Meet Our Team


Laurel Boytim (she/her), MPACS

Executive Director, Lead Facilitator

Laurel is the mother of two daughters, is a settler on Turtle Island (Canada), and her ancestry is Norwegian, Slovakian, English, and Pennsylvania Dutch. Laurel earned her Master of Peace and Conflict Studies from University of Waterloo, and a Certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation from Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, including extensive mediation and Circle training. Laurel has a background in Restorative Justice, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, Conflict Coaching, Teaching, and Circle Keeping. Laurel’s experience includes facilitating workshops/trainings for Circle and for Transformative Mediation. She teaches trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, and meditation at Grand Valley Institute for Women, Federal Prison. Laurel is the Executive Director of, and Lead Facilitator at, The Ripple Effect Education, providing Peace Building, Conflict Resolution, and Social Justice education to adults, youth, and children. She teaches university courses part time, including Conflict Resolution, Restorative Justice, and Community Conflict Resolution. She teaches her university classes, and many of the workshops and educational experiences she provides, in Circle, as an act of inclusion, indigenization, decolonization, reconciliation, sharing of power and voice, and to provide a deeper learning experience. She is on the Leadership Team of Gather The Women Canada, a Circle Organization where leadership comes to consensus through the Circle process, as well as providing Sharing Circles and mentorship for women across Canada, in order to connect, build community, share, help women find their voice, and to dismantle systems of colonization, oppression, and patriarchy. 

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Emily Dorey (she/her), MA

Manager of Programs, Lead Facilitator

Emily Dorey is a mental health and social justice advocate who enjoys learning about and working towards peace and justice through creativity, meaningful conversation, and community care. She is particularly passionate about destigmatizing mental health challenges, accessible healthcare, and community outreach. She received her Master of Arts in Social Justice and Community Engagement from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2019 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Communications & Public Policy from St. Thomas University in her home province of New Brunswick. Emily’s background consists of work in mental health peer support and psychoeducation, anti-oppression, digital communications, and supporting the work of anti-racism learning and unlearning through program administration and group facilitation. In addition to her work as Manager of Programs at TREE, Emily is a yoga and meditation teacher at various spaces in the community and loves opportunities to combine yoga and social justice. During her spare time, Emily can be found crocheting, reading, creating digital art, and hanging out with her two cats.

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Sarah Bester (she/her), BACS

Development Specialist, Workshop Facilitator

Sarah Bester is a human resources professional, entrepreneur, certified pilates instructor, social justice and mental health advocate, and mom of three. She earned her Bachelor of Administrative and Commercial Studies from the University of Western Ontario, and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources from Humber College. After years of mediating conflict between adults in the corporate world, Sarah is passionate about providing children with the tools to deal with conflict effectively at a young age so they can become peacebuilders within their classrooms and future workplaces. She has seen the positive impact of TREE in her own child’s school and she is so excited to be able to spread the message of peace, empathy, and inclusion to other classrooms in our community. Sarah is at her happiest spending time with her family, doing something active (she’s really into pickleball at the moment!), surrounded by nature, or working on her own mindfulness practice. 

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Abby Akinyemi (she/her)

Co-Op Student, Workshop Facilitator

Abby Akinyemi is completing her third year at The University of Waterloo working on achieving her Bachelor’s in Psychology (Science) Honours. She plans on completing her Master’s shortly after graduating. While she has not decided what she will do for her Master’s, she is very passionate about working with children. As an African-Canadian woman, she has always had a strong belief in the importance of social justice. Through her many experiences such as joining a club that aids neurodiverse students in high schools, she has been able to learn the importance of communication and understanding, to help create equal rights and opportunities for everyone in a society. She is excited to continue this path at TREE and hopes to learn new skills she can use to further her knowledge in conflict resolution.

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Jessa Paddison (she/her)

Placement Student, Workshop Facilitator

Jessa Paddison is a passionate social justice advocate and dedicated educator, finding fulfillment in fostering connections and personal growth through meaningful conversations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in her home province of British Columbia at the University of Victoria in 2021. Currently, Jessa is pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Community Engagement at Wilfrid Laurier University.

With a strong foundation in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and community partnership, Jessa has dedicated her efforts to the creation of inclusive and equitable communities. Her passion specifically revolves around dismantling oppressive systems. Eager to make a positive impact, she is thrilled to start a placement with TREE, where she aims to create meaningful and safe spaces that foster growth and kindness.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Jessa finds joy in laughter shared with friends and family, spending time outdoors (especially the mountains and oceans!), and travelling to new places.

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Desy Joseph (she/her), BSW, MSW, ABS

Placement Student

Desy Joseph is a passionate Social Worker dedicated to ensuring the well-being and development of young lives. She earned her Post Graduation diploma in Autism and Behavioral Science from St. Claire College Windsor with academic distinction, Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loyola College of Social Science, Kerala, India with third rank in the University, and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Little Flower Institute of Social Sciences and Health, Kerala, India. Currently, she is pursuing Management in Community Services at Conestoga College, Kitchener. Her professional career as a social worker focused on working as a Medical Social Worker and Child Counsellor. She was dedicated to creating a nurturing and supportive environment while also specializing in advocating for children facing adversity. 

Beyond her professional endeavors, she has a keen interest in travel, seeking to explore diverse cultures and broaden her horizons. She cherishes quality time spent with family and friends and finds joy in balancing her personal and professional life.

Katie Gingerich

Katie Gingerich (she/her)


Katie Gingerich is a social innovator and educator, and gets excited when the worlds of peace and innovation collide. She holds a BA in Peace & Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo, a certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation from Conrad Grebel University College and a Master of Education from Wilfrid Laurier University. With her expertise in peace education and design and passion to give youth the tools they need to transform conflict and seek justice, she founded TREE in 2016, and led the organization to become a registered charity working with youth across Ontario. She was the 2019 recipient of the Kitchener Youth Action Council’s Youth Ally award, and the 2021 of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace’s Kim Phúc Award for Youth Peace Leadership.

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