EL Members 2011

Andrew Okaja | Arjun Langford | Barb Besner
Ben Chung |  Brittany Tibbo  | Chisonga Muchima| Christopher Mitchelmore  Clayton T. Drake | Maggie Gilbert-Behn |  Marianne Jurzyniec | Ryan Legault-McGill Sandra Badcock| Stacia Kean  |  Tanya Gracie

 Andrew Okaja

 Arjun Langford – is currently a candidate in the masters in public policy at Simon Fraser University and is a graduate of the Public Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton University. His interest in community economic development was sparked as a research assistant with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3CI), under the guidance Dr. Tessa Hebb. Over several years he has had the opportunity to work on several CED-related topics such as the role of the Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) in fostering community development in Peterborough, Ontario; a comparison of microfinancial mechanisms in rural and urban areas of Ontario; a study of Social Purpose Enterprises in the Greater Toronto Area and most recently a major research project on the potential implementation of the Social Impact Bond in Canada.

Aside from work and research experience, Arjun has been active member in student politics. As an undergraduate and varsity soccer player he Chaired the Varsity Athletic Council and as a masters student is the Chair of the Masters of Public Policy Caucus. In both roles he has enjoyed working with and for fellow students, inititating and participating in a variety of charitable endeavors. He is now a proud member of the CCEDnet’s Emerging Leaders committee and looks forward to sharing and learning from a diverse group of young people.

Barb Besner – Barb grew up in Winnipeg, and studied psychology at the University of Winnipeg and music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She completed her Master’s in City Planning at the University of Manitoba, where her research interests were focused on the role of community-based arts in neighbourhood revitalization. She has worked and volunteered for many years at various non-profits, including the Institute of Urban Studies and the Manitoba Arts Network in Winnipeg. She has recently moved to Toronto where she is hoping to become more involved in CED initiatives in Ontario. In addition to volunteering with CCEDNET, Barb is a member of the board for Festival Alexandria, a music festival in Alexandria, ON, and teaches voice lessons to children and adults.

Ben Ngo-Ming Chung was born in Hong Kong, China and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan.  While completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Regina with a focus on Middle Years Education with a Social Justice lens, Ben was also actively involved in NGOs such as Oxfam Canada and student advocacy in his work with the Education Students’ Society at the UofR.  Ben’s interest and passion for community development initiatives stems from his involvement with the Saskatchewan Cooperative Youth Program for seven years as a participant, staff, and Program Assistant.  His experiences working with the Saskatchewan Cooperative Association have provided Ben with insight on how important community engagement and cooperative initiatives are in ensuring sustainable development in Canada and abroad.  In 2007, Ben taught Grade 6 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and in 2008 he volunteered for a six month international education program with Canada World Youth that took him to Honduras for 3 months and Brechin, Ontario for 3 months.  In the 2 years since then, Ben has been employed as a Project Supervisor with Canada World Youth working bilaterally in Nicaragua and Saskatchewan supervising a group of youth volunteers engaged in community development projects.  Ben is excited about his role within the Emerging Leaders Committee and looking forward to contributing to this dynamic group!

 Brittany Tibbo – Brittany is a third year student at Memorial University studying Biochemistry and Business. She grew up in the beautiful community of Holyrood, Newfoundland and Labrador where she diligently works to better the community by being involved in the Community Economic Development group as well as the Special Events and Festivals committee. As the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Coordinator for Equal Voice, Brittany hopes to engage more young women in politics. Brittany has thoroughly enjoyed being a member of Emerging leaders
and feels she has learned a great deal about community economic development. She is excited to continue working with the Emerging Leaders group and hopes that she is able use the knowledge she has acquired to create fresh, new opportunities for young people living in Newfoundland and Labrador.

CHISONGA MUCHIMA :  My nationality is Zambian, but spent more time outside Zambia. Mostly in South Africa where I did my high school and now I am in Canada pursing my Commerce and Economics degrees at the University of Manitoba.  My interest in community development stems from my involvement in the various different communities I have resided in.  From helping the aged to fostering the young into building stronger and better communities; I plan to continue the work that not only enables me to help others but is of great value to me.

Christopher Mitchelmore (co-Chair) – 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.   

Clayton Drake – I live in Sudbury, Ontario. I am currently a CCEDNet CreateAction intern working with Myths and Mirrors Community Arts (http://mythsandmirrors.wordpress.com/), where I am working on a feasibility study to develop a fundraising strategy and assess our readiness to start a social enterprise. I’m also doing media and public relations, event planning, and website design and maintenance for Myths. I currently volunteer with the Eat Local Food Co-op (http://eatlocalsudbury.com/) where I assist them with computer tasks, I sit on the board for the Northern Lights Festival Boreal (Canada’s longest running folk music festival), I sit on the steering committee for River and Sky Camping & Music Festival (http://www.riverandsky.ca/), and as of Friday, I am the president of the Greater Sudbury Music Scene Committee, which I helped start to increase our music community’s economic and social capacity.

My interests include snowboarding, hockey and golf. I am also a musician and I have been on tour across the country 4 times now. My current bands are the Birthday Cakes (myspace.com/birthdaycakesthe) and Meadowlark Five (myspace.com/meadowlarkfive).

Maggie Gilbert-Behn – 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.

Marianne Jurzyniec – Marianne is currently finishing her Justice degree at the University of Regina while working for Affinity Credit Union. Through these two endeavors she has found a passion for co-operatives and her community. Marianne is planning to complete an MBA in Community Economic Development to further build her career in this area. Through spending time in both rural communities and larger cities and seeing the differences of how co-operatives function, her interest in uniting these two diverse aspects was sparked. She has loved her time growing up on the prairies but yearns to have the ocean near and is planning to take her next career step towards Vancouver. Her free time these days are usually spent studying but when the chance arises she loves to spend her time in the local book store, having coffee with friends, being outdoors on the few beautiful days Saskatchewan offers, or simply enjoying good food and great company.

Ryan Legault-McGill (Past co-Chair) – 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.                                                                                       

Sandra Badcock – from Eastern Newfoundland, works for Memorial University of Newfoundland. Working for various organizations for youth, including FINALY! – Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Youth, Service Canada Centre for Youth, and Student Affairs and Services, Sandi has been active in youth advocacy, issues, and engagement. Sandi holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and Political Science, and a Master of Arts (History) from Memorial University. While in university, Sandi was active in charity committees, student societies, departmental council, and student conferences. After all her hard work and dedication, Sandi was awarded the Paton College Crest for Excellence in Student Leadership through Housing, Food and Conference Services in 2009.

Sandi entered the world of Canadian Community Economic Development as a CreateAction intern in 2010, now intrigued with educating youth about opportunities in sustainability, social enterprise and community economic development, Sandi is excited to be serving on the Emerging Leaders Committee. Besides volunteering and work, Sandi enjoys history, boating, shoes, trivia, movies, Chinese food, museums, golf, art, coffee, and good books.

Stacia Kean (Co-Chair) – 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.

Tanya Gracie –  I am a co-op enthusiast. I currently work at the Canadian Co-operative Association, in Member Services, and I sit on three different boards for co-operative organizations ACE (Association of Co-operative Educators), CASC (Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation), and the housing co-op in which I live. I live in Ottawa, and have so for the past year and a half, I love the city because although it is the biggest city that I have ever lived in, I don’t feel as though I am in a ‘concrete jungle’, I love the Canal, the amount of green space and how easy it is to get to the outdoors… I am a four-season person, and love each season for all the wonderful things and activities that they bring (although the transition, especially between winter and spring leaves something to be desired).

I completed my undergraduate degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, with a double major in Global Studies and Psychology. It was a wonderful five years, and throughout my degree I worked in residence life, living and working with first year students as they make the transition into university—such a challenging and at the same time rewarding experience. Following my undergraduate degree, I did an internship at the Ontario Co-operative Association in co-operative development and at the same time a Masters degree in Community Economic Development at the University of Southern New Hampshire. If you are wondering how this all worked, I would travel to school once a-month to take classes and the rest of the time, I did my work on-line. The program was fantastic and has captured my attention to become more involved in the Social Economy and the field of CED.

So this is a very quick introduction to me… there is much more, but you learn that as we get to know each other. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you!


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