About Us

As a non-profit based on the West Coast, we have always felt a strong connection to the natural world around us and its preservation. We are fortunate to live in a part of the world that has had limited exposure to the consequences of climate change, but we understand our world is connected and a global shift that puts the environment and its people above profits is needed.

The Synergy Foundation was created in 2013 by the Synergy Enterprises team and a group of passionate community members and leaders who recognized the need for a non-profit organization to lead the transition towards a green economy on the west coast. Since its inception, the Synergy Foundation has focused on innovative projects and programs that have pushed the envelope, supported hundreds of businesses, and turned great ideas into action.

Our three focus areas are green business, food security, and circular economy. This is represented in our core projects, the Vancouver Island Green Business Collective, FED, Project Zero, and our annual Ecostar Awards Gala.

Our mission is to share ideas, spark innovation and activate change to steer our economy and communities towards a more regenerative future

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WE ARE CONNECTORS.

We are well rooted within the green network in BC and we relish in the ability to bring people and businesses alike, together to spark new relationships and business opportunities.

WE ARE CHANGEMAKERS.

We challenge the status quo and inspire others to look beyond what is, to what can be. We are committed to advancing environmental resiliency through business and community action.

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Our Team

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Jill Doucette

Executive Director

After completing her studies in biology, Jill went on to start Synergy Enterprises in 2008 to support business and industry shift towards a low carbon future. In 2013, she additionally launched Synergy Foundation, since then Jill continues to balance her roles as CEO for Synergy Enterprises and ED. Jill can often be found spearheading Synergy Foundation’s expansion projects, sharing her knowledge with the entrepreneurs in our incubator program, and transporting hundreds of seed starts for FED’s various food security initiatives. In her down time Jill can be found exploring Vancouver Island with her chocolate lab.

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Georgia Lavender

Manager of Program Operations

Georgia joined Synergy when she made the decision to settle on Vancouver Island after years of living in various communities across Canada from east to west. With experience as a hospitality manager, Georgia brings her strong organizational skills and her industry insights to her role. Passionate about the green economy and social equity, Georgia is compelled to find tangible solutions for businesses that strive to make a positive impact. Outside of work Georgia can be found exploring mountain bike trails and honing in her skills as a certified yoga teacher.   

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Brianna Stewart

FED Program Manager

As the FED Program Manager, Brianna brings community-focused urban agriculture projects to life and spearheads the creation of Canada’s first sustainable dining district. In her words, she landed the role of her dreams with FED, finally bridging the gap between experience and a passion for agriculture and food sustainability. Brianna holds a degree in Agriculture from UBC’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems and has spent years in the sustainable restaurant scene, championing local food and the slow food movement in a variety of roles. Outside of work, Brianna spends time hanging with her dog Ned and finding any excuse to travel the world and eat.

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Jarret Klim

Vancouver Island Green Business Collective Program Manager

Jarret works with Synergy’s various non-profit programs, assisting with marketing, communications, and program operations. Passionate about the green economy and motivated by creating positive change and helping others do the same. After acquiring a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria, he split time consulting for the automotive recycling industry and developing sustainability programs for the hospitality industry. In his spare time, Jarret is likely fishing, swimming, or finding a patio to enjoy. 

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Emily Shields

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Emily combines her passion for communications, green business, and sustainable food systems as Synergy's marketing and communications coordinator. She joined the team while completing a Technical Writing Certificate from BCIT to complement her Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. Her work is informed by her varied background, which includes everything from aquaculture research and municipal recycling to organic farming and outdoor retail. In her down time, Emily can be found backpacking, pottering around her garden, learning about herbal medicine, or reading her way through a stack of library books.

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Deep Chahal

Green Business and Circular Economy Associate

A recent graduate of the BSc Biology program from the University of Victoria, Deep is passionate about working towards reversing the impacts of climate change and fostering the transitions towards a regenerative and circular future.  At Synergy, Deep found the perfect place to combine his knowledge of local ecosystems and technical abilities, encouraging businesses to adopt a cleaner working model. In his downtime Deep likes to connect with nature, hone his bird identification skills or go for a paddle on a sunny day!

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Learn more about how Synergy is working to advance these eight UN Sustainable Development Goals to create a more regenerative and equitable future for all.

Milestones

Synergy Sustainability Institute was formed

2013 

2013 

Launched the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification (VIGBC) with Office, Retail and Restaurant Certifications

2014

Synergy supports the launch of FED Urban Agriculture Society

2015

Launched the annual Ecostar Awards

2016

Introduced Spa & Salon certification through VIGBC

2018

Launched Project Zero to catalyze the transition to a Circular Economy

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2019

2019

2020

Introduced the Fleet & Trades Certification through VIGBC

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Officially changed our name from the Synergy Sustainability Institute to the Synergy Foundation

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Responded to the pandemic with the MyFEDFarm Program

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2021

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Project Zero Incubator expands to the Lower Mainland

Milestones

Synergy Sustainability Institute was formed

2013 

2013 

Launched the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification (VIGBC) with Office, Retail and Restaurant Certifications

2014

Synergy supports the launch of FED Urban Agriculture Society

2015

Launched the annual Ecostar Awards

2016

Introduced Spa & Salon certification through VIGBC

2018

Launched Project Zero to catalyze the transition to a Circular Economy

VIGBC-Crest-sm.png
FEDlogo-purple.png

2019

2019

2020

Introduced the Fleet & Trades Certification through VIGBC

EcoStar-Awards-Logo.png
ProjectZeroLargeCircle.png

Officially changed our name from the Synergy Sustainability Institute to the Synergy Foundation

MyFEDFarmLogo-sm.png
VIGBC-Crest-sm.png
VIGBC-Crest-sm.png

Responded to the pandemic with the MyFEDFarm Program

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2021

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Project Zero Incubator expands to the Lower Mainland

2022

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Project Zero Incubator becomes a BC-wide program

Our Board

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Paul Shorthouse

Board Chair

Paul is a recognized economic development expert who has been at the forefront of defining and accelerating key sectors of the green and circular economy since 2009. Paul is a Senior Director with the GLOBE Series and the Delphi Group, leading Delphi’s consulting work in British Columbia and its Green and Circular Economy Advisory Services nation-wide. Paul’s passion for protecting the environment comes from his previous work and his connection to the oceans and nature. Paul is married with two young children and lives in Victoria, BC.

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Monica Pohlmann

Vice Chair

 Monica brings 25 years of experience as a sustainability advocate.  She is passionate about building the collaborative intelligence of diverse teams to spark co-creation of practical and transformative responses to complex challenges.  Monica Pohlmann is a Principal with Reos Partners and has 25 years of experience designing and guiding collaborative initiatives. She is driven by the vision that it is possible to make our communities and organizations better by bringing together diverse people and perspectives to recreate our systems and ourselves.

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Kira Rochefort

Treasurer

Kira Rochefort has worked with Synergy Foundation as the Treasurer since 2016. Synergy is a great fit for Kira as it combines her undergraduate studies in environmental studies with her career as an accountant. When she isn't looking at Synergy forecasts, Kira works as an assurance manager at Grant Thornton LLP in Victoria, working with clients in the privately held business and non-profit sectors. Kira enjoys spending time gardening and hiking around beautiful Vancouver Island.

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Tessa Stewart

Secretary

Tessa Stewart is one of the founding members of the Synergy Foundation board. Currently the Director of Client Partnerships for GlobalWide Media, Tessa joined the board to bring her insights on marketing and business development as well as her passion for sustainability. Watching the foundation grow from humble beginnings Tessa is consistently inspired by the amazing work being done by the Synergy Foundation on Vancouver Island to move the green economy forward.

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Alana Clement

Director at Large, Communications

With a commitment to further climate action and to support local business, Alana Clement joined the Synergy Sustainability Foundation board in 2017. She brings over a decade of communications and media relations experience to her role as board member and continues to be inspired by the green innovation and collaboration happening across Vancouver Island.

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Kris Ord

Director at Large

Kris Ord brings over 30 years experience in the development and delivery of provincial environmental protection and sustainability programs.  She has spent most of her career with the BC Provincial Government developing policy, programs, legislation and regulations that range from Extended Producer Responsibility, Circular Economy, Air Quality and the provincial Plastics Action Plan.  Kris is the 2021 recipient of the Premiers' Legacy Award and the Recycling Council of British Columbia's Lifetime Achievement Award.  Kris has a passion for creating and supporting programs that move the dial in both communities and provincewide in the area of environmental protection and sustainability.  Kris is married with two children and lives in Victoria, BC.