The Team - Samuel Centre For Social Connectedness — Samuel Centre For Social Connectedness
About Us

The Team

Kim Samuel

Kim Samuel

Founder, Chief Belonging Officer

Kim Samuel is a social activist and educator. She is the Founder and Chief Belonging Officer of the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness. She has lectured at institutions including Oxford, Harvard, and Vancouver Island University, and during her time as a Professor of Practice at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, she developed and taught a course addressing social isolation and social connectedness through the dual lens of program and policy development. Kim is currently serving as the first-ever Fulbright Canada Ambassador for Diversity and Social Connectedness. She was also recently named a visiting scholar at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford. She has organized three Global Symposia on Social Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness, with a fourth currently slated for Fall 2022. Her book “On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation” was published with Abrams Press in September 2022.

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Holly Norris

Acting Executive Director

Holly believes in the power of connection to foster transformative social change. As the Acting Executive Director at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, she is responsible for strategic planning, organizational development, program design, partnership building and the overall well-being of the Centre. Holly joins the Centre with over six years of experience in project management and advocacy for international and grassroots organizations working at different intersections of justice and inclusion. Holly’s areas of interest and expertise include gender justice and decolonization in humanitarianism. She brings an intersectional and anti-oppressive approach to her work that builds on experiences working with diverse communities in Canada and internationally in Eastern and Southern Africa, including youth and women’s networks, disability activists, and humanitarian responders. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Development and Economics from McGill University and a graduate degree in International Affairs from Carleton University.

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Jeanne-Armelle Uwiringiyimana

Common Threads Coordinator

Jeanne-Armelle is passionate about community building and creating space for everyone to feel that they belong. She leads the Common Threads program at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness which aims to build awareness and create a positive narrative around forced migration through research, storytelling and outreach. Her main areas of interest are forced migrants’ rights, global health and research in Life Sciences and Psychology. She graduated from McGill University with a B.Sc. in multidisciplinary Life Sciences with a minor in Psychology.

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Jennifer Foulds

Communications Manager

Jennifer believes in the power of storytelling and communications to support belonging and social connectedness. She brings more than 15 years of experience in creating and executing communications strategies for non-profit organizations to her role at the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness. She previously worked in the environmental, mental health and international development sectors. Jennifer started her career as a journalist working for CBC Radio. She has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University.

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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.

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Rhea Carlisle (she/her)

Administrative Coordinator

As the Administrative Coordinator for the Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness, Rhea provides administrative support for its various programs, operations, and strategic initiatives while also working as a member of the 2022 Global Symposium Coordination Team. Rhea is passionate about creating a framework for sustainable urban planning that incorporates belonging with the aim of designing compassionate cities. She is interested in exploring how the provision of appropriate infrastructure and informed community consultation can allow for the Right to Belong to become an integral part of the urban fabric. She graduated from McGill University with a B.A. in International Development Studies and History.

“This team operates in a spirit of empowerment and compassion.”

Kim Samuel, Founder and Chief Belonging Officer