Staff Biographies

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Photo of CCEDNet staff on a Zoom meeting

Administrative Office (Victoriaville, QC)

Manitoba Office (Winnipeg, MB)


National Engagement Office (Toronto, ON)

Mike Toye

Executive DirectorMike Toye

"It is at the community level where the failures of fragmented development approaches are most keenly felt. Community economic development integrates social, economic and environmental concerns into inclusive strategies which are not only more effective and sustainable, but improve the well-being of all citizens. CCEDNet is an inspiring and rapidly growing movement of people who recognize this reality, and are committed to a healthy, vibrant and more just future."

Michael Toye became Executive Director of CCEDNet in August of 2008, bringing a deep background in community economic development (CED) to the Director's chair. Upon earning his Master of Social Work at McGill, Michael helped set up two worker co-operatives that provide research, consulting and training services related to CED and the social economy.

Michael's involvement with CCEDNet dates back to 2000 when he helped organize CCEDNet's National Policy Forum while serving as a coordinator with the Coopérative de consultation en développement La Clé. In 2003 he joined CCEDNet officially as Community Learning Program Director.

As CCEDNet's program director from 2003 to 2006, Michael coordinated a 3-year action-research project exploring the links between social inclusion and CED. In addition, he led the coordination of CCEDNet's annual national conferences, which attract hundreds of CED experts and practitioners from across the country each year.  Subsequently, Michael deepened his knowledge of Canadian social policy and parliamentary process by serving as a policy analyst at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, while teaching courses on CED and social enterprise at Concordia University.

Michael has written a number of articles and other publications on CED and the social economy, including co-editing the book, Community Economic Development: Building for Social Change.

Contact Mike:
(819) 795-3056 ext 222  |  mtoye at


Guylaine Simard

Director of FinanceGuylaine Simard

Guylaine has 15 years experience in financial management and administration in the non-profit and private sectors. She has worked in women’s organizations in Montréal, in accounting firms and as an independent consultant in the Beauce and Centre-du-Québec regions of southern Québec.

She has been active on the Board and as a volunteer with several community organizations, including cooperant placements in Africa and Latin America with Canadian Crossroads International and Oxfam-Québec.

Contact Guylaine:
(819) 795-3056 ext 223  |  gsimard at


Melissa Lessard

Melissa LessardAdministrative Coordinator

Melissa joined the CCEDNet team in December 2014. She is a graduate from Cégep de Drummondville and has been working in accounting in the private sector for 9 years within the Centre-du-Québec.  Melissa has also worked in construction and as an independent consultant.

Being part of the Canadian CED network is important for Melissa. She is inspired by and proud to be working with people who are helping to create a positive future through improving the social and economic welfare of communities across Canada.

Contact Melissa:
(819) 795-3056 ext 0  |  m.lessard at


Raissa Marks

Policy & Research Director

Raissa Marks comes to CCEDNet from the environmental NGO sector, with a belief that CED is crucial in addressing the underlying political & economic structures that lead to environmental degradation and social injustice. 

Raissa grew up in rural Albert County, New Brunswick, and graduated from Petitcodiac Regional High School.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment from McGill University in Montreal, and a Master of Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto, where she specialized in community building, citizen engagement, and education for sustainability.  Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, a communications network that links together over 100 non-profit environmental groups in New Brunswick. 

Skilled in facilitation and consensus-building, Raissa thrives on the unique challenge that comes from guiding people from diverse sectors and backgrounds to work together to achieve common goals.

Contact Raissa:
(514) 461-1487  |  r.marks at


Sarah Leeson-Klym

Regional Networks DirectorSarah Leeson-Klym

Sarah believes that communities are the experts of their lived experience and that CED provides great approaches for them to develop creative and grounded solutions to the biggest challenges we collectively face. She first obtained an Arts and Cultural Management certificate from MacEwan University, then worked and volunteered in a range of capacity building programs before graduating with a BA (Honours) degree in Social Justice Theory and Practice from the University of Winnipeg in 2012.

Starting in 2011, her previous position as Learning and Engagement Coordinator focused on engaging CCEDNet’s Manitoba members, creating learning programs, coordinating The Manitoba Gathering, and the Enterprising Non-Profits program for social enterprise development. Sarah is active in her neighbourhood as a board member of the Daniel McIntyre St. Matthews Community Association. She is also a dedicated board member of the growing Rainbow Trout Music Festival and a regular volunteer for the LITE Wild Blueberry Pancake Breakfast.

Contact Sarah:
(204) 943-0547 ext 202  |  sleesonklym at


Darcy Penner

Manitoba Network Manager

Darcy has been working in and around CED since 2013, when he joined CCEDNet – Manitoba as the Research Policy Coordinator. Since then he held the roles of both Social Enterprise Policy Program Coordinator and Policy Manager. This included project managing the Manitoba Social Enterprise Strategy (2015 – 2018), a partnership with the Government of Manitoba that invested $675,000 in ecosystem development for social enterprises who hire and train individuals facing barriers to employment.

In 2018 Darcy left CCEDNet to take a role with Assiniboine Credit Union as a Continuous Improvement Analyst, driving process improvement and Operations Excellence, ensuring business activities are properly aligned with strategic goals and supporting an empowered, change-oriented workplace culture.

In 2020 Darcy returned to CCEDNet as the Manitoba Network Manager. In this role he will be able to use his experience with project management, public policy, facilitation, program management and strategy to support the delivery of CCEDNet’s strategic plan.

Darcy volunteers on the Board of Directors for Main Street Project and is the former Board Chair for the Jubilee Fund.

Contact Darcy:
(204) 943-0547 ext 201 |  darcy at


Michael Barkman 

Manitoba Public Policy CoordinatorMichael Barkman

Michael is a life-long Winnipegger, based in Treaty 1 Territory. Michael cares deeply about social, economic, and environmental justice, and believes in collective movements and solutions rooted in the knowledge of local communities. At CCEDNet, Michael’s role focuses on membership policy resolution, and taking action to advocate to the provincial and local government for positive policy change. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Winnipeg and is the current Chair for the Make Poverty History Manitoba coalition.

He has participated and collaborated on numerous community events and actions for public education, anti-poverty and economic justice, LGBTTQ* rights, and the environment. He served previously as the Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students - Manitoba, and the Interim Executive Director of the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, working on wide-ranging policy areas in public policy, human rights, and community development. In his spare time, he is an improviser, sometimes combining his love of the arts with social justice initiatives.

Contact Michael:
(204) 943-0547 ext 203  |  m.barkman at


Geoff Ripat

Spark Program ManagerGeoff Ripat

Geoff is a graduate of the Master of Social Work program at the University of Manitoba, where he did a thesis on the community kitchen movement. Prior to joining the CCEDNet team he worked for 5 years in Bolivia as a cooperant with CUSO International, strengthening the capacity of a large non-profit and their projects with children and families. Geoff has worked and volunteered in community development and CED initiatives in Winnipeg for almost 15 years, and is excited to continue to contribute to their successes, and engage others in doing the same.

Contact Geoff:
(204) 837-7275 (or 83-SPARK)  |  geoffspark at


Lindsey McBain

Spark Recruitment Co-ordinatorLindsey McBain

"We need to work toward more sustainable livelihoods through greater engagement with our neighborhoods and our democracy."

Lindsey McBain is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and has worked in both local and international development. His work in CED has re-rooted him in his own city, connecting him to people and ideas that bring inspiration and determination to the work of CED. He contends that CED's emphasis on capacity building and participation offer a solid proposition for the long-term stability of struggling communities.

Contact Lindsey:
(204) 837-7275 (or 83-SPARK)  |  lmcbain at


Genevieve Dack-Tittley

Spark Recruitment Co-ordinatorLindsey McBain

After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a BA (Honours) in Political Studies, Genevieve has worked in various arts and education based programs both locally and internationally. It was the love of this programming that led her to return to school to earn her certificate in Community Development/Community Economic Development at Red River College.  She is excited to now be part of the CCCEDNet team.

In her spare time Genevieve is an active volunteer in her community. She currently sits on the boards of both One Trunk Theater and Friends of Sherbrook Pool. 

Contact Gen:
(204) 837-7275 (or 83-SPARK)  |  genspark at


Adriana Zylinski

Network Engagement Lead

Adriana joined CCEDNet in September 2019 as the Network Engagement Lead.  She has 10+ years of experience working in the non-profit and co-operative sector within membership development and program evaluation, translating value driven organizational goals into solutions-based programming and engaging community events. She is dedicated to continuous learning about developments impacting community health and targeted strategies that increase value.

Photography is her secret weapon to witness the balance that’s needed for our collective sustainability.  This is the place from which her enthusiasm for planet and people emanates.

Contact Adriana:
(416) 760-2577  |  a.zylinski at


Ben Losman

National Communications Coordinator

Ben is a communications specialist, strategist, and facilitator who has worked with nonprofits around the world for more than a decade. Early in his career, this work took him to India, where he spent several years exploring the connection between youth-led social entrepreneurship and peace building initiatives. Questions about his own whiteness and the role of colonialism in the global social entrepreneurship “scene” led him to complete a masters in social justice education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. 

Today, Ben’s work and activism is grounded in the principles of transnational solidarity, anti-colonialism, and anti-oppression. Outside of CCEDNet, Ben facilitates a transformative education program for men convicted of domestic violence charges. 

Ben thinks a lot about stories and the power they have to build thriving, equitable communities. He is thrilled to be part of CCEDNet.

Contact Ben:
(416) 760-2578 |  b.losman at


Hannah Atkinson Renglich

Hannah RenglichDirector of Learning

Hannah grew up on Dish With One Spoon wampum treaty territory, born to anglophone Montrealers of British and Polish-Jewish descent. An aspiring accomplice working on the stolen land of Turtle Island, Hannah enjoys working with groups engaged in resilience, empowerment, and community-sufficiency processes. As a creative and strategic facilitator, she loves co-creating containers for connections to be forged, and holding space for individual, community, and systems transformation.

Hannah has worked as a network weaver and learning partner in community and co-operative development, cross-cultural dialogue, food systems, and multiple movements for peace and justice. Hannah animated the Ontario-wide Network of Local Food and Farm Co-ops in its emergence, following which she supported youth-driven and Indigenous-led conversations, envisioning possible Canadas from coast to coast to coast, and problematizing reconciliation with the 4Rs Youth Movement

Contact Hannah:
(416) 760-2554  |  h.renglich at


Matthew Thompson

Director of Engagement

"I work in CED because it realizes that healthy communities are those that are economically, ecologically, and socially vibrant and that everyone has important contributions to make in building this kind of society."

Matthew holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of New Brunswick's Renaissance College, where he studied leadership skills and public policy. His volunteer and work life has carried him to Jamaica, Italy, and France in diverse capacities from organic farming to building community with people with developmental disabilities to community organizing.

Matthew has been working with the Canadian CED Network since 2007 in various capacities particularly in the areas of research and knowledge mobilization, event organizing, and the coordination of the national internship program, CreateAction. Matthew also co-authored Assembling Understandings: Findings from the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships, 2005-2011 a thematic summary of close to 400 research products on the Social Economy in Canada.

Contact Matthew:
(416) 760-2579  | mthompson at


Andri Mulia

Program and Engagement ManagerAndri Mluia

Andri brings more than twelve years of experience in economic development in various program management positions. His works include areas such as community development, women empowerment, private sector participation in economic development, sustainable trade, environmental resilience, and sustainable agriculture development. Recently, Andri was managing a project that strengthens cooperative as a viable business model for small aquaculture farmers and their communities. Andri believes that participatory/collective approach, grounded in gender equality, is a powerful process that connects people with shared concerns, generates ideas and innovations, toward common goals and better lives.

Andri holds a master’s degree in Development Practice from the University of Queensland, Australia, and BSc in Regional and City Planning from the Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia.

Contact Andri:
(613) 565-7437 ext 6711  |  a.mulia at


Alexandre Applin

Impact Learning LeadAlexandre Applin

Alexandre is particularly interested in socioeconomic development as a means to design sustainable communities reflecting local aspirations and needs of its members.

For more than 10 years, Alexandre has worked for international NGOs, multilateral organizations and community-based organizations on both international and national projects. He has gained extensive expertise in the design of evaluation systems and in the development of impactful methodologies and tools. Alexandre also has strong competencies in knowledge management and organizational capacity building.

Alexandre holds a Master in International Studies from University of Montreal and a Certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Programs from l’École Nationale d’Administration Publique (ENAP).

Contact Alexandre:
(613) 565-7437  |  a.applin at​