Libby Garg is from BC’s Okanagan Band, and grew up in BC’s rural Shuswap and Okanagan Valleys. She credits her work ethic, as well as deep love and admiration for animals and nature, to growing up on a working dairy farm.
Libby Garg holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics, as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of British Columbia. In 2010, while still in law school, Libby was the co-founder and the managing partner of the private investment partnership DGH Capital. Most notably, Libby led the strategy that invested in Facebook prior to its IPO, as well as Privateer Holdings.
Libby left the practice of law in 2016 to return to entrepreneurial pursuits in opening her first quick service restaurant, Freshii. Her location is one of the top performing stores measured by sales.
Building on her expertise in the quick service restaurant industry, Libby founded WorkSolute, a payroll company that services industries with high employee turnover, and hourly waged based employees. WorkSolute won the Ignite Business Competition in 2016, which provided initial start up capital. Relying primarily on organic growth, the company is now forecasted to pay approximately 1200 employees per pay period this year alone.
In addition to being Vice-Chair of Ghost Bear Institute, Libby sits on multiple boards in both her business and personal communities – and believes that the world would be a better place if more people were like animals. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Toronto with her husband and their dog Jack, a rescued pug-russell.
And Libby’s favourite animal?
“I admire the beaver for their ability to rebuild their home quickly when it is torn down. It shows a level of perseverance and ability to adapt quickly to adverse circumstances. Two others are meerkats or weaver ants – I admire both for their ability to function in a highly social environment and achieve goals for the betterment of the group by working together.”
Mehernosh Pestonji was born in India and came to Canada in 1972 as a landed immigrant. Those first formative years growing up in a developing county, as well as his subsequent visits to India, Cambodia, Tanzania and other far-flung corners of the world, sparked his life-long passion for social justice, environmental issues and community development.
This passion has infused Nosh’s teaching and related professional pursuits during a diverse, three decade-long career in public and independent schools, including teaching exchanges in England and Thailand. He has taught in elementary and secondary schools, and is a co-founder of T.E.A.M. Project Milliken, an award-winning project-based alternate education program for at-risk youth. In 2002, Nosh moved to the independent school system, as a Geography teacher, later taking on the role of Director of Outreach and developed a dynamic and diverse Outreach Program.
Whether introducing elementary students to the wonders of Mayan civilizations, leading urban teenagers in back-country canoeing expeditions, exploring contemporary world issues with Grade 12 students, or leading Learning Service Expeditions around the world, Nosh has worked to help students expand their environment and the world view. He is a strong believer that helping rising leaders gain new and different perspectives is at the heart of personal transformation and fundamental to creating a more thoughtful society. It’s also proven to be one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of his life’s journey.
And Nosh’s favourite animal?
“I like Elephants because they are calm, gentle, confident and, to me, seem humble. They are powerful and yet gentle. When they set their mind to doing something, they commit fully until the task is done. I also really like their almond shaped eyes. To me, they have always had a wise human quality to them.”
Amanda Gierling is a Chartered Professional Accountant, who has spent nearly a decade working at Travelers Canada, a leading property and casualty insurer. Before joining Travelers, Amanda spent four years at Ernst & Young LLP while studying for her accounting designation, where she gained extensive experience serving clients in the not-for-profit sector. Amanda brings invaluable financial expertise to the role of Treasurer on the Ghost Bear Institute’s board, helping support the growth of Nature Labs.
As a mother, Amanda understands the need for a modern curriculum that takes advantage of current technologies and fosters a respect for nature in a way that is fun and relatable for the next generation of students.
Amanda earned her undergraduate degree in management and organizational studies from Western University in London, Ontario.
She currently lives in Toronto with her family.
And Amanda’s favourite animal?
“The fox, which is why I love your Foxy Friday posts! When I was younger and living in London, I was at the back of our property (my parents own several acres of land) and I encountered a fox kit. We were about 30 feet apart and we just sort of stared at each other for a while. It was so cute and I didn’t know what to do but observe and learn. When we each walked away, I felt I gained a deeper appreciation for my natural neighbour.”
Kerrie Blaise is lawyer and advocate based in Ontario, Canada, passionately dedicated to environmental and public interest law. After years of volunteering with many environmental non-profits, including the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition; obtaining a Masters of Science from the University Edinburgh, where she studied the marine impacts of offshore oil development; and graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2016, Kerrie is honoured to join the Ghost Bear Institute as its Chair.
Kerrie continues to work in the non-profit sector, representing clients and community groups seeking to uphold the government’s commitments on environmental protection. She frequently appears before tribunals, at conferences and in consultations with government officials on issues spanning nuclear reactor safety and environmental protection, international trade agreements, natural resource use and endangered species.
And Kerrie’s favourite animal?
“Wolves! I love, love, love wolves. The existence of a wolf signifies so much – namely a healthy ecosystem. As recently as a month ago I was in consultation with the province about expanding the buffer zone around provincial parks to ensure the species is given more space to thrive. I could say a lot about wolves! Oh, and all mustelids, especially martens and river otters! Pine martens because they’re semi-rare, feisty and hilarious; river otters because I find them fascinating and have had many personal encounters that have inspired my love for nature.”