Get to know us! Our team is comprised of two sub-teams: the Alberta-based team addresses non-profit capacity building and public engagement in Alberta, while staff working on the Spur Change project on behalf of the Inter-Council Network are based across Canada and build the capacity of teachers and SMOs (small and medium organizations) across Canada.
I am committed to SDG 4 (Quality Education) because access to quality education is key to a democratic and inclusive society.
I spent five years as ACGC’s Program Manager prior to taking on the Executive Director role, where I was responsible for public engagement and monitoring and evaluation of ACGC’s programming. With a BPhil in Leadership and a BEd in Secondary Education, from the University of New Brunswick, and a Masters degree in International Humanitarian Action from Uppsala University in Sweden, I have spent my career blending my passions for education and international development. This included working in the field of Education in Emergencies as a consultant with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies in New York; and teaching secondary school in Bolivia, China, Kenya, and Canada.
Spur Change National Program Director
I am committed to SDG 10 (reduce inequality within and among countries) because equitable ways of living and being in the world are fundamental to ensuring that we can live with dignity everywhere.
I am filling in for Andréanne Martel, the National Program Director for the Spur Change Program, while she is on parental leave.
Prior to joining the team, I was the acting Executive Director of Pacific Peoples’ Partnership, a Canadian NGO dedicated to supporting the work of Pacific Islanders through community-led initiatives, where I was formerly Vice-President of the Board. I also currently volunteer as a Community Advisor to the South Vancouver Island (SOVI) chapter of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), of which I was a former co-chair. I also recently had the privilege of spending the majority of my time with my young child, and prior to my extended parental leave, I was the National Coordinator for the ICN (Inter-Council Network). I have worked and volunteered in various capacities with partners both locally and internationally, largely focusing on community building, knowledge sharing, and good practices in nonprofit governance. I hold a Master’s degree in African history from the University of Toronto.
Learning and Engagement Manager
I am committed to SDG 10 (Reduce Inequalities). Empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all will create a more equitable world
where everyone can reach their potential. Small positive changes in people’s lives can greatly improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.
Before returning to Alberta in 2021 with my family and joining ACGC, I have spent a large part of my career traveling, working and living abroad, initially beginning as a volunteer with CUSO in Nigeria and Thailand. I then oversaw the CUSO Lao
PDR country program before moving my family to Sri Lanka. While I was working on a USAID-funded peace building initiative, the island was struck by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. In the aftermath of the tsunami, I became the
Sri Lanka Country Program Manager with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and helped establish a CIDA-funded project to restore local government services that had been affected by the disaster. At the completion of the project, our next years were spent in the Caribbean where I worked with the Government of Sint Maarten in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor. My family was evacuated back to Canada in 2017 after Cat. 5 Hurricane Irma and we subsequently moved to Nigeria where I managed a rural livelihoods project in the north of the country with OXFAM.
I am from rural Alberta and have a degree in agriculture from the University of Alberta and a Master’s degree in international relations from the University of
Leicester. Since returning to Canada and becoming ACGC’s Learning and Engagement Manager, my wife and I have enjoyed seeing our kids adapt and grow here and we spend considerable time taking them to their sports endeavours.
Spur Change: Communications and M&E Coordinator
I am committed to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Ensuring just wages, fair labour practices, and opportunities inclusive of gender identity strengthens collective voice and unites communities for further sustainable change. In the same way, I also am committed to SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goal) as I believe meaningful change and development can only occur through cooperation and collective engagement.
As a Project Officer with Spur Change, my role entails a few different responsibilities: coordinate the communications, execute the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, and the like. I have a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature and English from the University of Alberta with a Certificate in Translation Studies. All that being said, I look forward to working with the Spur team and our partners in promoting global citizenship and sustainable development.
Spur Change: Learning and Engagement Coordinator
I am committed to SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). There is no doubt that cities will become hubs of collective solidarity and creativity. We need to ensure that we make cities and communities as inclusive and equitable, including quality education and lifelong learning opportunities. As an adult educator and community engagement practitioner, I am part of the Spur Change
Program, responsible to design capacity-building opportunities for organizations and educators.
Prior to joining ACGC, I worked closely with non-profit organizations to develop community-based programs in inter-generational learning, food security, social innovation and social transformation. Using a participatory-based approach, I work collaboratively with stakeholders to tackle complex challenges and create more healthy, equitable and sustainable communities. Similarly, I am also a board member at Singa Quebec, a citizen-led organization that works in intercultural mediation with refugees and immigrants in Québec. In my spare time, I enjoy the outdoors by exploring new climbing and hiking areas, always interested in nature’s teachings.
Financial & Administrative Coordinator
I am committed to SDG 1 (No Poverty). Poverty, to me, means the difference between short term thinking and long term goals. Only when an individual’s basic needs are secure, can one move on to long term considerations, meaning access to choice and opportunity in the pursuit of happiness. Then we may all truly aspire to be the best version of ourselves. Other SDG’s that resonate strongly with me are SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
Spur Change: Global Citizenship National Program Coordinator
I am committed to SDG 4 – Quality Education and SDG 5 – Gender Equality. I believe that providing a quality education to young people is key to developing a democratic society. A quality education helps youth, women, marginalized groups and people in general, become more aware of their rights, be more inclined to claim them and become more confident in their leadership abilities.
Educating girls and women helps build stronger families and communities and contributes to their economic growth.
Providing girls with an education has important economic impacts that can help achieve both SDG 1 – No poverty and SDG 8 – Reduced inequalities. By investing in education for girls, it is possible to help families who live in poverty send their girls to school, increasing their future job prospects and growing their economic outcomes, which can end vicious circles of poverty.
When girls attend school, there is a better chance to achieve SDG 3 – Health and well-being. When girls go to school, they are better informed about health issues. In a (post) pandemic era, it will be important for girls and women to be informed of the risks related to health to make the best decisions for their family and community.
Prior to taking the role of Spur Change’s Learning Coordinator, I was an Education Specialist at Equitas for a project on gender equality in Haïti. I am also a trained ESL teacher and I have taught for a few years both in Quebec and abroad.
Needless to say, that for me education is not only essential, but it’s fun!
Youth and Public Engagement Coordinator
I am committed to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) because people of all genders must be safe, heard, and active in order to build thriving communities. Inclusivity promotes health and wellbeing, which then further fosters good community, creating a sustainable cycle. Gender Equality is a win for everyone! I am also passionate about SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) because there is a critical need to address world hunger as millions of people go hungry every day. I am always interested in seeing what roles science and technology play in potential solutions.
I have a degree in Psychology and International Studies from the University of Alberta. International development has always been near to my heart, and I had the opportunity to intern with two NGOs in Fiji as part of the Certificate in International Learning. Outside of work, I am an equally big fan of volunteering with children and all things Marvel Studios.
I am committed to SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). I am passionate about literacy (language and other) equality, as well as the importance of providing education around the world that is equal, accessible, and sustainable. I am committed to the global movement for gender equality, and believe in the vitality of safe and equal spaces/rights for people of all genders, sexualities, orientations, etc.
As Communications Coordinator at ACGC, I am responsible for working alongside the ICN’s network of communications professionals, as well as the rest of ACGCs team, to communicate with the public about ACGC’s work, messages, ideas, and programs. I have a Bachelor of Professional Communication from Grant MacEwan University, and a rich history of experience in the communications field and the not-for-profit sector.
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and our two puppies, and volunteering with various organizations in my spare time.
Spur Change: National Director
(On parental leave)
I am committed to Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goal) because working in collaboration is the only way to face current challenges including climate change. I also support Goal 5 (Gender Equality) because it’s through empowerment and access to decision making that marginalized people will shift the balance of power.
Prior to joining the Spur Change team, I was the lead of the Next Generation: Collaboration for Development program, a joint initiative between the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) aiming to foster better collaboration between practitioners and academics in the Canadian global development sector. My background is in research and M&E. I held a Research Award position in the Policy and Evaluation Division at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and used to be the coordinator of a research centre on international development at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM). Since 2010, I have also evaluated several major post-earthquake projects and programs implemented in Haiti by NGOs and international organizations. I hold a Master’s degree in Political Science from UQAM.
Spur Change: Communications & M&E Coordinator
(On parental leave)
I am committed to Goals 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action) because challenging our patterns of consumption and addressing climate change are crucial to build a more sustainable and fairer world. As global citizens, we all have responsibilities towards each other and the planet as we’re all interdependent and to make a positive global impact I strongly believe it starts with individual engagement.
In the past years, I’ve been delighted to contribute to the development and implementation of projects for renewable energy technology and social justice, here in Canada and in South America. I’ve also been involved in welcoming refugee and immigrant families as a volunteer with the Service d’aide aux Néo-Canadiens (Sherbrooke, Qc). My role within the Spur Change team is to coordinate the communications and oversee the execution of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.
I have a Master’s degree in International Development Management and a BA in Communications & Marketing. I’m a nature lover – you’ll most likely find me there camping, trail running, mountain biking, in the middle of a yoga session or drinking a cup of (fair trade) coffee!
About the ACGC Board
ACGC is governed by an elected Board of Directors comprised of not less than seven and no more than thirteen persons, being Directors at large, and drawn from a representative mixture of diverse organizations. The Board of ACGC is a working board, made up of volunteers committed to the goals of the Council. The activities of ACGC are planned, implemented and evaluated by standing sub-committees. Standing committees are composed of Board members and persons drawn from the larger membership as required. The Executive Director works with the Board to carry out programming and the administration of the Council. ACGC is a member of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation.
Chair: Lorraine Swift – Change for Children Association
Vice-Chair: Bev Carrick – Embrace International Foundation
Treasurer: Aditya Chaudhuri – Engineers Without Borders
Secretary: Benazir Rahman – University of Calgary International
Member at Large: Flora Trebi Ollennu – Trebi Ollennu Foundation for Community Development
Contact the Chairperson
Daniel Zopoula – Bridges of Hope
Kristin Poch – Operation Eyesight
Murwarid Ziayee – Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
Tahira Ebrahim – Bow Valley College
Greg Sowak – Norquest International
Karen Joe – CAWST
Shawn Heinz – University of Alberta International
Paulina Lazarini – Sombrilla International Development Society