Shaleen Jones has been an advocate, organizer, educator, and all-round rabble rouser in the field of eating disorders for over twenty years, holding leadership positions with community organization such as the BC Eating Disorders Association, Laing House, Peer Support Canada, and CMHA National.
Having overcome an eating disorder, she is passionate about recovery, the transformative power of peer support, and creating sustainable, systematic changes across the sector. Shaleen was one of the first people trained specifically to provide peer support for those with eating disorders in Canada, and earned her Peer Support Certification from Peer Support Canada in 2015.
Shaleen was recognized with an Inspiring Lives Award from the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and served on the Mental Health Advisory Council to the Federal Minister of Health, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Hallway Group.
As the Executive Director for Eating Disorders Nova Scotia Shaleen works to ensure that no-one in Nova Scotia has to face an eating disorder alone. She lives in Halifax with her son and their very loud cat.
Raquel (she/her) first began her work with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia as a volunteer where she provided peer support for 1.5 years.
Raquel has completed baccalaureate degrees in psychology and social work (St Thomas University) and a graduate degree (Dalhousie University) in social work. Her background is in community mental health and has provided mental health care in governmental, university, and community/non-profit healthcare settings. She also has an extensive history in vocal performance and activism through the theatre arts. It was her own experience with an eating disorder that led her to the path of social work, with a desire to eventually work in supporting the eating disorder community; she is so thrilled that Eating Disorders Nova Scotia has given her the opportunity to live out this dream.
She also has two dogs. They are a big deal.
Sarah (she/her) has been an advocate for social justice and health inequalities and fundraiser for as long as she can remember.
A life-long learner, Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies with a Psychology minor, a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Child and Youth Studies and a Certificate in Fundraising Management.
Following a career as a front-line service provider, Sarah made the switch to fundraising to help support causes that she believes in further their missions. Having lived with an eating disorder much of her life, Sarah is excited to join the team at Eating Disorders Nova Scotia to ensure no one has to face an eating disorder alone.
Sarah lives in Dartmouth with her husband, their dog, Greta and their cat, Junior. When not working, she enjoys going for walks with Greta on the many trails that Nova Scotia has to offer (while the cat enjoys sneaking out into the hallway of their building whenever the door opens).
If you’re interested in hosting a fundraiser for Eating Disorders Nova Scotia or want to know more about how your gift will make a positive impact in the life of someone living with an eating disorder, she’d love to hear from you. You can reach her at
When Anne Marie’s child became severely ill with an eating disorder, she saw firsthand the tremendous need for more treatment and support services, standardized care practices, better education and awareness, and intensified research for eating disorders.
She is currently volunteering as the Chair of Eating Disorders Nova Scotia and as a peer supporter for families and loved ones caring for people with eating disorders.
Anne Marie is an enthusiastic student of yoga philosophy, and she enjoys choral singing and cycling. She is honoured to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing people to help reduce the suffering of people affected by eating disorders.
Collette Deschenes is a creative communications professional with a passion for helping organizations build and foster relationships.
After completing her BA at Dalhousie, Collette graduated from NSCC in 2012 with an advanced diploma in public relations. Her communications career has focused on strategically supporting non profits and regulatory bodies, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Nova Scotia College of Social Workers and currently in her role as the communications advisor for the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.
After many years struggling with an eating disorder, Collette began to write about her recovery journey as a creative outlet and to inspiring hope. In 2017, she became a peer mentor with Eating Disorders Nova Scotia to use her experiences to help others share their stories and find their voice through recovery.
Collette lives in Halifax with her boyfriend, her dog Ollie and spends her spare time hiking, writing, running, cooking and watching every comedy special on Netflix.
Holly is the senior communications counsel and principal of Dunn & Associates Communications and Public Affairs. She brings nearly 25 years of experience to our board, managing national communications activities for organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Holly is able to draw upon media contacts across Canada and has media trained senior executives from some of Canada’s biggest organizations. She also worked in communications and marketing for the Nova Scotia government for three years, promoting the skilled trades, boosting adult literacy levels, and recruiting ex-patriots back to the province to work.
She lives with her husband, two daughters, and one beloved dog.
Kelly’s daughter struggled with an eating disorder for many years, and Kelly learned through trial and error how to best support her. Kelly wished there had been a group of other families she could have learned from and received support from. With support from the Adult Eating Disorder Clinic, she was able to complete training and start a peer support group for family and friends. After running the group for ten years, Kelly passed the reins to Anne Marie Coolen, and now focuses on her role as a board member.
With over ten years of experience in the world of finance, Cara feels privileged to serve as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Eating Disorders Nova Scotia. Cara is an accounting student working toward a professional designation, and is a mom of three.
When not huddled over her calculator with jumbles of numbers or doing the usual daily routine of keeping little people alive, Cara enjoys running, her dogs, the ocean and simply taking advantage of spending tons of time with family.
Mark is a Program Manager at GDMS-C, leading his teams through the wild, crazy ride of delivering a new anti-submarine warfare system for the Canadian Navy. Mark’s accomplishments include leading a business capture team to win the UWSU contract, valued at over $150M. His advantage is an ability to find win-win strategies in difficult situations. Mark and his family enjoy off-the-beaten-path adventures, like back-packing across Europe. A wonderful experience and a lifelong lesson in learning how to truly pack light!
Our Advisory Board is Dr. Marriam Abou-El-Haj and Dr. Hali Bauld.