Our Team

Self-Help Connection Team

self-help connection team

Melissa Cooper

Board Director

Melissa has a solid background in marketing and communications having graduated from Mount St Vincent University with her Bachelor of Public Relations (Honours with Distinction) in 2014. Melissa is the Manager of Marketing and Communications with LifeRaft in Halifax. Cooperative placements have crossed all sectors, including serving as Communications Officer for the CMHC SEAK project.

Melissa is giving of her time in the not-for-profit sector as an Advisor with the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, her work in organizing Day of Caring at MSVU. She joined the Board of Self-Help Connection in 2016, serving as a Director, Board Secretary, and now as Board Chair. Melissa is highly recommended for her work in public relations, social media and public speaking.

Joni Robichaud

Board Vice Chair

Joni Robichaud is a Business Intelligence Officer at the Atlantic Regional Office for The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). She has held several interesting positions within CRA and assumed her current role in July 1, 2018. Prior to joining to CRA, Joni held senior accounting roles in the private sector, ranging from Manufacturing to Real Estate. Joni holds a Business Diploma with a major in Accounting (2004) from NBCC Moncton and a Bachelor in Organizational Management (2008) from Crandall University. She holds a Certified Managerial Accounting Designation (2013) through CMA New Brunswick, and a Chartered Professional Accountant Designation (2014) through CPA Nova Scotia. Joni joined the SHC Board in 2020. She has volunteered as a Peer Supporter for Support to Single Parents Inc. and has tutored for GED applicants at Harvest House (both located in Moncton, NB). Joni taught English as a Second Language for the PEI Newcomers Association. Joni often visits her son and parents in Moncton, and lives in Halifax with her spouse and their two dogs.

Joseph Banwo

Board Treasurer

Joseph is Chartered Professional Accountant and has more than 15 years experience working with Blue-chip and SME companies, and with non-profit sectors in the United Kingdom (UK). Joseph recently moved from the UK to Canada and is currently employed with the Royal Bank of Canada. In his spare time, Joseph actively pursues sport activities, including jogging, squash, football/soccer, and bike riding with his children. Joseph joined the Board of Self-Help Connection in 2020, and currently serves in the capacity of Treasurer

Debbie Nickerson

Board Secretary

Debbie Nickerson began her teaching career with Nova Scotia Community College Burridge Campus, in 1999, after moving from a 19-year nursing career across several nursing specialties including, geriatrics, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Debbie’s initial teaching assignment was in the ability supports sector, supporting students with a variety of learning styles. Her passion has always been working with and supporting persons’ who have mental health challenges. Debbie is a strong advocate to have more curriculum content within mental health promotion and was seconded in 2009 to create the Mental Health Recovery & Promotion Diploma Program for NSCC, which she has been delivering since 2010. Debbie joined the SHC Board as a Director in 2019 and has served in the capacity of Board Secretary. “I strongly believe in recovery and peer support and have personally seen the benefits.”

Kari Mitchell

Executive Director

Kari holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and master’s Level courses in Transpersonal Studies, a Diploma in Media Arts and advanced training in Therapeutic Touch. Over the past 20 years, she has dedicated her career to the social field, working as a case manager, life skills facilitator, and program design and delivery. Kari has spent 6+ years, focusing on providing private support and developing a tailored program for client dealing with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Kari’s diverse education and extensive experience have equipped her with a comprehensive set of skills, ranging from program development and delivery to marketing and media arts. Her multifaceted background enables her to approach her role as the Executive Director of Self-Help Connection with a holistic perspective, fostering positive mental health, collaboration, innovation, and compassionate leadership.