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!
Director of Learning and Organizational Development
Tyler is a creative and dynamic leader with a passion for social justice, community development, and finding a way to have more fun. Over the last 15 years Tyler has done a lot. Throughout his career he has been a community worker, photographer, podcaster, improviser, communications manager, youth worker, and even a pirate. He is a natural community connector and his work as the Community Director with Inspiring Communities will bring together individuals and communities, helping strengthen relationships and the sharing of knowledge, values, and skills.
Working with Inspiring Communities is exciting and fun because I believe there is a shared belief in what is possible in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. Many of our conversations focus on the assets and strengths within and across communities.
A book that has greatly influenced my life is Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown – it has become a staple in my work in the last year. The book explores working through ambiguous and complex systems with real work examples from the author’s life. The writing and work is also grounded in critically reflexive practice and joy. The book is full of authentic moments, critical thought, and whimsy. It is a real joy to read.
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. She also helps animate WeavEast, Wayside and connects social changemakers. 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 Misty Moon Showbar.
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 or the destruction of Africville, or even the quirky, like the Shag Harbour incident. The more I learn , the more I realize we have to offer the world in terms of reflections on our experiences.