The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada announced today that Bella Lam has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer. 

“The Board is thrilled that Bella will be stepping into this new role,” says Corinne Caldwell, Board Chair for JGI Canada. “She has shown herself time and time again to be absolutely committed to the excellence of this organization. With Bella at the helm, JGI Canada will play an even more vital role on the national and global stage, and continue to make the kind of difference that gives us all hope in these troubled times. Our work – and Jane’s legacy in Canada – are in terrific hands.”

Bella joined JGIC in May 2016, and has served as Director of Programs  since June 2018. Under her leadership, JGIC’s programs have become globally respected examples of community-centred conservation, amplifying the intersection of animals, people, and the environment. 

Bella brings decades of subject matter expertise and leadership to the role of CEO, having previously worked at Plan International Canada and Canadian Feed the Children. She is a Board Member for the Ontario Council of International Cooperation, and a Sessional Lecturer at Centennial College. 

Bella will assume the position of CEO effective June 1, 2022. 

During her time as Director of Programs at JGIC, Bella has built an impressive and diverse menu of programs. Inspired by our founder Dr. Jane Goodall’s belief in the power of young people, Bella has overseen the development of three new youth programs: Uncovering Common Ground, which brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to engage in local sustainability projects through the lens of reconciliation; International Aboriginal Youth Internship, which offers Indigenous youth in Canada the opportunity to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through placements with our partner in Uganda; and the launch of our Youth Advisory Council, which brings youth voices to program design and execution. Her vision of collaborating with conservation actors, local partners and community leaders brought to life the Building Community Resilience to Climate Change in Senegal project, which continues to support the implementation of women-led and nature-based solutions in vulnerable communities. 

In Canada, Bella has led her team to build trust with local partners, centering Indigenous perspectives in all of our Canadian programming. She signed JGIC on as a member of Cooperation Canada, bringing our work to the global stage, and becoming a signatory on their anti-racism framework. Bella also serves as co-chair of the Jane Goodall Institute’s global Africa Programs Committee, supporting important initiatives like the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and the historic work being done at the Gombe Research Centre that Jane Goodall started in 1965. 

“When I started at JGI Canada, I knew I had found a home,” says Bella. “This is an organization where excellent work is being done every single day. Our team is making a real difference. Our community of supporters is passionate and engaged. The crises we are addressing are some of the most challenging the world has ever faced, but I know that this community can face them together. I’m honoured to be named the next CEO and I want to thank the Board of Directors for placing their trust in me. Organizations like ours have never been more important, and I’m humbled to be a part of this one.”

The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada will continue its new strategic direction, using community-centred conservation to mobilize action on the convergence of three crises: biodiversity loss, climate change, and environmental inequity in Canada and in “Chimpscape” regions of Africa. Led by Dr. Goodall’s example, we’ll continue to “inspire hope through action.” 

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