About me and my work 
A project never changed the world. Self-reliance is self-sufficiency economically....And taking your own decisions...managing your own affairs. ....just having more income does not make you more concerned about other people. You have to organize around certain values� - Ela Bhatt

Creativity is about telling the truth -- Sketch arts program, Toronto

Communities can often be compared to a football game where 30,000 people who need the exercise, turn up to watch 36 players who don�t.- Peter Kenyon

The fingers of people are not all the same length - A. Ol'oiloisolo Massek and J.O. Sidai, Maasai proverb

Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. - Edward Abbey

Civic politics, like poetry, is concerned with questions of meaning, purpose, justice, and even beauty�all full of ambiguity and laden with conflicts of value, all constitutive of efforts to build a good society.-- Harry Boyte

You're only given a spark of madness. You musn't lose it. -Robin Williams

Only what is really oneself has the power to heal. - Carl Jung

Always be passionately aware that you could be completely wrong. -Dian Marino


I am Nanci, a Chinese-Syrian self-employed poet, adult educator and analyst from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Originally from Port Colborne, Ontario, I have family in both Provinces. My ancestors spread wide. I am mindful that if I graduated from high school today I wouldn't be able to afford to go university.

I am passionate about fairness and community ownership, especially around money. I work to support the capacities of groups and people, especially women and girls (cis-gendered), to better understand and negotiate their rights and interests around savings, assets in their name, property, inheritance rights, financial education. Why? Because while women are savvy and often hold the purse, too often they don't have control over money, assets, even their own bodies (which brings them back to money). In my work and facilitation, gendered structural analysis, self-awareness, dialogue and critical reflection are key in building local and solidarity economies, networks.

Lately I'm fascinated with online learning. It seems to collapse the power and space dynamics in interesting ways and reduces the lag between learning and real life application. Puts the facilitator and peers where they should be - coaching others in their work and communities, real-time in real messiness.

I'm a recovering technocrat. What I've found in my limited experience is this:

- Groups matter. It's a place to make meaning, get our "legs," find our people and provides a "bed of coals" for challenging things that aren't fair
- Money and assets aren't enough. They help people and families but money, business, even member-owned and community-driven models where I've invested so much energy, don't unlock systemic issues. Ensure justice. Make us care.
- Small is beautiful but it isn't enough. We need advocacy and networks, movements to ensure accountability and to change the norms or these gains are short-lived and benefit very few. We've all seen it.
- Nothing will change unless people (and groups and networks) have the capacity to negotiate and make sense of what they want

We have created a loose-knit peer mentoring and consulting network called Sisters Inc. made of self-employed women from Morocco, Zambia, Switzerland, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Canada working on similar issues. What many women need are opportunities to take the ball and a community of support, not another workshop. The aim is to partly address the imbalances that exist in consulting and research that have too-often favoured the same candidates and firms. We provide space for reflection and moral support that's been so lacking in many of our workplaces.

About half of my time, I play, get outside, paddle, write poetry. Art and narrative are central to my work as I believe that dialogue and meaning-making are key to changing the narratives, healing and connecting. These are cultural, not technical issues. I volunteer which usually qualifies as play. Sit down and try to make sense out of all of this, write. And sometimes I just play.