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Michelle Cliffe

Senior Corporate Campaigner

I was born in Jamaica to Guyanese parents and emigrated to Canada when I was four. I was the child who brought home all the creatures, including the creepy crawly ones, and I was happiest outside in wild places (and still am).

My career is as diverse and eclectic as I am. My background is in PR and communications. I started in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle sector, eventually ran my own PR agency, and later shifted into non-profit where I spent nearly a decade inspiring change on behalf of animals. My willingness to take risks led me back to self-employment and into the world of events and wedding planning, where I founded two disruptive companies that challenged the wastefulness of the wedding industry. I’ve done such a variety of things — from planning luxury parties for top fashion brands, to runway shows at Toronto Fashion Week, to doing swift water training in an icy river in New Zealand, and learning about elephants in Kenya — that I often marvel at how lucky I’ve been!

Why are forests important to me

I spent my early childhood rambling around in the forest behind my house and playing in a stand of pine trees in the middle of my suburban street, and I think that began my love of forests. I’ve maintained that love throughout my life, and I feel happiest and most grounded when I’m outside and connected to nature. I’ve watched in horror as our wild places have disappeared over my lifetime, and I’m committed to ensuring we stop hurting our home, and work to protect and preserve it.

Why Canopy

Many environmental non-profits fight against things, and while I believe that’s important and that there’s a role for everyone, Canopy’s approach to working collaboratively towards things is really refreshing. It feels amazing to be working in partnership with businesses to make the world a better place.

Ask me about

Doing animal rescue after Hurricane Katrina, or driving from Toronto to Guatemala in my VW Westy with a dog, a cat, a baby and a kid.

What ruffles my feathers

Talk without action; promises without plans.