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Who We Are.

Our philosophy is rooted in a synergistic combination of two main themes: first, understanding ‘whole systems’ sustainability science coupled with a structured approach to decision-making and second, enacting a collaborative approach to co-creating new possibilities and realities through engaged client participation in the change process.

Recognizing that achieving an attractive, sustainable society means transformative change across sectors, we work closely with clients and stakeholders to help them clarify priorities, create an attractive vision and identify options for taking strategic action. 

Different projects call for different types of services: we can provide a collaborative approach to envisioning, process design, facilitation, coaching, education, research, analysis and action planning. With over 35 years experience, the partners of Synapse, David Waldron and Katie Pease, have a diverse portfolio with projects including: award winning community sustainability partnerships, integrated community planning, supervision of various municipal engineering projects, and planning for sustainable community food and energy systems. In addition, they have led the design and delivery of both community-based and graduate level sustainability education programs.

David Waldron

Formerly a professional civil engineer, Dave has, for 27 years initiated, directed and advised on nationally and internationally leading sustainability initiatives for local and regional governments, businesses, charitable organizations and universities. He is an experienced facilitator of co-creative, sustainability processes for groups from 4 to 400.

After beginning his career as a professional engineer, Dave was one of the pioneers of an internationally-recognized sustainability movement for the resort community of Whistler, Canada that began in the late 1990’s. He co-authored the first vision and environmental sustainability strategy, introduced community energy planning, coordinated a community sustainability network and advised on a pioneering ‘integrated community sustainability plan’ (Whistler 2020). He also represented Whistler on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the successful 2010 Olympics Bid.

In 2003, David was invited to Sweden, to design and direct an original Master’s program “Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability” at BTH, Karlskrona, Sweden. This internationally-recognized program has now graduated over 700 sustainability leaders in more than 70 countries. In 2007, David helped launch IMAGINE, a program of Energy-Cities, in Besançon, France focused on helping hundreds of local authorities across Europe re-imagine their energy futures.

David has been Director of Sustainability at the David Suzuki Foundation and strategic advisor for their Long Term Direction Project, guiding the Foundations’ second generation of advocacy. In 2010, he was the lead advisor for an original sustainability leadership strategy for one of Canada’s largest mining corporations. He also conceived and led an exploratory ‘Regenerative Neighbourhoods Project’ at UBC, Vancouver for two years.

While in the Bay Area, David provided strategic foresight for San Francisco’s Director of Citywide Planning, supported the City’s internal ‘Director’s Working Group’ and taught Sustainable Environmental Design and Sustainable Urbanism, at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. He returned to his native Kelowna, BC in 2017, to accept the position of Director of Campus Planning and Development, for UBC Okanagan where he led a team of ten professionals.

David has a Bachelor’s of Applied Science (Civil Engineering), from UBC and a Master’s of Resource and Environmental Management, from SFU and has been an avid ‘student of sustainability’ for 30 years.

He is fortunate to enjoy life’s journey and many outdoor adventures with his life partner, Katie Pease, and husky mix, Aura, including many miles hiking some of Canada’s most amazing mountain landscapes! When not chasing his two favorite individuals up the mountain trails, David can be found skiing, canoeing, cycling or tending to a prolific vegetable garden. Although, truth be told, his favourite pastime is brainstorming with colleagues about the positive potential for living systems: navigations on the pointy edge of innovation!

Katie Pease

Katie’s professional practice focuses on enhancing ecosystem health & resilience in partnership with strategic sustainable planning & development for companies and communities. She is currently interested in networking to discuss watershed scale regeneration projects.

As Program Manager of Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia, she recently facilitated the development and launch of a third-party verified certification program for BC Wine and Vine industry, BC’s first. In 2021, the inaugural certifying year, SWBC certified 14 vineyards and wineries and logos hit the shelves in 2022!

A California native, Katie has worked with AG Innovations Network to facilitate the development of Food System Alliances; countywide, multi-stakeholder bodies working strategically and collaboratively to enhance health within the regional food system.

She has helped develop a community food strategy for Whistler, a social enterprise farm and food charter in Squamish, and served as acting manager of a thriving food cooperative, Quincy Natural Foods. 

Her formal education includes a Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership Toward Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute in Sweden. She holds a certificate for permaculture design and is a graduate of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.

She enjoys exploring the world with her husband, David, and husky mix, Aura, through wilderness adventures. Her claim to fame is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada, in 2002. Fun fact: crossing the border on the Pacific Crest Trail was her first visit to Canada. Watch the Synapse Adventures blog this year for messages from the Great Divide Trail, her 20-year anniversary attempt at another distance hike. This time through the Rocky Mountains in Canada!

Take a look at what we’ve been up to on our Synapse Adventures blog! >>