Our Team

The Institute for Sustainable Finance is led by a team of Canada’s foremost experts and academics in areas of business and sustainable finance. With passion, drive, and determination, the leadership team is committed to helping Canada become an innovator shaper.

Sean Cleary

Sean Cleary, PhD, CFA


Sean Cleary, Professor and Founding Director of the Master of Finance program at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. He holds a PhD. in finance from the University of Toronto, an MBA, an Institute of Corporate Directors designation, and is a CFA charterholder. He has authored 14 finance textbooks and has published more than 30 research articles, with his work having been cited nearly 3,500 times.

Sara Alvarado

Sara Alvarado, CFA, MBA
Executive Director


A veteran investment professional with a focus on climate change and sustainability, Sara will help drive forward ISF’s mandate to build Canadian sustainable finance capacity. Prior to joining ISF, she was head of risk and chief anti money laundering officer (CAMLO) at Canada Infrastructure Bank, where she was responsible for building the inaugural enterprise risk management function. Previously, she worked as senior officer, infrastructure new products and special transactions at the European Investment Bank, with a mandate to catalyze private-sector investments in the EU with focus on climate change and sustainability. Sara also spent 25 years in the investment industry in Canada.

Ryan Riordan

Ryan Riordan, PhD
Director of Research


Ryan Riordan is the Associate Professor & Distinguished Professor of Finance at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. Prior to joining Smith, Ryan was an Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and an Assistant Professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. His work has been published in the Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Markets among many others.

Maya Saryyeva, MA (on leave)
Associate Director


Maya Saryyeva joined the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF) in December 2018 to support the implementation of the Institute’s core programs and outreach efforts. Prior to joining ISF, Maya worked in the international development sector, leading a number of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded governance and economic development initiatives in Eastern Europe as well as South and Central Asia. Maya is also pursuing a PhD in global development with a focus on sustainable finance. She researches the efficacy of global governance frameworks surrounding green bonds and sustainable initiatives.

Azel Mulagulova, MI
Associate Director


Very passionate about sustainability, Azel began her career in child development research in 2011. Over a decade, she earned valuable professional experience in academia, government and private sectors. Prior to joining Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, in 2020, she worked in the financial industry at the TMX Group and Ontario Securities Commission. She holds a Masters in Information from the University of Toronto. Azel believes that excellence in education through collaboration, research and outreach are imperative in promoting Canada's long-term success.

David Watson
Associate Director, Communications


David is an experienced professional in public policy, media and the non-profit sector. Before joining ISF he held senior positions at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa think tank, and the Ottawa Citizen, where he was the Editorial Pages Editor. David began his journalism career at the Globe and Mail. He is a graduate of Bishop's University and Ryerson University.

Simon Martin

Simon Martin
Senior Research Associate

Simon Martin holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in finance and economics from Dalhousie University. Prior to joining the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF), Simon worked at the Urban Analytics Institute where he developed price prediction models and analyzed data. Simon has a strong interest in energy markets and renewable energy sources. He loves spending time outdoors and is passionate about a clean energy future.

Caelan Welch
Research Associate

Caelan joined the Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF) in December 2021 to support the Institute’s research on green and transition finance taxonomies. In addition to his work with ISF, Caelan is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Development and Globalization with a collaborative specialization in environmental sustainability at the University of Ottawa. For his thesis, Caelan is undertaking comparative research on a selection of green finance taxonomies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Economics, with a minor in Sustainability from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.

Shuyi Hui

Will Hamilton
Research Associate

William has a pure mathematics degree from Dalhousie University, and three years of experience working in radiomics and computer aided diagnosis at Toronto General Hospital. With a background in signal analysis and machine learning, he has a strong interest in the fundamentals of machine learning models, and their application in sustainable finance. William aims to improve the quality of curated datasets, with the ultimate goal of moving toward unsupervised end-to-end machine learning frameworks.