WELCOME: New Board Members

WELCOME: New Board Members

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Published: August 6, 2020


Ann Divine

CEO & founder, Ashanti Leadership and Development Services

Ann Divine is the CEO and founder of Ashanti Leadership and Development Services. She is an accomplished businesswoman, known and respected for her professionalism and willingness to support, coach and mentor others. Her business provides extensive career and professional guidance in leadership development and social justice issues. Ann’s work is underpinned by her knowledge, skills and expertise in human rights and people management. Her unique style combined with adult education principles has brought her recognition in her fields of leadership development, change management, coaching and mentoring, facilitation, diversity and inclusion, women in leadership and unconscious bias training. These elements are critical factors which impact team performances in the physical and virtual workspace. Ann’s goal is to support the business environment, government, public and private sectors and their employees to bring their best self to work. Ann is also an advocate for those who are deemed invisible and do not have a voice in her community, and she strives to bring inclusivity to every aspect of her work.


Chris Cowper-Smith

CEO, Spring Loaded Technology

At the forefront of commercializing Spring Loaded Technology’s bionic knee bracing technology, Chris Cowper-Smith thrives at the interface of research and development to foster the creation of new products that have the potential to improve your quality of life. A published and award-winning scientist and CEO, Chris is recognized for his strong track record in bridging the gap between science and business while working closely with industry professionals, clinicians, researchers, patients and customers. As CEO at Spring Loaded, Chris leads corporate financing, strategy, business development and human-performance testing.


Dave Rideout

President & CEO, MetroWorks Employment Services

Dave Rideout has worked in the not-for-profit, social enterprise sector for over 30 years. Currently, he’s the President and CEO of MetroWorks Employment Services. Stone Hearth Bakery is one of MetroWorks best known social enterprises and in 2017 Stone Hearth won Small Business of the Year at the annual Halifax Chamber Business Awards. The bakery was also recognized in 2017 by the Canadian Alliance on Mental illness and Mental Health as a Community Champion at their national awards in Ottawa. Prior to MetroWorks, Dave coordinated the employment program at LakeCity Employment Services in Dartmouth and, before that, spent five years in B.C. working for the University College of the Fraser Valley and a small not-for-profit in Chilliwack. Dave believes that everyone deserves a chance to participate in our economy and has worked to develop programs that assist the most disenfranchised gain the skills necessary to become fully engaged in our community. Originally from a small town in Newfoundland, Dave understands the struggles many rural communities have in retaining youth and encouraging economic development. He knows that for Halifax to grow and prosper, we have to have a strong business foundation in our rural communities. Dave graduated from Memorial University in 1986 and has been a proud Nova Scotian since 1997.


Hon. Joanne Bernard

President & CEO, Easter Seals Nova Scotia

Joanne Bernard has been building communities for over 20 years in Nova Scotia. In 2002, Joanne established the Marguerite Centre, the only residential facility for women recovering from addictions and abuse in Nova Scotia. Her leadership in the women’s community continued in 2005 as she was tasked to lead Alice Housing, which offers second stage housing for women and children leaving abusive relationships. Professionally she has received the Peter F. Drucker award for Non-Profit Management in Canada in 2011, the Holly House Award for her work on the issue of homelessness and in 2015 the Inspire Award for her public service. Elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 2013, Joanne was immediately appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia where she served as Minister of Community Services, Housing Nova Scotia, Disabled Persons Commission, Voluntary Sector and the Advisory Council for the Status of Women. Joanne is the first openly gay person to be elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. She holds Bachelor of Arts (Political Science with Distinction) from Mount Saint Vincent University, Masters of Arts (Political Science) from Acadia University and a Certificate of Leadership from Saint Mary’s University. Currently, Joanne is President and CEO of Easter Seals Nova Scotia, Vice Chair of the Mount Saint Vincent University Alumni and sits on the MSVU Board of Governors. Joanne is married to Annette, mother to grown son Taylor, grandmother to Kalliope Rose and proud owner of four rescued cats.


Karim George

CEO & Founder, InTouch communications inc.

Karim George is a risk-taker, innovator, leader, achiever, marketer, business leader and public speaker. These are all words to describe him. This is a person who began to see success the moment he began his banking career in Egypt, but he didn’t want to be limited in what he could do, achieve or give back. So, he made the most important decision of his life, and with his young family, immigrated to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2009 with almost nothing in his pocket and no home to call his own. With a Bachelor of Commerce and majors in accounting and marketing, Karim began his career in corporate banking; learning all he could about what makes a successful business. In 2013, he put that knowledge to work, starting his own business in video production and quickly growing to a full-service marketing agency, InTouch Communications Inc. Karim’s determination, drive and ability and to see opportunity where others don’t earned him a great deal of respect and recognition in Halifax. In 2016 he was an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant, and he was a finalist for Halifax Chamber of Commerce for Business Leader of the Year 2019 and 2020. He’s also sits on the Board of Directors for both CUA and Halifax Regional Police Foundation.


Martha Casey

COO and interim CEO, Volta

Martha Casey is Volta’s COO and interim CEO. Before joining Volta, Martha was the Chief of Staff and Executive Director in the President’s Office at Dalhousie University. She also worked in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration over two terms before returning to live in Halifax. Martha has held leadership roles in organizational change, project oversight and economic development. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, Martha worked on projects with the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight and the Office of the Public Advocate. She volunteered with a number of organizations aimed at building confidence and competence in girls, supporting new immigrants’ entry to the workforce, and economic capacity building. Martha holds an MPA from New York University, an LLB from Dalhousie and a BA from Bishop’s University.

UPDATE: Martha was recently named the new Chief Executive Officer of the Halifax innovation hub Volta.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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