Our Team

Amber Clark, (she/her) Administrative Coordinator, Turning the Tide BIO

Kjeld Mizpah Conyers-Steede (he/him) Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships BIO

Sarah DenHartogh, (she/her/they/them) Project Lead,
North Star Rising BIO

Odessa Taylor (she/her), Youth Outreach Worker, Turning the Tide BIO

Carmelita Johnson, (she/her) Community Coordinator, Turning the Tide BIO

Manal Salha, (she/her)
Director, Finance & Operations BIO

Jocelyn Li, (they/them),
Co-Executive Director BIO

Treno Morton, (he/him) Community Engagement Coordinator BIO

Mueni Mutinda, (she/her)
Co-Executive Director BIO

Des Ong, (she/her) Communications Coordinator

Staff Bios

Amber Clark (she/her)

Amber Clark is the office administrator with Turning the Tide and Inspiring Communities. She is responsible for a wide range of tasks including organizing meetings, maintaining digital and physical filing systems, supporting with onboarding and training, and providing general support to the organization and employees. 

The thing I most enjoy about my work with Inspiring Communities is collaborating with others in the organization. If I could instantly be good at anything I would want it to be learning languages and communicating. 

Kjeld Mizpah Conyers-Steede (he/him)

Director, Strategy and Partnerships

Kjeld Mizpah (KJ) is a seasoned systems thinker with an impressive track record in social innovation. He brings a strong focus on areas such as community-centric strategic planning, human-centered design, organizational culture, and governance reviews, as well as expertise in the realm of organizational change management. Throughout his career, KJ has been at the forefront of community projects, leading and collaborating on initiatives that tackle the most complex and pressing issues within our society. His expertise lies in the realm of public policy programming, strategic planning and lobbying, where he excels in crafting solutions for what he refers to as the “big hairy” policy challenges. KJ’s approach is characterized by a commitment to human-centered strategies and a forward-thinking perspective, often employing the lens of strategic foresight to break free from conventional cause-and-effect governance.

In his role as a facilitator, KJ has a unique ability to foster collaboration and establish critical psychological safety, which proves essential in dismantling barriers to community-centric policy and program development. KJ has assisted businesses, organizations, and government departments in tackling their most formidable challenges. His goal is always to ensure that the results of any endeavor carry a community-centric perspective.

Sarah DenHartogh (she/her)

Project Lead

Sarah Denhartogh is Inspiring Communities’ project lead at North Star Rising. Sarah is a passionate advocate for building equitable and inclusive communities. She believes wholeheartedly in fostering collaboration and dialogue.

As an advocate for equity and community empowerment, I strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive. Guided by passion, and a deepening understanding of systemic inequalities, I live to challenge and help to dismantle barriers that hinder progress. I dream of our communities building a new future of justice, reconciliation and healing.

Carmelita Johnson (she/her)

Community Coordinator

Carmelita is an NSCC graduate and hails from the African Nova Scotian community of Southville in Weymouth, NS.  She has previously worked for NSCC, BEA-Regional Educators Program, and Digby SchoolsPlus.  Carmelita has spent over 23 years working in the public school system as an ANS Student Support Worker in Digby and Annapolis County.  Her passion is working to improve inequities within systems that directly affect historically marginalized communities. She is a firm believer in connecting with people spiritually (mind, body, soul). Being authentic and speaking from her own Africentric perspective has been the key to Carmelita’s personal and professional growth and success.  She enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience of working with the ANS community to support the current work inspiring communities is doing to improve the overall quality of marginalized communities.

Jocelyn Li (they/them)

Co-Executive Director

Jocelyn Li was the Director of Strategy and Partnerships and has recently been appointed as Co-Executive Director at Inspiring Communities. Their background has been immersed in art, metalsmithing and organizing cultural events for over 10 years. As a non-binary and 1st generation Chinese Canadian, they often find themselves in between perspectives and connecting many dots to map out the larger whole in conversations. They are passionate about pushing through discomfort when learning something new, collaborating on bio-inclusive gardens and sharing cultural fusion approaches based on local food availability. 

Having worked as an advocate and collaborator on cultural, health boards and municipal development committees, they have observed the treatment of archaic, inherited systems as a one-size-fits-all solution harmful and regressive.Their intention at Inspiring Communities is to share creative insight into the pragmatics of systems change, continuously seeking alternatives to better serve a growing and diverse population in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. While their approach is to integrate and implement “theory into practice”, their strategies are invested in cultural cross-pollination for social innovation, collective learning and healing for community wellness, and sustainable growth for enduring resilience.

Treno Morton (he/him)

Ccommunity Engagement Coordinator

Treno Morton is Between the Bridges’ Community Engagement Coordinator. Previously with Inspiring Communities, he led a car sharing exploratory pilot called Driven by Community, co-leading the Dalhousie Street Party Culture engagements, and participating in the Tamarack Climate Cohort. Before his time at Inspiring Communities, Treno worked as a management intern at Triangle Strategy consulting firm. 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. He 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.

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. 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.

Mueni Mutinda (she/her)

Co-Executive Director

Mueni Mutinda is curious, deeply passionate about, and fearlessly cultivates and nurtures meaningful connections into relationships and strategic partnerships that deepen cooperation. Recognition of the interconnectedness of all things informs her commitment to delve into the root causes of systems, and structures to critically examine and dismantle barriers designed to categorize, differentiate, and exclude. For Mueni, relationships are at the heart of meaningful community connection and community-building, which means, first and foremost, seeing and meeting people where they are. A Canada-grown, and Kenyan-born program management leader, facilitator, consultant, writer and coach, Mueni is delighted to collaboratively identify and seize the gift of this present moment, to bring about possibilities and alternatives to the status quo. In this way, Mueni is a disruptor and truth-teller with love and vision for the possibility of the energy inherent in each one of us. 

Des Ong (she/her)

Communications Coordinator

Originally from Manila, Philippines, Des came to Canada in 2019 and completed her post-graduate studies in Business Management in 2021. Des was also one of the participants of the Northside Changemakers Program. Before coming to Canada, Des was working in advertising, public relations and was also a creative entrepreneur. Currently, Des also volunteers for Cape Breton Local Immigration Partnership specifically supporting the Immigrant Advisory Table.

“As a person of color and a newcomer in Canada, I am excited to see how I can contribute to the communities we serve here in Cape Breton and across the province through the IC network!”

Manal Salha (she/her)

Director, Finance and Operations

Manal Salha brings to Inspiring Communities an overabundance of qualifications, having served as chief accountant to several firms in Kuwait. In alignment with the Board Treasurer, she manages all things financial for the organization. As a new Canadian, she brings valuable insights and an international perspective.

Odessa Taylor (she/her)

Youth Outreach Worker (Digby)

Odessa Taylor is the Youth Outreach Worker with Turning the Tide. She is passionate about eliminating barriers and stigmas for youth within our community. Odessa found it extremely fulfilling working with people with exceptionalities for 16 years, however, is exceedingly excited for this new role of supporting youth to be their healthiest, happiest, and most authentic versions of themselves.

If she could instantly become an expert in anything, Odessa would choose geology, as it would be awesome to be able to name all the ‘cool’ rocks she takes out of her 4 kid’s pockets in the laundry.

Our Evaluation Consultants are Nancy Carter and Sara Bateman.