Annika Voltan

Annika has been with Inspiring Communities since 2016 and supports the strategic operations of the organization and the Board of Directors. She works closely with provincial stakeholders to build collaborative relationships in government, the community sector, academia and business to maximize our collective social impact in the region. Annika completed a PhD in social entrepreneurship in 2019 and has interests in how networks can be used to bring about change. Her experience across federal and provincial government departments, academia and businesses enables her to skillfully build bridges between sectors.

Annika brings inspirational energy to building a transparent learning environment with a long term focus on systems changes in Nova Scotia. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, she is dedicated to breaking down barriers that stand in the way of creating equal opportunities for all. She lives in Halifax with her husband and three young children.

Annika Voltan, Executive Director,

I’m particularly excited about leaning into the learning area of our work. Based on the lessons we’ve learned in the past few years and the momentum in the broader field, there’s so much we want to share with fellow changemakers to help build our collective capacity for systems change!

I would love to become an expert at gardening. I love having lots of plants around but haven’t quite found my green thumb yet. And I would love to have a successful food garden… so far most of my luck has been with the heartiest of vegetables like kale. Come to think of it, I’d love to be an expert at sewing too… and maybe finish carpentry. When doing the kinds of intangible work we do it can be so rewarding to make things with my hands! 

Cari Patterson

Cari helps us reflect on our work and think about what we are learning, so we can intentionally adapt our approach and offer our best to communities. Her educational background is in community psychology, which focuses on working with communities for social change. Her passion for community development began with her love of community and her deep respect for the journeys communities share in their efforts to make their worlds healthy and strong. The heart of her formal training began in Nova Scotia, and has continued through a few decades of community development work in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.

Cari has a strong respect for the diverse perspectives people bring to the table, and an ability to validate and work with differing interests and needs. Cari is a Credentialed Evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society, and former Secretary General of the International Association for Community Development. In 2015 she was awarded Acadia University Department of Community Development’s inaugural Community Leadership Award.

I love that as a whole, we are greater than the sum of our parts. Some kind of magic happens when a bunch of bright, passionate, open-minded beings (I’m including my yellow lab Molly, who participates in many of our meetings and discussions) bring our energies together and channel them for positive change. I love being part of this energy, and learning and growing from this kind of dynamic process.

Wise Child is a young adult novel by Monica Furlong that has really inspired me. I first read it in the early 1990s, and I re-read it every few years. It is a beautiful story about trusting women’s wisdom and ways of knowing, and following  truth even when you have to risk everything to do it. 

Cari Patterson, Director of Research & Evaluation,

Kristen Faulkner

Kristen leads the Communications across all of our work at Inspiring Communities. With an educational mix of Marketing and Graduate studies in Not for Profit Management. Her passion for connecting with others ignites when she can hear and share stories, as she believes strongly in building community through storytelling. She brings ten years of experience in the Not for Profit sector, recently in New Zealand where she specialized in supporter engagement and communications, fundraising and organizational development. She is excited to have joined Inspiring Communities in this time of growth, and is inspired by all of the great work happening around Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces by local change-makers.

Kristen Faulkner, Communications Manager,

I’m really thrilled to be sharing our story this year with our network and beyond. So much inspiring work is taking place in communities across Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces. And I think what we’re doing here, as an organization that nests community initiatives, is really unique.  As we’ve grown and established the foundation of our organization – I’m really excited to tell this story and show the impact of the work so far.

If I could be an expert at anything in the world, it would be learning and speaking different languages. There is so much we can learn from other cultures (plus, I can usually be found deep in conversation with someone.) This would also fuel my love of travelling. 

Nicole Davis

Nicole grew up in Nova Scotia, in a tiny village on stilts – the buildings, not her. Although, that too would have been useful! She left the Bear River area to pursue more opportunities in HRM. After studying an interesting mix of Counseling and Marketing, she spent several years working in Care Coordination in the healthcare industry, and marketing/operations for small business where she experienced the best of both worlds. Now, as the glue of the organization, Nicole supports Inspiring Communities as a whole through creative problem solving, coordination of projects, and a substantial supply of post-it notes.

I love that I get the opportunity to connect with many brilliant people and organizations everyday. I really appreciate the challenge of keeping this many projects organized day-to-day. And, I’m lucky to work in an environment with such forward thinking colleagues and community members.

The song that best describes my life is What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes – plus, it’s super fun to belt out. I’m still trying to get up that great big hill of hope! 

Nicole Davis, Operations Coordinator,

Tyler Colbourne

Tyler is a creative and dynamic leader with a passion for social justice, community development, and finding a way to have more fun. Over the last 15 years Tyler has done a lot. Throughout his career he has been a community worker, photographer, podcaster, improviser, communications manager, youth worker, and even a pirate. He is a natural community connector and his work as the Community Animator with Inspiring Communities will bring together individuals and communities, helping strengthen relationships and the sharing of knowledge, values, and skills.

Tyler Colbourne, Community Animator, 

Working with Inspiring Communities is exciting and fun because I believe there is a shared belief in what is possible in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. Many of our conversations focus on the assets and strengths within and across communities. 

A book that has greatly influenced my life is Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown – it has become a staple in my work in the last year. The book explores working through ambiguous and complex systems with real work examples from the author’s life. The writing and work is also grounded in critically reflexive practice and joy. The book is full of authentic moments, critical thought, and whimsy. It is a real joy to read.

Olu Osunrinde

Olu is a social innovator, ready to discover and initiate effective solutions. He has focused a lot of his energy on community development. Olu’s passion for community development began at the age of 16 when he recognized that some of the displaced people arriving in Abuja, Nigeria where he then lived were being judged and ostracized. The injustice of this bothered him and he decided to use soccer as a medium to integrate the less privileged teens he saw with those who were better off.

Olu has a first degree in Computer Science (Technology) and completed his master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation in January 2020. He loves technology and design and finds great satisfaction when they come together to create a great experience.

Olu is excited to join the inspiring communities’ team as an Online Animator. He supports WeavEast with communications and provides tech support to our online learning community.

This work is never boring. I love that there is always an exciting project to work on and my colleagues are awesome!

If I could be an expert at anything, it would be learning new languages and cultures, I love the idea of Global Citizenship. I want to be able to work with folks around the world to make our planet more equal, fair and sustainable. 

Olu Osunrinde, Online Animator,