COTA's Advisory Board is comprised of a broad range of members from the external community, including leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs who understand the needs of the organic industry and believe in the importance of organic agriculture, science and commerce. Members must be diverse in terms of gender, culture, sector, and public and private ownership, and members must share our commitment to making a positive difference for Ottawa, Canada and the world. Board members are selected by COTA's Board of Directors, in consultation with the Executive Director and management team. Board members are generally appointed for a renewable two-year term. The total number of board members should not exceed 15 representatives of the external community at large. The Board's authority will be limited to recommending courses of action based on strategic and operational information received from the COTA management team. The final decision on whether to act on the recommendations will rest with the Board of Directors.
The role of the advisory council:
- Advise on the overall strategy and direction of the organization, including issues such as strategic direction and market needs and opportunities.
- Consider recommendations and offer advice on a wide range of issues related to COTA's work, including research activities, program development, policy and position statements, and organizational development.
- Assist in establishing and developing COTA's position, where appropriate and practical, in areas of professional practice where Board members have experience.
- Champion the organization, developing the COTA brand locally, nationally and internationally by communicating key strategic messages, publicizing existing and new program initiatives, and highlighting the accomplishments of COTA and its members.
- Connect the Executive Director, staff, and board members with the broader communities regarding brand development and outreach, as well as partnership opportunities.
- At the request of the COTA Board of Directors or Executive Director, act as a spokesperson for COTA, which could include a presentation on the COTA website and in other communications as an advisory board member.
- Advise on fundraising activities, including identifying opportunities most relevant to COTA's areas of interest.
- Support fundraising, donor identification and/or linkages with businesses and the broader community.
Dag has been actively involved in the organic movement and industry since 1989. Growing up in the industry, he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in topics such as organic standards and oversight, government relations, organic messaging and organic farming. He has worked for 14 years as an organic agriculture and process inspector. His career led him to work for Nature's Path Foods as the organic program manager from 2003 to present. Dag has participated in numerous NGOs, committees, task forces and government affiliations related to organic agriculture. These experiences have given her the opportunity to become involved and participate in the evolution of the organic movement in North America. Dag's aspiration is to help maintain the highest level of integrity in the organic marketplace and to ensure that organic contributions to a healthier world are recognized and utilized to the fullest extent possible. Dag is a past Chairman of the Canadian Organic Trade Association and the Board of IFOAM North America.
Gordon Truscott has 40 years in the natural products industry, experience in operations management, Canadian label development, brand marketing, product sourcing, and business development. Gordon has worked at Cha's Organics since 2018 as an advisor and special projects.
Dr. Andrew Hammermeister is the Director of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Andrew has been working with OACC since 2002, collaborating on research on cereal, vegetable and fruit cropping systems, exploring soil fertility and weed management. Andrew is the Scientific Director of the Organic Science Cluster, the coordinated national initiative for organic agriculture research in Canada, where he leads priority setting, coordination and impact assessment of national organic research. He sits on the National Organic Standards Review Committee and several other organic committees.
Jill’s introduction to organics started in 2001 while working for agriculture marketing company in the Food Division importing organic ingredients. In 2004, she co-founded a distribution company focusing on importing organic ingredients for Canadian manufacturers. Today in her current role at Barentz, Vice President, Principal Management, Jill continues to partner and manage key organic global growers and processors marketing their ingredients in North America. Having been exposed to all facets of the business, she has benefited from fully understanding the challenges manufacturers face with parallel production between conventional and organic. She has worked closely on regulatory issues to ensure compliance and is the team lead for multiple organic audits.
Will has extensive experience exporting Organic brands around the world for the last 30 years. Will is the founder and President of WS Global Export Services Limited. WS Global helps Canadian and US companies export Organic and Natural brands. It has an extensive network of importers and distributors in approximately 70 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Middle East, Central & South America, Mexico and Australia.
Will managed and built the Taste of Nature international business exporting to over 55 countries globally. Will also works with Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mamma Chia, Rhythm Superfoods, Purely Elizabeth and several other Organic brands. Will has worked in the food industry for 35 years working with Kraft Foods in sales and marketing and with Catelli Foods as a VP of Marketing and International Sales.