Emerging Leaders Mentors

Ryan Legault-McGillStacia KeanBarb Besner
Maggie Gilbert-BehnChristopher MitchelmoreKerri Herrfort


Mentor to Interns within the Environment Theme Group
Ryan Legault-McGill
I live in Ottawa, and work for Environment Canada. I started at Environment Canada 1 year ago after I completed a MA in Public Administration. My two foci academically, which have infused in my professional experience, are international relations/development and environmental policy. I’ve been with Emerging Leaders for 1 year. EL lets me explore non-environmental issues and contribute to the sustainability and resiliency of my community. I hope to learn more about CED from each of you, and do my best to coordinate EL’s activities.

Mentor to Interns within the Food Security Theme Group
Stacia Kean
With a background in social work (BSW) and business (MBA in CED), Stacia is involved in CED activities that promote women’s full participation in our communities. As co-chair of CCEDNet’s Emerging Leaders committee, Stacia works with other youth to make the Canadian CED Network a place for youth to engage as informed members of the movement. Stacia is also a board member for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM Canada). Stacia’s time and passion is largely dedicated to her work with the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise – a women-centered CED organization in Thunder Bay that helps women create their own financial security through small business. In her work at PARO, Stacia acts as project coordinator for Accelerated Access, a social enterprise that consults with non-profit groups from across the country to initiate and sustain their own CED projects. When she needs to re-charge and get some perspective, she loves getting out into the wilds of Nortwestern Ontario in any way she can, though more often than not can be found playing chess at the pub instead.


Mentor to Interns within the Rural, Remote and Northern Regions Theme Group
Barb Besner
My educational background includes a BA (Hons) from the University of Winnipeg in Psychology, as well as a certificate in vocal performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston. I have worked and volunteered for many years at various non-profits, and am currently working at the Institute of Urban Studies in Winnipeg. I am also just finishing up a Masters in City Planning from the University of Manitoba, and my research interests are focused on the role of community-based arts in neighbourhood revitalization.

I am a volunteer board member of the Osborne Village Cultural Centre, and teach voice lessons to children and adults. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone on the EL Committee and learning as much as I can about CED.

Mentor to Interns within the Co-ops and Social Enterprises Theme Group
Maggie Gilbert-Behn
Maggie graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia in 2007 with a degree in International Studies before moving to Chetwynd (in Northeast BC) with her husband and two dogs. It is in Chetwynd, where she was the Editor of the local newspaper, that Maggie first became engaged with CCEDNET through the Youth In Charge program. She joined the Emerging Leaders Committee in January 2009 after moving south. Maggie currently lives in Victoria working for Dogwood Initiative, a local environmental non-profit, and enjoys hanging out with friends, family and her dogs in a much milder climate.

Mentor to Interns within the Poverty Reduction & Resilient Communities Theme Group
Christopher Mitchelmore
Christopher resides in a community consisting of 162 people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. He graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelors of Commerce Honours (Coop) degree. His university experiences enabled him to study and work abroad, both in the UK and the Czech Republic. He is currently employed as a Client Services Officer with Nortip Community Business Development Corporation with an aim to “Build Stronger Communities” by creating and maintaining employment through business investment, skill enhancements and community economic development. He volunteers with Nordic Economic Development Corporation, Red Ochre Youth Council, Junior Achievement NL, Straits-St. Barbe Chronic Care Corporation and Futures in Newfoundland & Labrador Youth! (FINALY!). Christopher loves to travel; indulging in new cultural experiences, cuisine, languages, art, history and life experiences. He writes about rural experiences through his blog found at www.liveruralnl.com.

Mentor to Interns within the Regional CED Events Theme Group
Kerri Herrfort
Based in Goderich, Ontario, I am the Downtown Revitalization Coordinator for the County of Huron (population 60,000, land area 3396 km2). My title does not accurately depict what I do. I have the pleasure of working with local stakeholders, organizations and government on community based economic development – everything from establishing farmers’ markets to heritage preservation initiatives to sustainability action planning…

I am currently working towards my Economic Development Designation (Ec.D) from the University of Waterloo/Economic Development Association of Canada.

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