Meet Our Team

Learn About Our Staff and Board of Directors

Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s team is comprised of dedicated individuals who are working to help families and communities in Nova Scotia build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership.

Donna Williamson
Chief Executive Officer
email: donna@habitatns.ca 

Donna Williamson Chief Executive Officer

Donna Williamson is Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s fierce leader, whose journey from a small-town girl to a visionary leader is as inspiring as the communities she helps build. Growing up in the small town of Pictou, Donna learned the value of community and resilience from her single mom and two older sisters. Their home was more than just a roof over their heads—it was a sanctuary built through the affordable homeownership program offered by CMHC. Every nail, every wall, was a testament to their strength and determination, instilling in Donna a deep appreciation for the transformative power of safe, stable housing. As CEO, Donna brings her small-town roots and big-hearted vision to the forefront, leading with compassion, innovation and a dash of hometown charm. Whether she’s rolling up her sleeves alongside volunteers or championing policy changes in the boardroom, she’s dedicated to building not just houses but also vibrant communities where every family can thrive.

Danielle le Roux, CPA
Director, Finance
email:  accounting@habitatns.ca

Danielle le Roux, CPA
Director, Finance

Danielle le Roux is the Director of Finance at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, joining the team in October 2022. With a keen eye for financial stewardship, Danielle oversees Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s financial operations. From strategic budgeting and financial planning to ensuring compliance and managing cash flow, Danielle plays a vital role in safeguarding the organization’s financial health and advancing its mission.

Driven by the transformative power of affordable homeownership for future generations, Danielle finds inspiration in her work. Outside of her professional endeavors, she enjoys exploring the natural beauty of Nova Scotia. Danielle holds a Bachelor’s and Honors Degree in Accounting Science and an advanced diploma in Auditing. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Vanessa Jones
Director, Fund Development and Communications
email: vanessa@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 464-0274

Vanessa Jones Director, Fund Development and Communications

Vanessa Jones serves as the Director of Fund Development & Communications at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia. Since joining the Habitat for Humanity organization in 2022, Vanessa has led strategic initiatives to secure funding and enhance the organization’s public image, fostering relationships with the community and the families served by Habitat. Motivated by mission-driven work, Vanessa spent several years volunteering for Habitat for Humanity before joining the organization as a full-time employee. She witnessed the positive impact of Habitat’s initiatives on the community as an active volunteer on build sites and through contributing to the Women’s Build committee. Vanessa finds fulfillment in significant moments like Key Ceremonies, which celebrate Habitat families becoming homeowners, and is motivated by the remarkable team at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia. Outside of work, Vanessa enjoys travelling, reading, watching football, listening to music, camping, softball, curling and spending time with her family.

Michelle Murphy
Executive Assistant to the CEO
email: info@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 464-0274

Michelle Murphy
Executive Assistant

Michelle serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia. In this role, she supports in the day-to-day operations of the organization and assists with family services, acting as a main point of contact for Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia partner families.

Michelle joined the team in May 2023, driven by a firm belief in the fundamental right to safe and affordable housing for all. She is a passionate advocate for equitable housing solutions, committed to making a meaningful impact in communities across Nova Scotia. Michelle remains dedicated to building stronger, more resilient communities where everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending time with her partner Todd, two adult children and her two-year-old grandson. She also enjoys playing softball in the summer and bowling during the winter months. With over 20 years of administrative experience, Michelle brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the organization. She was born and raised in Halifax.

Cory Sanford
Director of ReStore and Strategic Partnerships
email: cory@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 402-2679

Cory Sanford
Director of ReStore and Strategic Partnerships

Cory Sanford is the Director of ReStore and Strategic Partnerships at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia. Cory works closely with the ReStore team to foster relationships within the community and support Habitat for Humanity’s work to help families build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership.

Motivated by the opportunity to work with a dedicated team and respected brand, Cory is passionate about bettering the lives of others. He is proud that his efforts contribute to global initiatives that empower communities and families.

Cory brings a wealth of experience from his more than 15 years of leadership in Nova Scotia. This background has shaped his commitment to building a career around helping families and communities thrive. Outside of his professional life, Cory enjoys spending time with his family, exploring new places and experiences, playing golf with his wife, skiing with his kids and bonding with their new puppy.

Emma Folkins
Manager, Fund Development
email: emma@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 449-1515

Emma Folkins
Manager, Fund Development

Emma Folkins is the Manager of Fund Development at Habitat Humanity Nova Scotia. She joined the team in March 2024 and is excited to work with her colleagues to plan Habitat’s annual events, grow and foster relationships with supporters, and raise awareness of the programs Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia has to offer.

Emma has over six years of fundraising experience and is passionate about developing new ways to engage with the community. She believes that strong partnership and collaboration is key to providing more affordable homes across the province.

Outside of her work at Habitat, Emma enjoys hiking with her dog and surfing on the beaches of Nova Scotia. She looks forward to supporting build days with volunteers and celebrating program accomplishments with donors. She holds an M.A. in Sociology.

Caleb Freeman
Manager, Marketing and Communications
email: caleb@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 225-6315

Caleb Freeman Manager, Marketing and Communications

Caleb is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, where he oversees media relations, internal and public communications, website management and social media. He collaborates closely with the fund development team on fundraising initiatives and building relationships with supporters. Inspired by his previous work with Habitat for Humanity and his belief in the increasing importance of affordable housing in Nova Scotia, Caleb joined the team in September 2023. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys reading and spending time outdoors. Originally from Oklahoma, Caleb relocated to Nova Scotia in 2021. He holds an M.A. in English Literature.

Alex Yazdani
Manager of Housing Development
email: alex@habitatns.ca
phone: (506) 230-4371

Alex Yazdani
Manager of Housing Development

Alex Yazdani is the Manager of Housing Development at Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, bringing six years of construction and project management experience to the team. He joined the organization with a strong commitment to overseeing the construction of affordable and accessible housing, aiming to make a tangible difference in the lives of families in the province.

With a focus on ensuring quality and efficiency in every project, Alex diligently coordinates with contractors, suppliers and volunteers to meet deadlines and exceed expectations. His passion for Habitat for Humanity’s work in Nova Scotia and globally drives him to create safe and sustainable homes that will empower individuals and families for generations.

Outside of work, Alex enjoys playing volleyball and going for hikes and trips.

Dave Graham
Construction Supervisor
email: david@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 931-0754

Dave Graham Construction Supervisor

Mike Burke
Warehouse Manager, ReStore
email: mikeb@habitatns.ca

Mike Burke
Warehouse Manager, ReStore

Mike Burke is the Warehouse Manager at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore, bringing with him 38 years of experience from the Royal Canadian Navy. He joined the team in 2017, seeking fulfilling work after retirement.

Mike oversees the smooth operations of the warehouse, ensuring all donated items are accounted for and fostering relationships with local commercial donors. His passion for people shines through in his daily interactions, making him a beloved figure among staff, volunteers and customers alike.

Outside of work, you’ll find Mike cheering on his favourite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and spending quality time with his family and friends.

Harsh Patel
Store Manager, ReStore
email: harsh@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 549-3237

Harsh Patel
Store Manager, ReStore

As the Store Manager at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore, Harsh Patel brings a wealth of sales experience to the organization. Since joining in August 2023, Harsh works diligently to ensure quality customer service, managing scheduling, merchandising and POS handling. He finds immense fulfillment in knowing that his work makes a difference in the community, reflected in the joy of happy customers when they find a good deal.

When he’s not at work, Harsh enjoys playing and watching cricket.

Judy MacLean
Lead Sales Associate/Cashier and Donor Experience Coordinator, ReStore
email: judy@habitatns.ca
phone: (902) 403-1381

Judy MacLean
Lead Sales Associate/Cashier and Donor Experience Coordinator, ReStore

Judy MacLean is an integral part of the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore team as the Lead Sales Associate, Cashier and Donor Experience Coordinator. She joined the team in 2022, bringing a wealth of retail experience. She oversees daily donation pickups, cash handling and front-end housekeeping. Every day brings something new at the ReStore, and Judy finds fulfillment in her interactions with donors and customers. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors and learning about different cultures.

Mike Harrop
Donation Ambassador, ReStore

Mike Harrop
Donation Ambassador, ReStore

Mike Harrop is the Donation Ambassador at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore, joining the team in 2017. He brings to the team expertise gained from his 24-year career as a Marine Engineering Technician in the Canadian Navy. In his role, Mike repairs damaged furniture, tests appliances and helps maintain the receiving and storage areas. Mike enjoys finding unique solutions to problems and has earned a reputation among staff and volunteers for being able to fix anything. In his free time, he enjoys riding his motorbike, reading, kayaking and building plastic models.

Nate Cartier
ReStore Sales Associate

Nate Cartier
ReStore Sales Associate

Nate Cartier is a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. Since joining the team, Nate assists in receiving donations, ensuring inventory is stocked, and providing quality customer service. His active nature fits perfectly with the fast-paced environment of the ReStore, where he enjoys moving around and staying engaged. When he’s not at work, Nate enjoys playing video games, watching scary movies, and all things related to F1 racing.

Daryl Cosman
Sales Associate

Daryl Cosman
Sales Associate

Daryl’s Cosman’s extensive background in home design, electrical work and management makes him a valuable addition as a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. He joined the team full-time in 2018 after three years of volunteering at the ReStore. Daryl uses his wealth of experience to assist customers and ensure they find what they need. His fulfillment comes from helping customers solve their problems and getting to see Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia families move into their homes. Outside of work, he enjoys riding his motorcycle in the summer months. He is also currently writing a book.

Tyler Crooks
Donor Experience and Sales Associate

Tyler Crooks
Donor Experience and Sales Associate

Tyler Crooks transitioned from volunteer to full-time staff at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore, where he now serves as a Donor Experience and Sales Associate. Since 2022, Tyler assists customers, prices inventory and helps with donation pickups, finding fulfillment in making a difference in the community. When he’s not at work, Tyler enjoys drawing, working on RC cars and occasionally playing video games.

Susie Crooks
Sales Associate

Susie Crooks
Sales Associate

Susie Crooks brings warmth and dedication to her role as a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. Since joining in 2022, Susie enjoys assisting customers and operating the cash register, knowing that her work benefits Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s mission. Her passion for helping others shines through in every interaction, making her a valuable member of the ReStore team.

Scott Gidney
Donor Experience and Sales Associate

Scott Gidney
Donor Experience and Sales Associate

Scott Gidney is a Donor Experience and Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. Since joining, Scott can often be found managing donation pickups or assisting on the sales floor. His commitment to Habitat’s mission is evident in his work, as he helps build stronger communities one donation at a time.

Ken Graingel
Sales Associate

Ken Graingel
Sales Associate

Ken Graingel brings extensive customer-facing experience to his role as a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. Since joining the team, Ken assists with receiving donations and providing quality customer service. His passion for helping others and working with a great team makes him a valuable member of the ReStore crew. Outside of work, he enjoys creative pursuits like writing and drawing.

Jaskirat Kaur
Sales Associate

Jaskirat Kaur
Sales Associate

Jas is a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. She joined the team in April 2024 and loves talking with and helping customers. She describes herself as someone who likes to learn about other people and give them support in whatever way she can. 

Lakhwinder Singh
Sales Associate

Lakhwinder Singh
Sales Associate

Lakhwinder is a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore, joining the team in 2023. Lakhwinder assists with receiving and organizing donations, finding fulfillment in helping customers and being part of a great team. In his free time, he enjoys staying active and listening to music on long drives.

Kosta Sheludiakov
Sales Associate

Kosta Sheludiakov Sales Associate

Kosta Sheludiakov brings positivity and enthusiasm to his role as a Sales Associate at the Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia ReStore. Since joining in 2023, Kosta ensures the warehouse is tidy and enjoys lifting morale among his colleagues. His genuine passion for meeting new people and assisting with Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia’s mission makes him a valuable addition to the team. Outside of work, he enjoys playing sports, learning new things and reading.

Angela Simmonds
Board Chair

Angela Simmonds

Angela Simmonds
Board Chair

Angela is a lawyer, consultant, former member and deputy speaker of the Nova Scotia legislative assembly, small-business owner and a community mobilizer whose 20+-year career extends over the various fields of socio-economic development, education, entrepreneurship, policy and cultural competency. She inspires courageous leadership and guides others in realizing their potential, driven by a passion and commitment to create impact and social change.

Angela is the founder and CEO of A Team Coaching, which helps build inclusive equitable organizations, fostering critical thinking and intentional leadership. Angela has been able to help organizations and individuals realize their full potential by harnessing her experience in law, business and advocacy. She is also part of the People and Culture Team at McInnes Cooper as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead.

Angela is proud to be a wife, mother of three and “little” Nanny to two. In her free time, Angela believes in lifelong learning: when you are learning, you influence opportunities for teaching, and teaching transforms lives.

Deepak Prasad
Vice-Chair

Deepak Prasad

Deepak Prasad
Vice-Chair

Deepak (M.O.M., AdeC, BA Hons) is a Police Sergeant with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a doctoral student at London Metropolitan University. Deepak was the first Divisional Wellness Coordinator for the RCMP Nova Scotia Division and authored the first Divisional Integrated Wellness Strategy.

Prior to joining the RCMP, Deepak worked with the Canada Border Services Agency as a Border Services Officer and a Police Dispatcher. Deepak has attended various post-secondary institutions focusing his studies on leadership and first responder wellness; these institutes include the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, Laurier University and the University of Toronto. In addition to his studies, he holds six international professional designations in first responder wellness.

Deepak is a former Vice-Chairperson and Commissioner with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and he sits on multiple non-profit boards including St. John Ambulance NS/PEI, Canadian Mental Health Association – Nova Scotia Division, and Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia. Deepak is originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, but now lives in Halifax with his wife, Tara, and daughter, Hannah.

Bill Gullage
Treasurer

Bill Gullage
Treasurer

Bill is a senior financial executive with over thirty years of experience in public practice and private industry. During his career, Bill has held several senior finance roles in sectors including financial services (reinsurance), biotech, IT and telecommunications.

Bill has been an active volunteer over the years, serving on multiple Boards and Committees. He is the former Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee for Innovacorp, a current member of the Finance Committee for the Anglican Foundation of Canada, and Treasurer of Kin Club of Halifax. Bill holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and Nova Scotia, and Financial Executives International Canada.

Bill and his wife Margaret live in Bedford, NS and have four children and four grandchildren.

Kayla Smith
Secretary

Kayla Smith

Kayla Smith
Secretary

Kayla Smith is a Human Resources professional. During her post-secondary studies, she obtained a Diploma in Business Management from Nova Scotia Community College. From there she went on to Saint Mary’s University to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce with a Major in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Currently, Kayla is dedicated to her role as a job developer at Nova Scotia Works, where she diligently connects clients with diverse employment prospects while championing workplace inclusivity and accommodation needs. Her commitment to empowering individuals in their career pursuits is evident in her advocacy and support

Caroline Blair-Smith
Member

Caroline Blair-Smith

Caroline Blair-Smith Member

Caroline Blair-Smith was appointed Vice President of Human Resources at Nova Scotia Power in February 2023 after spending 17 years with the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), where she worked in various roles. In 2021, following her role as the Executive Director of People, Communications and IT, Caroline became the Deputy Chief Administration Officer providing oversight and leadership to HRM’s Human Resources, Legal, Finance, Asset Management, Communications, IT and Customer Services teams. Prior to her work with the Municipality, Caroline was the Employee Relations Manager for Coca-Cola Bottling in the Atlantic Region. She has gained a reputation as a respected and effective leader with a corporate vision and the ability to move projects and initiatives forward. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dalhousie University and is a Certified Human Resources Professional with additional certificates in Labour Relations, Workforce Planning and Strategic Leadership Development. She is a long-time volunteer with ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia). She also volunteers with Dalhousie Alumni and is a newly appointed member to the Habitat for Humanity Board.

Ben Hagon
Member

Ben Hagon

Ben Hagon
Member

Ben Hagon is an award-winning communications professional and entrepreneur. Ben founded and has led his company, Intent, for 15 years, growing the company to be Canada’s premier full-service creative communications agency for non-profit and public sector organizations.

With over 20 years of communications and marketing experience, Ben is an accomplished speaker, writer, consultant and leader who has won awards across North America for his work and is regularly asked to speak at industry events and academic institutions.

He is the winner of two golds at the Advertising and Design Club of Canada (ADCC) annual awards, which recognizes excellence and innovation in the Canadian advertising and design industry, as well as numerous other awards. Other recognitions include from Graphic Designers Canada, Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, Marketing Magazine, Communication Arts, Applied Arts, the SocialGood Awards, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Economic Developers Association of Canada.

Ben is currently the sitting Chair of the Program Advisory Council for Graphic Design at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, and was previously a member of the Program Advisory Council for Graphic Design at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario.

Outside of work, Ben is a devoted husband and proud father of four incredible children who inspire him to continuously improve himself. He is a lover of nature and the outdoors and is a dedicated Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner, currently ranked as a purple belt under Halifax BJJ.

Matthew MacEachern
Member

Matthew MacEachern

Matthew MacEachern
Member

Matthew moved to Halifax after the completion of a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of New Brunswick in 2019. After graduation Matthew spent three years working in the Engineering Consulting field specializing in Municipal Engineering design and construction. Matthew’s professional experience predominantly focuses on project management, contract administration, municipal engineering and construction inspection and land surveying. Matthew now currently works as a Project Manager with the Halifax Regional Municipality working to redevelop the Cogswell District and is a Professional Engineer registered in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Outside of work, Matthew volunteers on the Construction Association of Nova Scotia’s Emerging Leaders Committee fostering networking opportunities for young professionals in the Construction Industry across the province. Originally from Prince Edward Island, Matthew now lives in Dartmouth with his wife and dog.

Nick Misener
Member

Nick Misener
Member

Nick brings over a decade’s worth of recruitment and human resources experience to the table. He possesses a diverse academic and professional background, including experience working overseas in both Australia and Asia. Currently, he is a Partner with recruitment & HR firm Venor and leads the organization’s technology recruitment practice.

Passionate about giving back to the community, Nick was recognized with the “Volunteer of the Year” award while working with David Aplin Group in 2017. On top of this, he is an active volunteer with the Connector Program, launched by the Halifax Partnership – a networking program that helps match new immigrants and recent graduates in Halifax with established business and community leaders. In both 2019 and 2022, Nick was named “Connector of the Year”. Nick holds a BA from Saint Mary’s University and an Advanced Diploma in HR from NSCC. He is also a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) candidate, having successfully passed the National Knowledge Exam. His perspective on recruitment and HR has been featured in various Canadian media outlets – including television/radio, online newsletters, and blogs.

Enkelejda Shytaj
Member

Enkelejda Shytaj
Member

Enkelejda Shytaj has volunteered throughout her career, pursuing her passion for community development and support.  She began volunteering at a Non-Governmental Organization, I Figli Dei Santi, where she worked closely with displaced and underprivileged children in Italy.

Today, she offers a deep understanding of the issues faced by those impacted by housing challenges and is committed to creating safe, affordable housing solutions. She serves on the Board of Directors at Adsum House in Halifax and works with the Nova Scotia Building Association. She has also supported community initiatives of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (“ISANS”).

At ISANS, she played an important role in the Afghanistan initiative, assisting in arriving 300 refugees to Canada. Also, as part of her doctoral work, she worked in Kosovo to support those displaced by the Bosnian War.

Raised in Florence, Italy, she has travelled extensively and speaks four languages (Italian, French, English, and Albanian). Enkelejda has a Bachelor’s Degree and PhD in International Development from the University of Siena.

Rodney Small
Member

Rodney Small

Rodney Small
Member

Rodney is a father, change-maker, community builder, mentor and community advocate. Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Rodney is a seventh-generation Indigenous African Nova Scotian who has consistently demonstrated his commitment to its people and communities, working hard to help ensure those individuals and communities thrive. Rodney believes in innovation and entrepreneurship as key tools for creating economic prosperity and sustainability from within. In his work as Executive Director and Job Success Coordinator at One North End, he leads co-designed programs to help young adults achieve their career goals. Rodney holds a Bachelor of Management (with Integrity) from Dalhousie University. He is a highly motivated leader with a passion for community economics development. Rodney is the subject of the short film “RDS vs. A Story of Race and Justice” on his journey to shake the stereotypes that followed him as an Indigenous African Nova Scotian teenager and how he won a landmark court case. Watch RDS vs. A Story of Race and Justice.

John Wills
Member

John Wills

John Wills Member

John Wills is president & owner of Spyder Design Build Inc., a design, development and construction management company with projects throughout Atlantic Canada. With over 30 years of experience working on a vast number of projects across Canada, John has a wealth of knowledge in land development, planning, design and construction. John has been the driving force behind capital projects for developers including Sobeys Inc. and Jimmy Pattison Group in Vancouver. Widely regarded for his commitment to the community, John has led support for numerous events and charity organizations. Most recently, John was the chair for three years for The Great Big Dig, a yearly fundraising event for the IWK. John and his wife Tricia live in Halifax and have three daughters.

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