Our Team

Jaime Smith
Director, Social Innovation, Coady Institute and St. Francis Xavier University, and Executive Lead, Centre for Employment Innovation

“Innovation through collaboration is the cornerstone of our engagement, learning and research agenda. 

At the CEI, we focus on bringing together the people, knowledge and assets that strengthen communities and organizations, and build capacity for positive social change.”

Dr. Paula Romanow
Manager of Research and Evaluation

"We do research you can use. Our exploration of career development is practical, community-focused and above all, practitioner led.” 

Jessica Popp
Manager of Engagement and Partnership

“The voice of the community is at the core of our work. We believe collaborative relationships are key to fostering a future that works for all.”

Brenda Gatera
Engagement and Research Assistant

"Our biggest asset is the diversity of our communities. Our differences in perspectives, stories, knowledge and experiences are exactly where innovation emerges. Our work prioritizes inclusivity and collaboration in finding what is working and how these best practices can be shared, ensuring that those who are impacted by decisions have a voice throughout the process."

Angela Bear
Navigator of New Initiatives

“Supporting new employment initiatives, in collaboration with service providers, allows us to witness firsthand the breadth of innovation occurring within our province’s employment services system.”

Michael Adiyia
Research Coordinator

“Our community-based and action research approach enables us to gain and share valuable knowledge that can be translated to create better and sustained employment opportunities for people.”

Alfred Burgesson
Project Lead, Nova Scotia Young Leaders Program

“Together we will explore how we might create pathways for young people across our province to be community connectors. Our challenge is creating the infrastructure for youth to develop leadership skills within organizations, that are also collaborating across silos and contributing to the success of communities.”

Andrea Curley
Research Coordinator

“The capacity to work with the people for the people on various levels has always been my passion. During our earth walk we are medicine to one another.”

Jody Cook
Financial and Administrative Coordinator

“CEI provides Social Innovation Labs and Communities of Learning to foster collaboration; bringing community and system partners together to share, learn, and develop innovative initiatives that ultimately lead to meaningful employment for all.”

Brian Lazzuri
Manager of Marketing and Communications

“There are so many positive stories happening in our province and by sharing them we hope to continue to build upon that momentum.” 

Laura Cormier
Initiatives Intern

“Working with the CEI has helped me to develop new passions and expand upon my already existing ones. Discovering what drives community-led change and researching best practices for gender inclusive employment have been central to my work. Collaboration and innovation happen here to make conscious and lasting improvements within employment and our communities.” 

Caroline MacIsaac
CEI Nova Scotia Works Intern

"At the CEI we don't do research just for the sake of doing research. By working with communities, government and employers our work directly benefits communities and changes systems across the province"

Aleesha Quinn
Research Intern

“The work that we do is for community, with community, and through community.”

Alaa Salih
Research Intern

“With the work that we do, we make sure that all people can flourish because the success of the one at the expense of the many is failure”

Danielle Lucier
Communications and Engagement Intern

“The CEI brings unique perspectives to social challenges to tackle them from multiple angles. Students bring unique ideas, fresh learnings, and a new energy to the conversations the organization is having internally and with community, and I feel lucky to be a part of that.”

Joel Murphy
Youth Leadership Intern

“Creating avenues and spaces for research to be initiated, driven, and informed by community and individual experiences within those communities is an integral act to encourage radical system changes”

Alyssa Mansfield
Future of Work Intern

“The work of the CEI centers communities, and the people that live and work within these communities. Through this work the CEI is able to better help make meaningful change and ensure that individuals and their communities thrive. The inclusive nature of the CEI allows for the innovation necessary to continue make a difference in regard to employment in Nova Scotia, today and in the future.”

Emma Graham
Research Intern

"At the CEI, we make the seemingly impossible a reality! Research initiatives, pilot projects and community focused learning are key pillars of the CEI’s exemplary practices to engage with community leaders, social innovators, and government stakeholders, all while leading agents of change. Being an agent of change requires the courage to try and the perseverance to keep going. Every single staff member at CEI posses these qualities and I attribute the preliminary success in assessing the French career services in the Nova Scotia Works project to the consistent support from our team."