COCo Staff

Greyscale portrait of Naïma calmly smiling into the camera.

Naïma Phillips

Naïma is a creative collaborator with 15 years of experience in the cultural and nonprofit sectors. She joined the community sector more recently driven by a passion for fostering meaningful dialogue and the wish to contribute to a healthier, more socially just society. As an interdisciplinary artist her works, which explore emergent ways to capture our shared human experience, have been presented in Canada, France, and the United States. She is President of the Board at Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal.

Kira Page

Kira 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

Parker 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-led media as a tool for social change, especially among marginalized populations, through workshops and community-building activities.

Veronica Vivanco

Veronica is an anthropologist passionate about learning, collective intelligence and co-creation. She has worked for several years in the nonprofit and international cooperation sectors. Facilitator of interconnections, she tries to put in practice all the experiential knowledge of the Art of Hosting and other collaborative practices that she believes will improve the collaborative capacity of individuals and groups. She recently has fallen into sound, movement & dance and is an aspiring apprentice DJ. At COCo she coordinates the project of ateliers/C thats seeks in creating a series of networking & learning events for community organizations.

Philippe Angers-Trottier

Philippe has been active in Montreal’s community sector for over 7 year, where he worked as a project manager and a counselor for both youth and families. He’s currently writing his masters thesis in social innovation management in which he studies life stories, moral and deviant careers as well as resilience. At COCo, in partnership with Centraide, he pilots the LabOA project which aims to redefine the concept of learning organization for non-profits.

Emil Briones

Emil is a researcher, musician, writer, and popular educator based in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal). Their practice is informed by their background in the performing arts, community care, anti-violence research, and institutional equity work. Emil currently works with COCo as a researcher-facilitator on matters concerning conflict and diversity.

Michèle Spieler

Michèle has been involved in feminist movements and organizations in Quebec and in Switzerland, such as the World March of Women and several feminist media projects. They bring a background of ICT trainer, webdevelopper and Executive Director of a Quebec community group to their current position as Community Technology Coordinator as well as a passion for the question how technology contributes to or can help eliminate oppression.

Madeleine Cohen

Madeleine Cohen works with COCo as the Human Resources Coordinator and as an organizational health consultant. Before joining the COCo team, she spent more than a decade working and organizing with local community organizations as an intervention worker and program coordinator. Madeleine’s focus has been on anti-poverty work and community building with groups such as Project Genesis, Head & Hands, and Queers for Qlimate Justice.

Griffin Payne

As a consultant and facilitator, Griffin helps to design and guide processes of intentional change and learning with organizations and communities. Weaving together a rich and varied background in the realms of mental health, education, and community arts, Griffin completed a Master’s degree in Human Systems Intervention at Concordia University in order to better understand how to accompany community organizations through the complexities of co-creating lasting organizational change. Griffin brings a mix of experiential learning, participatory action research, and arts-based methods to the work of helping purpose-driven organizations to become more resilient, responsive, and impactful in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.

Affiliate Facilitators

Juniper Belshaw

Juniper Belshaw is a facilitator and process consultant, specializing in leadership development, team effectiveness, and organizational design. With her background in social justice organizations, nonprofit management, and talent development at Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, Juniper has worked with acrobats, executives, emerging leaders, entrepreneurs, non-hierarchical teams, activists and non-profit organizations. She is drawn to working with values-driven teams working to leave this planet better than they found it.

With a masters in Human Systems Intervention and as co-founder of the Montreal chapter of “Reinventing Work,” Juniper is obsessed with creating thriving, human workplaces. As a facilitator, Juniper sees her role as helping people connect to themselves, each other, and the solutions that lie within.

Sophie Le-Phat Ho

Sophie is a cultural organizer who grew up in Tiohtià:ke / Montreal and its suburbs. For more than 15 years, her work has been about experimenting with tactics for fostering intersectional solidarities through anti-racist feminist organizing, publishing, and curating, especially in the artist-run world. With a multidisciplinary background managing various projects in the grassroots, community, non-profit, academic, public as well as private sectors, she tends to think about social change through an organizational and interpersonal lens. As the cofounder of the transdisciplinary collective Artivistic, and in all of her different roles, she aims to facilitate the emergence of a critical and creative culture rooted in social justice.

Miatta Gorvie

Miatta Gorvie (B.C.L./LL.B) is a legal professional, educator and mediator. Her goal is to help people and communities recognize the extent of their collective power to resolve everyday conflicts and fight for structural change. Miatta was born and raised in the Afro-Caribbean communities of Winnipeg and has since lived and worked in urban, rural, and remote communities across Turtle Island and overseas. She has wide-ranging experience in community legal clinics, legal advocacy, class actions, federal government policy, field research, and as a public legal educator in K-12 and university classes. A writer and comedian, Miatta is committed to emphasizing beauty, humour, and truth in her social justice work.

Rehana Tejpar Smiling.

Rehana Tejpar

Rehana Tejpar is a facilitator who loves to co-create the conditions for creativity and collaboration to
be harnessed. She is passionate about organizational alignment, participatory leadership and
incorporating embodied, arts-based process into her work. She currently facilitates Righting Relations: Adult Education for Social Change, a national network rooted in building bridges of solidarity between
Indigenous, immigrant and settler communities on Turtle Island.

Frances Ravensbergen

Frances ( 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. 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.

Alex Megelas

Alex 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.

Johanna Tzountzourishas

Johanna been working in social media marketing since 2013, specializing in marketing strategy, content creation and curation, and community management. She has a keen interest in the non-profit sector and has worked with organizations such as the Trans Canada Trail and the Montreal Gospel Choir as well as many small businesses and start-ups. With over 20 years of experience in teaching and facilitation, Johanna is thrilled to be able to share her expertise with those who need it.

Nadia Chaney

Nadia Chaney

Nadia Chaney is a first generation Indian settler living in Tio’Tia:ke (Montreal). She is an arts-based facilitator, trainer, mediator and interaction/experience design consultant. She completed a Master’s degree at Simon Fraser University with a concentration in Imaginative Education (2010) and then an advanced diploma in art therapy for groups at the European Graduate School (2019), as well as a diploma in Dialogue and Negotiation from Simon Fraser (2007). She served for ten years as Senior International Trainer and Director of Training at Partners for Youth Empowerment, an organization dedicated to providing capacity-building creative facilitation training for frontline youth workers. With PYE, Nadia has trained facilitation teams in many countries including Egypt, Jamaica, UK, South Africa and India. Since 2002 she has facilitated well over two thousand events. Her most recent creative works include an interdisciplinary (dance-animation-live poetry) show Indivisible for Festival Accès Asie (2018), and a mixed-genre (poetry-sci fi-essay) chapbook Reading Practice for Rust and Holograms with House House Press (2019), which recently won an award for best literary publication with Expozine.

Kevin Paul

An ICT trainer with over seven years of experience, Kevin is passionate about using his skills in community-based technology, web development and web design to support the work of social justice-minded organizations. Kevin takes a hands-on and skill-sharing approach to technology training and tool development and has worked with a wide range of community and social movement-centered organizations in Quebec. In addition to developing websites and leading web content management trainings, Kevin has skill-shared around social media, cloud computing, and digital security.

Pascale Brunet

Community organizer, facilitator and artist, in the past 15 years, Pascale Brunet have been involved in the community sector and social movements in Quebec. She works on projects about collective care, anti-oppression and social Justice. The thread in her work : weaving the social fabric that keeps us together while holding space for difficult conversations.

Janie Janvier

Janie has more than 10 years of experience in the community sector where she has served in diverse roles including project evaluation and management, training development and facilitation, documentation and communication of results, and collective mobilization around collaborative projects.

A UQAM graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications with a specialization in Television, Janie relates first and foremost to our common humanity. Janie believes that the perspective of every person is essential, as it is their experiences that often illuminate the path towards solutions. Tempered by her experience working for citizen participation organizations and a Montreal neighbourhood roundtable, she is passionate about governance, transforming the practices of organizations going through change, and working together to explore different collaborative postures with confidence.

COCo Board

Ariel Harlap (currently on leave) 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.

Başak Büyükçelen is a storyteller, film enthusiast, photographer, tech manager, extrovert, and immigrant living in Montreal. She is currently a Product Manager at Rebus Foundation, helping to build a new publishing ecosystem based on open principles. She also is the founder and executive director of Supper Society, which helps newcomers better integrate into Canadian society and become engaged citizens by connecting them with established residents. She is passionate about giving back to the community.

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.

Flore Million studied in Sociology and works since ten years in citizen mobilization. As facilitator of change process, her experience has been built through involvement in social movements, supporting citizen groups in the community sector and working for international organizations. She is currently developing projects increasing the social participation of youth and the representation of women in decision-making structures. Flore likes to build caring spaces of exchanges and co-creation that encourage individual and collective empowerment.

Julia was born and raised in the Québec City area but has been living in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) for over ten years. After studying international development and community economic development, she worked in the community sector on a range of issues, including intellectual disability and food security. Her passion for social justice and Indigenous rights led her to work as a Health Coordinator at Québec Native Women, then as Coordinator for Youth Fusion in the Innu community of Ekuanitshit. Julia is now continuing her work at Youth Fusion as Project Manager for Inuit communities. She loves to cook, be surrounded by nature, and sing at karaoke.

Patrick Yanga was born in France. He studied Geography and Urban Studies in São Paulo, Brazil, specifically on the accessibility of transports for the poor. In France, he was involved in a sports association to help disadvantaged young people. He came out to Canada a few years ago, and worked for C.L.I.C.S. Laval (Centre Lavallois pour l’intégration et la cohésion sociale) to help with the integration of Syrian refugees and other immigrants. His specialization is project management, specifically in partnership, finance, communication, development and social innovation. He’s also a member of the LTQHM (Table de Quartier de Hochelaga Maisonneuve)

Richenda Grazette has worked in fundraising at À Deux Mains/Head & Hands for the last three years while studying Women’s Studies and Ethnic & Race Studies at McGill. Her passions include anti-racism work, Rihanna, and collage.

Samuel Raymond is currently a community organizer in a community housing organization for independent seniors. Since 2012, he has been particularly involved in university student unionism, unionism in the health sector during the strike against austerity of 2015, in a support organization for newcomers, in the organization of the World Social Forum 2016 in Montreal, in various artistic projects and in the creation of a forum on the ecological transition in the summer of 2018. His academic experiences are nourished by various disciplines: law, anthropology, music, management and social animation. He is currently studying at the DESS in Community Economic Development at Concordia. His passions are music, social animation and history.

Sara Kendall is an educator and facilitator, currently teaching urban geography and climate justice at Dawson College. She was a co-founder and co-director of Kite’s Nest, a center for liberatory education for youth in Hudson, New York, where she continues to work as Communications Director. She has an interdisciplinary MA from Concordia. Sara has been part of community organizing efforts against gentrification, for migrant justice, and for racial justice in the education and child welfare systems. She’s especially passionate about multigenerational movement-building, and likes making (and then letting go of) meeting agendas.