Megan MacLeod

Project Lead

Megan MacLeod grew up on Boularderie Island and now lives in Cape Breton after 12 years living elsewhere in Nova Scotia and abroad. When she’s not tending to her garden or enjoying the natural beauty of the Maritimes, she’s fermenting something new in the kitchen and cooking with local products from the food hub and farmers market. She has a Masters Degree in Food, Culture & Communication: Human Ecology & Sustainability from the University of Gastronomic Sciences and studied Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University.

Her past work for a variety of businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits has included education, community-building, and food systems. She is passionate about further understanding the relationships between people, food, environment, and health. Megan is excited to be a part of the momentum that is already building behind Northside Rising and to get to know more people on the Northside. Stop into the office and say hello!



Suzi Oram-Aylward

Program Coordinator

Suzi Oram-Aylward is the Program Coordinator for the Northside Changemakers Program – an inclusive program designed to build leadership capacity and civic engagement on the Northside. As part of the Northside Rising team, Suzi plays a key role in designing, delivering and evolving the program. 

Suzi is a recent graduate in Community Studies as well as a visual artist living in Unama’ki-Cape Breton. She explores art as a mechanism for engaging youth and the community-level in social change.


“Art can be a powerful channel, allowing people to take action and have voice in issues that affect them.” 

In addition to her studies, Suzi has also worked as an outreach worker in various organizations across the Maritimes including Welcome Housing and ACAP Cape Breton. When she is not working, she can be found in the studio, or combing the beach looking for inspiration for her next project. 

Contact Suzi: 


Des Ong, NSRDes Ong

Network 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!”

What book has influenced you greatly? How?
“A lot of books have influenced me throughout the years, but I would go for Celestine Prophecy – the psychological and spiritual components of the book really resonated with me and stayed with me up to today.”

Contact Des: 


Dinao MacCormick

Coordinator, Open Space Project

Dinao is the new Coordinator for the Open Space project with Northside Rising. With the Northside Changemakers Community of Practice and Northside CBRM residents, they will create a Mobile Arts and Wellness Center. Open Space programming will focus on developing localized, inclusive, and accessible arts-based approaches to address food security and social isolation in Northside communities.

Dinao is a visual artist and a Master’s certified Expressive Arts Therapist. She is currently training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Body-Centred Psychotherapy) which informs her art-making and therapeutic practices.

Dinao brings over a decade of experience in community arts engagement to the Open Space project. She finds inspiration in contemplative and land based approaches to community building, recovery, and art-making. Her practice is rooted in reflexivity, harm reduction, and anti-oppression.

What excites you about the year to come at IC?

“I am so excited to work collaboratively with the Northside community, Northside Rising, and IC to build a functional and creative space that’s accessible to the public. I hope for the development of meaningful connections, projects, and lots of learning throughout this process.” 

If you could instantly become an expert at something, what would it be?

“Communication guided by a love ethic–non-violence, care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect and knowledge.”

Natalie Couture

Community Engagement and Communications Coordinator, Open Space Project

Graduating with her degree in Psychology from St. Francis Xavier University, Natalie has worked in Mental Health both in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cape Breton. She recently completed her certification for End of Life Doula through Douglas College.

Natalie believes that “Those who grieve well, live well”, and her work is centred around inviting grief into all community spaces, allowing for sacred time to be shared.

After hours, you can find her in her studio space where she likes to sew. She is currently working towards Post Graduate Certification so she can merge her appreciation of therapy with her skills in textiles.

Priyanga Renjit Prabhu

Strategy and Engagement Research intern

Priyanga Renjit Prabhu is Northside Rising’s Strategy and Engagement Research intern. Priya is enthusiastic about working on strategy about food security and climate challenges of equity deserving groups and promoting sustainable practices from a health-oriented standpoint. Priya’s background in medicine, combined with her passion for environmental sustainability can contribute significantly to her work in Public Health. 

What excites you about the next few months to come at IC?

“I’m thrilled to encourage positive social change and empower communities via resilience, self-determination, and sustainable results. “

If you could live in any sitcom/tv show, which would it be?

“If I were to choose a fictional home, I would choose The Big Bang Theory because of its scientific allusions and pop culture comedy.”