Our Staff

Karen Secord, Executive Director

Karen Secord

Karen landed on the doorstep of the Parkdale Food Centre in October 2012 without any real understanding of the work ahead of her. A lifelong storyteller, Karen believes that change happens one person at a time, one story at a time. And that good food has the universal power to bring people together. Karen’s passion for people and commitment to social justice intersect at the Parkdale Food Centre, reminding her that this is what she has always been meant to do. Contact Karen: karen@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Sarah Phillips, Centre Manager

Sarah spent much of her childhood helping her grandparents with their organic garden on a farm outside of Brockville where she was born. After spending 12 years working in Tanzania she is returning to her roots to serve her community. When she heard about PFC she knew this was her opportunity to do so.  With a background in Development Studies, she believes that people need to be at the centre of their own development.  Sarah is committed to building resilient communities and implementing a holistic approach through empowerment, capacity building and compassion.

Simon Bell, Kitchen Manager

Simon is a long standing veteran of the Ottawa food scene. Having worked in Kitchens since the mid nineties, from Montreal to Paris, he prides himself on having a deep understanding of the diversity of food and its impact. In Ottawa he was part of the team that brought Oz Kafe to the forefront of the Chefs community and now finds himself at the helm of the Parkdale Food Centre Kitchen where he takes pride in his ability to learn from others and impart his own knowledge and understanding of food. Simon uses his voice and privilege as a Chef to help bring opportunities to those who enter the Parkdale Kitchen, to learn, grow and teach others their own personal food stories. Contact Simon: simon@parkdalefoodcentre.org 

Meagan Mcveigh, Thirteen: A Social Enterprise Project Manager

Meagan has been with the Parkdale Food Centre since 2016 as a volunteer doing intake for the Foodbank. She has now taken on the role as Team Lead for Thirteen: A Social Enterprise. Meagan graduated with a degree in Social Work From Ryerson University in 2013 and runs a small farm business growing organic vegetables on the side. She believes that using food, you can create opportunity and connections in your community and beyond. Contact Meagan: meagan@parkdalefoodcentre.org


Karin Freeman, Growing Futures Coordinator

Karin is a new resident of Ottawa who came to the Parkdale Food Centre looking to build new community in a meaningful way. She is very excited to be filling in for Elle this summer as the Growing Futures Coordinator! As part of the PFC team, Karin leads Solutionary Workshops to engage children and youth in solving big community problems. As a new, small-scale, organic farmer she believes in the positive impact of exposing people to good food and the value of sharing meals and conversations with others. Don’t be surprised if she has a little dirt under her fingernails from time-to-time! Contact Karin: growingfutures@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Tamara Kalnins, Community Kitchen Assistant

Tamara’s passion for food was ignited when she was given her first cookbook on her 10th birthday. She has been making people smile with her food ever since. She loves baking with sourdough, growing vegetables and creating vegan versions of her family’s favourite dishes. She comes to Parkdale Food Centre after years of cooking in restaurants and cafes around Ottawa. Contact Tamara: tamara@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Erica Braunovan, Ottawa Community Food Partnership Manager

Hailing from a small agricultural town in Southern Manitoba, Erica was born part sheepdog. Her natural herding abilities drive her desire to connect with people to bring them together and build strong networks. Erica’s life-long passion for community and community building was developed when she was first exposed to issues of poverty in the late 90s. She quickly determined that band-aid solutions would not bring about the transformational societal change that is needed for our communities to thrive. Contact Erica: erica@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Heather Bruce, Food Bank and Volunteer Manager

Growing up in rural South Western Ontario, nature was everywhere, as were farms. From a young age Heather was a curious explorer and nature obsessed.  Studying Environmental Studies at York University left Heather with strong convictions about industrial agriculture, food security and poverty: asking questions about how we got here and where we are going. Spending the last decade working passionately in hospitality, Heather is thrilled to be part of the Parkdale Food Centre team and out community! Contact Heather: heather@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Anna March, Community Kitchen Coordinator

Anna has been a chef by trade for over 10 years. Since completing the culinary program at Algonquin College, she has been honing her skills and developing her craft all across Canada. She has worked in celebrated restaurants in Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver, most recently as executive chef at Mariposa Farms as well as executive chef at The Urban Element. Anna is a chef instructor at Algonquin college and founding partner of Cultivating Cooks. Drawing from her experiences working with local farmers, chefs and teaching the public hands on cooking classes, she is developing programming to promote food literacy, accessibility and sustainability anywhere she can.  She is eager to make positive change in the way we eat and with the support of her colleagues, partners, community and family, you can expect to see her sharing her passion for real food across as many dinner tables in Ottawa as she can. Contact Anna: anna@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Megan Aubin, Cooking for a Cause Coordinator

Megan has been passionate about food from a young age. From gardening to cooking for others she loves being involved in helping people have access nourishing and healthy food. She is currently completing a certificate in Food Security at Ryerson University which has helped her develop an even better understanding of the importance of eating local and seasonal food by either supporting local farmers or maintaining a community garden. Megan has joined the Parkdale Food Centre team as the cooking for a cause coordinator, and she is very excited to be involved in a program that will support the Ottawa community and local businesses. Contact Megan: cookingforacause@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Meredith Kerr, Communications and Donor Relations Manager

Meredith has curated meaningful experiences around the table for most of her life. It was no accident that she landed on the doorstep of PFC, inspired by the work and commitment to the community she grew up in. With a background in events, volunteer and donor stewardship union and employment standards, she hopes that together, we may build a longer table. Contact Meredith: meredith@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Rebecca McCaffrey, Neighbour Experience and Opportunity Coordinator

Rebecca has always had a passion for cooking, eating, and helping others access healthy meals and build food skills. Her background is in counselling, with a primary focus on helping marginalized youth overcome life challenges. She has supported youth to realize their potential, build life skills, and access the resources in their communities that will help them thrive as productive and valued members of society. In her role as the Neighbour Experience and Opportunity Coordinator, she helps engage the PFC community on advocacy issues related to food security and poverty reduction. Contact Rebecca: rebeccam@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Inaya Siblini, Food Bank Assistant Coordinator

Inaya started volunteering at Parkdale Food Centre in August 2019 and is now part of our staff team as Food Bank Assistant Coordinator, providing core support that has enabled our food bank to adapt to COVID 19. It has always been Inaya’s ambition to find a position in a place where she can make a positive impact. Inaya finds happiness in drawing a smile on a neighbour’s face, in helping them, and  in making everyone feel like they live in a supportive environment full of love and care.

Alexia Smith, Good Food Chauffeur

Alexia recently moved back to Ottawa from Montreal so to be closer to her community at a time when she felt  disconnected from any community. She is looking forward to making new connections here and deepening existing ones.  At the end of the day, it’s all about community!  Alexia is passionate about supporting her community and has always been interested in mental health. At PFC, she works to support the basic needs that are essential to everyone’s wellbeing. 

Alissa Campbell, Centre Manager (on leave)

Alissa has been following her love for food from her days in the family vegetable garden as a child all the way to the Parkdale Food Centre. Along the way she has immersed herself in organic farming and spearheaded the growth of school gardens across the city. With a background in Environmental Studies and Food Policy, she is deeply committed to contributing to a stronger, healthier, more sustainable food system, and to bringing people together around the table. Contact Alissa: alissa@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Ghita El Janaty, Digital Storyteller Coordinator

Digital StoryTeller

Ghita El Janaty, also known as Rita ELJ in the film and television industry, is a young, multi-skilled individual: editor, producer, technical director… These are few of the hats Rita wears. A member of the first Thirteen: A Social Enterprise cohorts, Rita’s business driven personality has led her to start her own television and film production- Pronounced R Productions. Being an only child in an immigrant household, Rita has a unique view on the world and our society. Her current mission? To tell Neighbours’ stories through compelling short videos. Contact Ghita: ghita@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Morissa-Dalia Ellis, Growing Futures Coordinator 

Digital, Charity, Growing, Online, Futures, CoordinatorMorissa-Dalia Ellis has spent all her life living in Ottawa and for this reason has built community in all aspects of her life. An unfortunate picky eater, Morissa learned to cook very early, finding a great great love of food, spices and feeding loved ones. Self proclaimed professional samosa folder, taking care of her community has always had feeding people at its core.  Through the facilitation of a book club for ACB women, throwing a prom for ACB womxn and organizing through @blkgurl_ she always wants to make sure her people are fed and taken care of. Intersectionality, food insecurity and creating safer spaces are things that motivate her and she hopes that she can bring her lived experiences and identities to her role as Growing Food Coordinator. Fun facts, Morissa gave a TEDXTALK, she has a playlist for all aspects of her life and she likes to act like she’s in a documentary. Contact Morissa: morissa@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Hania Manouzi, Digital Communications Coordinator

Digital Marketing, Digital, Online, DonationsHania Manouzi is an experienced Digital Marketer, born and raised in Ottawa. Driven by community, passion and purpose, she takes pride in creating digital content. A true foodie at heart and adventurer, she had the opportunity to travel all North America to increase awareness for different organizations in key markets such as Montreal, Vancouver & San Francisco. Through passion & purpose, Hania has created a virtual women’s fitness program to facilitate a safe space for all women to love & embrace fitness: Eternal Queens Fitness. With that being said, Hania is committed to challenging food insecurity & providing a safe space to our Neighbours. Contact Hania: hania@parkdalefoodcentre.org

Libin Omar, Thirteen Social Media Coordinator & Youth Mentor 

Staff, Parkdale Food Centre

Libin is a Social Media Coordinator and youth mentor with Thirteen A Social Enterprise. Libin first became involved with Parkdale Food Centre in 2016 as a participant of the Thirteen program and proceeded to get more and more involved. She has a keen interest in business and is currently enrolled in a food business management program at Algonquin College. Libin is one to watch for in the community.