Meet the Board
Gordon Tate, President
- Active Living Coordinator
- Municipality of Chester
Gord spent his early career working in recreation in Northern BC and HRM. He owned a kayak outfitting company before landing in the Municipality of Chester for the past ten years as the Active Living Coordinator. In this position, Gord tries to inspire and activate citizens, and create a culture of physical activity that is supported by the built environment and policy changes that are needed to sustain the change.Gord has an unwavering belief that recreation is essential – for individuals, families, and communities. With RNS he will use this belief to advance the awareness and value society places on recreation as a means for social connection, appreciation of the natural world, and path to personal wellness.In Chester, Gord takes the lead on event planning for community runs/walks, bike rides, and hikes. He writes and edits the Municipal Recreation Guide which is used as a platform to spark citizens’ curiosity to explore our community, and to highlight the importance of recreation in our lives.He has been one of the developers of Steps to Connect - a program that helps citizens align their personal values to recreation opportunities in their communities and craft personal and social connections to activities that are meaningful, enjoyable, and attainable. He has also contributed to the creation of the South Shore Active Communities’ children’s outdoor play modules.As a member of RNS, in the past Gord has served as Program Committee Chair, Conference Chair, and a presenter. In 2018 he also served on the Provincial Recreation Organization review panel, which provided him with an invaluable window into the successes and challenges of the PRO community.He has served for several years on the NSFM Active Transportation Committee, and the NS Connect provincial management team. He currently volunteers on the Board of Our Health Centre in Chester and is logistics lead for the annual QEII Foundation’s Ride for Cancer.Lastly, Gord thinks his family is cool and doesn’t understand why more people don’t play bike polo.
Chris Atwood, VP of Finance
- Executive Director
- CBDC Blue Water
Chris Atwood grew up in Pictou County on the family sheep and vegetable farm with his parents and two older brothers. He graduated from the Nova Scotia Agriculture College with a BSc. (Agr) in 1990. Between 1990 and 1999 Chris worked internationally on a number of different development project taking him to Swaziland, Czechoslovakia, Nigeria and Thailand. He also worked on projects in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Moldova in the early 2000’s.
Chris and his wife Dolores moved to Yarmouth in 1998 where they raised their three children; John, James and Andrew). Chris was the Executive Director of the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) Yarmouth from 2005 until 2018, taking on the responsibility for overseeing the growth of the CBDC Yarmouth’s loan portfolio. In the summer of 2018 Chris made a move from CBDC Yarmouth to CBDC Blue Water in Porters Lake in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
He has a passion for rural and local issues and his professional experience includes agriculture development initiatives in South Western Nova Scotia. An avid volunteer and community leader, Chris has served on various local and Provincial Boards including President of Yarmouth & Area Chamber of Commerce in 2009 and 2014-17; Chair of the Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce 2011 to 2013; President of the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists 2010.
Clare Steele, Recording Officer
- Active Communities Coordinator
- Pictou County, Nova Scotia
After a six year career as an Elementary Education teacher, Clare returned to her Recreation roots 3 years ago as the Recreation Coordinator in Westville. Clare brings with her experience working with youth in a variety of areas including onboard Disney Cruise Line as a Youth Activities Counsellor. Clare’s passion for youth and community development are always at the forefront of her work and she is passionate about empowering youth to live an active and balanced life. In her spare time Clare can be found teaching yoga, paddling, or on a nearby trail with a couple of four-legged sidekicks.
Josh Nicholas, Director At Large (2 year)
- Mikmaw Physical Activity Leadership Coordinator
- Potlotek First Nation
Joshua is from Potlotek First Nation, he has a passion for helping his community in all aspects from organizing events to finding grants to help offset deficiencies in the community. Starting off as a tradesman, organizing events, and tourism has led him to his current role in the community as a physical activity coordinator. Playing an active role in Indigenous sports and activities such as the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships with Team Atlantic since 2016, the National Aboriginal Indigenous Games with Team Nova Scotia since 2017, Nova Scotia Mikmaw Summer Games as community liaison for Team Potlotek since 2014. His main goal is helping as many Mikmaw Youths across Nova Scotia with their physical activity goals. Josh’s love for sports and recreation stems from constant participation in fastpitch, basketball, golf, and snowboarding as a youth. He still plays sports to this day and believes that these are the activities that led him away from the wrong path, and now he wants to share that with the youth in his community.
Josh Kennedy, Director At Large (2 year)
Josh Kennedy is the Village of Bible Hill Parks and Recreation Director. Growing up in Cape Breton, Josh spent a lot of time in the outdoors. He spent a lot of time fishing, biking, and playing soccer and hockey as a child. Josh has worked in the recreation sector in NS for the past 10 years. Prior to becoming the Director in Bible Hill, he has worked in both Municipal Recreation in Colchester County and the Private Sector as a Recreation Director with Shannex. When not at work, Josh can be found playing or coaching hockey, golfing, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking and cycling with his wife and two boys.
Gabrielle Riley Gallagher, Director At Large (1 year)
- Senior Analyst
- Nova Scotia Governement
Gabrielle “Gabby” Riley Gallagher has worked or volunteered in the Recreation sector for over 20 years. She has held many leadership roles in Recreation at the Municipal, Non-Profit, and Provincial levels. Most recently having served as Provincial Recreation Consultant for the NS Government. She loves getting to connect with individuals/organizations - and linking them with the right resources to advance their work in their community. She admits to a lifelong love affair filled with respect and admiration for the power and potential of Recreation. She can often be found adventuring in the great outdoors with friends and family. Gabrielle is honoured to be able to serve on the Recreation Nova Scotia Board and continue to be involved in supporting a sector that she believes in (and loves).
Joel Dawe, Director At Large (1 year)
- Assistant Director
- Truro Parks, Recreation & Culture
After graduation from Acadia University many years ago (1986), I worked in the Community Services field as a counsellor with developmentally delayed children.
Began career in Recreation Facility management in 1995 as program director at the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex. Held General Manager positions at DHMS, Shearwater Flyers Forum, and Colchester Legion Stadium. I have been in my current role as Assistant Director Parks Recreation and Culture with the Town of Truro since 2018.
I look forward to bringing my experience as a leader on several organizations to the RNS board – some which are, Recreation Facility Association of NS; Canadian Recreation Facility Council; NS Junior Hockey League; Brookfield Elks Jr Hockey; Project Hope Syrian refugee settlement committee.
I was privileged to work with the awesome RNS staff as co-chair of RNS conference held in Truro, October 2019. I am optimistic we can continue the important work RNS performs in the lives of Nova Scotians.
A long-suffering Toronto Maple Leaf fan I have high hopes that this will finally be the year for the Cup.
Heather MacNeil, Director at Large (1 year)
- Community Recreation Coordinator
- Halifax Regional Municipality
A true believer in the transformative and impactful power recreation plays in one’s life; Heather believes everyone should have access to participate in opportunities which are personally meaningful. As such, Heather is focused on fostering and building strong healthy communities while helping to create and connect people to purpose filled recreation experiences.
Heather is currently working as a Community Recreation Coordinator with Halifax Regional Municipality managing dry-land community programming at the Sackville Sports Stadium. Over the last eight years she has been able to grow dry-land program operations with the help of incredible front-line program staff who are often found dishing out a little sweat while still managing to make participants smile. Along the way, Heather has worked in various health, wellness, and community recreation roles specializing in multi-sector partnerships and cross functional teams. These roles include working in non-profit, academia, with international non-governmental organizations and in roles involving all levels of government such as the KidSport Ontario program; with UNICEF Canada as Ontario Provincial Coordinator; and with the Canadian Coast Guard College Officer Cadet Health and Wellness program in partnership with Cape Breton University. Also having experience operating her own business as a Lifestyle & Wellness Consultant; Heather delivered fitness classes around the region and with various local boutique style gyms as an independent contractor. During this time, she also volunteered to provide fitness & lifestyle advice for online community members with one of the world’s leading health & wellness online communities.
Not one to sit still for very long and believing one should never stop being a beginner at something; Heather has recently taken up recreational boxing, enjoys getting outside in nature in any recreational pursuit, volunteers her time as a local community health board member with Nova Scotia Health Authority, and is a volunteer firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency. Heather is looking forward to connecting with RNS members across the province and having the opportunity to be involved with the great work Recreation Nova Scotia is leading on behalf of the recreation sector in the province and across Canada.
Kiya McDow, Student Director At Large
- Community Development
- Acadia University
Kiya McDow is a Community Development student in her third year at Acadia University. She is focused on recreation while also learning skills in community wellness, social activism, and outdoor and adventure education. During Kiya’s time at Acadia, she was accepted into the Acadia Co-op program. She volunteers at school events, the annual Kentville plays event and is an active member of the Acadia Community Development Club, where she holds the position of Executive Events Coordinator. Kiya’s from Mt. Denson, Nova Scotia, where she belonged to Border Riders 4-H club. She played a variety of sports and activities, and in 2019 she was NSSAF recipient of the exemplary participation award. Kiya works within our West Hants Regional Municipality Community Development Department in the summer, held the position of camp coordinator in the fall as program leader, and in the winter as recreation intern. In her community development degree, she’s learned and experienced the importance of physically active living in communities. She is passionate about developing a career as a recreation professional.
Ex Officio, Marc Seguin, Executive Director
- Ex Officio, Executive Director
- Recreation Nova Scotia