Maria Topalovic, chair of the Sustainability Professionals Network (SPN) has big plans for educating our city on the future of our environment.
Upon completing a masters degree in engineering public policy, Topalovic quickly recognizes the need for a network of Hamiltonians who care about sustainability to come together. In 2013, SPN held an inaugural launch event to gauge public interest and hear from the community on the group’s potential. The event brought in over 100 guests, reinforcing the vision to connect groups and professionals working in sustainability.
Today, SPN works to connect and educate anyone in the city working with, for, or with an interest in sustainability. The organization does not receive operational funding, nor does it ask for membership fees. SPN members participate in its activities on a volunteer basis. Several subcommittees are in place for those looking to get involved. The SPN executive makes an effort plan summits and conferences as well as the promotion of local sustainability initiatives. The group encourages anyone to share their stories about sustainability, or upcoming related events through their website.
SPN is set to launch several initiatives in the coming months, including their Community Leadership and Sustainability Initiative (CLS) in partnership with McMaster University, 100in1Day, Open Streets, and a session at the HIVEX conference this fall on October 31.
The CLS Initiative began last year and will resume in the fall. Through this initiative, SPN is able to connect the community with local sustainability professionals. Specific topics and guest speakers are chosen and all attendees are invited to network with one another. These events are free of charge and open to the public. Professionals and students alike are encouraged to get involved.
She isn’t just chasing her passion for a sustainable future in Hamilton through her volunteer work with the SPN; Topalovic works as an Environmental Specialist for Holcim Canada, one of Canada’s largest a building materials and construction company. The Swiss-based multinational company is known for its environmental leadership, corporate social responsibility and sustainable construction.
And how can Hamilton become more sustainable? Through education and community action, she says. Topalovic recalls growing up eating fresh vegetables from her grandparent’s farm, and explained with enthusiasm that her father’s garden still provides her with most of her produce through the summer months.
Upcoming events of interest:
100in1Day – June 6, 2015
Open Streets – June 28, 2015
Community Leadership & Sustainability Initiative Events – September, 2015
Born and raised in Hamilton, Xanthe is excited to begin her communications career as the Communications Coordinator for the city’s bike share program, SoBi Hamilton. She strives to promote an healthy living and the sustainable environmental initiatives through partnerships with like-minded organizations in her hometown. In addition to SoBi, Xanthe also works as an assistant coach at Ohso Fitness while working towards a personal training certification.