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, the Food Eco District, and Project Zero and our two annual events, the Ecostar Awards and Earth Day Power Hour.

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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Jen Fraser

Manager of Project Development & Communications

As the project development lead, Jen has a knack for turning abstract ideas into tangible initiatives and processes. From designing the Project Zero Incubator program to storyboarding educational video content, she enjoys the challenge of the unfamiliar. Jen is well connected to the local green business community and is always eager to make introductions when she sees an opportunity for others to collaborate or learn from one another. Born and raised in Victoria, Jen has always been captivated with the rugged paradise Vancouver Island has to offer. Her upbringing compelled her towards an education and career that put business sustainability at the forefront. In her free time Jen can be found kicking the soccer ball around or exploring the abundant hiking trails in the Greater Victoria region with her border collie. 

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Holly Dumbarton

Program Manager, FED

As the Food Eco District’s Program Manager, Holly is spearheading the creation of Canada’s first sustainable dining district. She is excited about finding new and innovative ways to get more people thinking about urban agriculture. She has traveled to more than 30 countries where she developed a passion for experiential education and ways we can further grassroots movements through meaningful relationships and creative solutions.

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.   

Ellie Gilchrist

Project Coordinator

Ellie works with Synergy’s various non-profit programs, assisting with marketing, communications, and program operations. Passionate about providing the community with practical solutions, Ellie uses focused communication and outreach to help bring them to life.​

Born on a ranch in rural Alberta, Ellie has made her way to the ocean, acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and English and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the University of Victoria. She is also a published writer.

Robert Hewitt

My FED Farm Site Manager & Gardening Intern

As a member of the Food Eco District team, Rob is actively working to improve the food security within his community. Undecided on a career path after completing a BSc in Biology at the University of Victoria, Rob went on to work in the service industry for five years. During this time, Rob developed an appreciation of local food and was introduced into the potential of urban agriculture. Now back in school, Rob is studying to complete a diploma in Environmental Technology at Camosun College. On weekends, you can likely find Rob on one of Vancouver Island’s many hikes with his partner and their dog or watering FED’s edible gardens along Blanshard street.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

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Milestones

Synergy Sustainability Institute was formed

2013 

2013 

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

2014

Launched the Food Eco District Project

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

2019

2019

2020

Introduced the Fleet & Trades Certification through VIGBC

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

Responded to the pandemic with the MyFEDFarm 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.

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.

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.

Synergy Foundation respectfully acknowledges that our office is situated on the traditional, unceded territories of the Lekwungen peoples. Today, we recognize this land is of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

© 2021 Synergy Foundation