Carole Saab
Chief Executive Officer

(613) 907-6243

Carole Saab

Carole is a tireless champion for cities and communities, driving an ambitious vision for local government leadership in building a more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive Canada.

Carole is an accomplished strategist with a decade of experience in federal and municipal advocacy. High performing and goal oriented, Carole has been a driving force behind watershed achievements for municipalities, securing unprecedented investment and progress for cities and communities.

Recognized by peers as tenacious, ambitious and a game-changer and consistently voted as one of the Top 100 Lobbyists in Canada. She is a 2020 recipient of “Canada’s Top 40 Under 40”, and the "Women of Influence in Local Government Award" from Municipal World.

Carole’s leadership and effective team-building have positioned FCM as one of the most respected and effective advocacy organizations in Canada.

Mathieu Bélanger
Executive Director | Policy and Public Affairs

Mathieu Bélanger

Mathieu is an urban planner with more than 15 years of policy experience in green cities development, urban resilience, and stakeholder engagement. Mathieu is a respected leader in the municipal and federal public policy space on several of the pressing issues facing FCM’s membership.

Before joining FCM, Mathieu led the Planning Department for the City of Gatineau, managing the team responsible for strategic planning, urban development, social housing and more. Prior to his work with Gatineau, Mathieu served as a chief of staff and director to Canada's federal Ministers on the Infrastructure and Communities file, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship file. He also spent time in the private sector as a senior urban planner, providing expertise to clients in Canada, Rwanda and Cameroon.

In his role as Executive Director of the Policy & Public Affairs unit, Mathieu works closely with a talented team to strengthen FCM’s advocacy work in pursuit of a municipal order of government that is more sustainable and equitable for every Canadian.

Chris Boivin
Chief Development Officer, FCM & Managing Director, Green Municipal Fund

Chris Boivin

Chris Boivin is the Chief Development Officer for the FCM and the Managing Director of the Green Municipal Fund (GMF).  In these roles, Chris oversees the development and delivery of FCM’s programs focused on sustainability and social inclusion.  He oversees a diverse and multi-disciplinary team who develop solutions that help make communities of all sizes more sustainable and resourced to better serve Canadians of all walks of life.

As the Managing Director of the FCM’s flagship GMF, Chris is responsible for executing the vision for the $2B Government of Canada investment in support of municipal projects that advance innovative solutions to environmental challenges. A focus of this work helping communities across Canada achieve Net-Zero emissions and climate resilience faster. Since taking over the role in 2017, the GMF team has grown the Fund and its reach more than four-fold.

Chris previously held senior roles at Sustainable Development Technology Canada. He has worked on climate change for over 20 years and has led over $1.5B in public investments in climate change projects in pursuit of Canadian emissions reductions goals. He is passionate about making a difference in all he takes on. He is equally passionate about building and enabling people and teams to do the same.

Leanne Holt
Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives | CEO's Office

Leanne Holt

As FCM’s Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives, Leanne Holt brings over 20 years of national and international experience in stakeholder, government and member management. From Cameroon to the Yukon, to BC to Ontario – Leanne has worked with an array of rights-based non-governmental organizations that champion women, the environment and mental health care.

Leanne is a passionate champion for municipal leadership and the critical role municipalities play in driving social inclusion, climate solutions, innovation and welcoming, livable communities for everyone. Her work throughout her career includes managing policy and research initiatives and developing and driving advocacy campaigns, including over a decade in federal, territorial and municipal politics.

Leanne was a senior member of the Policy and Public Affairs team at FCM for eight years, first for governance and now on strategic initiatives in the CEO’s office.

Pavlo Ignatusha
Director, Information Technology and Facilities | Corporate Services

Pavlo Ignatusha

Pavlo is an experienced IT leader striving to build strong relationships with business units and ensuring digital transformation provides a real value to FCM and its members. He brings to FCM over 15 years of experience managing full-stack enterprise IT function, IT Strategy, IT Governance and IT Procurement.

Pavlo’s focus in ensuring FCM stays at the cutting edge of workplace evolution requires tracking big trends in the workplace IT industry and successfully identifying appropriate solutions based on the organizational requirements, budget and risk appetite. He fosters a team environment that is collaborative, supportive, inclusive and focused on the customer experience.

Pavlo and his Team of IT and Facilities professionals are advancing the digital transformation of FCM and providing an excellent physical and virtual working environment for staff.

Sara Lyons
Senior Director, Capacity and Sector Development

As Senior Director, Capacity and Sector Development, Sara oversees international and domestic programs focused on gender equality, Reconciliation, climate change, and other topics. She leads a passionate international team unlocking the potential and power of local governments to take the lead on critical social and sustainability issues.

Prior to joining FCM, Sara was Vice President at Community Foundations of Canada, and during 2021 did a secondment with the Equality Fund.

Based in Montreal, and as a graduate of McGill and the University of Toronto, Sara has been a frequent public speaker on philanthropy, social innovation, and social finance. She is currently a board member of Exeko in Montreal and is the former Chair of the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada—two roles that engaged her passion for transformation, social inclusion, and creating innovative spaces of learning and activation. Sara enjoys coaxing her children onto long bike rides and cross-country ski outings, cooking and travel.

Mara O’Brien James
Chief Operations Officer

Mara O’Brien James

As FCM’s Chief Operations Officer, Mara’s compassionate and direct leadership style has moved FCM’s trust culture forward through her oversight of the People & Culture, Corporate Services, AREI and Transformation & Strategic Planning units.

Throughout the pandemic’s first two years of unprecedented disruption and change, Mara led the successful development and implementation of FCM’s future of work, enabling FCM to be even more strategic, impactful, equitable and inclusive in pursuit of an ambitious advocacy and programming agenda.

Mara has 18 years of strategic leadership experience specializing in creating exceptional organizations, most recently as Executive Vice-President and interim President & CEO of CARE Canada. Mara’s career as a transformational leader has spanned Africa, Latin America and Asia, these experiences inform her approach to her work in the Canadian context.

While Mara and her family now live in one of Ottawa’s urban neighbourhoods, she grew up on a small farm in a rural community in Southern Ontario. Both big and small municipalities feel like home to her.

Bisola Odesola
Senior Director, People and Culture | Corporate Services

Bisola Odesola

Bisola Odesola is a strategic people and culture leader with experience spanning culture transformation, coaching, policy development, talent management, employee experience enrichment, HR digital transformation, and more.

Bisola launched her HR career with KPMG Nigeria, and today is a recognized leader in people and culture management within and outside Canada. She was recently the Global Director, People and Culture at Right To Play International where she was recognised as the Global Game Changer during the organization’s 2020 Global Awards. She has also worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat, where she provided leadership to the HR Operations/ Business Partnering team.

Bisola has a passion for excellence and is focused on building effective workplace relationships that align individual, team and organization goals towards achieving organizational success. She holds GPHR and CHRP designations in addition to a Masters Degree in Public and International Affairs.

Sarah Sims
Chief of Staff | CEO’s Office

Sarah Sims

Sarah has spent the majority of her career advising and representing remarkable executives and leaders. As the Chief of Staff at FCM, Sarah oversees the CEO’s Office and works alongside the CEO to support, advise and assist, ensuring maximum organizational effectiveness and impact.

Prior to joining FCM in 2018, Sarah spent nearly a decade on Parliament Hill working with Members of Parliament and senior political officials. Sarah has an education degree and, prior to moving to Ottawa, worked at universities in Ontario and BC to ensure a positive first year experience for new students.

Sarah firmly believes “if you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning” and carries that mantra with her to work each day. Outside of work, Sarah is a passionate community advocate.

Ty Smith
Senior Director, Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion | Corporate Services

Ty Smith

For more than 20 years, Ty Smith has recognized the workplace as a key site for social change and growth. As the Senior Director for Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion at FCM, Ty brings a passion for facilitating individual and organizational growth and development in fostering a culture of belonging and equitable inclusion.

Ty excels at facilitating groups to identify and address barriers to embedding and advancing equity and inclusion policies, practices, and programs – and he has drawn on his vast experience to develop and launch FCM’s first in-house Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion unit. Employing a participatory systems-based approach, he has facilitated equity-based organizational change for not-for-profit and public sector organizations in Canada and internationally. Prior to joining FCM, Ty has helped to lead Equity and Inclusion practices for leading Canadian institutions, including the Toronto Police Service.

Steven Woodhead
Senior Director, Communications | Policy and Public Affairs

Steven Woodhead

Since joining FCM in 2018, Steven has overseen and evolved FCM’s public relations and member-facing Communications unit. The team includes a sophisticated digital communications practice, FCM’s media relations, strategic messaging, sector-leading Events and a strong focus on Canada-wide advocacy to advance the goals of member municipalities across the country.

Steven came to FCM from a long career in strategic communications, having worked in publishing, government, and provincial and federal politics. Steven served in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2013 to 2015 with oversight of strategic communications for Economic and Social Development, Defense, Treasury Board, and more. Steven also led strategic communications for two leaders of the Official Opposition in Ottawa and has previously served at the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Outside of work, Steven serves on the Board of Directors for Ontario Parks.

FCM’s Communications team ensures the highest possible impact for the needs of Canada’s municipalities by working closely with the Policy, Government Relations, and Outreach & Engagement teams that form the Policy and Public Affairs division.

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