Blanche Israël is the CEO of the East Coast Music Association. A multilingual Moroccan-French Canadian cultural strategist and accomplished professional cellist, she has called Dartmouth, Nova Scotia her home since 2019. Before joining ECMA, Blanche was the founder and lead consultant at proScenium Services, a consulting firm excelling in transformative strategy which helped secure over $10 million in grants and funding for arts organizations.

As a versatile cellist, Blanche collaborates with Indigenous artist Jeremy Dutcher, and in recent years her talents have graced over 60 Canadian stages and have been showcased in a Tiny Desk Concert and at the JUNO Awards. Her advocacy efforts span various arts service organizations, demonstrating her commitment to cultural storytelling and representation.

Blanche has presented at esteemed conferences and platforms including Folk Alliance International, Music Nova Scotia, and the PHI Centre’s Digital Literacy Incubator. With a polymathic range, a rich background in arts management, an impressive funding track record, and a profound artistic presence, Blanche Israël is poised to lead the East Coast Music Association towards a future characterized by innovation, inclusivity, and unparalleled cultural impact.

Fatu Kaba is an award-winning human rights activist, high-fashion model, and the founder and CEO of HEARTS, a platform dedicated to building an epistemic community where every individual has a platform to learn, share their story, and access tools to create a positive social impact.

She is also a novelist with both published and unpublished manuscripts, including “Fiona Sallami” and “Harder Choices,” and has contributed articles to platforms such as Manchester University Peace Studies, UNICEF Voices of Youth, and Sleepless in Monrovia. Fatu is currently working on turning some of her manuscripts into screenplays, including “Crippled Affection,” “Unholy Deal,” and “Echoes of the Guardians.”

Originally from Liberia, Fatu survived the civil war before moving to the USA to pursue her Bachelor’s in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from Manchester University. She then relocated to Canada in 2022 to pursue a Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation at SMU.

Find out more @fatumkaba

Hilary MacCormick (she/her) is an obstetric anesthesiologist practising in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. Her academic research focuses on improving perioperative care for LGBTQIA+ communities. She is a volunteer with @CASIEF, which takes her to Rwanda every couple of years to help teach the anaesthesia residents at the University of Rwanda.
Hilary began pole dancing 15 years ago for exercise but quickly fell in love with the community and mental health benefits. She has competed regionally and internationally, winning gold at the Pole Sport Organization Northeast L3 Senior Championship (Boston, 2019) and Halifax Theatrix (2020). In addition to pole dance, she also trains partner acrobatics (Halifax Circus) and lollipop lyra.
Hilary began performing burlesque as Lola Pop in 2021 and is incredibly grateful to the supportive burlesque community for welcoming her with open arms. As a self-titled “collector of hobbies”, she also rides horses and has started learning West Coast swing dance.
Hilary loves marvelling at the capabilities of the human body and creating meaningful connections with people – whether that is through relieving someone’s pain and anxiety during labour, collaborating with colleagues providing care in low resource settings, or cheering someone on when they nail a new skill in pole or circus.

Jay Fisher is the Headshot Photographer for people who hate having their photo taken.

He’s been fortunate enough to work with many different people from different parts of the arts world. As a former actor and performer, Jay has spent a lot of time on both sides of the camera and uses that insight and experience to make personality come alive in his clients’ images. He has garnered the trust of HRM’s Business Community and is the go-to headshot photographers for some of the regions best known companies and business leaders.

Jay’s photo philosophy is simple: The person in the photo needs to be the person walking in the room. And so he wholeheartedly celebrates the people he has the pleasure of working with! Jay strives to create a fun and empowering environment, and welcomes people of all age, sex, gender identity, orientation, physical ability, ethnicity and body type.

When he’s not working in the studio, Jay enjoys music, movies, cooking, and other geeky pursuits. And yes, still enjoys photography as a hobby, as a medium for creating art and storytelling.

Jay lives in Dartmouth with his partner Ashley and their dog Bleu.

Check his work out @captureit.photog

Oliver Twisted is a theatrical neo-boylesquer with a passion for the absurd, creative costume design and fully immersive theatre.

He has been active in the Halifax burlesque scene for almost 4 years and is thrilled to contribute to the further development of our community. He is on the board of the Atlantic Burlesque Co-operative, and he’s the producer and co-founder of Atlantic Boylesque.

Oliver is profoundly appreciative to have the opportunity to live and work in Mi’kma’ki because of its beautiful coastal environments, wild interiors, rich artistic culture and supportive community vibes.

Check him out @atlanticboylesque

Tiffani Young is the CEO of Natural Butter Bar, a multi-award-winning company based in Dartmouth, N.S. that launched in December 2020.

Natural Butter Bar offers 100% plant-based products that help different types of hair and skin look their best. Their diverse product line includes Butters, Oils, Essential Oils, Gel, Soap, Shampoos, Conditioners and Accessories. Their products help with a variety of challenges such as eczema, psoriasis, dryness, breakage and itchy scalp to name a few.

Tiffani started Butter Bar because she wanted to offer high-quality all-natural products that are inclusive and accessible. She offers products that focus on black hair and skin care needs but are still universal and also offers Braille labels upon request.

The aim is to help people, regardless of their texture or complexion, to fall more in love with the skin they’re in and the kink of their hair.

Learn more @naturalbutterbar

Veronica Post is an award-winning graphic novelist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Author ofLangosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days, and Langosh, Peppi and Yeva: Hot to Trot.
Following a brief and disillusioning attempt at university for Philosophy and Fine Arts, respectively, Veronica moved to Montreal where she completed a diploma in fine cabinetry, which suited her much better. She played drums in punk bands, ate poutine, worked in factories and joined a local zine distro that encouraged her to self-publish and distribute her mini-comics. This encouragement turned a lifelong love for comic books into a passion for creating auto-biographical work in graphic novel form.
She left Montreal for the allure of Eastern Europe, where she created the characters Langosh and Peppi and began working on what would become “Fugitive Days”, published by Conundrum Press and awarded with the Doug Wright “Nipper” award in 2020.
She continues to create work based on these characters and looks forward to creating more work exploring their world, and her own.
Janice Landry has won three national awards for her books and mental health advocacy work.
Janice is a proud Haligonian and is currently working on her seventh non-fiction title which will be published by Pottersfield Press in spring 2025. Her most recent book, Eye of the Ocean, (2022), was a bestseller.
Janice’s biggest inspiration is her family; husband, Rob, and daughter, Laura. She also honours her late parents, Baz and Theresa, with her books, and began writing long form to tell the gripping story of her father’s National Medal of Bravery for rescuing an infant from a harrowing house fire.

Canadian by birth, Ethiopian by ethnicity, traveller by choice.

Dinah is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She grew up travelling back home to Ethiopia quite often as a kid and it has continued to stay with her till this day. She has a huge passion for travelling and doing things outside of her comfort zone as she feels like you learn so much about yourself and the world.

Dinah is mostly into budget travelling and backpacking, her favourite part of travelling is meeting and making new friends from all over the world during her travels. Travelling has given her such a unique outlook on the world and she cannot wait to travel to many more countries that are misinterpreted by the media and the Western world.

Find out more @dinah_ejigu

Schuyler Vromans is a partner aerial circus artist, osteopath, massage therapist, and acupuncturist.

His life revolves around elevating others’ health and wellness and pushing the boundaries of physical artistry. In his free time, he’s either defying gravity with dynamic aerial routines or finding new ways to blend movement and healing.

Every performance, every treatment, is a step towards a holistic approach to well-being, and exploring the limits of human potential together.

Find out more @schuylervromans