Inclusion in our Community
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Together for Change Podcast Series
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2021 Black History Month Spotlight
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Member Services Manager | Diversity & Inclusion Officer HFX Wanderers
Marvin and his mom, dad, and three sisters moved to Canada in 1996 as refugees fleeing from Kenya, landing originally in Fredericton, New Brunswick before settling in Nova Scotia in search of career opportunities in 2001.
Marvin excelled in soccer from a young age, and once his family settled in Nova Scotia he was given the opportunity to join the provincial soccer program at the under 13 age level. He continued through the provincial program in the under 14, 15, and 16 age groups before representing Nova Scotia in the 2005 Canada Summer Games team for men’s soccer. He had the privilege of being coached by Stephen Hart during his time with the Canada Games team. Marvin made many lasting friendships and connections through sport that would later become an asset in his work.
In 2018 Marvin was approached by his former teammate and friend Jamie Mcginnis to be the first ever brand ambassador for the HFX Wanderers. He was soon after hired to be the first ever Ticket Sales Manager for the club in a permanent full time role.
In June 2020 following the untimely death of George Floydd, Marvin was promoted to be the club’s first ever Diversity and Inclusion Officer. He has since been an advocate for anti-racism and diversity and inclusion for the club, holding a number of virtual calls to educate fans, staff, partners and members of the community as part of a “Together For Change” series. Marvin worked with the players and CPL to organize a BLM campaign that lasted the duration of the 2020 Island Games. Marvin is the founding member of the Wanderers Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which works collaboratively to break down barriers and strengthen a culture of diversity and inclusion by working together for change.
Team Physiotherapist | HFX Wanderers FC
Danielle has worked with the HFX Wanderers as their lead physiotherapist since the teams first season in 2019. She also works at Lifemark Sport Medicine at the Canada Games Centre. A physiotherapist for over 10 years, Danielle has had the opportunity to work with male and female elite athletes and teams. Danielle takes pride in working with the Wanderers as an organization that focuses not only on winning, but on the team’s ability to have a positive impact on the community as a whole.
Indigenous Community and Cultural Liaison Coordinator | Nova Scotia Community College
I am from Sitansisk (St Mary’s First Nation) in New Brunswick and I am Wolastoqiyik, which means people of the beautiful river. I was a former student athlete at Saint Mary’s University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history which was focused on Indigenous history. With a combination of personal experiences along with my studies has instilled a dedication for indigenous wellness, advocacy, and preservation. Early in my professional career at the University of New Brunswick Mi’Kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre I was able to gain experience that reinforced my passion for traditional healing methods, ideologies, and preservation of culture and language as Wolastoqey language application developer and as a Traditional Wellness Project Researcher.
As a coordinator for the 2020 North American Indigenous Games, I sat on both medical and cultural committees to ensure that culturally appropriate practices are present across all aspects of the Games. All my energy for the games focused to ensure that all involved were able to compete in a safe and accepting environment and have access to mental, physical, and spiritual treatment.
Due to the postponement of the NAIG games transitioned to the Youth Recreation Section of Halifax Regional Municipality’s Parks and Recreation department as the Indigenous Youth Outreach Coordinator. In this position I have developed first nation youth and community engagement plans, cultural training for staff, and guidelines for programming for first nation youth. I am also a member of the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health Champions of Partnerships Working Group. Our role is to identify partnerships at the local, provincial, and national level to improve and promote athletics and recreation in first nation communities. Presently I am the Indigenous Community and Cultural Liaison Coordinator for Nova Scotia Community College. In my role I provide support for indigenous students and work with college officials and external organizations to ensure that students succeed and can contribute to our communities. I joined this committee because sports have played a crucial part of my life and everyone has the right to participate and enjoy any sport.
Founder 40 Cups of Coffee | Principal Consultant Blue Door Group
Jennifer is an experienced senior leader, organizational strategist, and training and development expert, with a proven record in change management, operations, coaching, and talent management. Jennifer is a champion for life-long learning, and proficient in guiding strategy and policy development across sectors.
A 7x Founder, and expert in adult learning, Jennifer’s unique combination of business development, entrepreneurship, and teaching and learning experiences help her clients implement meaningful, lasting growth strategies. Jennifer is a connector who is passionate about the social and economic development of Atlantic Canada through bridging the skills gap, creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and creating dynamic, innovative Learning Organizations.
As a life-long learner it is a central part of Jennifer’s personal core values to advocate for small business, marginalized communities, and youth. She currently volunteers with small businesses focused on social justice and her work on learning to embrace growth through learning from failure has positioned her to be a leader in her community in entrepreneurship, and organizational excellence.
A presenter at Wonder Women and Mount St. Vincent University’s Tourism and Business Summit, a mentor at NSCC’s Challenge NS, and a Master Class Instructor at the Starting Point Student Conference at Saint Mary’s University, Jennifer is a current member of the board of Easter Seals Nova Scotia, and both Task Forces of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, in addition to joining the mentors for the Study & Stay Program through EduNova. Jennifer serves on the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Provincial Advisory Board.
Creating meaningful connections is at the core of Jennifer’s personal brand which she has leveraged to create the 40 Cups of Coffee community; a network of professional that has now spanned North America through online engagements.
Senior Human Rights Office | Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
Greg Gillis is the Senior Human Rights Officer with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Greg supervises the intake portion of the Commission’s complaint process, which assesses individual inquiries for possible jurisdiction. He reviews and assigns all accepted complaints for investigation into possible violations of the Human Rights Act. He has been employed with the Province of Nova Scotia since 2014 with previous experience in the Department of Community Services.
Greg is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a degree in Criminology and is currently completing the Master of Public Administration program through the University of Victoria. He grew up playing soccer, including being a member of the 2001 New Brunswick Canada Games team and playing for the University of New Brunswick. He is a season ticket holder for the Wanderers and enjoys attending games and events with the hopes of sharing his passion for the sport with his wife and two children.
Through the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Greg hopes to add value through his work experience in human rights and aligning this with his enthusiasm for soccer. He brings experience through policy development, collaborative approaches, and an understanding of how diversity and inclusion improves society overall, including the positive experience that the Wanderers bring to Halifax.
Dennis holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Dalhousie University and a certificate in on-profit management. He has over 30 years experience working with youth in Nova Scotia, including 14 years with the Halifax Regional School Board and 17 years with Love.
He is the recipient of a YMCA Peace Medallion Award, as well as the Ronald Stratford Memorial Award Winner for outstanding contributions in social work in the province of Nova Scotia. Dennis became the Executive Director of Love Nova Scotia in August 2020, taking over from longtime leader Sarah Maclaren.
Dennis joined the Wanderers Diversity & Inclusion committee so that he can use his experience to continue making a difference in the community.
Megan Neaves is the first President of the Nova Scotia Association of Teachers for Equity in Education with the Halifax Regional Centre for Education. Megan is the CEO of Impowered Community Engagement & Consulting, an organization that aims to empower people to break the cycles of systemic racism. Megan is a jr. high school teacher with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education. She is also an instructor of the Advocacy and Social Justice course for the second year Social Work Program at NSCC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in History and as well as a Bachelor of Education. Megan completed her Masters of Education in Supporting Diverse learners with Needs and Exceptionalities in July of 2019.
In 2018 Megan developed a unit called “Empowering Changes” that aims to teach students how to recognize White privilege and how to use their privilege to create change. An experiential learning component of this unit was to bring leaders from the racialized communities into the school to share with students about their experiences with racism.
Megan is involved in the Halifax community and actively engaged in initiatives, events, and discussions pertaining to anti-racism, poverty, and solutions for marginalized communities. She has compiled an array of research in regard to educating people about White privilege as her chosen Master’s project. Megan plans to further her education as well as this work and complete a Ph.D. with a focus on examining the literacy levels of inmates and the school to prison pipeline.
Missy Searl has an NF-Blue personality, she is a Connector and has the personality style that tends to be social, friendly and approachable. By day, you can find her guiding families through the Halifax Regional Centre for Education system as a Parent Navigator, as her style says, she feels uplifted when she is able to contribute and support others. By night she is busy working as a Virtual Consultant helping solopreneurs grow their personal brand and as a Project Lead with a variety of organizations. She has a varied work history, from working in child care centres, family resource centres, the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development, workplace education and the travel industry; Missy has seen and pretty much done it all.
A former Army brat and Navy spouse, mom of two and grandmother of two; Missy is always sitting on committees or boards in her communities to make the world a better place for those she cares about.
Missy says her communities are where she lives, her ethnicity, her gender and her military lifestyle. Being a voice for those who cannot be heard, or trying to find a solution to questions that still have not been answered has always been her goal, and according to the Connector Internal Compass “what she is meant to do with her life. You would have found her serving on her local community sports committees, the South Eastern Community Health Board, to the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre board of directors, to Ocean View Continuing Care Centre Fundraising committee, and currently she sits on the DBDLI Board of Directors and most recently took a seat on the Loan Review Committee with the national organization Rise.
And that is just the Coles Notes of where you would have found Missy over the past 30 years.
DeRico Symonds is born and raised in Halifax Nova Scotia. He grew up in the public housing community known as “The Pubs”.
DeRico continues to tirelessly advocate for communities in Halifax and he is a part of many National conversations on issues including but not limited to: Poverty, Unemployment, Affordable Housing, Marginalization and Community Violence. He is a founding member of several non-profit organizations in Halifax. DeRico Symonds holds an undergraduate degree in Child & Youth Study (2012) and completed a MEd in Counselling through Acadia University (2018). DeRico also has his Canadian Counselling Certification through the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association of Canada.
He works to inspire the youth and the generations coming behind him. He believes in collective impact and is persistent on bettering our world.
“If we all do a little, nobody has to do a lot alone” – DeRico Symonds
“Carry the baton as far as you can for the next generation to pick it up and run with it” – DeRico Symonds
For more information in real time visit www.dericosymonds.ca or for real time on all social media platforms @dericosymonds