Kirk was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, though he is currently living in and enjoying Brandon, Manitoba. Kirk has worked as a nurse’s aide for just about a decade. He is super active with his union, the MGEU. He is a part of the Young Members Committee and also a member of Mgeu’s area council. He also enjoys his rule as 2nd vice president with the Brandon District Labour Council and his work on the board of directors with the Brandon and District Worker Advocacy Centre. In his free time Kirk enjoys wine making(and drinking), Netflix, and anything to do with food
Kirk is very excited to be apart of the 2015 Next Up program and is looking forward to building his network, being challenged, learning, and hopefully making some friends in the process
Currently working in the field of research, Urmee has her M.A. in Economics from University of Manitoba. Growing up in Bangladesh, she has witnessed severe poverty, social injustice, and economic inequality. Later in her life she realized such discrimination and inequality are almost as severe in the developed part of the world as in where she comes from. She felt motivated to learn more about the ways she can be involved and take the lead to create positive and meaningful changes in society.
Through her academic and work experience, Urmee developed her analytical and research capabilities to contribute towards solutions regarding climate change, poverty, and social inequality. Her education and professional experience include formal employment and volunteering in organizations such as The Canadian CED Network, Urban and Inner City Studies: University of Winnipeg, Centre for Policy Dialogue, and Ocean Conservancy. She has conducted studies on different aspects of poverty, environment and public policy. Through Next Up, she hopes to gain further understanding of different social justice issues and transform her knowledge into meaningful action. She is eager to connect and work with people involved in initiating innovative social change. In her free time, Urmee enjoys reading, dancing, travelling, and hanging out with friends. Her mantra is: Gotta do more, gotta be More.
Mikaela Brooks is an enthusiastic activist for animal welfare rights, environmental issues, and social gender inequality. Her core interests include the role of philanthrocapitalism in the degradation of biodiversity, and the recent Save Movement on the need for legislative changes for farm animal welfare. Mikaela attained an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Winnipeg and plans to pursue a graduate degree in sociology or international development. She is currently a policy and research professional in which the majority of her work has focused on developing recommendations and responses to increase the economic wellbeing of individuals who have faced social barriers. She has led key initiatives aimed at increasing women in non-traditional trades, and has fulfilled roles in project management capacities for both the Federal Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba. With a never ending curiosity for culture, animals and travel, Mikaela finds joy in meeting and learning from others who live their passion, and is always looking for challenging opportunities to contribute her skills and experience.
Through Next Up, Mikaela is looking forward to extending her network to promote the Save Movement, while furthering her understanding of social justice issues and the need for corporate accountability towards the environment. She hopes to apply this invaluable learning experience to actively contribute to social issues as there is much more to be done!
Adriana Brydon is a strong Cree mother of three boys, who is from Regina, Saskatchewan but now calls Winnipeg, MB home. She has endured many experiences relating to poverty in the past such as addiction issues, getting involved in the justice system and gang affiliation. Throughout her experiences she has been able to skillfully triangulate her lived experience with her sharp eye for social justice and systems change and received her BSW in 2011.
Adriana is one of those people who is involved in everything going. Her community work includes volunteering with the local schools and agencies as well as sitting on various committees. She was class President of University of Manitoba’s Inner City Social Work Program for three years and the Aboriginal delegate at the Canadian Federation of Students AGM twice. She is committed to helping the community and people living in poverty by breaking down barriers she endured herself.
Chloe Donatelli was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. She became involved in social change while a teen through the peer support program at Klinic Community Health Centre. Following high school, she moved to Victoria, BC to pursue an undergraduate degree in environmental studies and women’s studies. During her time in Victoria, she became interested in understanding the impacts that food systems have on the holistic health of a community. Since graduation she has had the privilege of applying her passion for food to the work that she does at Food Matters Manitoba. In her role as the Northern and Indigenous Program Liaison she supports thirteen communities spread across Manitoba’s north with their implementation of local food projects. Looking to the future, her passion continues to grow around community economic development and the important linkages that can be made through this framework towards greater community health and resiliency.
Patricia Kumbakisaka was born in Romania, Bucharest Eastern Europe. When she was 3 years old Patricia and her family moved to Greece Athens and lived there for 7 years. In February 2000 she and her family immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Her family originates from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Patricia speaks and write in five languages fluently: French, English, Greek, Swahili and Romanian. She has a BA in Political Science.
Currently, Patricia works as a delegate with the United Nations Association of Canada and as a Case coordinator at Investor’s group. She is also the 2015 Ambassador General for Folklorama this year and will be representing one of Canada’s largest multicultural festival.
Foreign Policies, International politics, human rights and community service are the cornerstone’s of Patricia’s activists and leadership philosophies. At NextUp program, she aims to develop and continue to build up her understanding of stronger leadership.
She hopes to become an ambassador or diplomat with the United Nations or Canadian Foreign Services.
She balances her professional and activist work out with books (reading about international foreign policies), politics, and time with her friends and family.
Katie Daman is a settler from Niverville, Manitoba who has been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the past ten years. Both Winnipeg and Niverville are considered places of home for her and located on Treaty 1 Territory. Katie’s educational background is in Business Administration, with a particular interest in supporting economic development initiatives that benefit the whole community -- also known as community economic development.
Currently, Katie works for Community Futures Manitoba as the Project Coordinator for the Churchill Region Economic Development (CRED) Grant Fund, a grant fund available for economic development projects in northern Manitoba. Community Futures Manitoba is a non-profit, grassroots-driven program created to strengthen rural and northern economies by encouraging entrepreneurship and assisting in community economic development.
Katie is also the co-founder and co-chair the Farm Fresh Food Hub Community Service Co-op and South Osborne Farmers’ Market. She has served on numerous other boards and committees including CCEDNet (current), Pollock’s Hardware Co-operative (past Treasurer), Transition Winnipeg and WestEnd Commons.
Eranga is an environmental and social justice activist who recently emigrated from Sri Lanka. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Master’s in Natural Resource Management. Eranga also holds a MBA from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. His most recent research is related to environmental and natural resources governance. Eranga intends to pursue his PhD at the McGill University. His PhD research will be focused on examining ways how indigenous people build resilience to the health effects of climate change in the Peruvian Amazon communities.
Eranga was a co-founder of the Colombo District Emergency, Social, and Welfare Unit in Sri Lanka. Some of his social work involved focusing on assisting hospitals to meet the demand for donor blood during the Sri Lankan war (1980’s – 2009) and the Tsunami devastation of 2004.
Eranga strongly believes the world can be a better place if people are willing to work together. He believes good societal changes always start from the bottom (individual/community) up (national/regional).
When Eranga is not working towards making the world a better place he keeps himself busy with his love for cooking, dancing and meditation. He loves sharing.
Naomi is passionate about environmental issues and has been an environmental educationist for the longest time. Brought up in the city, she always found a way to spend her vacations volunteering with the rural tribal communities of Kenya. These experiences shaped the person she has become today, a young woman bringing change in society by engaging in small conversations on how we can all care for the environment. Her wildest dream is to change attitudes and behaviors of everyone she meets so they become more environmentally conscious.
Currently she is taking her master’s at the University of Winnipeg in Indigenous development. She is involved in the Ecological People in Action student group as a Coordinator. At the community level she is working with new-comer communities at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba and with Indigenous organizations funded by the United Way Winnnipeg.
From a young age, Imalka has been passionate about environmental and social justice issues, and has had an interest in creating change. She has always been committed to learning how she can make a difference in society, which has lead her to the area she studies in university.
Imalka is currently working towards a Sociology Honours undergraduate degree, and loves the way that this particular social science lets her critically examine the world around her. She hopes to graduate by the summer of 2016 and then continue on to law school, where she would like to study either environmental or human rights law.
In her free time, Imalka loves to play music. She is part of a community jazz band that performs at several gigs throughout the year, in which she plays the tenor saxophone. Imalka is incredibly excited and grateful to be part of the 2015 Next Up program. She is looking forward to learning, being challenged within the program and being able to connect with the amazing individuals in the Next Up network.