Lessons From Leaders – It’s a Win-Win: Making My Business More Sustainable

Lessons From Leaders - It's a Win-Win: Making My Business More Sustainable


February 23, 2024    
7:30 am - 9:00 am

We’re doing business in an unpredictable world, with ever-increasing demands on our energy and food supply disrupting business operations in unexpected ways. It’s more important than ever for businesses to fundamentally rethink the way they function. This month, our panel will discuss how sustainability can drive business success, such as greater investor appeal, heightened innovation and expanded audience reach. Join us and come prepared with your questions so you can learn how your business can benefit from implementing sustainable practices. We will welcome panelists and attendees in person at Boundless Accelerator™ for coffee, networking, and a continental breakfast. If you cannot join in person, there will be an opportunity to participate in the panel discussion through a Zoom webinar.


  • Barbara Freuler // Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager, Copernicus Educational Products
  • Fumi Tsukamoto // Co-Founder & CEO, Abokichi
  • Taylor Stanley // Impact Strategy, Riverside Natural Foods
  • Court Desautels // Group Leader & CEO, Neighbourhood Group of Companies
  • Tova Davidson // Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region
  • Mike Kazmaier // Director of Operations, Clean Cut Energy Corp.


BARBARA FREULER // Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager, Copernicus Educational Products

Barbara is currently the Social & Environmental Responsibility Manager at Copernicus Educational Products, where they strive to use business as a force for good, while designing and manufacturing innovative classroom solutions. Barbara is also the advocacy committee lead and a steering committee member with B Local Ontario, a business association of Certified B Corporations working to foster and deepen connections among organizations in the region that share a similar purpose.

FUMI TSUKAMOTO // Co-Founder & CEO, Abokichi

Fumi is co-owner and chief executive officer of Abokichi, an Upcycled Certified Japanese-inspired food brand, focused on minimizing waste and utilizing food byproducts in innovative ways. In 2013, Abokichi started out selling Japanese rice balls at farmers markets, and soon realized that selling ready-made OKAZU (Japanese chili oil) and their miso soup had greater success as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Fumi hails from Japan, a country that thinks about waste in a very different way. In Japanese, Mottainai means ‘what a waste!’, and is exclaimed if food is wasted. Upcycling ingredients is a core pillar of their product innovation strategy, showing what is possible when you put waste prevention at the heart of your food business. In 2020, their instant miso soup containing sakekasu (sake lees), diverted more than two tonnes of nutritious byproduct from becoming food waste.

TAYLOR STANLEY // Impact Strategy, Riverside Natural Foods

Taylor Stanley brings with him a diverse background in international business development, where he has always maintained a focus on sustainability. After completing his B-Comm undergrad, Taylor realized his passion for travel and combined that with post-graduate studies in International Development Management. Taylor has worked in Canada, Australia, Mexico, and China before returning to his hometown of Oakville in early 2020. Today, Taylor leads Riverside Natural Foods’ sustainability efforts in collaboration with the many sustainability champions across the organization. Current initiatives Taylor is focused on developing internal communication & governance systems to embed Riverside’s Impact strategy, leading a team to develop Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions reductions as well as Product Life Cycle Assessments, and supporting the organization’s community giving initiatives.

COURT DESAUTELS // Group Leader & CEO, Neighbourhood Group of Companies

Court Desautels is a determined leader, constantly pushing the boundaries of success beyond conventional business norms. His passion encompasses a commitment to delivering exceptional service, upholding social responsibility, and an unwavering dedication to environmental sustainability. Court firmly believes that nurturing team well-being and fostering growth-oriented objectives are the cornerstones for creating an environment that champions diversity, individuals, and tangible action, which he perceives as the only viable path forward when reimagining traditional business philosophies. In his capacity as President & CEO of the Neighbourhood Group of Companies, a Certified B Corporation managing five restaurants across four distinctive brands in Guelph & Kitchener – The Wooly Pub, Borealis Grille & Bar, Miijidaa Café + Bistro, and Park Eatery – Court applies a multifaceted business philosophy. His approach is rooted in enhancing financial, social, and environmental well-being through a range of initiatives focused on sustainability, diversity & inclusion, poverty alleviation, and health & wellness.

TOVA DAVIDSON // Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region

Tova leads our organization under the Board of Directors, and is responsible for developing our strategic direction, supporting team members, and building key relationships throughout Waterloo Region. She brings her experience in public relations and communications to creatively approach sustainability opportunities. Paired with her business background, Tova is uniquely qualified to collaborate with organizations in Waterloo Region to help drive change locally and provincially. A former recipient of the City of Guelph Mayor’s Award of Excellence and member of the Guelph Mercury’s Top 40 Under 40, Tova always leads by example while inspiring others to do the same.

MIKE KAZMAIER // Director of Operations, Clean Cut Energy Corp.

Mike Kazmaier is a professional engineer with expertise in design, development and implementation of revenue grade submetering systems for commercial and residential properties. Mike began his career performing energy and water audits for Fortune 500 business clients. After serving as a board member for a condominium complex, Mike realized how often volunteer board members are tasked with making decisions about energy and water budgets that can exceed $1 million a year, with no experience in the field. Mike realized that if he could build a company that helped condominiums manage energy like engineers, he could save them money and make the world a cleaner place. That is the genesis for Clean Cut Energy’s approach to submetering. Mike founded Clean Cut Energy in 2012, on the vision of empowering people with accurate, timely information so they can make smart decisions about how to use resources more efficiently.


ABOUT LESSONS FROM LEADERS: Start your day off right by tapping into the life and business experience of leaders who know how to make things happen! Lessons from Leaders is an ongoing series of discussion panels to help entrepreneurs get a great start to their day! Join us in person or online to hear from our panel of highly successful business leaders as they share their experiences and answer your questions about this month’s topic. *Please Note: We are located upstairs at 400 Southgate Dr., and are not accessible at this time.

Innovation Guelph has become Boundless Accelerator