2019 Candidates | Board of Directors

At our 2019 Annual General Meeting, the Happy City community will elect eight (8) new Directors for the Board of Directors. We are very excited that ten (10) members have put their names forward to run as candidates!

If you are a member of Happy City St. John’s, you are welcome to vote for our new Directors at our Annual General Meeting. Who’s a member, you ask? To keep things as accessible as possible, anyone who is on our mailing list is considered a member and has the right to vote at our AGM! You can sign up for our mailing list on our website.

You can find bios for each of the candidates below! Please review and consider who you will elect if attending our AGM this Thursday, October 10. Thanks again to everyone who put your names forward! 

Candidate Bios


Ayse is a resident by choice of St. John’s; a city she calls home away from home. She has a strong passion for making the city a more inclusive place where people from diverse backgrounds can live happily and fulfil their potential. As a mother, she also considers a personal moral responsibility towards future generations. Other than her native language, she is fluent in both English and French. Ayse holds a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University and has 10+ years of working experience in my native country. However, in Canada, her work experience is limited to only a few years of university employment as a teaching assistant at Carleton University and then as a post-doc fellow at MUN. After she moved to St. John’s, Ayse focused on community volunteering. She is an executive member of the Muslim Association of NL, a council member of St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership and a community partner of Addressing Islamophobia in NL. With her lived experience as a visible minority woman resident and as a community volunteer, Ayse would be a good fit for Happy City St. John’s Board of Directors. 


David is a journalist, science educator and activist who settled in downtown St John’s in 2016 after living in London, UK and in Toronto and set about sharing what he has learned to make it a happier city. His main outlet for this has been heading the Essential Transit Association which lobbies for better transit in the NE Avalon area. In David’s first term as a board member, he was proud to have helped build a relationship with The Overcast (RIP!) to bring information about under-explored municipal issues to a wider audience and to help in the revamping of the organization’s website. With his background in media and my passion for urban issues and policy, he looks forward to continuing to support one of the most important non-profit organizations in St John’s. 


Jen has a background in community & youth engagement and is interested in how we create engaged and resilient communities where people feel connected and able to effect change. Jen works in leadership development at Memorial University and has a background in public policy and local governance. Jen has been on the Happy City board for two years and has held the role of vice-chair for the past year. During her term, she co-founded Happy City Radio (a podcast on municipal issues in St. John’s), led a by-law review to update Happy City’s policies and procedures, helped coordinate the annual neighbourhood summit, and most recently helped facilitate a series of neighborhood forums on engaging newcomers & building welcoming and inclusive neighborhoods.


Grant is the senior architect of Fresh Fruit Architecture, where he is responsible for overall operations, architecture & engineering design, review of contract and specifications, client support and communications, general administration and management. Grant has detailed experience in 250 housing projects, 55 commercial projects, 45 installations and travelling shows. He is an active member of Historic Trust NL, Canadian Home Builders Association, Universal Design Network NL, Atlantic Green Forum and Landscape NL, Communities in Bloom, Member of National Council of Architectural Registration Board USA, Past Member Florida Board of Architects, Newfoundland & Labrador Association of Architects and the American Institute of Architects. Grant’s life and work are very integrated and have always been based on the collaborative effort. Many different people possessing many different sets of skills resulting in remarkable achievements. There is something special about moving forward with a target result in mind, but having multiple viewpoints along the way. The result is inclusion in its fullest capacity, a collaboration of creative minds. Grant has served on the Happy City St. John’s board for 4 years. He has contributed to neighbourhood initiatives, Janes Walks, and he constantly reminds everyone that our political arena is always influenced by our physical environment, the geometry that surrounds us. 


Brad is a dad, a husband, and an educator who has spent over 10 years trying to find ways to increase engagement in youth through experiential learning opportunities. He has taught from Kindergarten to Gr. 12 in that time and a passion for creating engaged youth. Brad has facilitated his school’s Social Justice Committee, trying to help students understand the importance of focusing on local issues. In an administrative role, he also helped develop a service program that sees all High School students volunteer weekly at community centres, the Gathering Place, and with local seniors. The most valuable learning experience he has had is creating a unit for Gr. 1’s that focused on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and culminated with a field trip to First Light Childcare to listen and learn about Indigenous traditions and culture. He has a passion for building community through relationships and authentic learning experiences. Brad’s experience in working with youth would help Happy City St. John’s to look at different ways to motivate the youth and young adults of St. John’s to become active communities who seek to change our city for the better. 


Julia Lawler is the Stewardship Coordinator for Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) in Newfoundland and Labrador. Originally from southern Ontario, Julia arrived in NL in 2016 with a background in environmental studies and science from the University of Waterloo and the University of Winnipeg. Around town, Julia enjoys volunteering for the St. John’s Tool Library and Nature NL’s Nature Nook program at The Rooms, and in her spare time you’ll find Julia out on the East Coast Trail or by a fire on the beach. Joining the NCC team has been an inspiring way for Julia to pursue her love of nature while learning more about her new home in Newfoundland and Labrador. Julia is passionate about public involvement, transparent use of evidence in public policy, and community capacity-building and would be excited to bring her experience to the Happy City St. John’s board.


St. John’s is at a critical point in its history. The city and its citizens need to determine a balance between outward growth and increasing density, along with providing appropriate mixes of uses in all areas. In both neighbourhoods and city, there needs to be a diversity of residents and neighbourhood-appropriate uses, coupled with attention to heritage and the environment. Happy City can help by fostering dialogue and insisting on transparency. Running for my last term, Elizabeth brings to the Board much hands-on experience in urban issues, especially at the neighbourhood level, while her previous four terms on the Board provide valuable institutional memory. Formal credentials include a masters in urban geography.


Chelsey is a life-long townie passionate about the future of our City and fostering a sense of local community within our city’s neighbourhoods. Through engagement and feedback, she believes we can build stronger, healthier communities that better serve the people that live in them. With a background in engineering, Chelsey brings an analytical perspective to the table, and, as the initiator of the Kenmount Terrace Community Garden, enthusiasm for community development. Chelsey believes she is a good fit for this role because she cares about the future of our City and the wellness of the people that live here. 


Simon is finishing a degree in History and Anthropology at MUN, where he studies inequality and how power and culture relate. He believes that the way we build, regulate, and experience our community is always entangled with how power is distributed and that a more inclusive built environment makes for a fairer society. He is proud of experience with his historical research and contemporary analysis, and hopes both would serve him well if elected to the board. He is a lifelong townie. He knows our city has growth and change in its future, and it is imperative that both processes are informed by a social and environmental conscience. Influencing the development of the city is our most direct way of reducing inequality and emissions. In high school and early university, he was very involved in organised debate. He has since been involved in the last Municipal election as well as the recent provincial election.


William is an entrepreneur and business graduate currently working on the field of Non-Profit Management, with Scouts Canada. At just 14-years-old, he had launched a registered Canadian charity which began to form his extensive background in marketing, sales, and business development. An MBA Candidate at Memorial University, William expects to complete the program in 2021, opening up a whole new world of opportunities.