The People Who Make the World a Better Place

Maureen Murphy-Black

Maureen, the founder of EdmontonEats, has been a community builder all of her life. Combining her interests in learning about new cultures, hearing peoples’ stories, building welcoming communities, and with the keen support of a group of neighbours, friends, Bannerman Community League, businesses, community partners and family, EdmontonEats emerged. Maureen formed an advisory team comprised of people with strong connections to the community, the food industry, and sustainable social enterprise experts.

Mary Harrison

As a retired person, Mary is always interested in new adventures that present themselves to her.  Mary and Maureen are part of the same walking group. When Maureen began to share her vision of EdmontonEats, Mary was excited about the possibilities.  She lives next door to a great family from Libya and is often the recipient of some wonderful meals from their kitchen.  Mary’s neighbor, Afaf, with the full support of her husband Jehad and four children, became the first host of EdmontonEats.  Mary played the role of community liaison and continues to enjoy seeing EdmontonEats evolve and become a part of the fabric of Edmonton.   

Haimi Sibbat

Haimi come to live in Northeast Edmonton from Eritrea via Winnipeg. In the early days of EdmontonEats, she became involved on the Advisory Team. Haimi has a deep and passionate knowledge of the meaning of community. Her belief in building strong intergenerational and multicultural communities shines through her actions and work. 

David Prodan

David is an Advisory Team member. Born and raised in Edmonton, David brings his expertise as Director of the e4c Housing and Mental Health Services. David collaborated with Maureen through Communities United, where they shared a passion of working with newcomer families. Although a proud Edmontonian, he enjoyed a self-professed “gypsy stride,” which took him working through B.C. and the Yukon. David found himself back in Edmonton in 2009 working in mental health. David considers himself a foodie and enjoys new culinary experiences. He envisions EdmontonEats as an opportunity for newcomers to build community roots and introduce their culture, through food. With his passion for community development, strength in leadership and experience working with newcomers, David is a great addition to EdmontonEats.

Pierre Marchand

Advisory Team member Pierre Marchand brings a wealth of management experience as the current general manager of Giant Tiger on Victoria Trail. As a dedicated community builder and entrepreneur in Edmonton’s business community, Pierre connected with Maureen through Communities United. Pierre relates to immigrants coming to Canada as he was born in South Africa. At 11 years old, Pierre with his family moved to Stewart B.C., a hamlet bordering the north-western Alaskan border and the Pacific Ocean. Food brings back memories of home and traditions for Pierre. He believes EdmontonEats can foster this connection with newcomers through home-cooked food. As a skilled businessman, his talents will continue to build the structure, accounting, and management of EdmontonEats. Pierre and his family are enthusiastic supporters of EdmontonEats. Thanks Shelly and Elorra.

Brooks Hanewich

Brooks Hanewich, a prominent local entrepreneur and social advocate in Edmonton, sits on the EdmontonEats Advisory Team. Born and raised on a farm east of Spruce Grove, he attained a sociology degree and Masters degree at the University of Alberta. Brooks dove into the world of non-profits, where he cultivated a passion for social justice. Brooks interned for Sed-Net in Calgary before moving to Vancouver to work with the Aboriginal Mothers Centre. This experience introduced him to the innovative Social Enterprise business model, which blends market forces, sales and services with social goals, in a sustainable business model. Brooks saw this model as a means to empower marginalized communities. He moved back home, where he worked at Prospects, founded the Pan-Disability Connection and consulted on the End Poverty Edmonton organization. Brooks founded Matchwork, a machine learning platform that aids employment service agencies helping hard-to-employ populations find meaningful work. He sees EdmontonEats as a vehicle for newcomers to apply their skills and talents to benefit themselves and the local market.

Keltie Gower

Keltie has been an Instructor at MacEwan University for the past nine years teaching marketing, organizational behavior, and sustainable business.  She is currently working with the Edmonton Regional Innovation Network to lead cohesion and collaboration around entrepreneurship among Edmonton post-secondary institutions. In addition to her work, she is in the process of finishing a Masters of Arts focusing on Social Enterprises. Keltie is passionate about sustainability, creating businesses that focus on the greater good, giving back to the community, and mentorship. All of these were reasons why Keltie wanted to be part of Edmonton Eats, along with the chance to learn about different cultures, plus the ability to try yummy new food was enticing.

Mulki Ali

Mulki Ali works for the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MHBC) and has been a proud Edmontonian for over 25 years. Born and raised in Somalia, Mulki was entering her adult life when civil war broke out in 1990. Fearing for her safety, Mulki moved to Italy in 1991 to attend post-secondary school. Being fluent in Italian helped her integrate smoothly in society. Mulki met her future husband, who moved to Edmonton for work. After finishing school, she moved to Edmonton in 1994 to be with him. Mulki did not know English and her education did not transfer. However ,her community values and desire to start a family gave her determination. Mulki attended Alberta College, learned English and upgraded at MacEwan University. Her family moved to Dickensfield, where she became active in the community and built valuable relationships. Today, Mulki and her husband have four children. She is a Cultural Broker with MHBC, where she works with immigrant families helping them overcome cultural barriers so they can contribute to society. Mulki is involved with EdmontonEats because it aligns with her values of building community roots for immigrants.

Ela Sakotic

Ela has been involved with EdmontonEats from early 2019.  When she heard about the plan to develop a social enterprise focused on food and cultural, she immediately called to volunteer her talents. Ela set up EdmontonEats Facebook page and Instagram account and managed our social media for the first year and a half.  Ela lives in Northeast Edmonton and is passionate about her community and family.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew accepted the position of Co-ordinator with Communities United and has provided valued support and advice to EdmontonEats.  Matthew follows his passions of social work and the collective good. He received a degree from the University of Alberta in geography, specializing in community development and global health. Matthew understands the importance of collective action and community-based collaboration when working toward a social good.

According to Matthew, EdmontonEats is a great example of different groups and individuals coming together to do something collectively.

Carley Clarke

Carley lives in Bannerman Community.  She makes it her mission in life to connect to the people who live in her immediate neighbourhood.  Many of those individuals come from around the world and Carley assists them to feel welcome and supported in their new home. Carley has  been a community liaison for three of the cultural hosts who have become a part of EdmontonEats.

Cindy Lazarenko

Cindy assists EdmontonEats to building partnerships with the Edmonton culinary community, supporting the cultural hosts, and co-ordinating events.

She is an award-winning Chef – one of “Best New Restaurant in Canada” in 2009 for En Route Magazine for Culina Highlands and has appeared on the Food Network. She currently works with us here at Edmonton Eats and teaches the Canadian Indigenous Cooking module at NorQuest College as well as other online cooking classes (Get Cooking, C5, Globe & Mail).

Calan Hobbs

Calan assists EdmontonEats to tell the written story of the Community Host Families and the journey of EdmontonEats as a social enterprise. He has a background in the hospitality industry and is currently taking a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science at MacEwan University. Calan lives in Northeast Edmonton and is engaged in a number of community activities in the area. 

Family members, friends and a new acquaintances have also assisted EdmontonEats during the developmental period. They have done this quietly in the background with constant and loving support. A sincere thank you for your support. You and your contributions are valued and appreciated.

  • Rick Black for being the best wing man on this project and in life.
  • Robin Heslop with her kind provision of informed legal advice on organizational structure and spending many hours editing the story of EdmontonEats: A Celebration of Food, Heritage and Community Building.
  • Katharine Weinmann with her generous offer to be involved in whatever way we wanted.
  • Jennifer Black-Moir giving of her precious time to develop our website and volunteer at events.
  • Geoff Lilge for being available to let us into buildings, carry boxes, shop and clean up for events.
  • Gillian Rutherford who has guided our marketing design and remains a wise advisor.
  • Reese and Laine Lilge for their assistance in putting together holiday boxes and inviting their friends Callum Laroi and Saskia Donszelmann to help out. Thanks Callum and Saskia!
  • Dot Lazarenko who joined us to put the cultural boxes together.
  • Jeweria  Elbari for assisting with putting together events and assisting her mom to participate in EdmontonEats.
  • Luke Black who developed some of the initial materials for social media and acts as a editor when called upon.

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