Shelley Fashan, Community Impact Coordinator

Shelley Fashan

Photo credit to Mo Phùng

Shelley has a lengthy history of community involvement, activism and volunteerism. She has served on the East Coast Music Association, the Nova Scotia Arts Council, which was responsible for creating the Portia White Prize, the Lieutenant Governor Masterworks Award and a founding member of the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the African Nova Scotian Music Association. She currently sits on the boards of the African Nova Scotian Music Association, the Charles Taylor Theatre and Media Arts Association, the Eastern Shore Cooperator and The Descendants of African Americans Living in Nova Scotia.

Shelley is a documentary filmmaker and co-creator of The Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival which celebrates its 10th year of production. She is known for her work with young and emerging artists and creating spaces for them to grow and develop in their disciplines.

Shelley is a cultural producer who has produced several Singer/Songwriter Circles of local artists, including a tribute to African Nova Scotian Roots Artists, “Four The Moment” and most recently in May 2019, she produced a most successful evening called “Sistas In the Struggle Black Feminist Panel.” 

She leaves her current position as the project coordinator for the Pathways to Irving Shipbuilding, a project that provides opportunities for 20 African Nova Scotian to train as Welders at NSCC and apprentice with Irving.

Contact Shelley: sfashan@inspiringcommunities.ca


Jenna Andrews, Communications Coordinator

Jenna Andrews

Photo credit to Mo Phùng

Jenna (she/her) grew up in Labrador City, NL and left home to pursue a Bachelor of Science. After finishing this program and having a deep feeling that this just wasn’t quite the right fit and path for her, Jenna then began a Bachelor of Social Work in Halifax. She instantly fell in love with the area.

Throughout this program Jenna became involved in different areas of change work around aging, including a field placement with NS GovLab. She became very curious about to use creativity, communication and connectivity in a way to learn and (un)learn from each other and grow. She is excited to work in the space of social innovation with the Nova Scotia Network for Social Change and to connect and collaborate with change-makers, especially regarding population aging and intergenerational connection. 

For her, social innovation means taking the time to build relationships, start conversations and to bring creativity into collaborative spaces for social change. In her spare time, she loves to dance, read and explore hiking and walking trails. 

If I could pick one song that describes my life at this moment, it would be Catgroove by Parov Stelar. It has no words, but an uplifting beat that gets me moving or tapping my toes each and every day.


Rayna Preston, Data & Evaluation Lead (NS GovLab/NSN4SC)

Rayna Preston

Photo credit to Mo Phùng

Rayna (she/her) lives in rural Nova Scotia and is a daughter, wife and mother to two young children who keep her hands, head and heart very full! She has worked as an Evaluator for over twelve years and is currently NS GovLab’s Data and Evaluation Lead. For Rayna, social innovation means we are trying to get at the root causes of complex problems, facing the uncomfortable truths of our social systems, and actively working to disrupt status quo thinking. 

Rayna is excited for the opportunity with NS GovLab and the Nova Scotia Network for Social Change to really step into generative relationships with new partners that foster respectful and reciprocal allyship and community. She is looking forward to seeing how this can spark creativity and endless possibilities.

Rather than become an expert at something instantly, I think it would be fabulous to be highly adept at interrupting our constant desire for experts in the first place. I’m a firm believer that we need to pay more attention to those who approach life and problems with humility, openness to being wrong and those who are willing to fail with grace. My experiences to-date have shown me that the advice and work that are generated in these spaces tend to be more transformative, inclusive and intelligent.

So that, and … I mean it wouldn’t be terrible to wake up one day and instantly be a concert level Cello performer


Jocelyn Yerxa, Director (NS GovLab/NSN4SC)

Jocelyn Yerxa

Photo credit to Mo Phùng

Hi everybody, my name is Jocelyn. I am a white settler that grew up in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki, the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw. I acknowledge and recognize land not as property but as a living being in its own right. I also give appreciation and gratitude to all the ancestors (past, present and future) that have made it possible for me to exist here in this time and place and to do the work that I am uniquely able to do. I would also like to acknowledge that we are all kin – human and non-human. I am grateful to be a daughter, a mother, and to share my life with many beautiful animal souls. I am a vintage aficionado of all things, but especially mopeds. I have also been a public servant for more than 15 years.

My most recent work has been to have the pleasure of leading the incredible team responsible for NS GovLab and the Nova Scotia Network for Social Change. I have worked in the field of aging and social innovation with many incredible people trying to make change for many years and there has never been a dull moment. My journey has also brought me to work that gestures towards decolonial and anti-racist futures. My collaborations with Steeven Pedneault, Vanessa Andreotti, Elwood Jimmy, MO Dresch, Rachel Derrah and many others in the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF) Collective have brought me so much wisdom as we explore aging, dying, grieving and eldership in modern coloniality.  Some early iterations of this work is published on the GTDF website as Cartographies of Aging. Building the stamina to stay with the pain and difficulty of collectively looking at the things we have been conditioned to avoid while maintaining relationships is challenging, funny, and really rewarding.

As the team and I continue to invite others into the Nova Scotia Network for Social Change, I am excited to experiment with ways we can hold containers for difficult conversations and awakening in our personal and collective responsibilities and exiled capacities. This is a challenging time of many storms where we are all not in the same boat, nor are we all impacted in the same ways.  My hope is that we may be able to offer something of use that will allow us to learn from past mistakes so we only make new mistakes in the future to learn from!

Love and peace to all beings.


Mo Dresch, Artist & Facilitator (NS GovLab/NSN4SC)

Mo Dresch (them / they)

Photo credit to Mo Phùng

Mo Dresch (they/them) is an artist and change-maker living in K’jipuktuk- Halifax. Mo has spent the past fifteen years working in systems change and grassroots organizing, with a particular focus on social justice, gender, food security, community building and group processes. They are passionate about how creative and art practices can influence change.

When it comes to change-making, Mo highlights that it involves looking back in time, listening and learning. It requires that we reflect on our complicitness in the current systems and asking how we can work together to create patterns and systems that care for us all. Mo is looking forward to continuing working with the NSN4SC to learn how we can meaningfully show up and support each other in each of our areas of work and communities.

If I could have my own talk show, my first three guests would be Prentist Hemphill (check out their podcast Finding our way), Kent Monkman & Vivek Shraya!   

Angela Britton ( Intern, NS GovLab/NSN4SC) 

Angela (she/her) is a visual artist, designer and poet who recently graduated from NSCC’s Social Services program. The marriage of her education and passion for the arts is the basis for Angela’s belief in the possibilities for social change and community growth through the creative arts. This belief is the foundation for all of her work and she is drawn to working with others collaboratively who share the same ideas. Angela has been an active volunteer at NSCC, in the arts community and at her 3 children’s schools over the years and is excited to bring her creative vision and eclectic experience to NS GovLab and NSN4SC.

What excites Angela the most about working with the Nova Scotia Network of Social Change and the NS GovLab is to connect with new people keen on doing things differently then they have always been done before and to be a part of creative change and growth in intersectional aging communities.

I love having conversations with inspiring, passionate leaders who drive innovative change in the world and if I had my own talk show, my first three guests would be Barack Obama, Oprah and Dave Grohl.

Laura Horn & Kristen Faulkner & Nicole Davis

The Nova Scotia Network for Social Change would not be possible without the work of Laura Horn, Kristen Faulkner, and Nicole Davis. Laura, Kristen and Nicole help to support the administration and financial aspects of the project, and we are grateful for their dedication and support. You can learn more about them here.

Tyler Colbourne & Charlene Boyce 

The Nova Scotia Network for Social Change is also thankful for the communication support, work and energy of Tyler Colbourne & Charlene Boyce. You can learn more about them and their roles at Inspiring Communities here.