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Changing the System: Lessons Learned in Effective Policy Advocacy

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

12:00-1:00PM EST

“What exactly is the system, and how do we change it?”


Join us for an important panel discussion featuring powerful advocacy organizations that have successfully moved the needle on systems change in their domain. Our speakers will explore how they transformed large, complex problems into tangible policy interventions resulting in positive change for the communities they represent. Participants will leave with strategies for effective stakeholder engagement, navigating resistance & pushback, and balancing short-term outcomes with long-term transformation.


CCWESTT is thrilled to welcome the following speakers to this event:

  • Michelle Liu (Moderator): Michelle Liu (they/them) is an Ottawa-based, Queer, racialized, neurodivergent, and non-binary engineer (P.Eng), soon-to-be lawyer, speaker, consultant, and researcher working at the intersection of engineering, law, and policy. Michelle is a recipient of both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC) and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship for their doctoral research that uses sociolegal frameworks to critically examine the interactions between technological designs and dominant norms in engineering. They are also presently a research associate at the University of Ottawa and Toronto Metropolitan University, an editor with the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, and an articling student at Ecojustice Canada. Michelle earned their Honours BASc and MASc in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo and worked for various consulting engineering firms before pursuing their law degree and PhD at the University of Ottawa.
  • Suzanne Zaccour (Panelist): Director of Legal Affairs, National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing women’s rights through legislative reform, especially in the areas of violence against women, reproductive justice, and the climate crisis. Suzanne recently completed her doctoral degree in law at Oxford University. She is the author of La fabrique du viol (“The making of rape”), published in 2019, and is finalizing her next book on the intersections between violence against women and violence against animals, titled “Les féministes ne mangent pas les animaux” (“Feminists don’t eat animals”).
  • Nada Salem (Panelist): Nada Salem is the Communications and Campaigns Manager at Evidence for Democracy (E4D), a not-for-profit organization advocating for the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. At E4D, she works on nationwide campaigns that aim to strengthen science policy, and empower people in Canada to navigate evidence in decision-making. Nada holds a BSc. in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology from the University of Calgary, and has a background in multimedia science communications. She currently sits on the Board of Directors at the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada, and is an Impact Consulting Fellow at Propel Impact where she works with nonprofits and social enterprises to make a positive social change.
  • Rachel Ettinger (Panelist): Rachel Ettinger (she/her/hers) is a health equity activist in Canada and founder of Here for Her– a social enterprise focused on health education and menstrual equity advocacy. She’s a former morning show radio/tv host with Virgin Radio, and is currently the Brand Marketing Lead at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics North America. From a menstrual equity perspective, Rachel created a petition in 2020, which led to conversations with the Minister of Labour at the time and was ultimately a key player leading to the recent Labour Code provision for federally regulated workspaces. She also has experience advocating at the municipal level, with London, Ontario as the first city in Canada to provide free menstrual products (as an example). Rachel is proud of the menstrual equity space in Canada, including activists, brands, political leaders and more, and the continued collaboration, communication and passion for working to end period poverty in Canada.


By exploring case studies both within and beyond the SETT sector, we aim to invigorate the space with inspiration and hope that change is possible, even when facing seemingly insurmountable challenges.


A recording will be made available to all registered attendees.


If you are interested in diving deeper into this topic, register for the 2024 CCWESTT Policy Forum here.

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