Hear what groups we have worked with say about us. If you have a story to share about the Extension Department, please contact Beverly Hemlow.

StFX Extension Department: Testimonials

“The work that was carried out by Extension will have a profoundly positive impact on the way we do business in Atlantic Canada and will help immensely with achieving our objectives. We are proud of the work that Extension helped us with and without them we would not have achieved the positive results we see today.”

– Basil Ryan, Chief Operating Officer
Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations

“Developing our Strategic Plan with the guidance of the StFX Extension Department has proved key in allowing us to establish objectives, develop timelines and reach our goals. Their knowledgeable and capable staff provided the gentle leadership we needed to navigate through this process.”

– Ann McPhee, Executive Director
Ann Terry Women’s Employment Project
Ann Terry Society

“Since the beginning, the Coady Institute has benefited from its ongoing relationship with the Extension Department. The department has enabled the Coady to continue offering high quality educational programming in emerging areas of community development and to link with local examples of innovative practice in its working area.”

– Olga Gladkikh, Senior Program Staff,
Advocacy and Citizen Engagement
Coady International Institute

“Some of the work of our organization requires facilitation skills which our Board and staff do not have. We appreciate having access to resources such as the Extension Department to assist us. We also value accessing the Extension Department as a well-respected ‘third party’ in facilitating discussions with other organizations.”

– Caroline Cameron, Coordinator
Comhairle na Gaidhlig – The Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia


Hear what our Rural Leadership Development Program graduates have to say about us.

“I did not really see myself as a leader before enrolling in the [Rural Leadership] program.”

– Shirlyn Aker,
Community Education Coordinator
Recreation Department, Antigonish County

“This program has provided me with the inspiration and direction to move forward with both my personal and professional goals.”

– Viola Baker
Antigonish County

“The experience of sitting in as part of such an intelligent, energetic, diverse group of people is an awesome experience; [the Rural Leadership Program is] a great place to become engaged in creative conversation, and a platform to share your own ideas.”

“I am learning how better to organize and energize the volunteers that we do have, how to encourage others to volunteer, and that there are many opportunities for our plans to come to fruition.”

– Glenda Fulton Dean,
Community Coordinator, School and Community Volunteer
Pictou County

“The Rural Leadership Program provided an opportunity to explore my leadership qualities, styles, strengths, and weaknesses. It is not a cookie-cutter approach, but rather encourages participants to develop their own leadership style.”

“The leadership qualities explored during this program will be incorporated into nearly every aspect of my day-to-day interactions – both personal and professional.”

– Kathy Hannigan
Inverness County

“Every community has leaders and each leader has unique leadership skills. These skills are necessary for future growth in both business and in building our communities! The Rural Leadership Program brought these existing leaders together to think as a region, and to grow as one! It has enabled us, the participants, to develop our potential to become instrumental in the change we would like to see happen in our communities and organizations.”

– Shannon MacDougall
Inverness County

“This program really ‘connected a lot of the dots’ for me in terms of my educational background, my experiences and my personal goals. By looking inward, at my own leadership abilities, I was able to understand, for the very first time, that I really am making a difference in the world and I have everything I need to keep going. In other words, I had to learn about myself to realize how much I already know.”

– Dwayne MacEachern
Inverness County

“The asset mapping experience was eye-opening. I realized that there are more assets available than I would have thought, and that things like the skills of individuals are as valuable as physical entities.”

– Debra Nicholson
Inverness County

“I felt it would be beneficial to work with like-minded people in the other counties to gain perspective. I am always looking for new ways of learning and believe this [Rural Leadership Program] has really helped.”

“Definitely, leadership background or not, anyone would benefit from this program both professionally and personally. You really get a feel for the county you live in as well as the great region we have.”

“To see that others’ views are the same as yours is good, but also to see the differences really brings us all together. Critical thinking is key in these situations. There is a lot of respect in the group, which has made it possible for us to speak our minds openly without feeling we are saying something wrong.”

– Dana Pettipas, Student/Entrepreneur/Volunteer
Antigonish County

“I’ve learned that I have the potential to make positive changes in my community.”

“I wish more people could take [Rural Leadership Program] in our area. It would benefit everyone, from town council to the average Joe. Everyone needs to see what potential we have here and stop focusing on the negatives.”

– Rhonda Sweeny, Employment Consultant
Yarmouth County

“This program has made me reflect on who I am and to give myself credit for the things that I have done. It has instilled confidence in me and has made me think outside the box. Most of us go about our lives not thinking beyond our own communities, but when people come together from all parts of the region with a common goal, this will not only benefit the region as a whole but the benefits will also trickle down to all communities.”

– Lucille Timmons
Inverness County

“I’ve learned that I have more to offer than I give myself credit for.”

“My participation in the Rural Leadership Program has helped me strengthen bonds between organizations, allowing me to partner more effectively.”

Patricia Vanaman, Community Outreach
Tri-County Women’s Centre,
Shelburne County

“I would certainly recommend this [Rural Leadership Development] program to people in public, private and not-for-profit sectors who would like to network and build a more resilient community.” “[Participation in the Rural Leadership Program] has helped me to build networks with other rural leaders and when the time comes, I will be able to access this vital network so as to facilitate cooperative action in the region.”

Matthew Chisholm
Former StFX Community Sustainability Officer
Antigonish County

“The program provides the opportunity to meet leaders from neighbouring regions where you share and explore each other’s assets and barriers and work together to create solutions.”

“Perhaps more importantly, the program ‘forces’ you to do a thorough self-examination and articulate your strengths, philosophies, and goals, while gathering outside evidence.”

“Making connections with people from other regions [is valuable] so we can collaborate and market our region as a whole, rather than competing with each other.”

– Tina Dickieson
Financial Coordinator,
Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre and Theatre Antigonish,
Antigonish County

“The Rural Leadership Program has helped me identify and hone skills that I am now putting into practice in a leadership role that I assumed with one of the province’s signature tourism events.”

– Alisha Grant
Antigonish County

“I have come to the realization that my community has a great deal more to offer than I originally thought. The assets that my community has are often those that other communities are looking for.”

– Beth Groom, Chair of the Village on the Canal Association,
St. Peter’s, Richmond County

“I truly enjoyed my experience at the StFX Extension Department’s Rural Leadership Program, it forced me to examine my region in a different way; it was a very positive experience.”

“The course made me look hard at my own leadership skills, to look at what kind of leader I am and areas where I could improve; I am confident it will make me a stronger leader both at work and in the community.”

– Gloria Hill
Richmond County

“I’ve never really seen myself as a leader … but the Rural Leadership Program has helped me to change my perception… I am now realizing that I am a leader both in my work and in my personal life.”

– Brenda LaGrandeur
Community Development Officer, Municipality of Argyle,
Yarmouth County


“Being a participant in the Rural Leadership Program was an excellent opportunity to meet and collaborate with other leaders in neighboring counties and communities. The program brought us all together and gave us the chance to talk about our experiences, projects, and important lessons learned.”

– Shannon Long

“I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to participate in this [Rural Leadership] program to do so. The development of our personal leadership portfolio and seeing it evolve is a very rewarding accomplishment. It will be a valuable leadership tool that will evolve over time with me and I hope will assist me with my future leadership endeavours.”

“Sharing different perspectives throughout rural communities in NS has been insightful and has helped me with projects that I am involved with at both my workplace and in my community. Becoming more aware of my leadership abilities through self-reflection has been a component of this program that I was not anticipating, but that has been very rewarding.”

– Wanda MacLean
Senior Business Facilitator, Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency (S-HRDA),
Inverness County

“I have learned that I am a leader.”

“[Through the Rural Leadership Program] I have learned that my community is very rich in assets, and that it is time to start focusing on these assets to move forward.”

“It is the perfect program to help an individual find the strength and positivity to keep moving forward, and it gives you the ability to focus directly on your community.”

– Diana MacLellan
Coordinator and Board Member Inverness Early Years Co-op (IEYC),
Inverness County

“I’ve learned that my community has many strengths and assets as well as many people willing to work for positive change.”

– Charlene Marshall,
Tourism Coordinator, Municipality of Richmond County

“I feel that this program has made me more aware not only of the assets in Pictou County, but of the region. I feel I have become more knowledgeable about how to identify and delegate projects.”

“I would recommend the program to others as it has been of great benefit to me. The skills of identifying my own personal leadership style, as well as [developing] the portfolio will serve me well, now and in the future.”

– Kate Nelson,
Pictou County

“The asset-based approaches to community development really opened my eyes to viewing a community in a different, more comprehensive way.”

– Greg Shay, Director of Finance,
Municipality of Yarmouth,
Yarmouth County