COCo Staff

Greyscale portrait of Naïma calmly smiling into the camera.

Naïma Phillips

naimap@coco-net.org

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

kirap@coco-net.org

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

parkerm@coco-net.org

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

veronicav@coco-net.org

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

philippeat@coco-net.org

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

Emilb@coco-net.org

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

Micheles@coco-net.org

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

madeleinec@coco-net.org

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

juniperb@coco-net.org

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 (francesr@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. 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. www.nadiachaney.com

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

Gabrielle Spenard-Bernier is a biologist who studied environmental health and worked, for more than 6 years, in communications and project management at provincial and pancanadian organizations dedicated to food systems and the environment. Following her studies in community economic development, she discovered a passion for organizational development, which she has been integrating to her diverse implications. Through her continuous efforts in creating organizational health and healthy governance processes, she is dedicated to building more just and resilient organizations. Based in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), she currently coordinates a decentralized movement for climate action called Mothers Step In and is inspired by the growing citizen engagement. Her curiosity and creativity can also be revealed in the kitchen, her garden and in nature.

Jessica Wurster grew up in Southern California in Tongva territory and has been living in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) for over twenty years. She has been involved in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the city for almost as long. She has experience in organizational development in very large and very small organizations and is passionate about thinking through the complexities of how we get things done in an equitable and solution-oriented way. Mostly recently, she was a member of the board at Project 10 where she got to know COCo’s work. When she’s not volunteering her time in the community sector, she works with university students to create inclusive career development programming.

Medjine Antoine-Bellamy has many years of experience in administration and management in private, non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. Passionate about project management, Medjine has participated in the coordination of several projects within non-profit organizations in Montreal, and has also worked on projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Outside of work, Medjine is involved in various organizations in the Haitian community in the hopes of promoting Afro and Haitian cultures.

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.

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.

Afreina Noor has fifteen years of diversified work experience across the non-profit, corporate, and electronic news sectors across Asia, Africa, and North America. In 2006 she co-founded the largest running network of non-profits in Pakistan with a nationwide presence of 30 member organizations. In 2012 she worked as an International Volunteer with vulnerable and orphan children in Botswana. In 2015 she was part of a core team handpicked to steer a thriving company to embrace digital change and create new digital verticals. In 2020 she helped a small start-up climb the value ladder and gear up for exponential growth.
Currently Afreina hosts an online talk show “Conversations with Women Immigrants in Montreal” and is working as the Communications Officer at the Quebec Writers’ Federation. Occasionally she blogs for Vent Over Tea. Afreina is a Fulbright scholar and holds a Master of Public Administration from UPenn. She lives in downtown Montreal with her husband and cat.

Born and raised in Montréal, to Trinidadian and Jamaican parents, Ushana Houston has been Director at O3 since October 2018.