Joanna Kerr

President and CEO, MakeWay
  • Joanna Kerr
  • Co-Chair
  • Pronoun(s): she/her
  • Words to Inspire: "Love is an action, never simply a feeling." - bell hooks
  • Toronto, Canada

Joanna Kerr is President and CEO of MakeWay, a leading national charity that builds partnerships and solutions to help nature and communities thrive together. Previously, Joanna led Greenpeace Canada as Executive Director, working to stop climate change and protect precious biodiversity while supporting Indigenous rights. She also served as the first female Chief Executive of ActionAid International, working in 50 countries with the most marginalized communities to tackle inequality. Before that, she led the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, transforming it into one of the most significant global feminist conveners and influencers on funding for gender equality. 

Joanna has held senior positions with Oxfam Canada—where she spearheaded its women and climate campaign—and the North-South Institute, where she was researching, writing, and influencing international policy and processes for women’s rights and empowerment throughout the 1990s. Some of her publications include The Future of Women’s Rights (Zed Press, co-edited with Ellen Sprenger and Alison Symington), Ours by Right: Women’s Rights are Human Rights (Zed Press) and Demanding Dignity: Women Confronting Economic Reforms in Africa (North South Institute, co-edited with Dzodzi Tsikata).

Joanna has served on numerous boards, including Gender at Work, Greenpeace Africa, The Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Society for International Development, and CIVICUS. She holds a BA from the University of Toronto and an MA in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. A Canadian, she has lived in Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Germany and the UK and has worked across Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

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