Our Team

 
 

While our backgrounds may vary, we are united by our shared conviction in the remarkable influence of nature on fostering the growth and development of children. We firmly believe that exposure to the natural world has the potential to shape and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards.

Each of us brings a distinct set of experiences and expertise to the table, allowing us to approach child development from different angles. However, the one common thread that binds us together is our shared appreciation for the incredible power of nature. We recognize that nature provides a diverse range of opportunities for children to explore, learn, and develop important skills. Whether it’s through outdoor play, hands-on experiences in natural playgrounds, and playground design or immersive nature play workshops, we are committed to harnessing the potential of nature to empower children and instill a deep-rooted love for the environment. Together, we strive to cultivate a generation of individuals who are passionate about preserving and protecting our precious natural resources for years to come.

John El-Raheb - CEO

John El-Raheb

Position: CEO

John has been with the firm for 15 years and has served a number of roles through his ascent to CEO, most recently as the Vice-President of Global Sales & Marketing. Other roles over the past decade have included Web Developer, Project Manager, IT Manager and Mentorship Program Lead. John has an over-arching holistic understanding of BNP and lives our paradigm.

As the CEO, John focuses on leading the team in the delivery of the myriad of projects, services, and goods already in place, increasing efficiencies, and establishing systems that will allow the companies to continue to expand across Canada and the US.  “The people who I work with every day are remarkable, talented and relentlessly positive. I am excited to be in a position to advocate for their growth, the growth of the company, and the growth of the movement to connect children to nature through play.”

John El-Raheb

CEO

John has been with the firm for 15 years and...

Adam Bienenstock

Adam Bienenstock

Position: Founder
Adam Bienenstock: Founder & Principal Designer

Adam is an internationally acclaimed designer, builder, and researcher of nature-based play spaces, and the founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. Adam has traveled globally to advocate for children’s rights to nature play, and to collaborate on the creation of spectacular natural parks and playgrounds.

His resume in the natural playground industry is unparalleled; highlights include creating campuses, training, working on projects for the US Army, Parks Canada, and Australia, and City projects for Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Calgary, New York, Austin, Denver, Chicago, and Miami.

Adam lives and works at the forefront of the movement to connect children to nature. His bold, charismatic personality sets the tone for the entire company, and he’s at his happiest when he’s pushing executives, municipal managers, and educators out of their comfort zones.

He sits on numerous advisory committees, including the International Association of Nature Pedagogy, Parliamentary Commission on Urban Conservation, The Candadian Wildlife Federation and the Systematic Literature Review on Risky Outdoor Play. His work is accessible, natural and fun.

Known for his wit and humour as a public speaker, Adam invites us to shed our inhibitions and play in the mud. He is the proud husband of Jill Bienenstock, and father of two sons, Sam and Leo. He sneaks off to northern Ontario when he needs to immerse himself in nature; he believes it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

As the co-author of The Systematic Literature Review on Outdoor Risky Play, Adam warns us not to be fooled by the serious nature of his experience, after all, at its core this is about inspiring play for our kids… so you can expect some playfulness and irreverence when working with him!

Adam Bienenstock

Founder

Adam is an internationally acclaimed designer, builder, and researcher of...

Jill Bienenstock

Position: Director of Education
Jill Bienenstock: RECE

Jill is an early childhood educator with over 20 years experience in various settings. She currently works as the Director of Education, alongside her husband, Adam, at their company Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. Jill is part of an exciting team that designs and creates natural playgrounds, which connect children to nature. She focuses on finding ways to extend curriculum outdoors, making it simple and fun for both children and educators. Jill is inspired by the children she works with and enjoys finding creative ways to transform outdoor ‘roadblocks’ into learning opportunities for all.

Jill Bienenstock

Director of Education

Jill is an early childhood educator with over 20 years...

Annie Taillon

Annie Taillon

Position: Chief Financial Officer

Annie has played a key role in financial strategy at Wainbee Limited and as the head of finance for the Canadian and American entities of the SBE Group. Her credentials include a CPA-CA designation from CPA Canada, a Certified Exit Planning Advisor from the Exit Planning Institute, and certifications in information systems auditing and CFO leadership from CPA Ontario.

Annie Taillon

Chief Financial Officer

Annie has played a key role in financial strategy at...

Dave Rexworthy

Dave Rexworthy

Position: Principal Designer

As one of the longest-standing employees on our team, Dave is a master of all things Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. He is also responsible for project estimates and design, quality control, and training the team in our design studio.

Dave Rexworthy

Principal Designer

As one of the longest-standing employees on our team, Dave...

Kim Rossi

Kim Rossi

Position: Vice President of Philanthropy & Corporate Development

With passion, anything is possible. 

Never adhering to a straight path, I believe my winding road led me to some of the most extraordinary opportunities. My life long goal is to do impactful work with incredible people. After working with BNP on two major projects, I was hooked. Their mission, integrity, and quality can’t be argued. I am honoured to be able to help BNP elevate and realize their mission, to connect ONE MILLION children to nature each day through their spaces by 2030. Interested in joining us on this journey?

Kim Rossi

Vice President of Philanthropy & Corporate Development

With passion, anything is possible.  Never adhering to a straight...

Natasha Sembay

Position: Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Client Experience

I want to feel like I am part of something that has a purpose, a mission and aligns with my values. I am beyond grateful to have found all of this at Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. It is extremely gratifying to know I am part of a team that brings joy, play and the opportunity to connect children to nature. Every person at BNP plays an important role in making this happen and it just feels so good! I am excited for what lies ahead and thrilled to be part of this amazing team.

Natasha Sembay

Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Client Experience

I want to feel like I am part of something...

Raj Mohabeer

Raj Mohabeer

Position: Managing Director of Design, Landscape Architect

B.N. (Raj) Mohabeer, OALA, CSLA, RPP, ASLA, CLARB, AICP, LEED® AP, is Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds’ Managing Director of Design. He is a registered landscape architect and professional planner that designs people-centric spaces. For more than 25 years, he has worked with clients to create community serving infrastructure from feasibility and engagement through construction. His experience includes private consulting, government management, and executive leadership of a capital projects delivery agency.

Raj is skilled at navigating political, financial, and technical aspects of successful project implementation. His resume includes park, streetscape, resort, community master planning, transportation infrastructure, and urban design projects around the world. He oversees the operations of the firm’s design team, is a mentor, and focuses on quality. He works with the firm’s leadership to grow the business, develop amazing career opportunities, maintain great relationships, and dream big.

Raj proudly serves as an Army Reserve Officer when he’s not at his drafting desk. Nulli secundus!

Raj Mohabeer

Managing Director of Design, Landscape Architect

B.N. (Raj) Mohabeer, OALA, CSLA, RPP, ASLA, CLARB, AICP, LEED®...

Natalia Segovia Cadavid

Natalia Segovia Cadavid

Position: National Program Manager & Sustainability Strategist

As the National Program Manager & Sustainability Strategist for Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, my ultimate goal is that every child can climb, explore, and learn amongst nature. But my vision extends beyond that. I envision a world where adults embrace playful reconnection to nature too.  

Bienenstock isn’t just about building playgrounds; it’s creating canvases for a healthier planet, thriving communities, and caring individuals. Children needs to grow up feeling connected to nature and empowered to protect it. 

Natalia Segovia Cadavid

National Program Manager & Sustainability Strategist

As the National Program Manager & Sustainability Strategist for Bienenstock...

Andrea Settimi

Position: Sales Manager

Andrea personifies the play/joy within our mission to connect children to authentic nature experiences. She consistently provides feedback and suggestions for improvements across our digital platforms and the way in which we reach out to our lead base demonstrating agency & ownership over both her own and our team’s success.

Andrea Settimi

Sales Manager

Andrea personifies the play/joy within our mission to connect children...

Carla Walker

Carla Walker

Position: Senior Nature Play Advisor

Hi! I am a mother to two beautiful children and a wife to my wonderful husband. We love camping in our family trailer and cottaging up north near Parry Sound. I grew up in Mississauga but spent every summer at my family cottage. My favourite place to be is on the dock with my family nearby.

I took Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University focusing on outdoor education. I spent time backpacking in Australia prior to attending Montessori Teachers College in Toronto. For the past 8 years I have been teaching and supervising at a Montessori School in St. Catharines where I was lucky to have taught my own children in their early years.

Carla Walker

Senior Nature Play Advisor

Hi! I am a mother to two beautiful children and...

Jon Halayko

Jon Halayko

Position: Nature Play Advisor

Welcome to my story and thank you for visiting! I am affectionately referred to as Joncle by my nieces, nephews and their friends. As an Outdoor Education graduate and Horticultural Technician, I am very proud to call Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds home as a Nature Play Advisor. I have over 15 years of experience in Health and Wellness, from community to corporate settings, engaging with people where they are. I believe in building strong, resilient children. The outdoors and natural environment provide the challenges necessary to build and bolster these traits. In times of chaos, that same environment can provide a calmness, often overlooked in a busy world.

My favourite activities include: gardening, woodworking, camping, playing with my dogs and sharing each of these passions with my family. Contact me when you’re ready to get your hands dirty and build something beautiful.

Jon Halayko

Nature Play Advisor

Welcome to my story and thank you for visiting! I...

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

Position: Head of Client Experience

I joined the Bienenstock team in June of 2020 to help run our OutClass component Production Team. Currently I hold the position as the Head of our Client Experience Department.

This Department works to ensure that our clients are well informed and taken care of throughout their journey with Bienenstock. My family cottage is where my love of the outdoors began, Bienenstock is where I get to share this love with clients and our team!

Mark Taylor

Head of Client Experience

I joined the Bienenstock team in June of 2020 to...

Dan Robinson

Dan Robinson

Position: Nature Play Media Specialist

Time for a rapid-fire self-biography! I grew up and still live in Waterdown. I am married with three children (boys that are 8, 6, and 3). I have loved drawing, art, and design since I was a toddler. I am obsessed with cars (especially film cars) and regularly test myself by guessing brands and models at night by their headlights or taillights. Before the pandemic you could find me hunting for vintage cameras at flea markets and auctions. I spend my vacation time in South River, Ontario on Eagle Lake. I already went over my word count limit so if you want to know more let’s set up a time to chat! Whew!

Dan Robinson

Nature Play Media Specialist

Time for a rapid-fire self-biography! I grew up and still...

Alan Green

Alan Green

Position: Web/SEO Developer

Alan has been with Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds for a year and a half, building and maintaining our web presence. Alan is a skilled and experienced SEO specialist and web developer with a strong background in both basic and advanced SEO techniques. Alan spent his younger years working as a Chef, before a career change to Web Development, completing his certificate and training a new generation of chefs.

Alan has a Cat and spends some of his free time volunteering at the Humane Society.

Alan Green

Web/SEO Developer

Alan has been with Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds for a year...

Margie Newlands

Margie Newlands

Position: Outdoor Education Consultant

Hello! I am Margie! I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you already and look forward to making more introductions with those of you I have not yet met. I am incredibly excited and honoured to be a part of such an amazing group of people, and a company that leads with so much heart. I am a mother to two outdoor, bug and creature loving boys, and partner to my wonderful and supportive husband. We love spending time with our family at the cottage in Muskoka, trekking along the Georgian trail all year long and exploring the many amazing conservation and hiking trails in the Hammer!

Margie Newlands

Outdoor Education Consultant

Hello! I am Margie! I have had the pleasure of...

Alanna Sheppard, RECE

Alanna Sheppard

Position: Outdoor Education Consultant

Alanna is passionate about fostering connections between children and the natural world, believing that nature plays a vital role in children’s well-being. Alanna thrives on connecting with educators, children, and families alike to explore the wonders of outdoor education.

Alanna Sheppard

Outdoor Education Consultant

Alanna is passionate about fostering connections between children and the...

Michelle Rubino

Michelle Rubino

Position: Client Services

Michelle has wonderfully positive attitude at all times. She takes ownership and she is always willing to have the tough conversations with our clients. Her questions are thoughtful, strategic and solutions focused. She is humble, eager to learn and a joy to collaborate with. I am continually impressed with Michelle and her efforts to have meaningful connections with our clients.

Michelle Rubino

Client Services

Michelle has wonderfully positive attitude at all times. She takes...

Josh Demkowich

Josh Demkowich

Position: Head of Production

For the past 5 years I have worked with Bienenstock as a vendor operating my own small business. True to the nature of Bienenstock, the business relationship quickly grew into friendships and I would often come and have coffee with Lasse and Jordan. Officially joining the team as a full time staff member this year has been a blessing for me and my family and I look forward to coming to work every morning and seeing what challenges lay ahead.

Josh Demkowich

Head of Production

For the past 5 years I have worked with Bienenstock...

Martin Uharcek

Martin Uharcek

Position: Modeller/Designer

Hello World! – Specifically, the ladies and gentlemen at Bienenstock. My name is Martin. I am currently a student at Fanshawe College, completing my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and Planning. I have always had an interest in Design, Art, Nature, and the Environment. Through my studies, I hope to be able to combine my interests in design to bring nature to broader urban communities and promote environmental sustainability.

My background in design and modeling software aids me in my new role as 3D Modeler. Most of my free time consists of outdoor activities such as hiking, paddling, or camping. I do also enjoy reading, pencil sketching and love cooking and trying recipes from all around the world.

Martin Uharcek

Modeller/Designer

Hello World! – Specifically, the ladies and gentlemen at Bienenstock....

Austin Wallace

Austin Wallace

Position: Site Superintendent

Over the last few years he has built a business doing renovation projects..  Austin is very interested in design, woodworking, the construction processes, science, history, and being the best father he can be to his 3 yr old son. In his spare time, Austin enjoys listening to podcasts and audiobooks and enjoys trying new and interesting activities, as well as enjoying food and drink with my friends and family.

Austin Wallace

Site Superintendent

Over the last few years he has built a business...

Aidan Newsome

Aidan Newsome

Position: Designer

Aidan Newsome comes to us from both an international and local Architectural background. He is eager for the challenge and learning opportunities of creating playful outdoor spaces with talented people. Outside of work he likes learning new things and is always experimenting and creating.

Aidan Newsome

Designer

Aidan Newsome comes to us from both an international and...