World's Challenge Challenge Emcee & Judges

Joel Faflak (Emcee)

Joel Faflak

Joel is a Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University, where he was inaugural Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Arts and Humanities (2012-17).

He is author of Romantic Psychoanalysis, co-author of Revelation and Knowledge, editor of De Quincey’s Confessions of An English Opium-Eater, co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism, and editor of 13 essay collections.

He is the recipient of a Faculty Scholar Award, the John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature, and the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was twice Chair of the Literature panel for the Undergraduate Awards, where he was twice keynote speaker at the UA Global Summit in Dublin.

Finals Judges

Patrick Quealey 

Joel Faflak

Patrick Quealey is the Deputy Director of Regional Policy Issues and Indigenous Relationships in the Ontario Regional Director General’s office for Environment and Climate Change Canada.  

Patrick has served as Director of Economic Development at Indigenous Services Canada and senior policy advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Patrick has been a lead Canadian negotiator under the UN Climate Change Convention and led the development of Government of Canada views on the linkages between environmental degradation, climate change and security in the context of foreign, development and defence policy. From 2011-2013, Patrick served as the Vice-President of Causeway Work Centre’s Board of Directors. Causeway Work Centre promotes employability for individuals suffering from poverty, mental illness, and addictions.  

In addition, Patrick has served as the chair of the City of Ottawa’s Environmental Advisory Committee. In 2006 Patrick created the Ottawa Sustainability Fund, a private endowment focused on funding projects which enhance renewable energy and energy efficiency at the community level

Kimberly Khoury 

Kimberly Khoury

Kimberly Khoury the Chief Commercial Officer and Vice-President of Sustainability at Clintar Commercial Outdoor Services; one of the largest, most widely recognized commercial landscaping companies in Canada.  

Kimberly manages a variety of projects involving customer service, operations, sales, marketing, and human resources. With a Master’s degree and 23 years of international work experience, including over 20 years as a high-ranking executive, Kimberly’s passion has been working alongside others and leveraging her extensive business background to empower, and help people achieve their own personal success. 

Through her coaching and mentorship style of leadership, she has helped lead her team to many successes, including the achievement of multiple awards and certifications. Kimberly is passionate about education, enrichment and empowerment of women in the workplace and this is why she laid the foundation, and is leading WCL - Women of Commercial Landscaping (WCL). WCL’s aim is to create a culture of equality by breaking down barriers for women in male-dominated industries.  Kimberly embraces a people-centric approach, while demonstrating exceptional leadership, and a commitment to future growth through sustainability. 

Kevin Vuong 

Kevin Vuoung

Kevin Vuong is the Co-Founder, TakeCare Supply and Vice-President, Delphic Research. The son of refugees from the Vietnam War, Kevin Vuong is dedicated to serving Canada for welcoming his parents when other countries were closing their borders to people in need. 

As a rapid-response to the masks shortage and economic hardships brought by COVID-19, Kevin co-founded TakeCare Supply with Larry Lau, which rapidly developed Canada's first evidence-based reusable mask. Over 750,000 masks have been sold across North America, creating jobs for nearly 200 Canadians during the pandemic and supporting Canada's vital manufacturing sector.  

Today, TakeCare masks can be found worn by mayors, government ministers, and Canada's Ambassadors to the UN and WTO and other leaders, including celebrities like Steve Martin. Most recently, Kevin was appointed Canada's NATO Young Leader. 14 Young Leaders were selected from across the 30-member Alliance to advise Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on NATO 2030 and the future of the Alliance 

Oana Branzei 


Oana Branzei the Director of the Ivey Sustainability Certificate Program, Oana is Donald F. Hunter Professor of International Business and Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at the Ivey Business School and Faculty Scholar at Western University in Canada.  

She is also the founding Director of the Sustainability Certificate program, the founder, convener and host of PhD Sustainability Academy, an annual event of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and the co-founder of the recently inaugurated virtual-based and accessible Spring Institute. 

Ivey champion for the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Education for a decade, Oana has recently pioneered the ESG platform for Ivey Publishing, is developing SDG-concept notes and EDI-focused collections. Oana heads her global Resilience lab, originally formed with funding from her Early Researcher Award, and currently featuring collaborations with rapid-response research teams tackling grand challenges on five continents 

Heather Hyde 

Heather Hyde

Heather Hyde the Director of Sustainability at Western University. She has over 20 years of experience in both the private and public sectors, including engineering and sustainability related roles in both the manufacturing and higher education sectors.  She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University.  She is a licensed Professional Engineer with Professional Engineers Ontario.  Heather’s work focuses on advancing sustainability practices across all facets of the University. 



Semi-Finals Judges

Sandra Datars Bere

Joel Faflak

Sandra Datars Bere is the Chief Administrative Officer of Bruce County, a upper tier municipality with a population of over 80,000 residents in southwestern Ontario, along the shores of Lake Huron. Reporting directly to Bruce County Council, Sandra is responsible for the oversight of all county services including long term care, transportation and environmental services, library, museum and cultural services, land use planning and paramedic and emergency services. 

Sandra has over 30 years of public sector experience, at both the provincial and municipal level, including executive leadership roles at the cities of St. Thomas and London, and at provincial ministries including Children, Community and Social Services and Municipal Affairs and Housing.  Sandra is a double graduate of Western, holding both a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Psychology) and a Master of Public Administration. Active in both her community and with Western, Sandra is presently a member of Western’s Alumni Association, chairs the association’s Legacy Committee and is an alumni representative on Western’s Senate.  She was also recently appointed the board of directors of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). 

Ben Barrows

Joel Faflak

Ben Barrows is the Director of Operations, Abraham Path Initiative. Ben is an accomplished professional with domestic and international experience in the corporate, public, and non-profit sectors. He is specialized in working with governments, multi-laterals and civil society on resilience, technical assistance and economic development, as well as disaster risk reduction and food security. For Ben, after 14 years of high impact experience in start-up, growth, and legacy organizations, Cabot7 is a vehicle for collaborating with inspiring individuals and organizations, and for further developing and applying his professional skills and personal values in North America and around the globe.  Ben holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from American University, a certificate in Mediation from the University of Southern Maine, and a Master of Arts in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  

Ben is a results-oriented adaptive leader with the experience to navigate dynamic, ambiguous, and high-pressure environments. With a background in international development and global diplomacy, his ability to influence and engage with stakeholders is exemplified by the high impact projects and programs he has led and executed over the last 15 years. The cumulative result of Ben’s work and experiences is a combination of perspective and skill that has enabled him to thrive at the intersection of international business leadership, strategic operations and service innovation 

Slobodan Simonovic

Joel Faflak

Slobodan P. Simonovic is a Professor Emeritus at Western University. Slobodan is globally recognized for his unique interdisciplinary research in Systems Analysis  and the development of deterministic and stochastic simulation, optimization, multi criteria analysis, and other decision-making methodologies  for addressing challenging system of systems problems lying at the confluence of society, technology and the environment. His research has been applied with a sustainable development perspective in water resources management, hydrology, energy, climate change and public infrastructure. Professor Simonovic has influenced academia, industry and government via university teaching, publication of leading-edge research, mentoring of young people, delivering stimulating research seminars at institutions around the world, carrying out joint research projects, and consulting work. He has received awards for excellence in teaching, research and outreach. Dr. Simonovic has published over 550 professional publications (over 240 in peer reviewed Journals) and three major textbooks. He has been inducted to the Canadian Academy of Engineering in June of 2013. 

Norman Musengimana

Joel Faflak

Norman Musengimana is the Founder & CEO, BizAcademyNorman is an experienced small business and start-up advisor, and a social entrepreneur.  A recent graduate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.  

Norman enjoys helping and supporting potential entrepreneurs, early-stage entrepreneurs, and small and medium business owners. His previous experience involved working with business membership organizations, developing programs to help entrepreneurs develop their entrepreneurial spirits, guiding them on how best to build strategies that help tap into existing resources, organizing incubation programs and business plan competitions, as well as small business advisory. Norman has already founded three different businesses and he is currently the founder of BizSkills For Good, a social enterprise that focuses on helping young men and women who have great business ideas but are unable to access remote training, incubation, pitching, and virtual venture studio programs providing them a platform and foundation to be able to tap into mainstream entrepreneurial programs.  Born in Rwanda, Norman has had the opportunity to live and work in more than seven countries on three different continents. He enjoys traveling by road so that he can have the opportunity to meet and connect with new people in their communities. He lives by the virtue of being of service to the people and communities around us. 

Jessica Cordes

Joel Faflak

Jessica Cordes is the Manager Sustainability, Western University. Jessica holds a BA with an Honour Specialization in Sociology and a Masters of Environment and Sustainability from Western University. Now working at Western as Sustainability Coordinator, she is passionate about building community and enhancing the culture of sustainability on campus. With previous work experience in international development programs in the Global South, she approaches her work in sustainability with an interdisciplinary, critical and ethical lens.