Our Board of Directors

We are committed to living our values every day.

Our board members bring a wonderful mix of skills, experience and ideas to LakeCity Works. We are continuously seeking to complement the group with new perspectives that challenge and expand our ability to advance our goals. We are committed to the vision of “Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives” and believe LakeCity Works has the people, heart and smarts to make it happen.
— Donna Rubenstein, Board Chair

Liam O’Rourke, Executive Director

Since starting at LakeCity Works in 2017, Liam has built on the rich history and reputation of the organization's flagship social enterprise LakeCity Woodworker by expanding their work into a number of new ventures. A Nova Scotian who returned home to take this position, Liam brings with him a wealth of social enterprise experience from his work in Montreal, where he launched an innovative production house (providing creative employment opportunities to individuals on the autism spectrum). Liam’s likes are good food, Italian steel bikes and his family. His dislikes are waiting and red tape.

Donna Rubenstein, Chair

Donna brings 25 years of Canadian and international leadership experience in business and not-for-profit management. She has volunteered with several causes including Amistad Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Futurpreneur, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Friends of Banff. Donna believes we can achieve extraordinary outcomes by connecting people and passion with strategic focus – all of which LakeCity Works has tons of. She sees tremendous opportunity for LakeCity Works to make an impactful difference in the Nova Scotia community: empowering clients and staff to be themselves and thrive while also forming creative, high-impact partnerships with both the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Jennifer Ashton, Vice-Chair

Jennifer Ashton is a communications professional – she graduated from St. Francis Xavier University and the University of Toronto and holds a Saint Michael's College Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility. She currently works with the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and consults with non-profits to help them reach their full potential by effectively communicating their mission and the communities they support. Jennifer also works with private sector clients to enhance their communication and social responsibility efforts, helping them align corporate values with community investment strategies. A dedicated volunteer, Jennifer is also a Board Member of the YWCA of Halifax and has served as President of the Junior League of Halifax, an organization of women committed to voluntarism and improving the lives of women and children. Jennifer loves spending time at LakeCity Works, interacting with staff and clients and hearing about their great work.  

Agneta Mwende, Treasurer

Agneta is well versed in various aspects of investment finance and accounting, having played key leadership roles in the financial services industry. Her experience encompasses audit work and due diligence for investors in hedge funds and private equity industry. She has worked with firms in Kenya, Cayman Islands and Canada. Agneta is a CFA charter holder and a Certified Public Accountant.

Cristina Firmini, Secretary

Cristina joined the LakeCity Works Board in 2018, and currently practices law as in-house legal counsel with Halifax-based I.M.P. Group Limited. She also acts as I.M.P.’s chief privacy officer. As a native of Bedford, Cristina received her Bachelor degree from Saint Mary’s University and a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Cristina has previously worked with local tutoring and sport team programs, and currently volunteers with the Canadian Bar Society’s local Corporate Counsel Association. Cristina is happy to be a part of LakeCity Works, and to contribute to the positive impact the organization continuously has on our local community.   

Lori Smith, Member at Large

Lori Smith leads the team of professionals responsible for RBC’s community marketing, internal and external communications and corporate citizenship across the Atlantic Provinces.  A strong believer in community, Lori has given her time and expertise to a number of local charities and causes, including Canadian Red Cross, Ski NS, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halifax. She currently sits on the boards of LakeCity Works and Children’s Wish.

Jean Llewellyn, Member at Large

Jean, a former teacher and administrator, retired from the school system in 2003. Following her retirement, she worked as a consultant for Curriculum Services Canada and as a supervisor for Halifax Regional School Board. Having grown up in Dartmouth, it is not surprising that Jean was a supporter of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum and chaired that board for many years, in addition to serving as a director. Jean joined the LakeCity Works Board in 2015, hoping her committee experiences and background can be an asset to the organization.

Katelyn Whittaker, Member at Large

A board member since 2017, Katelyn is passionate about giving back to the community and supporting those affected by mental illness. Aside from her work with LakeCity, Katelyn holds a degree in Nutrition, is a certified yoga teacher and a mom to two young boys. 

Amy MacKay, Member at Large

Amy is the Project and Relationship Manager with the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health, the Research Chair at Dalhousie University behind TeenMentalHealth.org. She is passionate about seeing better outcomes for youth in our communities, particularly in the area of mental health and mental illness. With a MA in Public Administration and a BA in Political Science, she believes change comes from community engagement and thinking outside of the box. She has been an avid volunteer since starting at the age of 14 as a candy striper at the Dartmouth General Hospital. Amy is a second-generation Board member: her mother Jane was a long-serving member.

Lori Rogers, Member at Large

Lori earned a Philosophy Degree from Dalhousie University, and more than a decade later graduated from NSCC Carpentry. She spent four years working on staff at LakeCity Woodworkers before moving on to the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, where she is Program Lead for Building Futures for Youth. Now she focuses on connecting youth across the province with opportunities to explore careers in trades. She also volunteers heavily with Techsploration, an organization that empowers young women to explore “non-traditional” careers. The exciting growth that has been happening at LakeCity Works is something in which Lori wanted to be involved: she joined the LakeCity Board in 2018, less than a year after resigning from her staff position.

Jim Simmons, Member at Large

Jim Simmons is a professional engineer and Fellow of Engineers Canada (FEC) who provides consulting services to the recycling industry in Nova Scotia. He worked as an environmental professional for 37 years practicing in areas of scrap tire recycling, community sustainable development, renewable energy, water resource engineering and environmental investigations. Jim studied at Dalhousie University obtaining a science degree in Biology and the Technical University of Nova Scotia where he earned a degree in Agricultural Engineering.

Robert Chisholm, Member at Large

Robert Chisholm is a coach and consultant providing support to leaders and leadership teams through his firm, Simon Chisholm Consulting. He is a passionate advocate for social justice and works to build fairer, stronger and more equal communities. Robert has spent much of his career as an elected official and trade unionist. He has been involved in the community as a volunteer with the Prior Learning Centre, Dalhousie University, United Way Halifax and is currently a Board member of The Public Good Society Dartmouth and volunteers with the grief support group at the IWK. Robert is thrilled and proud to be engaged with the wonderful clients, staff and Board members at Lake City Works.