About Us

The Team

Kim Samuel

Kim Samuel

Founder, Chief Belonging Officer

Kim Samuel is an activist, educator, scholar, and leading voice in the global movement for belonging. She is the founder and chief belonging officer of the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness (SCSC), a “think-and-do tank” that partners with leading advocacy groups and research organizations to combat social isolation and build belonging around the world. Kim is currently a visiting research fellow at Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, and a visiting scholar at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). Kim is the author of On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation, an exploration of the crisis of social isolation and our birthright of belonging, published by Abrams Press in 2022.

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Julia Pinchuk

Research Coordinator

As the Research Coordinator at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, Julia is responsible for supporting the Centre’s innovative research in the area of belonging and managing research documentation and files. She also works on the Belonging Research Lab. Raised in international environments, she is fluent in German, in addition to her native French and English. She is passionate about human rights, social justice, ocean conservation, global politics, and writing. She strongly believes in the importance of intersectional approaches when addressing global issues, as well as the power of storytelling in connecting people across differences. She has a B.A. in International Development, Political Science, and German from McGill University.

Olivia Smith-Rodrigues

Program Manager

Olivia fosters a sense of belonging through program development and management at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness. She has supported various programs at the Centre and led the 2022 Social Connectedness Fellowship program. Her work focuses on movement building and community development. Coming from over two years as a community developer within the HIV/AIDS & harm reduction sector, Olivia is passionate about social isolation, societal marginalization and how we can create spaces of heartfelt belonging. She believes in working with community from the ‘ground up’ while prioritizing lived experience, and storytelling. She has a B.A. in Social Justice & Peace Studies, and Political Science from King’s University College at Western University, both of which inform her interdisciplinary approach to social justice and social connectedness.

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Rebecca MacLeod (she/her)

Symposium Team

Rebecca is a contributor to the 2022 Global Symposium Coordination Team. As the founder of her own organization, New Grocery Movement, and co-founder of another international non-profit, The ReFood Network, she is extremely passionate about restructuring our food systems to address inequities, build sustainability and encourage inclusion in our food system solutions. She also currently works with the Agriculture and Agri-Food Department of Canada as a Policy Analyst on the Climate Change Mitigation team. Carrying this background in government policy and the non-profit sector into her work at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, Rebecca is committed to exploring and illuminating how food and farming intersects with community-building. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and International Development from McGill University.