Our Team

We are a small but nimble team of dedicated researchers with big hopes of changing the world.

Picture of Stephanie Bertels

Dr. Stephanie Bertels

Founder and Executive Director

Stephanie directs all the activities of the Embedding Project and is the focal point for the partnership’s research efforts. She founded the Embedding Project in 2010 when she developed the embedding framework in a systematic review on Embedding Sustainability into Organizational Culture. Since then, she has worked with global firms to refine the framework into a comparable diagnostics assessment tool and build a set of resources and tools to support its implementation. Stephanie is also the Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance and Sustainability and an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She has worked in industry as an environmental engineering consultant. She has a BSc in Geological Environmental Engineering, a MSc in Petroleum (Environmental) Engineering, and a PhD in Strategy and Global Management and Sustainable Development.

Picture of Jess Schulschenk

Dr. Jess Schulschenk

Senior Researcher and Managing Director

Jess is a Senior Researcher with the Embedding Project. She is also the Director of South Africa’s Sustainability Institute and a lecturer with the University of Stellenbosch. She brings a wealth of research and practice knowledge from past roles in private and public sectors, including Senior Researcher with EY and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Network for Business Sustainability South Africa. Jess has a BSc in Ocean and Atmosphere Science and Environmental and Geographic Science, a MPhil in Sustainable Development and a PhD in Business Administration. When not getting lost in the oceans and mountains, Jess can be found with her hands in the soil, helping things grow.

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Dr. Jason Jay

Research Collaborator

Jason is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. He teaches courses on leadership, strategy, and innovation for sustainable business. He engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies and organizations. His research focuses on how people navigate the tensions between personal, business, and social goals in sustainability efforts, particularly in cross-sectoral collaborations and hybrid organizations. Much of his research and practice occur in the technical domain of energy efficiency. Prior to MIT, Jason was a management consultant for Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO's including BP and the World Bank. Jason holds a PhD in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an AB and MEd from Harvard University.

Picture of Jenn Howard Grenville

Dr. Jen Howard Grenville

Research Collaborator

Jen is the Diageo Reader in Management Studies at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. She serves as an Associate Editor at Academy of Management Journal, and is the author of 20 papers in academic journals and 3 books. Her work is published in management/organization studies journals, as well as journals focused on environmental issues. Jen’s research focuses on cultural change within organizations, organizational routines, organizational identity, and environmental and social issues in business. She is an expert in qualitative research methods, deriving insights from in-depth interviewing and participant observation. Jen holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA from Oxford University, and a BSc from Queen's University, Canada.

Picture of Ralph Hamann

Dr. Ralph Hamann

Research Collaborator / Director, South African Peer to Peer Network

Ralph is Professor and Research Director at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business. He researches and teaches on business sustainability, social innovation, and cross-sector collaboration. He has published in leading management and development journals, and he is an executive editor of "Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development." Ralph co-founded the Southern Africa Food Lab, for which he received UCT’s Distinguished Social Responsiveness Award. Much of his tertiary training was in environmental science at UCT, and he has a PhD on corporate responsibility in the South African mining sector from the University of East Anglia in the UK. He grew up in Africa, Asia, and Europe and has travelled widely, including a sailboat crossing of the South Atlantic (despite a propensity for sea-sickness).

Picture of Charlotte Cloutier

Dr. Charlotte Cloutier

Research Collaborator

Charlotte's research focuses on strategy practice in pluralistic organizations (industry associations, government ministries or agencies, hospitals, universities, NGOs, etc.) with a particular focus on how such practice shapes and is shaped by the wider institutional environment in which these organizations are embedded. In addition to her academic credentials, Charlotte has fifteen years of professional experience, including several years in senior management positions, held both in the private and public sectors. She has worked as Executive Director at the Newton Foundation; as Director of Development at Université de Sherbrooke; and as Director of Development - Faculty of Management at McGill University. She is a trained facilitator, professional fundraiser, and has worked as a freelance strategy consultant, notably for private foundations seeking to increase the impact and reach of their funding programs.

Picture of Joep Cornelissen

Dr. Joep Cornelissen

Research Collaborator

Joep is a professor of corporate communication and management at Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University. His research involves studies of the role of corporate and managerial communication in the context of innovation, entrepreneurship and change, and of social evaluations of the legitimacy and reputation of start-up and established firms. In addition, he also has an interest in questions of scientific reasoning and theory development in management and organization theory. His work has been published in the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science and Organization Studies. He is an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Review, a Council member of the Society for the Advancement of Management Studies, a former General Editor of the Journal of Management Studies (2006-2012) and serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies.

Picture of Eric Werker

Dr. Eric Werker

Research Collaborator

Eric is an assistant professor at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University. He serves as academic lead from SFU to the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute. He researches how less developed countries can build more thriving and inclusive private sectors, and how international actors can play a positive role in creating successful societies. Eric is also an advisor to the Liberia program of the International Growth Centre in London, serves on the advisory group of the Center for Global Development in Washington, and is a member of the Centre for International Policy Studies study group on Canada’s sustainable development policy in Ottawa. He has set up and directed the International Growth Centre’s Liberia program, served as economic advisor to the President of Liberia, supported host government teams negotiating concession agreements, consulted to the NGO Conservation International on low-carbon development and to the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation on foreign aid projects, and worked with the Refugee Law Project in Uganda. Eric earned his AB and PhD in economics at Harvard.

Picture of Alexandra Cooperman

Alexandra Cooperman

Operations Manager

Alexandra oversees our day-to-day operations and financial planning and administration. She has been with the Embedding Project since its initial formation and has contributed to the development of the embedding framework, conducted data analysis and synthesis, and produced assessment reports for over two dozen leading global companies.

Picture of Lulamile Makaula

Lulamile Makaula


Lulamile is a research analyst at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Graduate School of Business. He conducts research for our partnering research program, where he investigates companies’ efforts to enhance local development and resilience. Prior to UCT, Lulamile worked for Anglo American as a geologist. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Geology, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and a MPhil in Inclusive Innovation.

Picture of Sinead Sprigg

Sinead Sprigg

Communications Manager

Sinead is the communications manager for the Embedding Project, responsible for knowledge mobilisation and community engagement. She has a Masters in French from the University of British Columbia, bringing experience in design and copywriting from her work in the water sector and multilingual marketing.

Picture of Rylan Dobson

Rylan Dobson

Knowledge Manager, Contextualised Strategy

Rylan managed the activities of our Community of Practices exploring Contextualised Strategy-making. He conducts research, develops resources, and provides contextual strategy development support to the companies we work with. Rylan has a degree in Environmental Biotechnology and Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Rylan joins our team with over 10 years of corporate freshwater consulting and international project management experience.

Picture of Ariel Fabbro

Ariel Fabbro

Knowledge Manager, Community of Practices

Ariel conducts research, develops resources and writes case studies, with a focus on contextualised strategy. He has a degree in Global Studies and completed his Master of Science in Sustainability Management at the University of Toronto. His previous experience includes information synthesis and writing structured content across a broad range of knowledge fields. Ariel’s changemaking career in the sustainability field follows on the heels of his playmaking career on the football field.

Picture of Brandon Toews

Brandon Toews

Knowledge Manager, Governance

Brandon manages the activities of our Community of Practice on Governance Strategy-making. He conducts research, manages databases, and develops and curates tools and resources for embedding sustainability. Brandon has a degree in History and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

Picture of Sonya Samson

Sonya Samson

Knowledge Manager

Sonya oversees the administrative and financial functions of the project’s operations in South Africa and supports the writing of guidebooks, data collection, analysis, and compilation of research reports. Since 2010, she has worked in industry addressing engineering and sustainability challenges. Sonya holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering, a PGDip in Sustainable Development, and an MPhil in Sustainable Development.

Picture of Brandon Toews

Mireta Strandberg-Salmon

Research Assistant

Mireta contributes to the creation of various guides and resources for businesses to assist with the development of contextualized corporate strategies. She conducts research, writing, and analysis on corporate trends and best practices in response to various sustainability issues. Mireta is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Environment in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University.

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