Rayna Preston, Data & Evaluation Lead, NS GovLab and Nova Scotia Network for Social Change
Jonathan Walters, IT Intern, Northside Rising (Northside Cape Breton)
Erika Rolston, Project Lead, Turning the Tide (Digby)
Louise Adongo, Executive Director, Inspiring Communities [bio]
Jody Nelson, Project Lead, Northside Rising (Northside Cape Breton)
Angela Britton, Intern, NS GovLab & Nova Scotia Network for Social Change
Matthew Cooper, Choices for Youth (NL), Evaluation Team, Inspiring Communities
Communications Coordinator, Nova Scotia Network for Social Change
Morgan Dunn, CBYF Coordinator, Turning the Tide (Digby)
Michael Carty, Community Coordinator, Turning the Tide (Digby)
Miranda Cobb, Learning and Evaluation Lead, Between the Bridges (Dartmouth North)
Nicole Davis, Operations Manager, Inspiring Communities [bio]
Bette Watson-Borg, Project Leader, Between the Bridges (Dartmouth North)
Treno Morton, Research Analyst, Inspiring Communities [bio]
Cari Patterson, Director of Research and Evaluation, Inspiring Communities [bio]
Suzi Oram-Aylward, Program Coordinator, Northside Rising (Northside Cape Breton)
Matt Spurway, Community Coordinator, Between the Bridges (Dartmouth North)
Elissama Menezes, Project Co-Lead, SI capacity building project with ARAISA [bio]
Laura Horn, Between the Bridges (Dartmouth North) and Inspiring Communities
Shelley Fashan, Community Coordinator, Nova Scotia Network for Social Change
Kristen Faulkner, Managing Director, Inspiring Communities
Jocelyn Yerxa, Director, NS GovLab and Nova Scotia Network for Social Change
Megan MacLeod, Community Lead, Engagement and Collaboration, Northside Rising (Northside Cape Breton)
Charlene Boyce, Content Curator, Inspiring Communities [bio]
Evelyn Headley-Boutilier, African Nova Scotian Community Engagement Industry Specialist (ANSA)
Jesselyn Nesbitt, Rural Youth Project Coordinator, Turning the Tide (Digby)
Nancy Carter, Evaluator, SI capacity building project with ARAISA
Learn more about our people! Scroll down for the Core Team’s bios, or click one of the links to learn more about a team:
- Northside Rising
- Turning the Tide
- Between the Bridges
- WeavEast & Wayside
- Evaluation Team
- Nova Scotia Network for Social Change (photos of NSN4SC folks with the exception of Angela, were taken by Mo Phùng, and used with permission)
Louise Adongo is a bold and grounded leader who brings over a decade of experience in systems change, policy and evaluation to Inspiring Communities. She is known for bringing care and intention to uncovering the roots of tangled problems; enabling shifts to greater resilience, sustainability and impact.
She believes in carving institutional spaces that are more nimble, transparent and creative. For the last decade she has worked for the Nova Scotia government’s departments of Health, Justice (NSHRC), Labour & Advanced Education, Business (ERDT), Service Nova Scotia & Internal Services and Infrastructure & Housing. There, Louise advanced work on social labs in government, convened Policy Circles to encourage connection & communication among policy professionals on timely topics and initiated interdepartmental collaborations to support wellness and career advancement of Black women. She co-Chaired the African-Canadian Women in the Public Service Network (ACWPS).
Unafraid of challenge or change, Louise has a deep commitment to advancing social justice and anti-racism. She has guided the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre’s reorganization as their interim Board Chair, co-led a Black Women and Leadership Forum and facilitated organizational & strategic planning sessions for a variety of community organizations. She sits on the Board of Directors of the CUA and previously volunteered with the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC ), the Halifax Local Immigrant Partnership (HLIP ), and as co-founder & Board Secretary for the Freetown Initiative (now Help2Overcome). She was also the co-chair of the 2019 Canadian Evaluation Society National Conference.
Louise is able to seamlessly navigate among the cultures of community, non-profit, business and government to make incredible things happen. She holds graduate degrees in Applied Health Services Research and Plant Biochemistry.
She is a proud mother of a young toddler and is often creatively fired up about a wide range of subjects. To relax, she gardens, reads, explores new places in the Atlantic region and enjoys talks about system change on patios or in living rooms with friends.
Director of Research & Evaluation
Cari helps us reflect on our work and think about what we are learning, so we can intentionally adapt our approach and offer our best to communities. Her educational background is in community psychology, which focuses on working with communities for social change. Her passion for community development began with her love of community and her deep respect for the journeys communities share in their efforts to make their worlds healthy and strong. The heart of her formal training began in Nova Scotia, and has continued through a few decades of community development work in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.
Cari has a strong respect for the diverse perspectives people bring to the table, and an ability to validate and work with differing interests and needs. Cari is a Credentialed Evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society, and former Secretary General of the International Association for Community Development. In 2015 she was awarded Acadia University Department of Community Development’s inaugural Community Leadership Award.
I love that as a whole, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Some kind of magic happens when a bunch of bright, passionate, open-minded beings (I’m including my yellow lab Molly, who participates in many of our meetings and discussions) bring our energies together and channel them for positive change. I love being part of this energy, and learning and growing from this kind of dynamic process.
Wise Child is a young adult novel by Monica Furlong that has really inspired me. I first read it in the early 1990s, and I re-read it every few years. It is a beautiful story about trusting women’s wisdom and ways of knowing, and following truth even when you have to risk everything to do it.
Kristen leads the Operations and Communications across all of our work at Inspiring Communities. She has an educational mix of Marketing and Graduate studies in Not for Profit Management. She brings ten years of experience in the Not for Profit sector, most recently in New Zealand where she specialized in supporter engagement and communications, fundraising and organizational development. Her passion for connecting with others ignites when she can hear and share stories, as she believes strongly in building community through storytelling. She is excited to have joined Inspiring Communities in this time of growth, and is inspired by all of the great work happening around Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces by local change-makers.
I’m really thrilled to be sharing our story this year with our network and beyond. So much inspiring work is taking place in communities across Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces. And I think what we’re doing here, as an organization that nests community initiatives, is really unique. As we’ve grown and established the foundation of our organization – I’m really excited to tell this story and show the impact of the work so far.
If I could be an expert at anything in the world, it would be learning and speaking different languages. There is so much we can learn from other cultures (plus, I can usually be found deep in conversation with someone.) This would also fuel my love of travelling.
Nicole grew up in Nova Scotia, in a tiny village on stilts – the buildings, not her. Although, that too would have been useful! She left the Bear River area to pursue more opportunities in HRM. After studying an interesting mix of Counseling and Marketing, she spent several years working in Care Coordination in the healthcare industry, and marketing/operations for small business where she experienced the best of both worlds. Now, as the glue of the organization, Nicole supports Inspiring Communities as a whole through creative problem solving, coordination of projects, and a substantial supply of post-it notes.
I love that I get the opportunity to connect with many brilliant people and organizations everyday. I really appreciate the challenge of keeping this many projects organized day-to-day. And, I’m lucky to work in an environment with such forward thinking colleagues and community members.
The song that best describes my life is What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes – plus, it’s super fun to belt out. I’m still trying to get up that great big hill of hope!
Charlene Boyce is Inspiring Communities’ Content Curator. She is responsible for storytelling, and communicating the learnings, stories and experiences of those engaged in social change across the Atlantic Provinces and beyond. Her toolkit includes writing for many purposes and media, graphic design / illustration, oral history skills and social media community building. Most recently she was the communications lead with the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, sharing their stories and managing their brand. Prior to that, Charlene worked with the credit union system, environmental nonprofits, and the teachers’ union. She writes fiction, knits and crochets, waits on cats, and is pursuing a Master of Arts, Atlantic Canada Studies looking at the late twentieth century in Halifax, in particular the history of the Misty Moon Show Bar.
I love learning about this province and our history, whether the good, like the Antigonish Movement or the Pugwash Peace Conferences, or the bad, like the Grand Dérangement, mining disasters or the destruction of Africville, or even the quirky, like the Shag Harbour UFO incident. The more I learn , the more I realize we have to offer the world in terms of reflections on our experiences. In particular, our communities have demonstrated fortitude and resilience dealing with trauma and disaster.
Treno Morton is Inspiring Communities’ Research Analyst. He is responsible for supporting projects involving strategic partnerships with other organization. Before his time at Inspiring Communities, Treno worked as a management intern at Triangle Strategy consulting firm. He was responsible for research & analysis, professional administrative work, and developing a BIPOC Executive Leadership Forum framework.
Treno also has experience working for the O.N.E. North End, an organization whose goal is to create a more inclusive North End and lower the unemployment rate of African Nova Scotian Youth province-wide.
Born and raised in North End Halifax, in the predominantly Black community of Uniacke Square, he is no stranger to racism, inequality and gentrification. This is where Treno’s passion for inclusion, social equality and relentless work ethic comes from. Treno hopes to use his education to serve as a role model to other black youth, and help counteract the gentrification he’s seen troubling his community over the years.
Treno is a recent graduate of Queen’s University, with a degree in Geography and Planning, a certificate in planning and a minor in Global Development Studies. Looking to be the change he wants to see in his community, Treno co-founded Fumes Rolling Papers in July 2020 with his two brothers, a venture important to him due to the lack of Black ownership in the legal cannabis industry, like many other industries, and because he hopes to destigmatize the views surrounding cannabis, as it helps Treno to treat his epilepsy.
In his free time, Treno enjoys investing, crypto, sports and anything related to self-improvement. His favourite passtime, however, is spending quality time with his mother and family.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work in my hometown and community, and use my education and lived experience to have a positive impact on underrepresented peoples and communities, but even more so to do it with an organization that advocates and fights for a cause that aligns so well with the views and believes of my own.”
Co-Lead, Project with ARAISA
Elissama Menezes is Inspiring Communities’ Project Co-Lead. She will be responsible for conducting Social Research and Development through a participative, experiential learning approach to improve the sense of belonging among newcomers.
Elissama has several years of working experience in the intersection of environmental and social justice. She has worked as a research assistant, project manager, shipping specialist, teacher, educational coordinator, tour guide, travel agent, and deckhand in a vessel built to be the greenest ship afloat. Elissama is a shaker and community builder, and her work will aim to improve newcomers’ connection with their communities through social innovation.
What excites you about the year to come at IC?
I am very excited about connecting with inspiring people working towards changing communities and places. I am also looking forward to being immersed in a project with experimental learning as an approach.
What book has influenced you greatly and how?
Tistou: The Boy with Green Thumbs. I read this book when I was six years old, and it planted a seed in my heart that I can transform the place I live and impact the communities around me by connecting with them through my soul and passion.