Our Team

The board, staff, and volunteers at Springtide include professionals, activists, engaged community leaders, former political staffers and politicians, academics and everyday citizens who love democracy and believe that the state of politics and public leadership in Nova Scotia and Canada can and must be improved.

Staff and Contributors | Board of Directors | Get Involved

Staff and Contributors

Mark Coffin Executive Director


Mark is a writer, educator and digital content creator. In 2012 he founded Springtide, and has served as the organization’s Executive Director since that time. At Springtide, Mark hosts podcasts, teaches programs, curates educational programming, and leads consulting projects for clients of Springtide. Mark splits his time between Springtide, and his own consulting business, Sound Good Studio. (Full Bio and Contact Info)

Contact: mark@springtide.ngo


As a small, bootstrapping NGO, Springtide engages a network of contributors to deliver projects, conduct research, develop resources, and deliver programs and events. Here are some of the key people who have been involved in parts of Springtide’s work since 2012.

Sandra Hannebohm Writer & Podcast Host

Sandra wrote, and co-hosted a series of episodes for the Off Script podcast (episodes 6 – 9), and provided supporting research for several other interviews. She now works as a freelance journalist in Halifax, with work appearing in The Coast, CBC, and Halifax Magazine. (See more from Sandra here)

Louise Cockram Research & Writing

Louise is a Ph.D. candidate in the political science department at Carleton University in Ottawa. At Springtide, Louise lead the research strategy, analysis and conducted many of the exit interviews for the Off Script podcast.

Matt Risser Research & Writing

Matt Risser is a governance expert, political commentator and municipal councilor for the town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. At Springtide, Matt has co-authored two reports on electoral reform, and advised on projects like the Charter Challenge for Fair Voting.

Board of Directors

The Springtide Board of Directors is composed of volunteers who are collectively responsible for establishing and overseeing the strategic direction and financial activities of the organization.

Lucy Hulford Chair

It’s easy to complain about politics and easy to be cynical. Lucy wants to change that mentality by finding ways for all people to meaningfully engage with politics.
    • Executive Coordinator & Governance Officer @ United Way Halifax
    • Master of Public Administration, Dalhousie University
    • B.A. in Criminology & English,  Saint Mary’s University

Contact: lucy.e.hulford@gmail.com

Michael Chender

“To attract and sustain better governance, we need a broader population that understands the dynamics of both genuine leadership and current politics.”
    • Founder and Board Chair @ Wayside Initiative
    • Founder and Board Chair, ALIA (Authentic Leadership in Action)
    • Founder and CEO Metals Economics Group
    • Irrepressible Dreamer

Kesley Lane

Kelsey wants public participation and diversity to be more than just boxes we check.
    • Transportation coordinator @ Ecology Action Centre 
    • Former Executive Director at Halifax Cycling Coalition
    • Vice Chair of the Active Transportation Subcommittee, Halifax Regional Municipality
    • Former leader with #PoliticsAside, Get Informed. Vote., and Engineers Without Borders
    • B.A. in Political Science & Sustainability, Dalhousie University

Lachlan MacKinnon Vice-Chair

Lachlan is committed to building a world that is organized upon democratic co-operation at home, at work, and in our communities. As an academic, his main area of focus is the history of capitalism, with specializations in deindustrialization, environment and ecology, labour, and occupational health.
    • Assistant Professor of History @ Cape Breton University
    • Ph.D. in History from Concordia University
    • Formerly: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies

Ryan MacLeod

Ryan believes politics can be better but only if we work at it.
    • Economist @ Province of Nova Scotia
    • M.A. in Economics, Queen’s University
    • B.A. Economics and Mathematics, Mount Allison University
    • Formerly: Economist and Project Development Specialist, Halifax Partnership

Josh Bates

“I’ve seen both laws and sausages being made. I joined the Springtide board, and am vegetarian.”

    • Senior Policy Analyst @ Accessibility Directorate, NS Department of Justice
    • Formerly: Senior Policy Advisor to Halifax Mayor, Mike Savage; Executive Assistant to Graham Steele, Nova Scotia Finance Minister; Action Canada fellow
    • M.A. Social & Political Thought, York University
    • B.A. Sociology, Kings College

Katie Smith Treasurer

Katie is interested in influencing politics and encouraging better leadership by focusing on lifelong learning, inclusion, and integrity.
    • Audit Manager @ Province of Nova Scotia
    • Master in Public Administration, Dalhousie University
    • B.A. in Political Science & French, St. Francis Xavier University
    • CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner)

Past Board Members

    • Lisa Buchanan (Founding Chair)
    • Sarah Simpson
    • Mike Kennedy
    • Monika Dutt
    • Brian Foster
    • Joanne MacRae
    • Chris Saulnier
    • Nadine Bernard
    • Kyle DeYoung

Get Involved

Are you interested in contributing to Springtide’s work? There are a few opportunities to do so. Follow the links below to express your interest in getting involved.

Volunteer with Springtide

We regularly look for volunteer support in running events and programs, conducting research, reviewing and editing written content before publication. Let us know if you’re interested in volunteering, learn more about the kind of roles where we look for volunteer support, and tell us more about your skills and experience here.

Work with Springtide

When resources allow, Springtide hires skilled contractors and staff to create learning resources, develop learning programs, and more. We’re not actively hiring at the moment, but we keep a list of talented people who may be interested in contributing to our work as professionals. Complete this brief form, and if it feels like a match, we’ll follow up.

Write for Springtide

Stay tuned for opportunities related to contributing the Springtide blog.

We’re committed to making work and volunteer opportunities at Springtide meaningful ones, where everyone feels supported, and part of the Springtide team. Regretfully, this means not always being able to accommodate everyone who expresses an interest in volunteering; and only on-boarding new volunteers at limited times during the year. We are grateful for all those who express their interest in supporting our work.