Board of Directors

BRAD GLYNN, CHAIR
I am an educator experienced in providing leadership development and experiential learning opportunities to youth and youth adults.

The lack of reasonable public transit options in our city is a huge concern for me. Due to a variety of factors, we are locked into a car culture that causes congestion and is bad for the environment. I believe Happy City St. John’s can continue to highlight the need for and benefits of public transit by engaging citizens and local government on the issue.

I value a city that is accessible to everyone. Universal design principles are important to me, especially in a city with an ageing population. Finding ways to make homes, businesses, and community hubs more accessible is crucial to me. I also value community. Finding reasons and places for people to gather and celebrate life helps make every neighbourhood a more friendly place to live!


 

DEBBIE WISEMAN, VICE-CHAIR

bio to come


 

 

JULIA LAWLER, SECRETARY
My educational background focused on the relationship between the natural environment and social policy, but I am also passionate about public involvement, transparent use of evidence in public policy, and community capacity-building.

As a relatively new member of the St. John’s community, what has stood out to me is transportation and accessibility challenges in moving around this hilly city. I think Happy City can play a role in facilitating conversations and ensuring diverse perspectives are shared.

I value getting to know my neighbours and fellow city-dwellers, a transit system that can take me where I need to go, and places to gather that don’t require spending money (like libraries, parks and other green spaces).


 

WILLIAM SHORT, TREASURER

bio coming soon


 

JEN CROWE, PAST CHAIR
With a background in youth and community engagement, I am interested in how we create engaged and resilient communities where people feel connected and able to effect change.

I believe that the most pressing issue in this city is collaboration. Too often, citizens aren’t immersed in the decision making processes that affect them the most. When we feel that they have a say in how our city is developed, and how policies are implemented, we feel more connected to the place that they call home. Happy City enhances the way that citizens engage with their city – from consultations, to survey; summits to podcasts – Happy City St. John’s provides a vehicle for engagement and a way to have your say!

In my neighbourhood, I value accessibility. The ability to run down the street and be met with miles of trail, or walk down the road to a pond (or a couple kilometres and up Signal Hill), is a unique component of living in St. John’s. Ensuring that a city has a blend of nature/green space, access to amenities, and an affordable cost of living is what contributes to a strong and vibrant neighbourhood or city.


 

DR. DAVID BRAKE, DIRECTOR
I’m am an educator/academic, journalist and activist with a particular interest in promoting transit and electric vehicles.

I believe that the most pressing issue in St. John’s right now is making sure the public is aware of the benefits of current best practices in municipal policy across Canada and helping them keep the council on course to deliver any needed changes.

In my neighbourhood, I value community spirit, backed up by well-maintained social infrastructures like comfortable public spaces and well-maintained public services.


 

ELIZABETH OLIVER, DIRECTOR
I have a background in urban geography and long experience in urban issues, especially at the neighbourhood level.

St. John’s needs to determine a balance between outward growth and increasing density, along with providing appropriate mixes of uses in all areas. Happy City St. John’s can help by fostering dialogue and insisting on transparency.

In a neighbourhood or city, I value diversity of residents and neighbourhood-appropriate uses, coupled with attention to heritage and the environment.


 

CHELSEY PIKE, DIRECTOR
I have a background in engineering, business administration, and project coordination. I am interested in building stronger, healthier communities through vision, collaboration and action.

I believe that one of the most pressing issues facing St. John’s right now is effective engagement. The City supports hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in St. John’s but how many of them know how to engage with the City? And does the City really, effectively, engage with them? Happy City can, and does, play a key role in facilitating that communication as a trusted intermediary on civic issues and opportunities.

In a neighbourhood, I value those things that contribute to community wellbeing. Everything from naturalized space, to community events/activities; opportunities for learning, to accessibility through affordability. Anything that contributes to the health and happiness of neighbours and citizens I see as valuable to our neighbourhoods and city!


 

DR. AYSE SULE AKINTURK, DIRECTOR
I am a political scientist and economist with extensive experience working in for-profit and non-profit sectors and a passion for community volunteering to foster intercultural and interfaith learning.

Improving and sustaining the vibrancy of St. John’s requires, among others, welcoming and retaining newcomers, most of whom are from diverse backgrounds. Considering that we have the lowest ethnocultural and religious diversity indexes in Canada, this is not an easy undertaking. However, Happy City St. John’s can facilitate this process by promoting welcoming neighbourhoods and advocating for truly inclusive municipal policies, programs and investments that effectively serve the needs and expectations of diverse communities.

The value of a city lies in the equity with which it treats all of its residents without favouring certain privileged groups over minorities. This is best manifested in the success of its municipal leaders and organizations to make their structures, decision-making processes, policies, programs and investments truly accessible, accountable and inclusive.


 

OZGEN DEMIRKAPLAN, DIRECTOR
I am a doctoral candidate in neuroscience with a social-behavioural research background in socioeconomically and culturally diverse groups.

The lack of approachability of civil engagement is the primary pressing issue for me. I believe a city cannot truly become an engaged community until community involvement is accessible to any residents. Every resident should know how to efficiently engage with the City to feel involved with their community. Happy City St. John’s can help by providing operative, informing and reliable communication platforms to bring people together and let their voices be heard.

I value healthy communication, diversity in opinions and social connection in any community, either at a neighbourhood or city level. People need these to find ways to make each community more vibrant and welcoming for everyone.


 

ELIZABETH YEOMAN, DIRECTOR
I grew up near the border of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where the Acadian forest meets the wetlands and shores of Siknikt in Mi’kmaw territory. The mixed forests, salt marshes and enormous tides made it a rich natural environment. It was also culturally rich with Mi’kmaq, Black Maritime, French and English communities. This left me with a fascination for language, culture, history and the natural world.

I have lived and worked in St. John’s for the past thirty years and especially love our beautiful trails and parks. We can ski, swim, paddle, cycle, wheel and walk in natural surroundings without leaving the city. However, I am troubled that this is not accessible to everyone and that we do not have the basic right to safe access year round because of inadequate sidewalk snowclearing and extremely limited accessible trail and cycling infrastructure. This is a fundamental inequity in our city. At the same time, the single most important thing an individual can do to help mitigate climate change is to use active transportation. I am inspired by the ways other cities around the world are transforming their transportation infrastructure to enable people to be healthier, happier and more climate responsive. 

I have presented, published articles and produced radio and film documentaries about walking and access to the city in winter. I recently retired from the Faculty of Education at MUN and am enjoying having time to use my skills in facilitation, writing, and research to help build a better city.


 

 

 

Maryam Foroutan

Maryam is an international graduate student in the Department of Geography at Memorial University. Maryam’s research explores the housing experiences of newcomers and international students and the impact of COVID-19 on these experiences. She previously completed a master’s in Urban Design and a bachelor’s of Architecture in Iran with professional urban planning and community-based experiences. Maryam is interested in subjects of newcomers, migration, housing affordability and accessibility, sustainable and inclusive cities, urban change, and social and cultural dimensions of urban areas.