Team

We’re a growing network of community initiatives across Nova Scotia dedicated to making our communities stronger by working together. We are also committed to building a stronger network at the provincial level for tackling social issues in a way that aligns resources and efforts.

We bring together residents, governments, community organizations, and businesses in a way that honours their unique perspectives and valuable contributions.

Annika Voltan

Annika supports the strategic operations of the organization and the Board of Directors, and works closely with provincial stakeholders in government, the community sector, academia and business to develop partnerships and identify opportunities to maximize our social impact. Her experience across federal and provincial government departments, academia and businesses enables her to skillfully build bridges between sectors. Annika brings inspirational energy to building a transparent learning environment with a long term focus on systems changes in Nova Scotia. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she is dedicated to breaking down barriers that stand in the way of creating equal opportunities for all.

Paul Shakotko


Paul supports our community initiatives by leading the early phases of the work, coaching backbone staff, and building connections within and across sites. Known as a calm, caring and compassionate trust builder with a strong sense of humour, Paul brings a holistic, ecosystem approach to tackling tough, systemic challenges in our communities. He is an expert in community engagement and mobilization with over 30 years’ experience, and an acute ability to bring  government and community together for social change. He considers himself an ‘ancestor-in-training’ and a life long learner dedicated to his family and building stronger communities.

Cari Patterson


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 the 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 twenty five years 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.

 

Together, Annika, Paul and Cari represent the backbone team responsible for coordinating and leading the work across the province.