Have a question, or need some help? Ask our Ambassadors, some of whom will be there for the day and others for the full conference. You can find them by the word ‘AMBASSADOR’ on their name tags.
Born and bred on a 5th generation farm in Morris Township, Paul Nichol has always appreciated life in rural Ontario. After obtaining his Bachelor of Agriculture and Masters of Rural Development degrees from the University of Guelph, Paul returned home to practice in his chosen field of community economic development.
Since 1993, Paul has managed Community Futures Huron, a private, not-for-profit economic development agency with a mandate to help entrepreneurs make their futures happen in Huron County. Over the span of the last 30 years, Community Futures Huron and its partners have been the recipients of 34 national, provincial and regional awards for their successes in growing the region’s economy. Community Futures Huron has also been a long-time sponsor of the Rural Talks to Rural series, stretching back to the 1st conference in 2016.
Jordan MacDonald is an active member of his community in Western Prince Edward Island. He is the Treasurer for the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity and is pleased to help out with R2R 2022. Professionally Jordan is the Executive Director of Develop West Prince, a non-profit regional development organization seeking to grow community well-being and economic opportunities for all residents. In this role he works to assist community organizations complete individual projects and regional initiatives.
Thish (she/her) hails from the traditional and unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx people (Kelowna, BC). She is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia studying Philosophy and Medical & Molecular Biochemistry, and a multi-disciplinary approach has influenced her outlook on problem-solving and collaboration. Passionate about connecting communities, she’s especially interested in the unique challenges that rural and remote communities face in the areas of social services and equitable healthcare. Thish has been overjoyed to take part in the planning of R2R this year as a newcomer to the work of the CCRC! In her spare time, she enjoys spending time on the Lower Arrow Lake and in the rural West Kootenays.
Casandra Bryant is a PhD student in Rural Studies in the School of Environmental Landscape and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. Her research interests include women-led rural social enterprise, the social economy, community development, and mental health and wellbeing issues among rural healthcare workers. Casandra is also the new Research Chair on the Rural Healthcare Workforce with Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health and has published two papers on COVID-related research on healthcare workers with this organization. Casandra works closely with the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, as the chair of the board and as the co-producer for R2R22. She herself is a budding social entrepreneur launching a social enterprise with community building elements called Changent Zero.
Seth is a freshly minted local business owner in Brussels, Ontario. Going back to R2R 2018, my tech background allowed me to help out with some of the technical side of the event, and now with the conference being in my own community I’m eager to spend some time focusing on rural excellence. I’ve made the choice to grow my life in a rural community, and this is a great place to see what we are capable of.
Municipality of Central HuronBorn and raised in Toronto, Alison is a mother of five, grandmother of six and a cash crop farmer. She has taught at Centralia College for 25 years, then was the Business Consultant for the County of Huron for 15 years. Alison has been a Municipal Councillor in Central Huron for 28 years, and is starting another term this fall. She has been a volunteer on numerous community organizations. Alison has worked with Peter Smith several times and always enjoys the R2R conferences. She is looking forward to R2R22!
Larissa Parekh is a second year Masters of Science student at the University of Guelph. Her studies in Capacity Development and Extension & International Development has strengthened her passion for community development work, especially within rural and remote regions. Her research interests include community leadership, climate change, international development and women in development. Growing up in a small town, her heart is close to home when it comes to the unique challenges that remote communities face. Larissa worked for CCRC as their Conference Coordinator over the summer, working closely with the organizing committee to create an unforgettable conference experience. Larissa’s commitment to community development and leadership is reflected in the numerous volunteer opportunities she’s been part of over the years, and she is excited for the passionate and engaged energy that will arise at the R2R22 conference!
Community Futures Huron