Sabrina Mc Fadden (sabrinam at coco-net.org) Sabrina has been working, collaborating and volunteering with various big or small community organizations for 10 years. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Administration with a Major in Art History/FineArts and a Minor in Human Resources in 2001 at Concordia. Between 2005 and 2007, she joined the cohort of the Human System Intervention (HSI) Master’s program at Concordia. Sabrina brings a wealth of experience in process consultation, facilitation and movement building and is COCo’s Coordinator with a focus on human resources and finances et the moment. Sabrina cultivates passions for the arts, music, biking, and social gatherings. She looks forward to building new partnerships with a variety of community organizations throughout la Belle Province or pick-up the phone to help with any questions or concerns YOU might have…!
Kira Page (kirap at coco-net.org) has been has been active in Montreal social movements for the last 8 years, with organizations such as QPIRG-McGill, the Immigrant Worker’s Centre, and the Fonds Indépendent d’Action de Solidarité (FIAS). As COCo’s Communications and Membership Engagement Coordinator, she brings a background in communications and outreach for non-profits and grassroots collectives, as well as a focus on anti-oppression practices and consensus decision-making. Outside of work, she’s most passionate about building transformative justice approaches to gendered violence.
Parker Mah (parkerm at coco-net.org) is a bilingual trainer with more than 10 years of experience working in the community sector. Versed in multimedia techniques, he has lent his skills to community development and rights advocacy organizations from Bangladesh to Senegal. His patient, hands-on approach makes him an expert at breaking down complex tech and multimedia concepts. Parker has led learning sessions on social media, citizen journalism, digital storytelling, and various cloud computing tools and platforms. He works to promote participative and citizen media as a tool for social change, especially among marginalized and immigrant populations, through workshops and community-building activities.
Frances Ravensbergen (francesr at coco-net.org) Frances has been active in the community sector for over 35 years. She was one of COCo’s founding members and now focuses her COCo work mostly with groups interested in organizational change, planning and evaluation. Frances teaches at Concordia University and works with First Nations communities and pan-Canadian organizations. She is passionate about community-driven research. Her undergraduate degree is from Concordia University in Applied Social Sciences. She has a Masters Degree from St Francis Xavier University in Adult Education. Her PhD, from Concordia, explored the role of local community groups in broader social justice work. Frances is active in environmental issues (particularly those close to her family farm in the Chateauguay Valley), women’s issues and peace work. To find balance in life she snowboards in the winter and goes wilderness kayak camping in the summer.
Spencer Mann (spencerm at coco-net.org) Spencer has worked and volunteered in community organizing and co-op development for over 11 years. His experience has ranged from community food security with the MUCS Project, to co-operative education and training through NASCO, to integrated design and green building as a member of the Sustainability Solutions Group. At COCo Spencer focuses on collaborative and cooperative organizing models and frequently facilitates trainings on collective decision making, project management, and grassroots organizing strategies. Spencer was born and raised in a solar-powered home on the coast of Maine and moved to Montreal for environmental studies at McGill and for the opportunity to get involved in urban social movements. Spencer loves cooking in community kitchens and cultivates a secret passion for playwriting, sea kayaking, and extreme sledding.
Sarah Blumel – A former member of the COCo staff team, Sarah has designed and facilitated made-to-measure workshops on conflict resolution, healthy communication, non-profit governance, and grassroots fundraising. She has a background in social work, and conflict mediation training from St. Stephen’s Community House in Toronto and Carleton University in Ottawa. Her training and over 12 years of experience in social justice organizing in Canada has taught her the value of embracing conflict as an unavoidable part of social change. She works as a mediator, facilitator, and conflict coach in French and English.
Kit Malo has been involved in the Quebec nonprofit sector for 18+ years, and has been a practicing process consultant for the past 6. She uses creative methods to help organizations lean into risk and change, supporting their growth toward resilient responsiveness. She is particularly committed to Open Data strategies for Nonprofits, using creativity to explore wicked problems, design thinking and deep equity in the workplace.
Alex Megelas is a Montreal-based educator and community organizer with twenty years of project management experience in grassroots organizations and in academia. He is currently the Programs and Communications Coordinator at the Office of Community Engagement at Concordia University where he is responsible for the University of the Streets Café popular education program. He holds an MA in Educational Studies (Concordia University) and is certified in conflict mediation and as a personal and professional coach. As a facilitator, Alex can intervene in a number of areas including: fundraising and development training, board training, group and individual coaching, and conflict mediation.
Juniper Belshaw has ten years experience working in Montreal nonprofit organizations in funding development, volunteer coordination, human resources and communications. A student of Human Systems Intervention, Juniper is passionate about supporting people and organizations as they adapt to change. In her role at the Centre for Community Organizations, Juniper is passionate about strengthening community organizations to support social and environmental justice, and facilitates on topics such as funding development, governance, leadership, conflict prevention, and communication. As a facilitator, Juniper aims to craft meaningful learning experiences that foster connection, purpose, and fun!
More Board Member bios coming soon!
Ariel Harlap has contributed to and co-organized various citizen-led movements in Montreal, notably 100in1day (promoting active citizenship) and Transformation Zone (gameified local urbanism), and continues to participate in the evolution of MuseomixMTL (prototyping participatory museums), and Techno-Culture Club (uniting diverse communities to spark emergent techno-culture projects). With over 5 years of professional experience in project management and organizational strategy, and another 4 years in geosciences and research, he presently provides organizational counselling on design-thinking and organizational strategy. Ariel is driven to co-create more resilient, connected and equitable communities and organizations in Montreal.
Remy Attig has a diverse background working and volunteering in five different languages. He currently focuses on the environmental sector, including his position as the Operations Manager for Quebec and Atlantic Canada at the David Suzuki Foundation. He is also passionate about social justice within the LGBTQ+ and ASL Deaf communities. Remy empowers programmatic work by improving the operations and systems that ensure their success; in particular he likes the spheres of finance, fundraising and governance. In his spare time Remy crafts (inc. sewing, knitting, and other), bikes, pickles, and enjoys communing with nature.
Since 2011, Anurag Dhir has been the Community Engagement Coordinator at McGill University’s Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office. He helps local community organizations develop mutually-beneficial experiential learning projects and collaborations that address community needs while impacting teaching and learning at McGill, inside and outside the classroom. Previously he worked in Communications and Community Relations for McGill’s Dean of Students Office. Before the McGill chapter of his life he worked in publishing, journalism, filmmaking, and in various capacities in the community sector.
Alexandra Cirgenski recently received her MBA from McGill University and is passionate about working with start-ups and enterprises that deliver social or environmental benefits to communities. Prior to moving to Montreal, Alexandra ran the Brooklyn chapter of an all female arm wrestling troupe Five Borough Ladies Arm Wrestling (5blaw.com) that uses neo-philanthropy to raise money for local organizations providing support for marginalized individuals in society. While pursuing her MBA, Alexandra co-founded a non-profit called Projet Bleuet (projetbleuet.ca), which works with Montreal based educators and individuals who are interacting with youth in auxiliary settings and are seeking the proper tools to deal with challenging behaviour. With a background in design, art and architecture, Alexandra is also involved in various maker-space projects that reflect the inter-disciplinary collaborative nature of Montreal’s social economy. She is currently freelance consulting, helping to launch a mobile community acupuncture clinic and spends the remainder of her time in her ceramics studio covered in clay.
Diana Lombardi is a long-time feminist activist who has been working in the Montréal community sector for close to 15 years, mainly with women’s groups. She is currently the coordinator for a “regroupement” of women’s groups in Montréal, le Réseau d’action des femmes en santé et services sociaux and works freelance supporting community organisations. Having worked with local, provincial-wide and regionally based groups, she has accumulated several varying experiences. It is no secret that she has always been drawn to social justice work and activism (even when she was an annoying little kid). The truth is, she considers herself terribly fortunate to do this work and to live in a city where social movements are not only welcomed, but are an integral part of such a vibrant community. She takes pride in hiding her guilty pleasure of sitting through meetings, observing and analysing the dynamics and democracy-style at play. On a typical day, you would find her enjoying the sun, laughing with her family and wasting time on social media… that is, when she is not running from one meeting to the next, beating deadlines or at a well-deserved 5 à 7.
Myriam Zaidi is an activist working as a communications coordinator at a national feminist organization. She has been involved in social justice work in Montreal for over 10 years. She considers herself to be an organizer more than anything-from social movements to the workplace, she is always looking for ways to make spaces (big or small) less oppressive and more liberating. She is also a researcher in the field of social movement learning, feminist anti-racist pedagogies, and adult education; she is completing an MA in Educational Studies at Concordia University. She brings her experience in policy-writing, communications, partnership building, community relations, popular education, and organizational change to COCo. Myriam is even more excited about what COCo brings to her- the amazing opportunity to work towards a stronger community sector and to collaborate with a smart, committed and SUPER FUN team!