This is just a wee, unedited biography.
I was born on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and raised by Newfoundlanders.
I sometimes refer to myself as a Newfie Scotian.
The daughter of a Doctor & a RN, I was lovingly raised with my two sisters on the shores of the Lehave River. I was shaped by my sisters, the shore, a small patch of woods, music, frequent visits to Newfoundland and my beautiful Grandma & Great Aunt. Both wonderful to me, retired teachers dedicated to the United Church who were born in the early 1900s.
I was ever-curious, in love with the ocean, and very proud to be an Atlantic Canadian.
I moved from Pleasantville (real place) to Hackett’s Cove in Elementary School.
I grew to love St. Margaret’s Bay, made amazing lifelong friends, started writing and performing music and graduated from Sir John A. Macdonald High School.
I then tinkered at Mount Saint Vincent University studying History, Biology & Religion and then at NSCC studying how to start a restaurant and crafting who I might become.
I started working for a local farmer, a weird restaurant, the glorious Black Market Boutique, helped run my student newspaper while playing music all night and falling in love for the first time.
Then I met Jamie Arron. Together we ran a volunteer organization that tried to integrate community-based learning & social enterprise into Halifax School Board’s curriculum. I also became hyper-conscious that schools needed to give students the chance to have impact & change their communities.
We built partnerships between community organizations, government, schools, teachers, volunteers, entrepreneurs and businesses. All while flying by the seat of our pants with an ad hoc organization. I became obsessed with collaboration, community-based learning and the idea of making money to make change. It gave me the itch to do better, be better and change systems through collaborative leadership.
Around the same time, I started tree planting.
In part to subsidize my volunteer habits, and in part because I loved everything about it.
I loved tree planting. Really: I did. It reminded me of what I’m made of, shaped some of the strongest friendships of my life and reaffirmed how lucky I am, how much I love the outdoors, working hard and living with people.
Plus, now on bad days I can say “Well, at least it’s not as bad as that one time, tree planting…”
Back home, I organized events, consultations & conferences.
I was helping keen start-ups and not-for-profits who were trying to solve the problems of our times.
I moved into my all-time favourite community venue, where I lived for 4 years.
In retrospect, we were practicing “radical hospitality”.
We usually hosted 40+ ppl every Monday for Open Mic Nights in addition to other events. I saw some of the best talent of my life in my own living room, hosted touring bands, tried to organize chaos and developed my love for singing & writing music.
I cannot stress how much living in the wilds and wonder of The Open Mic house shaped who I am as a musician, community developer and human.
I released a demo, and toured across Canada after treeplanting for a few summers, often hitch hiking, playing music, doing artist residencies and learning about my country.
The more I travelled the more I became obsessed with Atlantic Canada. I became obsessed with helping people understand how ripe with opportunity we are, how unique and lucky we are.
At this point, I started working at the illustrious Hub Halifax.
Having the Open Mic House and The Hub made me feel like I had a home for all my endeavours.
I was working with The Hub around Social Enterprise, Community Development, building partnerships and collaborative strategies… all while doing some facilitation work, running a venue out of my home and playing shows.
I felt quite complete.
And finally at peace with my personal blend of business-casual pragmatic optimism and weirdo.
This video about sums it up.
I met my love on tour. We wrote snail mail love letters to each other. And I was hooked!
Around this time I won some leadership awards and accolades, including 21inc’s Emerging Leader award.
And I loved my city, but I was restless. I wanted to be a country girl again. I wanted to build a new lil’ life with my love too!
I toured Canada again, briefly lived in Montreal, crossed the mountains with a beautiful poet, then my cello split in half and I was robbed of all my travel money.
At this little turning point, I did an amazing soul-searching, sister-making artist residency with Heidi at The Hammock in Vancouver,on a shoestring budget and then I headed back east.
I canoed the Restigouche and worked with some old tree planting friends in their amazing organization called CFI and felt a tickle for their small town.
Sweet Sackville New Brunswick.
I caught the CFI bug: I wanted to prove to myself & to others that small towns can be the engines of change. That Atlantic Canada can be the centre of our future economy.
So, after a wonderful life in Halifax, having lived 1200 km+ from my love, I moved to Sackville to work with Renaissance Sackville. A month later my sweetie joined me having packed a trunk full of pickles, homebrew & quilts he brought over on the train. I picked him up with a wheelbarrow and a rose.
We lived together for a month, and then this thing started:
Since moving to Sackville I’ve been reinventing myself more than I’ve been reinventing rural.
Shaped by this beautiful family, the challenges of parenthood and rebuilding your self as a parent and partner in a new place.
After 3 years here, I ran for town council.
Mostly, because it was time to announce my full arrival in this beautiful border town.