Our Priorities

About Us

The Council of the Great Lakes Region provides a binational, multi-sector forum for exchange and collaboration on the region’s key risks and opportunities. Beginning with conversations about the Region’s most critical issues, the Council encourages those with common interests to drive commitment and action through dialogue groups, research, advocacy, and programs.

Our Vision

To create the most prosperous, innovative, sustainable, livable, and welcoming region in the world.

Our Mission

CGLR will lead a new era of economic growth, environmental protection, and individual well-being by connecting diverse interests and sectors across the binational Great Lakes economic region to one another, discovering solutions to complex policy problems, and influencing decisions that affect the region’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability.

Looking Back
At Our History


Brookings Research on the Great Lakes region leads to regional summit

Following the Brookings Institute’s extensive work on the future of the Great Lakes economy, in 2011, over 250 leaders – government, business, labor, non-profit, and academic – came together in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region Summit jointly convened by Brookings and the University of Toronto.


U.S. and Canadian ambassadors support the Council's formation

To fill this void and to implement the Vital Commons Agenda, also referred to as the “Detroit-Windsor Consensus”, the Council of the Great Lakes Region was launched in 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio, with the support of then United States Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, and Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer.


Regional leaders at the Summit clarified their needs

Gaps in regional leadership, knowledge sharing, and advocacy needed to be filled, but that no one organization existed to bring these interrelated binational interests together and speak to the region’s priorities.


The Summit sought broad improvements on regional collaboration

Many policy areas were identified where stronger collaboration and voice were needed when it comes to building the region’s future economy, preserving a healthy ecosystem, and deepening cross-border and cross-sector collaboration and partnerships.


The Council fosters dialogue on important regional issues

Working with many of the region’s organizations and diverse interests, the Council seeks to inform state, provincial and federal decision-makers in both countries about the region’s long-term economic, social, and environmental goals. It also connects private, public, and nonprofit actors across the region, cultivating a strong regional voice to promote shared interests and solutions to the region’s common challenges.

Join Us

Current Job Openings

At the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), our purpose is to leverage our unique bi-national, non-partisan structure to create the first sustainable region in the world. We are doing this by accelerating the transition to a sustainable future by uniquely bringing diverse governmental, business, academic, and non-profit perspectives together as one to explore and solve the region’s most pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges.

In order to reach the next level of growth and impact, the CGLR is inviting applications from motivated, inspiring individuals for the position of: Director of Fundraising and Business Development

Who We Are

Honorary Patrons

Distinguished advocates for the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Bruce Heyman

U.S. Ambassador

David Wilkins

U.S. Ambassador

James Blanchard

U.S. Ambassador

Gary Doer

Canadian Ambassador

Michael Kergin

Canadian Ambassador

Raymond Chretien

Canadian Ambassador

Jim Peterson

Trade Minister

Jean Charest

Québec Premier

Board of Directors

Governors of the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Brian Ames


Steve Petras

Immediate Past Chair

Matt McCurdy


Jeffrey Weiss


Brenda Drinkwalter


Heather Ferguson


Howard Learner


Peter S. Drummond


David Ceolin


John Wilkinson


Pat Whalen


Wayne Garnons-Williams


Marie-Hélène Sicard


Lorne Gorber


Eric Lee



Advancing the mission of the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Mark Fisher, B.SC, ICD.D

President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region

Mark Fisher became the President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) in 2014, which comprises CGLR Canada, CGLR USA and the CGLR Foundation.

Immediately prior to joining CGLR, he served as a foreign policy advisor in the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Cabinet, where he focused on advancing Canada’s interests in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Mark has extensive experience advising senior government, corporate, academic and NGO leaders on a range of pressing socioeconomic and environmental issues facing their sector, as well as the pathways and dynamic collaborations required to address them.

In addition to CGLR, he is an elected school board trustee with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, is a member of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, and is a director on the board of Easter Seals Ontario.

Mark is also a recipient of the Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence.

Lora Shrake

Senior Program Director, Business & Sustainability

Lora Shrake is the Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. With over 20 years of experience, Lora has dedicated her career to the environment and sustainability issues. Her management and leadership spans across non-profit operations, environmental program management, stakeholder engagement, strategy, and research.

Prior to joining CGLR, Lora led a national green building council in the United Arab Emirates where she oversaw all aspects of the organization’s cross-functional development, including its impact and reach.

Abby Hansen

Marketing and communications coordinator

Abby Hansen is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. Abby is a graduate of Central Michigan University where she studied Communications and Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts. She’s spent the last five years enhancing brand recognition, engagement, and outreach for organizations throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.

She brings to CGLR a rich background in digital media, videography, and graphic design services throughout a variety of industries including resort/entertainment, mental health, and IT.

Ally Walker

Program Officer, Circular Economy

Ally Walker is the Program Officer, Circular Economy for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. She holds a Master’s of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and has a background in sustainability policy research and project coordination. Most recently, Ally has worked on projects in Southwest PA to improve the regional recycling system and reduce single use plastics.

She brings to CGLR a passion for creating lasting positive change through informed policy making, stakeholder engagement, and relationship building.

Our Structure

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a binational network of organizations comprised of: (1) Council of the Great Lakes Region, an Ohio nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as amended, the “Code”) and classified as a trade association described in Code section 501(c)(6) (“CGLR USA”); (2) CGLR Foundation, an Ohio nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Code and classified as a public charity described in Code section 501(c)(3) (“CGLR Foundation”); and the Council of the Great Lakes Region, a Canadian non-profit corporation (“CGLR Canada”). 

We depend on the support of individual members, government grants, private foundations, and corporate sponsorship to make our work possible. We welcome the support of the diverse institutions and individuals who share our vision for the future of the binational Great Lakes megaregion.

Stay informed

Sign up here to receive updates about our work, or
email us directly at info(at)councilgreatlakesregion.org.

Read More on the Great Lakes Economic Forum