Staff Team

The GEO Nova Scotia Staff Team is dedicated to Digital Inclusion for all Nova Scotians, achieved by delivering outstanding programs with community partners that ensure everyone has what they need to be online.

Othell Downey (he/him), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Othell is new to the nonprofit world, joining GEO Nova Scotia following a career in customer service and Information Technology.

He always tries his best to be involved with youth in his community, working with leadership programs and after school activities like music production, mentorship, and other life skills.

Othell lives in Dartmouth with his girlfriend and their son who he loves spending time with and teaching him what it means to lead a fun and fulfilling life.

Brenda Lavandier (she/her), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Brenda grew up in Cape Breton and has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, helping people to meet their needs and achieve their goals in many capacities.

In this role with GEO, Brenda expects to continue helping people in meaningful ways that will have a positive impact in their lives and within their community.

In her downtime, Brenda can be found with family and friends, gardening, reading, or sitting on her sunny summer front step chatting with neighbors.

Tyler Johnson (he/him), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Tyler grew up in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia where he currently resides. Tyler’s passion for technology led him to pursue an IT Web Programming diploma at NSCC Marconi Campus, where he excelled and graduated with honours. Building on his success, he then enrolled at Dalhousie University in Halifax, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Applied Computer Science. With only one year of courses remaining, Tyler decided to take a break from full-time studies to gain practical work experience.

Outside of work, Tyler likes to live an active lifestyle, play video games, and stay up-to-date with new developments in technology. He also works on improving his own software development skills when he has the spare time.

Kamalpreet Kaur (she/her), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Kamalpreet (Kamal) is originally from India and moved to Canada as an international student a few years ago. She has a background in the STEM field and is passionate about understanding the Universe and life. Kamal is experienced in teaching, coaching, community engagement and data analytics. She thrives in innovative work environments and loves problem solving.

Kamal wants to use her problem-solving skills to tackle current environmental and societal problems. She believes that digital inclusion is a necessity to empower people in the rapidly changing world of AI and technological advancement, especially those who have been historically excluded due to socio-economic barriers.

Kamal spends her free time reading, writing, pondering over the mysteries of the Universe and enjoying the natural beauty of Halifax.

Cameron Roach (they/them), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Cameron settled near New Glasgow in 2021, joining GEO Nova Scotia as part of a career in technology education and nonprofit work.

They are excited to continue giving back to the community that’s been so welcoming, and to help connect people with one another. Cameron has a background in STEM (please feel free to ask them about combinatorics!) and an enduring love of board games.

After work, Cameron can be found reading, cooking, and trying to negotiate with the rambunctious beagle that’s taken over their living room.

Tyra MacInnis (she/her), Digital Inclusion Facilitator

Tyra grew up in various parts of rural Nova Scotia, so the need to “get everyone online” and connected is something she understands and is passionate about.

Tyra has a wide array of experience to share from her career in the justice system, customer service roles, and various volunteer positions with mental health and addictions in her community. She always tries her best to listen with an open heart and open mind to make sure she is able to best help anyone who is in need, in the most accessible way possible.

When Tyra isn’t at work, she loves traveling and hiking with her husband & miniature American shepherd Reba, and checking out local folk and rock music artists. 

Ian Scarisbrick (he/him), Systems Lead

Ian strongly believes in the importance of digital inclusion, joining GEO Nova Scotia in July following experience managing a digital literacy program in Cape Breton.

Ian came to Canada in 2008 and likes to joke that he was “brought here as a souvenir from his wife’s travels in the UK”. He spent twelve years as a project manager in the event management industry before entering the non-profit sector in 2021.

Ian lives in Guysborough with his wife, their four children, two cats, and a dog. After two years in Nova Scotia, he can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Josie Lake (she/her), Digital Champions Lead

Josie’s passion for helping others is what drives her. She has had vast experiences sharing her love and zest for life with people she meets throughout this journey of life.

She worked in various roles in education, Information Technology, and administration and enjoys helping to find ways to grow and develop organizations our communities need. Josie attended the Computer Information Systems and Technology program at NSCC. Josie recently completed her certificate in Adult Learning Fundamentals from Dalhousie University.  

Outside of work, she can be found traveling with her partner on their motorcycles.

Laurel Taylor (she/her), Administrative Lead

Laurel began her career as a Computer Programmer before attaining her accreditation as a Certified Career Development Practitioner. She has held various community support roles including Provincial Team Lead of CMHA-NS Project HOPE.

She is a tireless advocate for full inclusion for all Nova Scotians and is currently the Chair of her town’s Inclusion and Accessibility Committee. Her philosophy encompasses a belief we all have multiple abilities and strengths. 

Laurel lives in the beautiful Annapolis Valley with her husband and is the proud parent of 2 adult children.

Cari Patterson (sher/her), Evaluation and Learning Lead

Cari is passionate about learning, and loves sharing the journey with communities who are working for social justice.

Her thinking is largely shaped by the Big Sky of the Prairies, where she grew up, and has to return regularly to be filled by the strength of the space.

Danielle Pentland (she/her), Director of Programming

Danielle Pentland is a social entrepreneur whose unique mix of private and community sector experiences have led her into leadership roles, creating innovative solutions to complex social challenges.

She is a strategic thinker, a relationship builder, and a creative problem-solver. Danielle is adept at leveraging these skills to create the conditions which grow resilience in people and communities.

Danielle loves living in Downtown Dartmouth where she can be found most often in the garden or walking the trails with a friend.

Matt Spurway (he/him), Executive Director

Bringing different perspectives and experiences together to tackle complex social challenges is Matt’s passion, with prior Collective Impact experience in areas such as Affordable Housing, Education, Access to Healthcare, and Food Security. 

Matt loves leading a diverse and talented team that is growing GEO Nova Scotia into a major force for digital inclusion across the province. He also sits on the Boards of the Public Good Society of Dartmouth, and the Farrell Benevolent Society.

Matt lives in Dartmouth with his wife Amy, their three children, and assorted flora and fauna.

Michael Sime (he/him), Fractional Sr. Finance Lead

Michael grew up in Halifax, where he quickly gained a strong appreciation for the outdoors and for bringing people together. After getting B.Comm from Dalhousie, MBA from Saint Mary’s, and a CPA (CMA) accounting designation, he hit the road to check out some of the other scenes the world has to offer through traveling and working abroad.

More recently, he’s begun using his skillset to help solve organizational and financial challenges that smaller teams often face during periods of growth and change. 

You’ll most likely see him bouldering at the gym on Gottingen street or talking to anyone who will listen about the book he’s currently excited about.

Fiona King (she/her), Fractional Sr. HR Advisor

Fiona lives in Dartmouth with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat. She spends her spare time at the family cottage in Brule, traveling, reading, and doing ongoing renovation projects. She is part of the organizing committee for the Dartmouth Natal Day Road Race, keeping up an over 34-year family tradition of active involvement in the community run.

Fiona is a graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in human resources and holds her Chartered Professional in Human Resources of Nova Scotia. She is still actively involved with her university sitting on their Alumni Council and participating in many homecoming events and community engagement.

Previously, Fiona worked for PepsiCo – Frito Lay Canada Human Resources for Atlantic Canada, Convergys St. John’s leader of the HR department, Stantec Engineering as their Senior HR Consultant and Halifax Harbour Bridges as their first Human Resources Manager.

Ashley MacInnis (she/her), Fractional Sr. Communications Lead

Ashley MacInnis is a writer, marketer, and public relations professional. She’s spent most of her career working in tech start-up and scale-up environments, and most recently launched her own company (amPR inc.) to enable her to work with a variety of clients across industries and geographies. A storyteller by nature, she’s had the pleasure of working with some of Atlantic Canada’s brightest tech companies to help them tell their stories. As for her story? Well, she sort of fell into tech and then fell in love with it!

Ashley is passionate about breaking down barriers for young women to achieve career and life success, particularly in the tech sector where women remain underrepresented.

Her education includes studying Public Relations at Eastern College where she obtained her Advanced Diploma. She previously studied Human Services at Nova Scotia Community College and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of King’s College. She lives and works in Dartmouth, NS with her partner, sons, and a retired racing greyhound named Macaroni.