Our Board and Staff
Joanne Linzey (Chair)
Now retired, Joanne Linzey worked for over 40 years with non-profit organizations and communities. As a CEO, coach and trainer, she provided strategic advice on change management, board governance, strategic planning, leadership development, community engagement, and project management to not-for-profit organizations that sought to increase their effectiveness and impact. Joanne is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Award (2005) for her contributions to community life in Canada. She is also currently the Chair of the Board of the Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy and the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts.
From co-founding and managing a women-led public transit system in a northern Yukon community, to co-creating the national ABC Canada Literacy Foundation, Ms. Linzey worked to establish and build strong effective organizations that are important to building sustainable communities. With a consortium of Brazilian not-for-profits (2000–2005) Ms. Linzey worked as a trainer and coach to help the leadership build their capacity to work collaboratively in low-income communities. She continued to work in Brasil until 2014. As the CEO of the United Way of Halifax ( 1995–2006) and then as the Vice-president of Community Impact for United Way of Canada (2006–2009), she was responsible for leading major change initiatives that helped United Way staff and boards transform to organizations working to change community conditions.
Cari Patterson (Acting Executive Director)
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 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 a few decades 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.
Mike Davis is a Partner with and the Managing Director of Davis Pier Consulting and the President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the company’s policy lab outpost, Pier Labs. He has over 15-years of experience in consulting, having worked with government clients in Canada, and in countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. He is well-regarded not only for his ability to design and architect strategies and solutions to complex public sector issues for clients, but also for overseeing their implementation. Mike has recently turned his efforts to helping government use more innovative approaches to policy-making and program design. His focus is on the application of behavioural insights to policy and program design and in expanding evidence-based policy methods.
Mike has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering from Dalhousie University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Behavioural Sciences at the London School of Economics and has a certification in Behavioral Insights from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In addition to his Board role with Inspiring Communities, Mike is on the National Board of Directors for Kids Help Phone.
Jill Provoe is a bi-racial woman from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Through her work as a college administrator, she espouses a culturally-empowered leadership style in the pursuit of academic excellence and equitable student success. Currently in the role of Senior Advisor to the Vice-President Academic on Educational Equity, she is responsible for building a framework and organizational structure to grow and sustain a culture of equity within Academic and across the college community.
In her previous role as Dean, School of Access, she was responsible for managing access programs across Nova Scotia, which includes 14 campuses and 3 Learning Centres. Key to this work is cultivating inclusive and responsive teaching and learning environments that improve student access, experience and outcomes in embracing educational equity as a catalyst for meaningful change.
Stephanie is a passionate life-long learner, and an advocate for doing business better, in a way that values people and planet over profit. She started her career at the Hub Halifax, where she learned that building strong local (in-person) social networks is the key to happiness, and to successfully starting any project. At the same time she joined the Halifax Music Co-op, a social enterprise working to make music accessible. She played flute in their orchestral and jazz arrangements, and Chaired their Board of Directors for three years. She has worked for social enterprises in the UK (Community Enterprise in Scotland) and Canada (Common Good Solutions), and currently serves as a Director of the Social Enterprise Institute (SEI). In 2014 she was named a Top 50 under 30 Leader in Atlantic Canada (21 Inc.). This program, through road trips and lots of social events, connected her to other young, fired-up community-builders that remain connected as friends and supporters to this day.
Now, Stephanie teaches Entrepreneurship to photography, music production, music business and other Creative Industry students at the Nova Scotia Community College. She is most proud of being a new mum to baby Henry, who she welcomed into the world in December 2019.
Stephanie has a business degree with certificates in Psych and French from Saint Mary’s University, a certificate in eLearning from the University of Calgary, and a certificate in Project Management from the University of British Columbia. She’s completed consultant training from leading North American consultant Carter MacNamara, and Applied Leadership training through Bluteau DeVinney.
Mary Ellen Gurnham
Mary Ellen is a Registered Nurse who recently retired from the position of Senior Director Interprofessional Practice and Learning, with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Mary Ellen’s career spanned 44 years holding positions in clinical practice, operational management, professional practice and learning. Mary Ellen has experience in strategic planning, policy development and implementation, change leadership, program development, implementation and evaluation. She has served on a number of professional and volunteer boards, such as the United Way, YMCA, and Canadian Nurses Protective Society, and her current role as the Chair for the Victoria Hall Society.
Pam is described by her colleagues as a “practical visionary”. She can see the big picture and know where to start. She is the Founder of Choosethical Ventures Inc., a consulting and facilitation services company that is based in Vancouver and Halifax. Since 1996 Pam has worked with over 250 businesses, not-for-profits, and all levels of government departments. She worked in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver for 20 years leading projects that include to anti-poverty, advancement of women, social enterprise, community development, housing, food security and safe injection sites. She has led complex strategic planning and organizational, community and business development based on a strong platform of ethics and innovation. Most recently her clients in NS include The Office of Aboriginal Affairs in Nova Scotia, the “Made in Nova Scotia” tri-partied treaty negotiations, The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre and The NS Department of Lands and Forestry,
In Halifax, Pam is known as “the CarShare Lady” co-founding the thriving CarShare Atlantic (now Communauto Atlantic) in the Atlantic Canadian marketplace. She is always open to the next idea that will add value to the world and quality to the lives of others.