Keren’s own journey to here is richly characterized by unexpected twists and turns. Emigrating from El Salvador, she was encouraged to follow her dreams, eventually going on to obtain three academic degrees in Classical Studies, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, with a focus on the politics of identity. She has since bridged this creative foundation into a career helping the public sector reboot policy development and planning across a broad range of areas, from energy futures and sustainability, to Indigenous programs and policies, to grassroots transition initiatives for rural communities. Keren would say her super power is helping individuals come together and to take the creative leap.
When I’m not working, you can find me somewhere downtown Edmonton enjoying the city. I spend time volunteering on the steering committee of YEG Youth Connect, which is an annual event that supports youth experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness in Edmonton and enjoy the multitude of things to do in this city. I’m really happy to call Edmonton home, and really happy to work with others to make it even better!
Pieter has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Alberta as well as a MSc in Public Health. His research focuses on using narrative and visual methods to explore community understandings of home and belonging in an informal settlement in South Africa.
Over the past several years, Pieter has enriched his practice by using documentary photography (www.pieterdevos.ca), digital storytelling, and arts-based methods to enhance dialogue and collaboration. He has facilitated workshops using these methods in Kenya, Sweden, Tanzania, Pakistan, Haiti, and the USA. These community-based projects have animated the dialogue on poverty and homelessness, HIV/AIDS, childhood injury, and gender relations.
Soni has held various positions in management, organizational development, policy research, teaching, facilitation, and communications. She is a results oriented person with professional experience in academic, non-profit, philanthropic and government sectors. She is an innovative leader who has developed an inclusive and collaborative working style. She has built her career focusing in areas of immigration, social determinants of health, mental health, early childhood development, youth employment, youth engagement/participation, education, arts and culture, gender equity, community development, organizational development/governance, strategic planning, social justice, advocacy, human rights, child welfare, poverty reduction, anti-racism and working with Indigenous communities.
A mother of three also a lover of dance Soni enjoys watching and engaging in performing arts, and inspiring her children and husband to dance their worries away.
During her graduate studies, Sheida has touched upon several social policy related issues and became extremely interested in social innovation and entrepreneurship. She completed her master thesis on microfinance and women empowerment in Middle East, a subject closer to home.
Sheida watches documentaries and tennis matches thoroughly. She also takes pride in her pancake-making skills and her appreciation for a good brunch.