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Stephanie Cottell

Learning for Sustainability


A passionate and knowledgeable Executive Director with broad experience in program design and implementation, grant and research writing, facilitation, and evaluation. Researcher in the field of global and local social, ecological  and economic sustainability; leader in personal and community development, localisation, place-based transformational learning, and meaningful livelihood.

MSc in Education for Sustainability (EfS) with a focus on adult and community education and transformational learning.

  • My Master's thesis explored the connection between an individual's values framework and their preferred learning style, as well as how this influences their engagement, conversation, and capacity for transformational learning around sustainability issues and goals.

Key qualifications:

  • Effective collaborative leadership skills including change management and conflict resolution
  • Design and delivery of transformational learning experiences within ecological, community, personal sustainability themes
  • Strong commitment to social, ecological, and Indigenous justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Extensive experience working with and facilitating multicultural and diverse groups, marginalized youth and people struggling with multiple barriers.
  • Whole systems thinker with a strong capacity to work with emergent change dynamics
  • Advanced writing and communications skills
  • Well-developed capacity for performing needs assessments, analysis and evaluation including skilled use of community focus groups and forums, strategic planning and measurement tools such as establishing performance indicators, back-casting, use of Outcomes Frameworks, and SWOT analysis
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver high quality project outcomes both independently and in a team setting
  • Strong revenue and budget development, management, and reporting skills
  • Experience managing mixed staff and volunteer based operations
  • Experience using wide range of distributed, blended, and on-line learning tools , entry-level experience with technology-enabled learning design and development.

Highlighted Achievements:

  • Successfully lead the implementation of an agricultural training project funded by the provincial government targeted towards participants with multiple barriers. This blended program included technology-enabled learning elements, classroom instruction, as well as hands-on work experience through farm placements. The program was a resounding success and resulted in all participants significantly moving ahead in their learning and livelihood.
  • Played a key leadership role in the transformation of a local waste management system, a process which included a high level of challenging community education, engagement, and conflict resolution.
  • Co-visioned a community educational garden with a group of volunteers and successfully managed all aspects of project development including design, installation, communications and publications, delegation, fund-raising, project accounting, and reporting.

“I am eager to collaborate with like-minded change agents who have a passion for co-creating a more socially and economically just and ecologically sustainable world.” 

Selected Work Experience

July 2018Ongoing

Executive Director

Cowichan Community Land Trust

The Cowichan Community Land Trust is a local environmental conservation organisation that holds conservation covenants, raises funds to acquire ecologically important lands, and provides ecological literacy, stewardship and  restoration education to the community.


June 2017Dec 2018

Sessional Instructor

Simon Fraser University

Co-facilitation of an intensive course on group facilitation skills. This is a core part of the Career Development Practitioner Certification program.The highly interactive training focuses on group learning dynamics; foundational, universally transferable facilitation skills; and adult learning theory and it's application in current job and essential skills training and adult learning methodology.

Apr 2015Mar 2016

Project Coordinator, Cowichan Agriculture Training Program

Cowichan Green Community
  • A pilot project delivered by the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) for participants interested in exploring a meaningful livelihood in local, ecologically sustainable agriculture and food systems. 
  • This position involved all aspects of project design, organization, and delivery including:
    • Schedule planning and implementation
    • Recruiting participants
    • Sourcing and engaging guest speakers and professional facilitators
    • Sourcing and acquiring theme appropriate learning content including technology-enabled online tools 
    • Coordinating all program related events
    • Designing and facilitating workshop sessions, often under very tight timelines
    • On-going analysis of program efficacy and on-the-ground change management
    • Budget management, evaluation, and reporting
    • Working with multiple stakeholders with diverse interests such as farmer mentors, professional speakers, colleagues at CGC, and the project funder (Province of BC)
    • Coaching and mentoring project participants
    • Writing articles for local media, posting to Twitter and Facebook, creating and maintaining project webpage
    • Conflict resolution through compassionate communication
Jul 2012Present

Founding Director, CoChair

Thetis Island Nature Conservancy (ThINC)

ThINC is Thetis Island's first grassroots conservation organization. Within its 4 years of existence our volunteer board has raised close to $1,000,000 in private donations, grants, and eco-gifts for local land acquisition projects we've spearheaded, and offered community educational initiatives such kid's eco day-camps, Community Ocean LearnFest, and Summer Nature House. My role includes:

    • Organizing board meeting agendas
    • Facilitating meetings, including Annual General Meetings
    • Designing and facilitating annual Year in Review presentations
    • Writing articles and designing posters for community publications
    • Managing Facebook and Twitter 
    • Co-design and maintenance of website
    • Design and facilitation of community learning activities and events integrating themes of Reconciliation and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge
    • Revenue development, fund securement, and grant-writing
    • Collaboration with multiple stakeholders
    • On-going measurement and evaluation regarding the efficacy of the organization's activities
Jan 2013Apr 2015

Recycling System Manager and Community Education Lead

Thetis Island Resident and Ratepayers Association
  • Local recycling system management including:
    • Staff and volunteer oversight
    • Monitoring materials flow
    • Financial accounting and reporting.
    • Data analysis, evaluation, and change management
  • Design and present learning content to engage the community towards waste reduction, including:
    • Planning and delivering community workshops and events
    • Collaborating with multiple stakeholders
    • Developing fun and engaging games, incentives, and celebrations
    • Client/community relationship management
    • Writing regular articles and newsletters
    • Writing and designing Recycling Guidelines pamphlets
Dec 2014Present


One Small Move Wellzone
  • One Small Move Wellzone offers wellness services for teams and organizations in the form of dynamic workshops, online learning modules, print based resources, and other fun stuff for both teams and individuals around holistic well-being, organizational, and personal sustainability.
  • My role includes:
    • Website design, content management, and blogging
    • Creating and editing learning videos 
    • Instructional Design
    • facilitating group workshops and online learning modules
    • Revenue development 

Sustainability Project Lead, Kampala Uganda

Friends of Mengo Hospital

Voluntary position fundraising, developing, and delivering a sustainability and capacity building program for a group of HIV impacted women in Kampala Uganda. Four months were spent fundraising and planning, three weeks were spent in Kampala delivering the program at Mengo Hospital. The position included all project management tasks including budget management, workshop design and delivery, sourcing local materials and expertise for workshop training,  and being responsive to changes on the ground.


Project Home

Self-employed / Homemaker

This valuable learning period was invested into building on stewarding the land I'm blessed to call home, volunteering in the community, and raising an amazing, strong daughter who is now in her fourth year at Vancouver Island University. I earned some income offering eco-friendly landscape design and maintenance, nutritional consultations and workshops, and housekeeping while completing my MSc in EfS as a part-time distance learner.

May 15, 2003May 1, 2004

Team Leader

Environmental Youth Alliance

My role as a team leader with a group of at risk youth involved in designing and installing a Native Plant Nursery at the Strathcona Community Garden in East Vancouver.

  •  Developed and facilitated project related learning activities for the group
  •  Provided leadership on the ground in hands-on work
  •  Encouraged and mentored participants
  • Assisted project supervisor as needed with planning, implementation, trouble-shooting, and group dynamics

Education and Training

Sep 2010May 2014

MSc Education for Sustainability

London South Bank University

An internationally accredited post-graduate program that explores the ecological, social, and economic dynamics of local and global sustainability issues and aims within the umbrella of formal and informal life-long learning. The course  included curriculum and instructional design theory oriented for sustainability aimed programs in multiple contexts. Core learning themes included:

  • Values and participation in EFS; from local to global
  • Leadership, learning and climate change: the sustainability revolution
  • Theory and perspectives on environment and development
  • Science and culture in education for sustainability
  • Researching education for Sustainability

 Completed with Distinction


Job Club Facilitation Certificate

Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC

Intensive training focusing on group learning dynamics and foundational facilitation skills. A core component of the SFU Career Development Practitioner Training Program.


Personality Dimensions Training

Workplace Training Session

Personality Dimensions is a learning system that helps people identify and explore their own unique blend of dominant and secondary personality characteristics that have been categorized within four base colour groups: Authentic Blue, Organizing Gold, Inquiring Green, and Resourceful Orange.  This is a beneficial exploration both for building self-awareness as well as appreciative consideration of personality diversity within groups.  My colour typology is dominated by blue-green. However I do like to organize and I'm very resourceful!


Social Permaculture Leadership Training

O.U.R Ecovillage

Presented by Starhawk at O.U.R Ecovillage in Shawnigan lake, this week long leadership training focused on personal reflection and development through applying the ethics and principles of permaculture to a social leadership context in non-profit and community organizations. The ethics of permaculture are Care for Earth, Care for People, and Fair Sharing. 

Sep 2004Aug 2005

Holistic Nutrition

Canadian School of Natural Nutrition

Intensive, full spectrum training in the field of Holistic Nutrition, including the completion of 15 comprehensive case studies. Obtained all qualifications required to be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

Completed with First Class Honours

Sep 1999May 2001

Horticultural Technology and Integrated Pest Management

University of the Fraser Valley

Full spectrum of plant and soil sciences, entomology, plant pathology, crop and landscape management, as well as scientific research writing, business plan development, peer reviews, and journalism. Developed a winning enterprise project business plan based on an organic Community Supported Agriculture cooperative.

Dean’s List Honour Roll 2001- chosen as project manager to design and implement college community garden


Interests and Personal Wellness Practice

Family, forest walks, permaculture, gardening, foraging, fibre arts,  DIY, compassionate communication, contemplative mindfulness, amateur herbalism