A look behind the scenes

Behind every project there is a powerhouse team. The team at the heart of Innovation Works is a blending of new roles specific to the Innovation Works space, like our General Manager and Community Animator, and Pillar’s existing staff who support Innovation Works programming, events and more.


Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director

As a social innovator whose personal mission is to be a community connector, Michelle is passionate about connecting people and organizations. She’s a firm believer that nonprofits are integral to our community and that business, government and nonprofit sectors must work collaboratively to strengthen our community. Fun fact: Michelle loves weddings mostly for the dancing and has crashed a few over the years.

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Lore Wainwright, Director

Lore sees the impact of social innovation daily in her role as Director of London’s only co-working space intentionally designed for social innovators.  Formerly supporting emerging and existing social enterprises in London running this social enterprise is a natural fit for Lore, encouraging co-tenants to connect and spark ideas and drive change into the world Fun fact: She is a yoga junkie and has been known to succumb to copious amounts of watermelon at any given moment.

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Sienna Jae Taylor, Community Animator

Sienna Jae Taylor has a love for all things community and a deep passion for positive, social change. She's motivated by the incredible world-changers and inspiring projects that she encounters everyday and believes that with a little community, celebration and passion, anything is possible. Fun fact: Sienna's favourite things are coffee, trees and her colossal nail polish collection. 

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Jenny Baxter, Events & Communications Assistant

Jenny leaves her sparkle on everything she touches. As a graduate of Public Relations, a previous Community Engagement Intern at United Way, and a YOU Intern at Innovation Works, she is excited to be in her role as Events and Communications Assistant. Her passion for people, planning, humour, and fun is what Jenny brings to the table (and occasionally a snack, too.) Fun Fact: Jenny's parents named her after the famous character from Forrest Gump. Their birthdays are even the same day!

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Lina Bowden, Volunteer Extraordinaire

Lina is the catalyst behind VERGE and a volunteer consultant with Innovation Works. Lina has more than 30 years experience in the financial services and investment industry and she studied community development at age 50 to apply her finance skills for good. Fun fact: Lina loves to visit friends in Peru annually where her favourite dish is Aji de Gallina.

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Albert Brulé, Director, Resource & Business Development

With over 25 years experience in the not-for-profit sector, Albert has worked with a wide array of charities in such areas as fundraising, marketing, communications and strategic planning. Fun fact: One of Albert’s earliest volunteer positions was when he was just 13 years old as a founding member of the London Community Players.

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Mitra Cameron, Network Support Services Coordinator

After studying History and Classics, Mitra found that she was drawn to the nonprofit sector. She loves writing and approaches her work with a strong eye for detail. Fun fact: Mitra used to be in a social issues dance group, performing dances on issues like poverty, abuse and addiction in Canada and the United States.

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Susannah Gergich, Training & Education Manager

Susannah’s combined experiences in the advertising industry and educational field assist her when it comes to coordinating more than 50 workshops and networking events yearly. She is an information junkie that loves a good newsletter and scans social media for the most relevant nonprofit information. Fun fact: Susannah lived in Japan for 2 years where she mastered her chopstick skills.

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Dharshi Lacey, Director, Diversity & Governance

Dharshi Lacey has worked for over 20 years with and for immigrants and newcomers. She loves the fact that London is becoming more diverse and feels strongly that this will make London a more dynamic city to live and work in. With many years experience in Cultural Competency, she has facilitated many sessions with boards and organizations to help them embed an inclusive lens in their leadership and operational work. Nonprofit Board governance has now become a recent addition to her interest portfolio.

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Andre Vashist, Director of Social Enterprise & Social Finance

Andre is a social innovator passionate about building inclusive communities. As a social entrepreneur, community development professional and impact investor, he has a combined 15 years of experience. Fun fact: Andre is usually the first person on the dance floor and the last one to leave.

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James Chan, Manager of Social Enterprise & Social Finance

James Chan helps bring together people, places, and programs working towards social change for the public good. As an urbanist, he enjoys geeking out over well-designed architecture, transit & cycling infrastructure, and public space; as an outdoors enthusiast, he longs for a cabin in the mountains. Fun fact: James has lived in five cities in Ontario (and one in Alberta) but London is the only place he has come back to!.

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Julie Forrester, Social Enterprise Coach

Julie sees how the force of business changes our community, and wants to use that force for good.  Julie graduated from Ivey Business School and works with socially minded individuals and organizations who want to start or grow businesses.  Julie loves to travel, pull pranks on co-workers, and commits to sustaining our culture of fun. (Fun Fact: Julie has lost her access FOB more than any other co-tenant at Innovation Works.) REAL Fun Fact: Julie loves being on the ice and has won two national synchronized skating championships.

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Jasmine Ball, Executive Assistant

Jasmine is inspired by plans, programs, and movements that strive to promote equity, strengthen community, and enhance quality of life. An early fascination with ethics, paired with her professional background in writing and communications, has served her as a volunteer and advocate for inclusivity and voices of lived-experience. Fun fact: Jasmine loves to sing jazz standards and wishes she was coordinated enough to tap dance like Gene Kelly.

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Maria Luisa Contursi, Director, Impact & Storytelling

Over twenty five years experience working in the non profit sector, in various settings with a primary interest in stakeholder engagement, storytelling and cross-sectoral collaboration. Am also interested in artistic exchange, cultivating the connection between the arts, community health and the belief that the creative arts can generate a sense of belonging, inclusion and community wellness. I believe in the value of meaningful engagement and that communities become more vital through the process of co-design and sharing of personal narratives. Fun fact: I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan....rewatched the entire series...twice... in anticipation of the final season! Winter is here!

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Andrew Leest, Innovation Works Coordinator

Andrew is motivated by people and organizations solving big problems in their community and abroad. He has a background in entrepreneurship and innovation, which he uses to support Innovation Works co-tenants and entrepreneurs taking on social challenges. Fun fact: Andrew loves mountain biking and you can often find him on the trails with his dog, Dublin.

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Innovation Works is a backbone initiative of Pillar Nonprofit Network and is governed by Pillar’s trailblazing Board of Directors.

Board of directors