The Waterloo Sustainable Development Group’s company leadership is comprised of a team of internationally well-rounded and highly educated development practitioners and consultants, each specializing in a particular discipline in the field of sustainable development. These disciplines include renewable energy, sustainable water management, local economic development, program management support, program monitoring, gender equality, youth empowerment and sustainable waste management. WSDG also has a team of exceptional senior and affiliated consultants with decades of experience in international development work in areas such as education, environment, child and youth well-being and resilience, humanitarian aid and relief work, corporate social responsibility, sustainable community plans and urban green spaces.
Tarek AlFarra, Chief Executive Officer
Tarek AlFarra brings a wealth of knowledge to WSDG with over 14 years of experience in international ministerial-level advisory work, international development, mass communication, entrepreneurship and international trade.
Prior to joining WSDG, his employers included the United Nations, government ministries, diplomatic missions, international news channels and a number of international businesses. He has also worked as an independent consultant with various organizations affiliated with the world’s leading development and aid agencies. As a WSDG expert with a Masters in Development Practice from the University of Waterloo, he focuses on renewable energy technologies and proliferation, sustainable water management and local economic development.
Ian Chow, Chief Strategic Officer
Ian Chow’s diverse background in community and grassroots engagement, partnership outreach, communication and experience in the United Nations Development Program offers Waterloo Sustainable Development Group a unique perspective and encompassing approach.
He carries a Masters in Development Practice and his main interests are in waste management innovations coupled with urban and community planning and peace and conflict studies with a focus on sustainable peace building. He adopts Results Based Management (RBM) approaches for project development and implementation.
He is also the Toronto Regional Coordinator for the Canada Green Corps program headed by UN Association of Canada and an active member of a number of Community Sustainable Working Group (CosWoG) programs under the larger campus group of Science for Peace at the University of Toronto.
Amr ElAlfy, Chief Business Development Officer
A researcher and PhD Candidate in the Social and Ecological Sustainability Program at the University of Waterloo. Amr has over 7-years experience in business development in multinational conglomerates, namely Nestlé and 3M, where he was leading the Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility functions for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) Region. His expertise is applied in the areas of Research, Program Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Measurement, and Capacity Development.
Nicole Maynard-Li, Chief Community Development Officer
Nicole Maynard-Li is a development practitioner who has been traveling and working abroad for the past 10 years. Mainly focusing on projects relating to education and community development, she has since learned to apply her diverse skills in the areas of gender equality, economic development, project management, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Results Based Management (RBM) techniques for successful project development.
Nicole’s interests in global food security, agriculture, education, and climate change, stems from her background in Environmental Science from Wilfrid Laurier University and her Master’s degree in Development Practice from the University of Waterloo, bringing a unique perspective to WSDG.
Dr. Samia AlFarra, Senior International Education Consultant
With over 40 years of a stellar career in international education, Dr. Samia AlFarra is a world-renowned and award-winning authoritative figure in school improvement and excellence in education (K-12). In addition to her position as Senior International Education Consultant at WSDG, she currently serves on 3 International School boards in Dubai, Riyadh and Kuwait. Prior to that, she was the Chief Education Officer of the Taaleem Management Group in Dubai (2009-2014) and the Principal of the Amman Baccalaureate School in Jordan (1991-2009) – the first school to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) system in the region. She also served at the Al-Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait (1977-1991) in a variety of leadership positions, culminating as its Director.
Dr. AlFarra has served as a Chairwoman on many school committees. She was a member of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Ministry of Education Council for 13 years. She also served as a member of the International Baccalaureate Academic Committee from 1997 – 2003, served on the IB Head of Schools Committee for 6 years and was a member of the IB Council of Foundation. She is a co-founding member of the Middle East International Baccalaureate Association (MEIBA), which she was president of for 7 years. She received her Doctorate in Education through Bath University, UK.
She was also elected to serve on the IBO’s Regional Heads Representatives Committee for Africa/Europe and Middle East for the last 4 years. She also served as a keynote speaker on many international conferences on International Education. Furthermore, Dr. AlFarra has also chaired and co-chaired numerous accreditation visits for The Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. She is also a certified DSIB/KHDA inspector.
In 1995, Samia was recognized by the European Council of International Schools for her role in highlighting and promoting International Education. Moreover, she was awarded the “Education Award – First Degree” from the Ministry of Education in Jordan and was awarded the “Life Time Achievement Award” as part of the 7th edition of the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) 2014 Conference, the Middle East’s largest education exhibition and conference event.
Dr. Islam Elshahat, Associate Professor at Towson University, Director, Synergy Sustainable Development Group
Dr. Elshahat is an Associate professor at Towson University. He earned his MBA with Finance concentration from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime and PhD from Florida International University. Dr. Elshahat research areas are environmental performance, capital market research and bankruptcy prediction. Dr. Elshahat has extensive research and practical expertise in financial accounting and reporting, cost accounting and managerial issues, feasibility studies, and individual and corporate taxation. Dr. Elshahat is also the managing director of Synergy Sustainable Development Group, WSDG’s sister company in the USA.
Rachel Clements is passionate about building child and youth well-being and resilience. Since obtaining an Honour’s Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University, she has worked in the Palestinian Territories providing art-based programs for children in the Aida refugee camp, and researched young women’s empowerment initiatives within the region.
She is currently completing her Masters of Social Work with Wilfred Laurier University where she has interned as a researcher with Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region, and is currently completing a counseling internship with Carizon Family and Community Services. She also has a proven experience in implementing program evaluations for programs catering to child development and in conducting literature reviews and compiling background information for program proposals.
Rachel has volunteered with Reception House Waterloo Region for over 1.5 years, where she supports the social and emotional well-being of recent Syrian refugee children.
Julie Cook believes that in order to achieve the sustainable society we desire, we need to understand how collective behaviour change happens. As a result, Julie has been working for years—both academically and professionally—in the field of social marketing. Social marketing uses commercial marketing principles to influence behavior change for the betterment of society. Julie is currently a PhD student in Social and Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo where she is conducting research on social marketing successes and failures, as well as social marketing’s role in systemic change. Julie has over six years of program management experience and she is seasoned in workshop facilitation.
Phoebe Stephens believes that private actors have an important role to play in the transition towards a more sustainable economy. As a result, Phoebe worked in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting, helping some of Canada’s top companies such as Loblaw and Maple Leaf Foods to improve, measure and report on their environmental, social and governance performance. Currently, Phoebe is pursuing a PhD in Social and Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo, researching the role of impact investing in supporting sustainable agricultural production.
Yushuo (Alicia) Cai
Alicia is a graduate student in the University of Waterloo’s Sustainability Management Program. She is currently working on a project partnered with Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) to explore the influence of partnership structure on the outcomes of sustainable community plans.
After finishing her Bachelor of Environmental Science and Statistics from the University of Toronto, she developed a passion for urban and development issues. She did internships in Environment Canada and the City of Toronto, working on program cost-and-benefit analysis and eco-roof incentive programs. Her current interests include sustainable community plans, partnerships, approaches for SDGs, and urban green spaces.