Growing a Vibrant Halifax
The Chamber has and will continue promote entrepreneurship, work to reduce the tax burden, champion common sense regulation and endorse the capitalization of major projects. Join our panel of experts to learn how we can optimize the economic, environmental, social and institutional sustainability of our beautiful city.
About our Panel:
Anne Da Silva
President- Nova Scotia Association of Realtors
Anne Da Silva is a Real Estate Broker based in Halifax, Nova Scotia but working with offices around the Province. During her 13-year career, Anne has served on the Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®, as a Regional Director twice, Chair of Professional Standards and members of the Executive Committee as Vice President and President-Elect. Additionally, she has had the honour of being named as a candidate for RBC Female Entrepreneur of the year three times. Anne is a proud mother of an amazing 20 year old daughter and has a great partner with whom she shares her life. Anne has had the privilege of being a volunteer competitive curling coach for almost 10 years and getting to work with great youth.
President & CEO, United Way Halifax
Sara Napier is President & CEO of United Way Halifax. With a 20-year career in community, education, and, the philanthropic sectors, Sara is recognized as a strategy leader in communications, marketing, project leadership, community development, mentorship, fundraising strategy, and media relations. Prior to joining United Way Halifax, Sara was Vice-President of Strategy and Marketing at the IWK Health Centre Foundation. She also previously worked with the Nova Scotia Community College in media and external relations, and for the Region of Queens Municipality in community economic development. Her current role with United Way Halifax brings all of her experiences and passions together in what she calls her ‘dream role’.
Sara is also a dedicated community volunteer. She has served on the National Brand Task Force for Children’s Hospital Foundations of Canada, on the Board of the Sobey Executive MBA Alumni Association, and most recently as a LORAN Scholar mentor and selection committee member. She was actively involved with Inner City Youth Club, and is a passionate supporter of Homebridge Youth Society. Sara was also a part-time faculty member at Mount Saint Vincent University, and is often invited to speak at professional and non-profit events, and student conferences. Sara is deeply committed to the mentorship of several young professionals in Halifax.
Sara holds a Masters of Business from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a Community Economic Development Certificate from Nova Scotia Community College. She has been awarded the Halifax Cornwallis Progress Women of Excellence Award, and an Innovation of the Year Award, from the League for Innovation in the International Community College Network.
President and CEO MetroWorks Employment Association
With over 35 years’ experience preparing, advancing, and expanding opportunities for persons facing persistent multiple barriers to employment Dave believes that workforce development opportunities afforded by social enterprises can prove to be a valuable catalyst for individual, community, regional and economic growth. Dave is a champion for social procurement and the integral role it can play in poverty reduction.
MetroWorks Employment Association is the parent organization for the multi-award winning social enterprise Stone Hearth Bakery. In 2017 Stone Hearth Bakery’s business model was validated when the won Gold in the Small Business of the Year Category and Silver in the Innovative Business of the Year at the Halifax Business Awards. In May the Bakery’s social model was validated when they were named a National Champion of Mental Health by the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health, and in October they will head to Toronto where their literacy and essential skills model will be validated when they receive a 2017 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award Honourable Mention.
Executive Director, Downtown Halifax Business Commission
Paul MacKinnon has been the Executive Director of Downtown Halifax Business Commission, which is the advocacy voice and promoter for 1600 businesses in the downtown, since 2002. He also serves as the President of Downtowns Atlantic Canada, is a past board member of the International Downtown Association (IDA), and is past-chair of IDACanada, an advocacy and research arm of IDA. In these positions, he has had the chance to become a leading expert on the important role downtowns play in the overall financial, historic, cultural health of cities around the world.
In the Chamber’s 2013-18 Strategic Plan, under the goal of “Create a Positive Business Environment”, was the subgoal, “Help Build a Vibrant Downtown Core”. Following decades of underdevelopment, Downtown has recently seen a surge in public and private investment, as the aspirations of HRM by Design, are coming to life. However, this brings construction challenges, disruption, conflicts over mobility and affordability, and other concerns about downtown’s future. What does a vibrant downtown mean? How do we measure it? What role do various groups play in this?
CEO & Chief Librarian for Halifax Public Libraries
In her role, she oversees 450 staff working across the 14 branch library system. Halifax Public Libraries recently received international acclaim with the opening of Halifax’s new Central Library, and continues to capture the attention of the community as they work to reach diverse populations and serve as a model of equality and respect. Prior to taking on the CEO role in November 2014, Åsa spent 16 years in senior administrative roles within universities, most recently serving 10 years as the Assistant Vice-President Enrolment Management & Registrar for Dalhousie University. During Åsa’s time at Dalhousie, she undertook critical transformations to improve the student experience, including revamping undergraduate scholarships and bursaries and improving front-line service.
Åsa volunteers her time with a number of community organizations, including serving as a Board Member and Chair of the Governance Committee of the United Way of Halifax, the Board of Halifax Dance and the Halifax Grammar School. She was recently named a Circle of Justice Champion by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.