Meet the Team

The development of this framework was led by CEI Youth Engagement Specialist Addy Strickland, and supported by a long list of other contributors and collaborators.

Core Team

Addy Strickland

Addy Strickland

Youth Engagement Specialist, Centre for Employment Innovation

Addy Strickland is the lead researcher and writer of the CEI’s Youth Engagement Framework. Addy joined the CEI team in July 2021 with more than 10 years of experience in youth-led spaces. She adopts a story-based, first-voice approach to youth engagement, and is working to foster welcoming, youth-friendly spaces both within the CEI and the field of career and employment development more broadly. Prior to working for the CEI, Addy graduated from StFX University with an Honours degree in Development Studies, where she focused on using art and story as tools for community development and social change.

May Lawless

May Lawless

2022 Youth Research and Engagement Intern, Centre for Employment Innovation

May Lawless began working with the CEI in summer 2022 as the Youth Research and Engagement Intern, assisting in the development of the Youth Engagement Framework and leading their own project designing a podcast surrounding 2SLGBTQIA+ youth experiences in the workforce. May is entering their fourth year at StFX, studying a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. They were born in Amherst and grew up in Malagash, Nova Scotia, where they graduated from Pugwash District High School before moving to Antigonish to continue their education. 

May has supported various aspects of this framework, but most notably, they developed the self-evaluation rubric offered in the How to Use This Framework section. You’ll also find May’s podcast, Queer(ies), highlighted on the framework blog!

CEI’s Youth Advisory Group

The Youth Advisory Group is made up of ten youth members aged 18-29, representing a number of regions across our province. From October 2021 to July 2022, the group met bi-monthly to support the creation of the Youth Engagement Framework – sharing and writing about their own experiences, offering feedback on draft framework sections, and supporting outreach efforts among their peers.

The Youth Advisory Group played a crucial role in ensuring that youth voices were at the forefront of our framework-making process, and each member deserves a world of credit for the work they did to help us get here.

Brennah Agnew

Brennah Agnew, originally from Ottawa, achieved a BA in Aquatic Resources, Public Policy, and Social Research at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. While there, she uncovered a passion for social change and climate justice advocacy. Now a recruiter for StFX, Brennah enjoys working with youth on their journey to post-secondary education while striving to foster a more equitable and sustainable society

Jane Goguen

Jane Goguen is a student at St. Francis Xavier university completing an Honours degree in Marketing with Co-op education. Her interests lie in research and cybersecurity, pursuing a post-grad career that embraces aspects of these. She is also passionate about art, psychology, and working towards positive change.

Laura Cormier

Laura Cormier is a senior student at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX), where she studies a concentration in Forensic Psychology with a Subsidiary in Women’s and Gender Studies. Laura recently received an Irving Research Mentorship Award through the Undergraduate Summer Student Research Award program at StFX in order to work on her Honours Thesis, A Profile of Patients Admitted to the Nova Scotia Hospital, 1860-1863.

Patrick Bowen

Patrick Bowen is a machine learning engineer and a research assistant at St. Francis Xavier University. He attended the University of New Brunswick for a BScE in Chemical Engineering and is currently attending StFX for a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Artificial Intelligence. He is passionate about providing youth with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the future of work.

Sydney Van De Wiel

Sydney Van De Wiel recently graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with an Honours degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. For the past year, Sydney has worked at the Antigonish Women’s Centre on various violence prevention projects. She is passionate about building safe communities and promoting healthy relationships. Sydney loves to hike, read, and knit.

Isabella Chavez

Isabella Chavez is a Bachelor of Psychology student currently living in New Minas, Nova Scotia. As an immigrant herself, she is passionate about the inclusion of immigrants in the workplace, and hopes to make sure that immigrants are not underestimated in their abilities because of their language skills or where they’re from.

Jessie Taylor

Jessie Taylor works for the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education as a Pre-Primary Educator. She attended NSCC Kingstec and graduated with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education in 2013. She also completed the Early Childhood Leadership Training Program through the NSCC Cumberland campus in 2021. She is currently enrolled in the Child and Youth Program at Mount Saint Vincent University. She has a passion for lifelong learning, child development and providing the best care and education to her students.

Matthew Breau

Matthew Breau is a second-year student at Antigonish’s Saint Francis Xavier University studying Political Science, with a passion for uplifting those around him. In working with the YAG, Matthew’s hope was to be able to amplify the voices of those leaders who work hard every day to create a better province for all Nova Scotians.

Stacie Smith

Stacie Smith graduated from Dalhousie University Kinesiology in 2020 and from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton in Education in 2022. She works for Partners for Youth in Fredericton as a Youth Mental Health Project Coordinator. She is the Executive Director of the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health. She is passionate about school food, food insecurity, youth mental health, and youth engagement.

Westin McMullen

Westin McMullen is the Information Resource Specialist for PeopleWorx-Nova Scotia Works in Middleton, Nova Scotia. Westin has completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at Acadia University and went on to complete his Advanced diploma in Addiction Community Outreach for NSCC Kingstec Campus.


A number of other CEI staff members and external partners have also contributed valuable pieces to the framework in the form of blog posts or other resources. 

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy is the Impact and Innovation Coordinator at the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI), where his work focuses on impact measurement, knowledge mobilization, and youth engagement. Joel is currently working toward his Ph.D. in Educational Studies at Acadia University, where his areas of research are experiential education, community engagement, youth development, and youth career development.

Jessica Franko

Jessica Franko joined the Coady Institute in June 2020 as the Pathy Foundation Fellowship Program Assistant, before transitioning to the role of Coordinator, Youth Programs in June 2022. Prior to this, Jessica completed her own Pathy Foundation Fellowship (formerly OceanPath) in 2019-20, where she worked with two adult empowerment groups and their corporate partners in the Okavango Delta Panhandle and in Maun, Botswana. Her Pathy project worked within the scope of livelihoods in the eco-tourism value-chain using an Asset-Based Community-Driven lens to community capacity and relationship-building. Jessica received a BAH medial in Global Development and Political Studies from Queen’s University in 2019, and is currently completing a Master’s of Adult Education and Community Development at St. Francis Xavier University

Adam Baden Clay

Adam Baden Clay joined the Coady in August 2011 as youth programs coordinator. He transitioned to the education programs coordinator role in March 2014 and then returned as manager of youth leadership programs in August 2014. Adam has a Master of Adult Education, with a focus on supporting youth leadership for social change, a Graduate Certificate in International and Community Development, a BA (History), an Advanced Diploma in Management, a Diploma in Personnel Administration, and a Certificate in Vocational Instruction. He is also a Coady grad, having completed a certificate in Facilitation and Training Approaches for Community Change (FTACC) in 2014.


Templeton Sawyer

Templeton Sawyer is an Employment Support Practitioner with Teamwork Cooperative, the host of Tweet the Leader in You podcast, and a passionate Youth Advocate who seeks to help youth in both Nova Scotia and the Bahamas believe in themselves and increase their self-confidence through leadership and skill development programs. Templeton is currently completing a BA in Business Marketing and Nonprofit leadership at MSVU.

Morgan Dunn

Morgan Dunn is the Communities Building Youth Futures Coordinator for Turning the Tide in Digby, Nova Scotia. She has been employed with Turning the Tide for almost 3 years, initially as part of a university placement while taking her bachelor’s degree in Community Development from Acadia university, before creating her own job with Turning the Tide to support youth in the Digby area. Morgan has gained experience in facilitation and leadership through working with youth and community partners to pilot and scale new and existing programs to support youth in the transition to adulthood.

Lauren Sobot

Lauren Sobot is a 2021 graduate of StFX University, where she completed a joint honours degree in biology and psychology. Based in Halifax, Lauren is the founder and coordinator of the Proud Pairs mentorship program, which she started with the support of a Pathy Foundation Fellowship shortly after graduating. Lauren is passionate about supporting 2SLGBTQ+ youth in any way she can, and hopes to one day channel that passion and her passion for mentorship into a career in medicine.