Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of The Lotus Centre is responsible for the governance of the The Lotus Centre and the management of the The Lotus Centre financial situation through the implementation of clear policy.

The Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Monday of the month.
(Postponed to fourth Monday to accommodate Holidays when appropriate)

TLC Bylaws

Cheryl Paris, Chairperson

Cheryl is the Research Officer and Animal Ethics Coordinator for the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus,

She serves as President of Local 92 Nova Scotia Government Employees Union and Representative for Cumberland/ Colchester on the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union Human Rights Committee.

Her past volunteer work includes serving as Vice President for MADD Cobequid, and working with Red Cross and the Truro Homeless Outreach Society.

She is currently the co-organizer for 100 Kids Who Care, 100 Teens Who care, and is a member of the Community Investment Committee at United Way.

She’s the positive thinker behind the Facebook and IG pages “Positive Vibes” and “Women Empowering Women”, as well as the Facebook group “Women Empowering Women”!

” In my early-30’s I started to pay closer attention to the injustices in society and tried to be purposeful in using my voice and platforms to influence change. 2017 shined a bright light on the challenges that women today still endure. I was compelled to do much, much more. I have admired the work of The Lotus Centre ever since participating in the One Billion Rising event in 2013 and took steps to get involved with the centre. I joined the Board of Directors in May of 2017 and shortly after, proudly accepted the Chair appointment.
I am dedicated to surrounding this center and myself with the most amazing women I can find to ensure our success!
In my free time, you can find me on the beach (any time of year), or taking a hike through our beautiful local trails.”

Twila MacDonald, Vice-Chairperson

Twila has worked in the Human Services field for approximately 15 years.

She has supported female adolescents with programming and life skills. She has supported parents and families and currently works in residential care.

She is attending University to further her education in women’s studies.

Twila is passionate about the issues surrounding women and the empowerment of women.

Rebekah Loughhead, Director/Secretary

Rebekah (or Becky as most know her) grew up in Truro where she became a versatile athlete throughout her youth, playing both hockey and softball.

She moved to Massachusetts where she attained an English degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and founded the Native American Student Association.

It was also in Massachusetts, that Becky became an avid Boxer while completing her degree.

After she completed her degree, she moved to Las Vegas, NV where she worked primarily as a substitute teacher before returning to her roots here in Nova Scotia.

Rebekah worked as a CCA in both home care and long-term care for 7+ years before choosing to become a Product Advisor at Truro Toyota.

As a single mother of two incredible daughters, Rebekah finds passion in women’s rights as well as helping to empower young women in all aspects of life.

She is dedicated to helping the women in our community.

Kenda Harris, Director/Treasurer

Kenda began working for Colchester-East Hants District School Board in 1989 as an Administrative Assistant in Education Programs. When Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou Boards amalgamated into Chignecto Central Regional School Board I landed in Human Resources. She made the move to TJHS in 1998 where she has been ever since.

Truro Junior High moved into a new building in 2004 leaving their home on Victoria Street and moving to a new location at the top of Young Street. “This was an exciting time for staff and students as we enjoyed the benefits of the new building while feeling nostalgic about the building we were leaving that had been there since 1938.”

Proud mom of two adult children, Kirk & Robyn, very proud Nana of Charlotte and granddog “Abbie”!   “I love doing all and every kind of activity (or nothing at all) with all of them. I enjoy classes at the gym, yoga, hiking, gardening, beaching, updating around home and of course, who doesn’t like to travel!?”

“I have been wanting to become involved with community work so am very excited about being involved with The Lotus Centre.”

Carolyn Irving, Director

“I believe that The Lotus Centre is one of the most useful resources available to women in our community. Whether someone is experiencing extreme changes in her life and is in need of an unbiased and supportive voice or someone has a desire to learn new skills that will foster a sense of person development and achievement; I want to be a part of building awareness of this incredibly important resource.”

Carolyn has worked within our health system for over 15 years and has participated in community initiatives in various capacities: Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Society, Truro and Area Minor Lacrosse Association, Cedarstone, many other rallies and women’s wellness events.

When she’s not at work you can find Carolyn spending time with her friends and family out on the trails!

Florance Desmond, Director

Florance Desmond is a 39 yr. old single mother of four, born and raised in Truro.

In early 2000, Florance completed the Skills Link Development program offered by Dalhousie. She then went on to the Restorative Justice and Human Services Programs. She completed her first year of Human Services and made a decision to focus on the Continuing Care certification.

She has worked as a Continuing Care Assistant since 2008.

In her free time, aside from spending time with her kids and family, she braids hair for people in the community.

Stephanie Patriquin, Director

Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, Stephanie attended the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and Atlantic Veterinary College before working in a small animal practice in Dartmouth. She and her husband started their family in Folly Mountain, where they lived for several years. In 2010, Stephanie and her children moved to Stewiacke, and then to Truro in 2011.

“I would not have made it through the barriers and obstacles of the past several years as a single mom juggling childcare, housing issues, employment, and family life without the incredible support and guidance of the women in my family and community. It’s my privilege to give back.”

Stephanie left private veterinary practice and followed alternate paths of employment that have led to her current work in the Adult Education Division of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. She has been involved in volunteer work for nearly 30 years, including La Leche League Canada, 4-H Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Home Educators Association. She serves on the board of directors for Northern Healthy Connections Society, is a founding member of PFLAG Truro, and facilitates a group for Parents of Transgender Children.

Stephanie endeavors to seize every opportunity to champion diversity and empower women.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall.

Justine Maloney, Director

Justine Maloney, daughter of Stephen and Linda Maloney, “My father a previous long-time employee for Aliant and my mother a long-time business owner in downtown Truro area.  I am a mother of three wonderful girls; plus as a bonus, one granddaughter.

For the past five years I have worked for the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association as the Employment and Economic Development Coordinator and currently enrolled at Dalhousie University in the Career Development Practitioner program.  My position allows me to assist my Indigenous Sisters throughout the province with various skills, education/training opportunities, funding, self-employment benefits and partnerships in many areas of employment.  I am passionate about my job and love the work our organization stands for.  I am excited to be a part of The Lotus Centre board of directors and look forward to working with my sisters to build something beautiful.”

Josie Lake, Director

Josie’s passion for helping others is what drives her.

She has had vast experiences sharing her love and zest for life with people she meets throughout this journey of life, both professionally and through various volunteer positions.

She is no stranger to being “on the board” and enjoys helping to finding ways to grow and develop organizations our communities need.

She is mother of four (three daughters and a son) and grandmother, and knows the value of a strong next generation is priceless.

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child

Kolee Bakker, Director

Kolee Bakker is a PEI native, but lived most of her life in Truro.

Kolee was a truck driver for 27 yrs but sustained a workplace injury in June 2016 which forced her to be off work.

“I have taken this time to work on myself, get mentally healthy and start living as my true self. I began the transition process in March 2018. It’s been the best decision of my life and a huge eye opener to become so much more open minded. I have a lot to learn in this new role of womanhood and the support has been fantastic. I’m very open, caring and want to give back to my community that has supported and accepted me so much.”

Board of Directors Application

TLC Bylaws

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to speak warmly of them, they should have behaved better.

~Anne Lamott~

Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women

~Maya Angelou~



Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has

~Margaret Mead~