Keynote Speaker

gretchen ferguson keynote

Gretchen Ferguson, PhD

Dr. Gretchen Ferguson is the Director of the Sustainable Development Program and a Lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Development at Simon Fraser University. 


She has spent over 20 years engaged in applied research and professional practice in Latin America and Canada related to sustainable communities, community economic development, indigenous economic development and decolonization, social economy, and measuring the impacts of development projects and initiatives on indicators of social and environmental well-being.

Gretchen holds a PhD in Geography from Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor degree in International Relations from Concordia University.

Her recent projects include:

Evaluating the Impacts and Effectiveness of the Surrey Housing First Collaborative, an innovative pilot program that sought to house 207 homeless people over two years.  Emphasis on ‘telling the stories’ of the program participants

Researching the dynamics and impacts of collective enterprises in the Andean regionusing the Community Capitals Framework

Co-directing the Sustainable Cities International Youth Internship Program which offered six-month placements for university graduates with municipalities in Bolivia, Mexico, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa

Developing international programs, projects and partnerships such as the Greece Community Economic Development program for the Faculty of Environment