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Vibrant Communities Tamarack and Vibrant Communities Coaches and Staff
 

Paul Born

Paul Born
President

Mark Cabaj

Mark Cabaj
Tamarack &
Vibrant Communities
Associate
Brenda Doner

Brenda Doner
Learning
Coordinator

Brenda Doner
Sylvia Cheuy

Sylvia Cheuy
External Learning
Coordinator

Sylvia Cheuy
Eric Leviten-Reid

Eric Leviten-Reid
Learning & Evaluation Coordinator, Coach
Eric Leviten-Reid
Garry Loewen

Garry Loewen
Coach
Garry Loewen
Leisa Nichol

Leisa Nichol
Operations Manager
Leisa Nichol
Mabel Jean Rawlins

Mabel Jean Rawlins
Coach

Mabel Jean Rawlins
Michael Toye

Michael Toye
Coach
Liz Weaver

Liz Weaver
Lead Coach
Laura Zikovic

Laura Zikovic
Multimedia Designer
Production/IT Manager

Paul Born, President - Paul directs Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement, a ten year journey and partnership with Alan Broadbent of the Avana Capital Corporation and Maytree Foundation to advance place based solutions to entrenched problems like poverty. More than 10,000 subscribers engage in Tamarack’s learning community. Vibrant Communities, in collaboration with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, is Tamarack’s signature work and is active in 12 cities and has so far reduced the impact of poverty for more than 120,000 people in Canada.

Paul  was the Executive Director and founder of The Community Opportunities Development Association (CODA) for 12 years, one of Canada’s most successful community economic development organizations where he also founded Opportunities 2000, a millennium campaign to reduce poverty in Waterloo Region to the lowest in Canada, which received the United Nations' Top 40 Projects Worldwide. His work has also been recognized with awards from the Conference Board of Canada, Imagine Canada and the Governor General of Canada. 

An Author of three books, Paul is a motivational, inspiring, informative and often humorous speaker who loves the power of stories. He has extensive experience in helping organizations and communities to develop new and sustainable ideas that motivate people to collaborative action.

He holds a Masters degree in Leadership, is a Mennonite inspired by Yoga and Buddhism, and a dad who loves to cook.

Learn more about Paul on his page at the Tamarack’s website www.paulborn.ca.

Contact Paul Born:

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Mark Cabaj, Tamarack & Vibrant Communities Associate - Mark is an Associate of Tamarack and Vibrant Communities and the President of the company From Here to There.

Mark's current focus is on developing practical ways to assist groups understand, plan and evaluate policies, programs and initiatives that address complex issues. This includes challenges such as neighborhood renewal, poverty and homelessness, community safety, educational achievement and health. He is particularly focused on expanding the ideas and practice of developmental evaluation, a new approach to evaluation which emphasizes learning and design thinking in emerging and sometimes fast-moving environments.

Mark brings experience from a variety of sectors. In the 1990s, he served as the Foreign Assistance Coordinator for Grants in Poland's Ministry of Privatization, was the Mission Coordinator for the United Nations Development Program's first regional economic development initiative in Eastern Europe, and worked with International Privatization Group-Price Waterhouse. In Canada, he was the Coordinator of the Waterloo Region's Opportunities 2000 project – an initiative that won provincial, national and international awards for its multisectoral approach to poverty reduction – and served briefly as the Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet). From 2002-2010, he was the Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Canada and a Director at Tamarack.

Mark lives in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife Leann and their children Isaiah and Zoë.

Contact Mark Cabaj:

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Brenda Doner, Learning Coordinator - Brenda joined Tamarack in 2007 and currently serves as Internal Learning Coordinator.  She is responsible for designing and supporting learning opportunities that involve Trail Builder communities, including updates and newsletters, tele-learning sessions based on Vibrant Communities’ experience, and communities of practice that bring practitioners together to share their expertise on a topic.

Brenda has thirty years experience in the community benefit sector, working across Canada, in Africa and south-east Asia.  She has worked with arts groups, in international development, and in community development in Canada, with organizations like CUSO, the Mennonite Central Committee, IMPACS – the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, and the Canada Volunteerism Initiative. She is currently the part-time Coordinator of Food Secure Canada, a national organization whose work is complementary to Tamarack’s interest in poverty reduction.

She lives in Guelph, Ontario, with her partner John and spends a lot of time in her garden and volunteering with her faith community and with arts organizations.

Contact Brenda Doner:

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Sylvia Cheuy, External Learning Coordinator – Sylvia is responsible for helping to design and deliver learning opportunities that profile, disseminate and share the resources, tools and experiences of Vibrant Communities Canada and Tamarack’s vast network of learners.  In this role, she also edits and develops content for Tamarack’s e-magazine Engage!

Sylvia and her colleague Holly Greenwood are the founders of Mandala Associates. Since 2005, Sylvia and Holly have been project consultants to Headwaters Communities in Action, a grassroots citizen group that fosters community leadership and action in support of a long-term vision of well-being for Ontario’s Headwaters region.  Sylvia’s experience with Headwaters Communities in Action gives her first-hand experience that is invaluable to her role at Tamarack.

An active volunteer in her own community, Sylvia has been a Board Member of Community Living Dufferin since 2004 and was awarded their Extraordinary Commitment award this year. Sylvia lives in Caledon, Ontario with her husband John Graham and their three young children: Gabriella, Garrett and Sean.

Contact Sylvia Cheuy:

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Eric Leviten-Reid, Learning & Evaluation Coordinator, Coach - Eric Leviten-Reid is the Learning and Evaluation Coordinator for the national Vibrant Communities initiative.  He has lead responsibility for the design and administration of the Pan-Canadian learning and evaluation process for Vibrant Communities Trail Builders, and is coordinating the development of a series of case studies on specific poverty reduction strategies undertaken by Vibrant Communities partners.  He plays an active role in helping to discern trends, patterns and insights arising from the Vibrant Communities experience.   Eric also serves as coach for Vibrant Communities initiatives in Atlantic Canada.

Eric has nearly 25 years experience as a researcher and practitioner in the field of community development with a special focus on comprehensive, collaborative approaches to complex issues.  He began his career addressing issues of community economic development in his home town Cape Breton Island and later worked for eight years with the Caledon Institute of Social Policy.  Eric has an academic background in social theory and anthropology, and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from York University where he focussed his studies on participatory approaches to personal and social change.

Contact Eric Leviten-Reid:

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Garry Loewen, Coach - Garry Loewen helped found and has been an active leader of Vibrant Communities since 2002.  Currently, he is involved in the management and work planning of the national initiative, as well as serving as coach to the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council in Manitoba.  As coach, he helps the initiative develop its framework of change, supports and guides its projects and helps connect WPRC to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Early in his working life, Garry held senior management positions with Air Canada. He then served as a parish minister for five years. He has founded or led several Winnipeg-based organizations, including  the North End Community Renewal Corporation,  SEED Winnipeg Inc, Opportunities for Emplyment Inc. From 1999 to 2000, was Executive Director of The Canadian Community Economic Development Network. He was also Community Economic Development Director for the Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba from 1991 to 2000. Garry is currently Board Chair of Assiniboine Credit Union in Winnipeg.

Garry lives in Winnipeg with his wife Teri, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and extended family.

Contact Garry Loewen:

Leisa Nichol, Operations Manager – Leisa joined Tamarack in 2006 and is currently the Operations Manager.  She is responsible for financial management including budget planning and controls, administration including facilities, governance and database.  Leisa has been the logistics lead for several of Tamarack’s face-to-face learning events including Communities Collaborating Institute, Collaborative Leadership and Reducing Poverty in Ontario.

Leisa has more than 10 years of experience in managing operations in the not-for-profit sector and has worked in that capacity with the Alzheimer Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Hospice of Waterloo Region.  Leisa started her career in finance at banks and investment firms and even spent a few years managing restaurants.  Leisa holds a diploma in Business Administrations and Culinary Management diploma and recently completed a certificate in the Management of Human Services from Wilfrid Laurier.

Originally from Lindsay, Ontario, Leisa has been living in Waterloo for the past 10 years. She enjoys cooking and spending time with her daughters Jessica and Jaelyn, and husband Chris.

Contact Leisa Nichol:

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Mabel Jean Rawlins, Coach - Mabel Jean Rawlins is the Vibrant Communities coach in British Columbia, working with Vibrant Surrey, Vibrant Abbotsford and the Quality of Life CHALLENGE in BC’s Capital Region.  As coach, she helps the initiatives develop their frameworks of change, supports and guides their projects and helps connect them to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Mabel Jean received her M.Sc. in extension education from the University of Guelph as a CIDA scholar. Throughout her career she has been employed and volunteered in the voluntary sector in Canada and in Zambia. For fourteen years Mabel Jean was the Executive Director of the Community Council in Victoria where she helped to initiate and was also the director of the Quality of Life CHALLENGE.  When she retired in 2008,  Mabel Jean was presented with the Deryck Thomson Award for Community Social Planning, the Rotary Community Leadership Award (Leadership Victoria Award), and the Unsung Hero Award.

If you are in Sidney on Vancouver Island you may find Mabel Jean cycling around her small town, or creatively making music with friends, gardening or snapping photographs.

Contact Mabel Jean Rawlins:

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Michael Toye, Coach - Michael Toye is the Vibrant Communities Coach in  Quebec,  working with Vivre St. Michel en santé in Montréal and the Démarche de révitalisation des premiers quartiers in Trois-Rivières.  As coach, he helps the initiative develop its  framework of change, supports and guides its projects and helps connect VSMS and the Démarche to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Mike has been Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network since 2008, but has worked for CCEDNet in various capacities since 2000.  He has experience as a social entrepreneur, being part of the creation of two social enterprises, and supporting the development of many others.  He has also been a policy analyst with the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, lectured on CED at Concordia University, and authored or co-authored numerous reports and publications.  

Mike lives in Tingwick, a rural municipality in south-central Québec.  

Contact Michael Toye:

Liz Weaver, Lead Coach, Vibrant Communities - Liz Weaver of the Vibrant Communities Canada team provides coaching, leadership and support to Ontario community partners, including Opportunities Waterloo Region and the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction.   As lead coach, she helps initiatives develop their frameworks of change, supports and guides their projects and helps connect them to Vibrant Communities and other comprehensive community collaborations.

Prior to this position, she was the Director for the Hamilton Roundtable on Poverty Reduction, which was recognized with the Canadian Urban Institute’s David Crombie Leadership Award in 2009.  In her career, Liz has held leadership positions with YWCA Hamilton, Volunteer Hamilton and Volunteer Canada.   In 2002, Liz completed a Masters of Management for National Voluntary Sector Leaders through McGill University and her thesis ‘Storytelling and the Voluntary Sector’ was published.  Liz was awarded a Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her leadership in the voluntary sector, was an Athena Award finalist and in 2004 was awarded the Women in the Workplace award from the City of Hamilton.

Contact Liz Weaver:

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Laura Zikovic, Sr. Multimedia Designer/Production & IT Manager - Laura joined Tamarack in 2005 and her responsibilities include the project management, design and development of Tamarack's award winning website, e-magazine Engage!, tele-learning/online seminars, podcasts and other multimedia projects, graphic design and layout for print and marketing collateral as well as the overall quality control of all production elements. Laura also serves as Tamarack's onsite IT and A/V manager, providing day-to-day support to staff and offsite support for face-to-face learning events.

With over 10 years experience creating multimedia and design solutions for a variety of clients cross-sector, Laura's formal training as an artist coupled with the techical skills of a designer have resulted in a vast portfolio of solutions and accomplishments. Her academic background includes a B.A. in Fine Arts and Art History from the University of Guelph, followed by a Post Diploma Certificate from Conestoga College in Digital Media.

Laura's passions include all aspects of art and design, photography, singing and playing guitar. She's actively involved in her Church community, and lives in Kitchener with her husband Denis, and their four cats, Emma, Spencer, Maggie, and Abby.

Contact Laura Zikovic:

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Paul Born, author of Community Conversations Paul Born

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Mark Cabaj

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Brenda Doner

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Sylvia Cheuy

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Eric Leviten-Reid

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Garry Loewen

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Leisa Nichol

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Mabel Jean Rawlins

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Mabel Jean

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Toye

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Liz Weaver

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Laura Zikovic

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Paul Born Mark Cabaj Liz Weaver Laura Zikovic Learn more about Paul Born Email Paul Born Learn more about Mark Cabaj Email Mark Cabaj Learn more about Mark Cabaj Email Dal Brodhead Email Brenda Doner Email Sylvia Cheuy Email Eric Leviten-Reid Email Garry Loewen Email Leisa Nichol Email Mabel Jean Rawlins Email Liz Weaver Email Laura Zikovic Michael Toye Email Paul