Tova Sherman is CEO and, along with Dr. BL Mills, is co-founder of reachAbility (2000-present, Halifax, Nova Scotia), an award-winning agency that provides comprehensive programs and services for and about our most disenfranchised citizens. In this role, Ms Sherman manages a team of about 20 professionals, a corporate / professional board of directors and a budget of about $2m annually. Tova is responsible for all aspects of the agency ranging from human resources and training to strategic / business development and project development & management.
In an equal but differentiated role, Ms Sherman delivers internationally recognized education and awareness programs to governments and throughout the corporate and charitable sectors. Her Diversity Awareness Training (DAT) provides state-of-the-art resources about diversity and inclusion, usually in the context of workplace and practice. Tova’s problem-based approach to achieving learner potential has been featured in the media and notably in a 2013 TEDX Talk presentation.
Tova Sherman is credentialed by Cornell University (Executive Management) and her success has been recognized across Canada (The 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honor, YWCA Woman Entrepreneur, CBA: Canada Law Day Award, Mel Hebb Award and more).
She is frequently consulted by government and media and she sits on several boards including Nova Scotia Judiciary Advisory Council and the QEII Redevelopment Patient, Family and Public Advisory Committee. Ms Sherman has provided expert testimony to the joint parliamentary committee on disability, as well as to the Nova Scotia Legislature on Bill 59 in 2017.
Her most recent contribution is the creation of BAFF: Bluenose-Ability Film Festival; Canada’s Only film festival dedicated to showcasing the disability arts community – both first-time filmmakers and pro’s.
On July 25th, 2017 this community lost a visionary. Dr. Bruce Mills President of reachability passed.
Without Dr. Bruce Mills hard work and dedication thousands of Nova Scotians would lack access to services and supports designed to equalize the playing field – one ability at a time.
His warmth was only matched by his incredible ability to help no matter what the issue.
Dr. Mills has led this agency for over 15 years with a deft hand and a clear voice.
He will be profoundly missed. – Tova Sherman
John P. Merrick
One of Atlantic Canada’s most prominent advocates, John provides legal representation on a wide range of high-profile matters. He acted as Counsel to the Commissioner of the Public Inquiry into the Westray Mine Disaster and is presently the Consumer Advocate in water, gas and electric power rate applications.
John represents individuals, companies and organizations in every kind of proceeding from litigation in all levels of courts (including the Supreme Court of Canada), arbitrations, regulatory hearings, mediation, public hearings, negotiation and dispute resolution proceedings.
He acts as an arbitrator and mediator and holds a mediation certificate from the Harvard Law School Mediation Program.
In addition to his practice, he teaches at Dalhousie Law School and has participated as organizer and faculty in a number of professional education programs.
He is consistently listed in Best Lawyers in Canada and recommended by Lexpert.
Sandra Smith Muir
Sandra is a long-time partner and board member of reachAbility. She has worked over 20 years with the Federal Human Rights Commission being heavily involved with the promotion of equality and human rights. Sandra is currently employed as a regional manager with the federal government. She lives with her family in Bedford, N.S.
Daniel is a local Haligonian with a Finance Degree from Bishop’s University. Daniel joined the board in early 2016 as Reachability’s treasurer. On a day to day basis, Daniel works for the Royal Bank of Canada. Daniel volunteers many days a year to other organizations as well, as he sits on the board at Sail Nova Scotia and the Sail Canada Race Management Sub Committee. Some of his volunteer events range from the Canada Games to the Pan American games as well as World Championships for the International Federation of Disabled Sailors. Daniel is extremely eager and a go-getting individual.
Chuck was born in Manchester, England and he grew up in the Eastern Townships in Québec and Nanaimo, British Columbia. In 1993, Chuck drove from Vancouver Island to Sackville, New Brunswick to attend Mount Allison University. He immediately fell in love with the Maritimes and decided to make it his home. Chuck earned his law degree from the University of New Brunswick Law School in 1999 and was called the Nova Scotia Bar in 2000.
Chuck is a long-serving volunteer, and a Board Member, with reachAbility, and he served on the LISNS Pro Bono Hub Advisory Committee. Chuck was formerly the Nova Scotia representative on the CBA National Pro Bono Committee, and he is actively engaged in several pro bono legal projects, including the LISNS Public Navigator Program.
In his spare time, Chuck enjoys swimming, running and cycling, but not necessarily in that order. Chuck lives in Bedford with his beautiful and talented wife, Shelley, and their three rambunctious children.
OFFICE MANAGER & EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
What do you love? My family and friends!
What do you most enjoying learning about? I love learning! I am happy when I can learn anything new and I do believe we learn something new every day!
What makes you feel alive? Accomplishing goals and helping other people.
Five Favourites: Place: Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia. This is where my mom lives and my cottage is! (My happy place!) Fruit: Any kind of berries! (Blueberries, Strawberries etc.) Season: The summer! I love the beach and the sun Animal: My cat, Onyx! Colour: Purple
What do you love? My boys – my husband and two sons. Each of them continues to surprise me and make me smile every day. I also love the ocean, it’s my stress-free zone where all the troubles of life wash away with the waves.
What do you most enjoy learning about? People. People are so interesting. Everyone has a different opinion and different outlook on life. You can learn so much from every person you meet if you just listen to them.
What makes you feel alive? Music. Music touches the soul. There is a song that goes along with every important part of my life. Music can bring back the moment and feeling of each of those experiences. It can make you happy, sad, angry, calm…
Five Favourites: Book: Crime and Punishment… if you haven’t read it – you should! Instrument: Guitar – I don’t play it personally, but listening to an acoustic guitar quietly play while sitting next to the fire… so peaceful. Summer thing to do: camping! Dessert: freshly baked cinnamon rolls… nothing tastes or smells better! Personality Trait: Honesty, you just can’t go wrong with being honest
ODE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
What do you love? I love interacting with a variety of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, and personalities. I’m a serious foodie! Trying new food (and eating in general) is my favorite thing to do. I’m a geology nerd. I have a huge collection of rocks, crystals, gems, and minerals that I cherish. And saving the best for last, I love my family, friends, and kitties!
What do you most enjoy learning about? Psychology, art & creativity, holistic healing and therapeutic modalities/spirituality, different cultures of the world.
What makes you feel alive? Laughing uncontrollably until it hurts! Doing things that require all of my courage. Saying yes to those split second, now or never moments that scare me. I love facing my fears.
Five Favourites: Colour: Green Scent: Vanilla/Coconut Snack: Pickles Sport: Baseball Quote: “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of others” – Carl Jung
What do you love? My family (Johnny dog included), finishing a creative project, organizing events that get friends together for fun and laughter, being outdoors under the sun, on the beach, and in nature!
What do you most enjoy learning about? I love learning all the time...whether its a new art/craft technique, methods of growing food, building things, or health and wellness related...I really enjoy learning about and being inspired by community members/ organizations/events that are doing amazing things right here in our own backyard, and around the world.
What makes you feel alive? Being outdoors charges my batteries unlike anything else...I'm basically solar powered. Good music and a hard dance keeps me smiling for days. Travelling when I can is an amazing experience.
Five Favourites: Food: Sushi and my Grandmothers apple cake (both unparalleled winners) Unplanned thing to do: Roadtrip to a beautiful hike/walk/beach/place Thing to make: Anything and Everything! But costumes can be especially fun Feeling: The one you get after laughing with a friend or sharing a good moment Book: Shantaram, and it's sequel The Mountain Shadow
What do you love? My spouse, family, friends, and life.
What do you enjoy learning about? I enjoy learning about how the brain works, body language, and overall learning about people.
What makes you feel alive? I feel most alive when I am at the ocean, hiking, exercising, and when I notice I am experiencing happiness.
Five favourites: Food: Dark chocolate Season: Summertime Plant: Magnolia trees Music: Live entertainment Activity: Spending time with loved ones
What do you love? I love my family, my husband, our amazing daughter and our two wonderful French Bulldogs, Gucci & Churchill. I love my friends and my home.
What do you most enjoy learning about? History - biographies, Psychology, and Zoology
What makes you feel alive? My daughter’s laughter, being outside in the forest, in the desert or near the ocean, petting my dogs, traveling to new and to known destinations.
Five Favourites: Smell: The smell of nature after the rain Movie: Forrest Gump Foods: Fruits and vegetables Activities: Wine tasting and wine festivals Season: Autumn
ONE STEP CLOSER
What do you love? Being in a capacity of helping others, community minded.
What do you most enjoy learning about? History
What makes you feel alive? Being curious
Five Favourites Movie: Once upon a time in America Song: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Free Bird” TV Show: The Simpsons Place: Being by the beach and ocean Temperature: 24˚C
What do you love? Acts of kindness.
What do you most enjoy learning about? Brains, words; brains and words.
What makes you feel alive? Riding a bike and digging in the dirt.
Five Favourites Place: In a garden Best winter thing to do: Walking on a Nova Scotia beach Neat Things: Word origins Sound: Rain on a porch roof Colour: Orange
What do you love? The precious opportunity of this life. Having the privilege of being of service and collaborating with people every day. My husband, our three lovely sons, my hilarious and talented family, my friends, and this beautiful city.
What do you most enjoying learning about? People : how they think, change, connect, grow and find joy. And how to make new kinds of cookies.
What makes you feel alive? Getting to know new people, getting out into nature, spending time with my people, listening to music, eating delicious local food, making beautiful crafts, and cake (lots of cake).
Five Favourites: Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums Food: My husband’s fried chicken recipe Activity: Walking everywhere Place: Surrounded by my family Quote: “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves” – Pema Chodron
EMPLOYMENT BOOTCAMP FACILITATOR
What do you love? My family is what I love the most in this world, whether related by blood, mother, brother, sister and kids, or by life experience. Once you are invited into my life on a family level you are always family and I will do what I can to assist you in a positive manner.
What do you most enjoying learning about? Other people’s perception and perspectives that differ from my own, as I feel this allows me to understand a person and their circumstances better.
What makes you feel alive? Watching people grow, tackling new challenges that at one point in their life would have been unthinkable.
Five Favourites: Place: West End of Halifax, Nova Scotia (This is where I grew up) Activities: Spending time with family Season: The summer! I was born in the summer. Animal: My cat Smokey and my dog Paws Thomas! Colour: Red
What do you love? My Spouse & our children, family, friends and MUSIC!
What do you most enjoying learning about? I enjoy learning new skills. I’m a very quick learner and find new trades/tasks intriguing – whether its carpentry or computers, I’m not great at either, but I love learning the mechanics and principals behind things and adding them to my “tool box”.
What makes you feel alive? Cooking & baking.. anything in the kitchen. Again, not great at either but if I feed you, it means I love you. Oh, and also, event planning – everything from brain storming, to branding and marketing plans, and the getting dirty and not sleeping for 72 hours when the event hits!
Five Favourites: Hot Food: Pizza Cold Food: Ice cream Sweet Food: NIBS! Quiet Activity: Movie & Popcorn with my main squeeze Heart-Pumping Activity: Dancing in the living room
What do you love? I love my family, friends and animals.
What do you most enjoying learning about? I love learning about people, their life stories and what makes them who they are. One of my favourite pastimes is sitting down with my Grandparents and learning about what society and life were like when they were my age.
What makes you feel alive? I feel alive when I am trying new things and travelling to new places.
Five Favourites: Candy: Sour Patch Kids Place: Grand Tracadie, PEI my home town Food: My Dads homemade turkey soup TV Show: The Office Sport: Hockey
What do you love? I love my family, friends and my dog, Dusty.
What do you most enjoying learning about? At school, I love learning about philosophy. Specifically, I love to learn about interesting theories about the soul. More generally, I love learning about people's stories. When people really open, I find it so interesting learning about all the different things people have done or gone through and how that has made them who they are today!
What makes you feel alive? Nothing beats the feeling after either playing or watching a good game of basketball.
Five Favourites: Food: Hummus Place: Georgian Bay, Ontario Colour: Pink Season: Spring Animal: Dogs
What do you love? My family (biological & chosen). Nature & the arts. Me in a hammock, under a coconut tree on a remote tropical beach on a hot summer day.
What do you most enjoy learning about? People, technology, and media. I am a people watcher, but not in a weird creepy way. I love learning about different personalities and discovering how my quirks match up (or contrast) with the quirks of others. I believe each of us play dual role as student and teacher every day of our lives.
What makes you feel alive? Storytelling. Social & environmental change. Achieving optimal health & wellness. Being creative.
Five Favourites: Food: My dad’s conch salad/Nana’s bread Show: Schitt's Creek & The Handsmaid’s Tale Mistake: Short stint as arestaurant manager - yummy mistake. Quote: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Book: “The Other Side of Paradise” by Staceyann Chin
Five Favorites - Receiving affection - Food, all of it - Hanging out with my Moms – Gucci and Yana - Being “bad” and jumping on the couch - Going for walks!
Five Favorites - French cheese, sushi, blueberries - Bum & belly scratches - Playing with basketballs, soccer balls, and tennis balls well… as long as it jumps & it’s chewable - Being around people - Spending time outside exploring & stretching my legs
THERAPY BEARDED DRAGON
Five Favorites - Worms - Blueberries - Hanging out with my friends - My wooden hut - Sitting on my pillow
Five Favourites - Swimming - Eating my food - Blue rocks - Peace - Exploring my water tank