Naïma Phillips joined COCo in April 2021 as the Funding and Partnerships Coordinator. Naïma brought to her role over 15 years of experience in the cultural and nonprofit sector -- as a Director of Partnerships, artistic director, writer, collaborator, and board president. Naïma joined COCo during a period of significant challenges, and within only a few months was playing an essential role in collective governance and long-term planning. Naïma is a strategic thinker and a master communicator, able to facilitate meaningful conversations and decision-making around complex issues. As Funding and Partnerships Coordinator, Naïma has maintained and deepened COCo’s existing partnerships, and brought in significant new funding. She has done so with an unwavering commitment to grounding COCo’s fundraising strategy in the principles of anti-oppression, and to centering staff safety and wellbeing.
As a researcher and facilitator, Emilia has been building bridges between the community development sector and academia for over six years. She has collaborated on youth-focused and youth-led research and community work in a variety of settings including public service organizations, local and international NGOs, and interdisciplinary partnerships. As a first-generation immigrant from Colombia, Emilia has a personal interest in working with and advocating for newcomer youth. She is passionate about connecting with young people, listening to their stories and co-creating projects that have the potential to transform our society.
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.
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.
Community organizer, facilitator and artist, in the past 20 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.
Mich (Michèle) Spieler
Mich Spieler has been at COCo since September 2018. In addition to their work as Community Technology Coordinator, Mich has managed COCo’s governance portfolio since October 2019, overseeing governance structures and acting as liaison between COCo’s staff and board. Building on their experience as an Executive Director of a Quebec community group prior to joining COCo, as Governance Coordinator Mich has brought a deep understanding of organizational administration and finances; an ability to communicate and problem-solve around complex organizational challenges with great clarity, transparency, and creativity; and a clear commitment to engaging in critical reflection, learning, and action to address oppression, both at the personal and organizational level.
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.
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.
Emily Yee Clare
Emily is a mixed-race settler (Chinese/white) based out of Montreal, the traditional and unceded territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka, They are passionate about their work as a consultant and facilitator and have close to 10 years of experience in anti-oppressive change management, human resources, conflict mediation & curriculum design.
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). 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.
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 (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 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.
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 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.
Philippe is a father to two young kids and lives in Sherbrooke, situated on the ancestral territories of the W8banaki Nation, le Ndakinna. He has worked in the community sector for over 10 years and holds a Masters in social innovation management. Formerly Finances coordinator at COCo, Philippe is interests include financial literacy and administration, from a perspective of knowledge sharing, empowerment and social justice.
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
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.
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.