping it develop strategy, strengthening its programmes team, and building new partnerships, as well as advising government and private sector organizations on building sustainable, results oriented strategies. Karimah has seen the positive effects of significant growth in consumer recognition and market commitment to fair trade in Europe and is determined to see fair trade's success in Canada match, and indeed, surpass that of Europe.

Krista Pineau (Ecocert)


Since an energetic and powerful introduction to Engineers without Borders (EWB) in 2011, Krista has taken a profound interest in the fair trade community. Her involvement in fair trade with EWB evolved from working in youth engagement when she co-organized a youth conference based on Fairtrade products and trade in 2012. This led her to working with the staff and students at Simon Fraser University on the school’s Fair Trade Campus designation, and she has now brought this passion and experience to Laval University to build momentum to the same designation. Krista is bilingual and completed her bachelor’s degree in economics and politics in French in Quebec City. She has created many contacts in different Quebec fair trade organizations.


Lisa Zentner - (Greenpeace Canada)

LisaLisa has a unique combination of marketing, sustainability and environmental experience from her work in consumer products, IT, aerospace, and third-party certification. Throughout her career that spans North America, Germany, and South Africa, Lisa has led the development of company-wide sustainability plans, built and staffed marketing and branding divisions, and created departments to respond to the growth of energy efficiency and recycling programs within North America. Her work has been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S., National Resources Canada, and the BC Hydro Power Smart program.


Lorna Willis (Dana Hospitality)

Lorna WillisBeginning her career as a student manager at Carleton University, Lorna Willis has served the higher education market for over 30 years.  Upon completion of her studies, Lorna began a management career that has included positions at Carleton, St. Mary’s University, Queen’s University, and the University of Toronto.  In 2005, Lorna joined Chartwells and, as Regional Vice President (Operations), led campus teams in Ontario and Western Canada.  In 2013, Lorna then became RVP Student Experience and Campus Engagement, where her primary focus was ensuring that Chartwells programs and services reflect the changing needs of students and campus communities. Lorna now works as the Vice President of Marketing, Purchasing and Sustainability with Browns Dining. 


Mark Abbott (Engineers Without Borders Canada)

Mark AbbottMark Abbott graduated from mechanical engineering at the University of British Columbia and then spent fourteen years working his way up from junior mechanical engineer to mechanical manager and finally Director of Marketing. Along the way he became a registered professional engineer in BC and Alberta, completed an MBA and obtained his CMA and PMP designations. Mark initially joined the Vancouver Professional Chapter of EWB on a volunteer basis in 2007 and steadily increased his involvement, focusing on workplace engagement and later helping to progress EWB's fair trade work by becoming one of the founding members of a new sister organization called Fair Trade Vancouver. During the fall of 2010, Mark completed a Professional Fellowship with EWB's Rural Agriculture team in Ghana. He returned to his consulting job after the placement for a few months before deciding to take the leap and join EWB fulltime as the Director of People. Mark also sits on the Board of Directors of Fairtrade Canada.

Michael Zelmer - (Government of Alberta)

Michael Zelmer

Michael Zelmer experience with fair trade began in 2001 through his involvement with Oxfam Canada and as Co-Chair of the Vancouver Fair Trade Coffee Network, an alliance of individuals, churches, businesses, NGOs, and unions that promoted fair trade coffee between 1997 and 2008. Michael’s early work focused on consumer education but soon after included an additional focus on institutional engagement. He has worked on several ethical purchasing initiatives, including the City of Vancouver’s Ethical Purchasing Policy, and has given dozens of workshops and presentations on fair trade. In December 2005, Michael published his master’s thesis on the significance of the fair trade and organic markets to the protection of forested ecosystems on Nicaraguan coffee farms. In 2007 he was recognized by Fairtrade Canada as one of the ten most influential pioneers in Canadian Fair Trade.

Monika Firl (Cooperative Coffees)


Monika Firl has worked out of the CoopCoffees Montreal office since 2002, as Green Buyer, Producer Relations Manager and now as Special Projects and Outreach Manager, with a particular focus on the impact of climate change on small-scale farmers. She also currently sits on the Sustainability Council for the Specialty Coffee Council of America. Prior to coffee, Monika worked with a variety of locally based development projects while living in Central America and Mexico from 1991 to 2000. Her experiences include founding and directing a centre in San Salvador for the exchange of information on appropriate technologies; coordinating a regional, Campesino-a-Campesino, horizontal learning program around sustainable production practices and market alternatives with farmer groups in Central America; and participating in technical training and market development with coffee producer co-ops in Chiapas, Mexico. She holds a master’s degree in journalism as well as a bachelor’s degree in international relations and German.

Robert McKinnon (Pure Art)

robertRobert, Co-Founded  Pure Art Inc. and the Pure Art Foundation with his wife Brigitte and together they have dedicated their time over the past 5 years to help create and maintain sustainable programs with marginalized artisans, and their communities through local support of their own community here at home. Living just west of Montreal with their five sons, Robert and Brigitte run their Pure Art fair trade boutique as both an educational centre and meeting point for citizens interested in ethically sourced global hand-crafted products. Robert’s experience in owning a 25 year business in the field of health care education has provided a unique platform to build on his keen interest in ethical exchange and creating initiatives that help address social inequities around the world. Profits from hand-made creations purchased through the store in Hudson Quebec, directly support their humanitarian programs in the Foundation, cultivating a firm respect of cultural identity while building capacity. Robert is currently active in campaigning for Hudson to be a Fair Trade town and is also a proud board member of the North American Fair Trade Federation (FTF). 

Zack Gross (Formerly Manitoba Council for International Co-operation)

Zack Gross

Zack Gross recently retired as Coordinator of Fair Trade Manitoba, based at the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation in Winnipeg.  He continues in fair trade as a member of the CFTN's Advisory Council and as a Board Member at Fairtrade Canada.  He is a former President of the CFTN Board and a recipient of Fairtrade Canada's Lifetime Achievement Award.  Zack also facilitates on-line courses in the International Development Studies Diploma program at UBC and writes a regular "Small World" Op. E. column in the Brandon Sun.