Board Member Biographies

Mary Jane Copps

mary-janeMary Jane Copps is the CEO of Telephone Talent Inc., a North American company focused on excellent telephone communication skills. Through workshops, coaching, keynotes and customized training, she gives companies and individuals the power to communicate effectively on the phone. Her  expertise has been recognized throughout North America and Europe by a wide-range of media – radio, television and print – including the Wall Street Journal, the Globe & Mail, the National Post, the Huffington Post, CTV and Global. She is also the author of The Phone Book – Essential Telephone Communication Skills, and was recently presented with the national 2016 BDC Mentorship Award through Futurpreneur Canada.

Mary Jane looks forward to the 2017-2018 year ahead as President of the Board. 

Keith Gelhorn

Keith Gelhorn was diagnosed with AD/HD keith(Inattentive Type) in March of 2009.  He returned to work with 6 months worth of Ritalin and a hope that everything would come easy from then on out.  What he soon realized was that while Ritalin did help him focus during the course of the day, it had little effect on the years of accumulated bad habits.  He then began to educate himself on AD/HD and during the process learned of a type of specialized support called AD/HD Coaching.  He called the psychologist who had diagnosed him and asked to be referred to such a coach in Kelowna, British Columbia where he was living at the time.  The psychologist said he had never heard of such a thing. There was only one doctor in the area that specialized in AD/HD (in children) and there was a year plus wait to obtain an appointment.

Eventually, Keith was finally able to find and attend an adult support group for adults facilitated by Pete Quily in Vancouver B.C. close to 1.5 years after he was originally diagnosed. The experience was life changing.  It was powerful to sit amongst  peers and feel comfortable admitting and celebrating the fact that he has AD/HD.  He spoke with Pete and conversed on how he would like to one day be a coach myself. They discussed the steps he would take to get there and the rest was history!

In September 2010, after suffering a back injury at work, Keith decided then and there that he would finally fulfill his lifelong goal of returning to school as well as becoming an AD/HD Coach.  He sold his house in Kelowna, British Columbia and moved 6,000 kms away to Nova Scotia in July of 2011. He started online evening courses with the ADD Coach Academy in addition to Human Services full-time at NSCC Truro during the day in September 2011. In June 2013, he graduated (Honours) with a diploma in Disability Supports and Services.

Keith is the Vice President of the Board for the 2017-2018 year.

Leah Tarlao 

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Leah has a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University with a major in Accounting. She is now continuing her education at the Atlantic School of Chartered Accountants. Leah has been an Accountant at Deloitte LLP since May 2011 working in the Private Company Services Group.

In her spare time, Leah volunteers for Dress for Success Halifax by preparing the monthly bookkeeping. She has filled this role since 2012. She is looking forward to serving as the Treasurer, once again, for the 2017-2018 year. 


Elysia Percival

12e2756Elysia Percival was first introduced to EDN as a Co-operative Education student during her second year at Saint Mary’s University. This work experience led to her invitation to become an active member of the EDN Board of Directors, where she has sat for the past six years.

During this time, Elysia has graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a major in Marketing and has developed her career in the media industry. She currently works as the Senior Social Strategist at Postmedia Network Inc. located in Toronto, Ontario. 

She served as the President of the Board for the 2016-2017 year. She will continue to bring her enthusiasm, interpersonal skills and drive for success to the 2017-2018 Board of Directors as this year’s Past President.

Tanya Sieliakus

Tanya SieliakusTanya has been referred to as one of the most technically astute and competent human resources management and occupational health and safety practitioners in the Atlantic area. Tanya has worked within a wide range of industries (including municipal government, sales, mining, manufacturing, contact centre, services, security, head hunting, IT and consulting) and is valued for the eclectic approach she has developed around problem solving. Tanya obtained her national human resources designation, the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) certification in 2001. Tanya has won a number of awards including: the national John T. Ryan Safety Award (for two consecutive years), the Mel Hebb ACCESS Nova Scotia award for creating an environment of inclusion, and the USG Award of Excellence. Historically, Tanya has served as:  Board of Directors and Chair of the HR Committee, ECMA; Board of Directors and Chair of the Marketing Committee, CAFÉ; HR Advisor to the Board Chair, Black Cultural Society; Chair of the Entertainment Committee, Phoenix House Celebrity Dreamscapes.

Janice Ainsworth 

 Janice has attained her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Ainsworth_J_12Education degree and is the
Executive Director of TEAM Work Cooperative, a specialized employment agency serving persons with disabilities.

Janice currently sits as the co chair for the Collaborative Partnership Network, the Ability Starts Here Symposium on Inclusive Education and Employment and the Persons with Disabilities Employability Table and is a board executive on the Ability Employers and a board member of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities and sits as an advisory to the Work Bridge Association.

Janice lives the kaizen philosophy of continuous and lifelong learning.

Kyle MacNeil

Kyle HeadshotKyle completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Management from Saint Mary’s University in May 2014. During his university career, Kyle volunteered his time with Enactus Saint Mary’s as a project manager for Access-Ability, a project which aims to help local entrepreneurs with disabilities take their businesses to the next level. Kyle’s project worked directly with EDN, facilitating a mentorship by matching an Enactus member with each of the 10 EDN clients who participated.

While completing his undergrad Kyle co-founded a marketing company in 2013. In his role as President, Kyle was responsible for the overall performance and direction of the company. This experience helped develop Kyle into a young business leader, and grew his passion for entrepreneurship.

Currently Kyle is working in the financial services industry as a Financial Services Officer at League Savings and Mortgage Company, which is owned by the Credit Unions of Atlantic Canada. In the fall of 2015 Kyle began graduate studies in the Master of Management, Co-operatives and Credit Unions program through the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University.

Kyle is thrilled to be a part of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors, and looks forwards to contributing to the success of EDN.

Wendy Vrooman

Wendy Vrooman (1)Wendy joined the team at Sandler Training after developing her career in the Medical Diagnostic and Health Sciences sectors. She holds a BSc in Biology from Mount Saint Vincent University and feels fortunate to have partnered her love for science with her passion for business at the beginning of her career.
She spent 8 years with Precision BioLogic holding positions in Sales and Sales Management where she focused on actively listening to customers to improve their experiences with the company, as well as providing meaningful feedback into product development. Creating cross-functional strategies to drive the business forward and negotiating large, complex contracts are a few of the achievements of which she is most proud.

Wendy launched into the world of retail sales with Ascenta where she spent 4 years developing new lines and channels of business. Researching, creating the appropriate contacts and developing them into meaningful partners allowed her to drive profitable new lines of business for Ascenta.
Wendy serves on the Advancement and External Relations Committee at Mount Saint Vincent University and enjoys teaching students at University of New Brunswick’s Technology Management and Entrepreneurship program. She also feels fortunate to work with several talented startups through partnerships with Volta, Propel ICT, and Innovacorp.

Sandler trained both in President’s Club and Strategic Sales Management, Wendy is thrilled to have found her home as a Partner with Sandler. She believes that business happens not between companies, but rather between people. She is grateful to share her life with her children Connor and Nina, her partner Andre, and their dog Tobes.

Scott Davis

scottdavis-012Scott is a poet, entrepreneur, and business owner specializing in marketing communications and professional writing.
A storyteller since he was able to speak, Scott has dedicated his life to helping others tell their stories. He has written video games, advertising, websites, comic books and more.
Scott holds a BA (English/Economics) from Acadia University and a MA (Economics) from the University of Waterloo. He spent most of his professional career in telecommunications, a field that let him combine his love of talking with his love of technology. He’s an advocate for mental health and the prevention of child abuse, and has worked with trauma survivors, institutions, and governments on ways to heal and support people suffering from the effects of childhood trauma. He has written and spoken extensively on mental health issues and has reached a global audience of over one million people.

Scott has been a member of the EDN Board of Directors since 2015 and currently chairs the Marketing and Communications Committee.  He lives in Halifax and spends his spare time writing or cycling.

Kendall Worth

EDN Entrepreneur of the year 2012 023In 2004, Kendall‘s dream of owning a business became a reality with his involvement in Street Feat, a local newspaper reporting on stories of poverty. Through this opportunity, he was able to gain entrepreneurial experience and later became a vendor and editorial contributor for the newspaper. Due to his exposure to entrepreneurship through Street Feat, Kendall decided to become a member of EDN.

In addition to Street Feat, Kendall owned his own business, “Mix Match Creative Sales Marketing and Promotions” where he created handmade postcards of local Halifax scenes which he then sold to local businesses. Unfortunately, because of the limited success of the business, it lasted only two years. To this day, Kendall actively uses the skills that he acquired from that experience and they have proven to be a valuable asset for the future.

Currently, Kendall is a writer for Metro Halifax and Nova Scotia Advocate. Through his work with Nova Scotia Advocate, Kendall has become increasingly recognized for his efforts to reduce poverty.

In his free time, Kendall enjoys volunteering his time with different organizations. In the past, he has been involved with various disability organizations and projects such as the Independent Living Resource Centre, Veith Street Gallery Studio Association, and Next Step. Presently, Kendall is a member of Community Advocates Network, Community Society to End Poverty, as well as a member and the Chair of Benefits Reform Action Group.

Kendall thoroughly enjoys meeting other entrepreneurs with disabilities through his membership with EDN. Previously, he has served on EDN’s Board of Directors for two terms, took a year off, and has now returned to the Board for the 2017-2018 year. He looks forward to his future involvement with EDN!

Andrea Jackson

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Andrea Jackson is a part of the Management Team at CEED, the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development, as the Senior Manager of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Development. CEED delivers innovative programs and services ranging from entrepreneurship education, youth employability programming, small business financing, business skills training, and business coaching that empowers individuals and communities to reach their full potential. Andrea has spent her time supporting small business, entrepreneurship, and sustainability in our province for over 15 years. She volunteers her time with several groups, including the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation and the Black Business Community Investment Fund. Her exceptional communication and problem-solving, paired with her abilities to establish strong relationships, motivate teams, achieve fiscal results, and drive projects to successful completion are what led to her invitation to become a member of the EDN Board of Directors.

When she isn’t hard at work, she spends her time with her husband, three children, and rescue dog at their home in Truro, Nova Scotia. Andrea looks forward to the journey ahead as a member of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors.

Mary-Margaret Bennett

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Mary-Margaret Bennett is a Halifax native who completed her post-secondary education at Dalhousie University where she has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Management, major in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is an avid volunteer within the community and has held various volunteer positions with organizations such as Enactus, Volta Labs, Startup Canada, Blue Nose Marathon, as well as Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society, to name a few. Mary-Margaret’s charismatic personality allows her to bring energy, perseverance and determination to every situation she is involved in, which is what led her to be invited to join the EDN Board of Directors.

Mary-Margaret likes to spend her free time volunteering, doing crafts and painting. She is pleased to be joining the EDN 2017-2018 Board of Directors.