#FeatureFriday Archive

Each Friday we highlight a consumer, staff member, or board member so you can get to know the #FacesOfILNS. Here you can view previously highlighted consumers, staff, and board members:


Tina Gascon

Tina has been working for ILNS for the past 3 years as ILNS’ Finance Officer, get to know Tina: 

Q: What does your role entail?

A: As the Finance Officer I do the payroll, teach Financial Management to clients and more recently ILNS has added a program where we do the payroll for Self Managers so they won't be forced to open a business, file payroll, WCB, T4 and quarterly reports just to pay their attendants.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about working for ILNS?

A: I really enjoy teaching our clients Financial management, especially when they come up and say "I wanted this thing but put it back because I heard you asking me do you really need that? You were in my head!"  

Q: What’s one piece of advice you want to share with our audience?

A: The one piece of advice I would give our audience is to HIRE US TO DO YOUR PAYROLL. If you are a self-manager, payroll is complicated, and filling out government remittance forms and quarterly reports is complicated, why add that unnecessary stress into your life? Let ILNS make your life easier by taking that stress and burden off your plate, we are here to help you in any way we can to live an independent life.

Q: What’s one future goal you have for yourself?

A: When my husband and I retire I would like to take six months and travel across Canada in a mini camper. I want to see every Capital City of every province and territory. Canada is a beautiful country and I want to see it all.  


picture is a selfie of Carrie Ernst.
picture shows Carrie Ernst standing to the right wearing white pants, a black and white polka dot top, and a mask, in the middle is Jen Powley holding a SOLD sign as she uses her wheelchair and smiles, to the left kneeling on both knees is Jen’s partner Tom wearing a plaid shirt and jeans, in the back is Kathleen Odell (Director of Direct Services) wearing a black shirt and mask
photo is from our annual Christmas Gala, from the left is Mike Coady (former ILNS Board Chair) sitting in his wheelchair while wearing a black suit and smiling, standing in the middle is Carrie Ernst wearing a black dress and smiling, on the right is Connor Hirtle smiling while sitting in his wheelchair wearing a balck dress shirt and pants. A christmas tree is decorated with ornaments and lights in the background.

Carrie Ernst

Carrie started with the organization in March of 2015, throughout this time she has held many roles before becoming Executive Director

Q: What does your role entail? 

A: In my current role as Executive Director, I provide organizational oversight of the programs and services we offer, on an administrative basis. Another important part of my position involves engaging in and with the disability community so we as an organization can identify the needs of Nova Scotians with disabilities and find responsive ways to these needs through different services and programs. Within my capacity, I need to use creativity to imagine how our organization would offer different supports to persons with disabilities. Working for ILNS has been one of the most rewarding positions I have held in my professional career. I am passionate about the work we’re doing and excited to see where we will be in five years time.

Q: What’s one thing everyone should know about you? 

A: I started one of the very first Career Resource Centres in Nova Scotia - these centres are now known as Nova Scotia Work Centres. This Centre started in New Waterford in response to the coal mines closing and ran for 12 years.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you want to share with our audience? 

A: It’s important to not only understand what work/life balance means, but to also carve out time for yourself outside of work. 

Q: What's one future goal you have for yourself?

A: I love traveling to countries I've never been to before. A few places I would love to cross off my travel list in the coming years are Italy, Spain, and Greece.


Michael sitting in a chair and smiling, he is wearing a grey long sleeve shirt, black hat, and black glasses.
picture of a red rowboat with a white interior, a rope is attached to the back of the boat while sitting in calm water with other boats in the background.
photo is a close up picture of an old red bicycle with a black wheel

Michael McCullough

Michael has displayed his artwork at our Art of Disability Festival for the past 7 years, including the past 2 years in our virtual Artist Catalogue. We reached out to Michael for a Q&A:

Q: How long have you been creating your artwork?

A: For the past 50 years or so, I began taking photos at the age of eleven with an Ilford 35mm Rangefinder Manual camera. I have been showing and selling my work since 2000 on the Public Gardens fence, then to Halifax Keith’s Brewery market from 2001-2012. 

Q: What aspect of your art represents you or something you enjoy?

A: I enjoy taking photos of everyday life in the abstract and enjoy the Maritime theme, the ocean is in my blood. Recently I have been walking around my neighbourhood capturing local photos,  abstract design and photographing many Maritime shorelines and watercraft images.

Q: What do you enjoy most about the Art of Disability Festival?

A: The Art of Disability Festival gives me an opportunity to show my photography. I enjoy getting a personal response to my photography style and perspective. It is also gratifying to be in the artistic community and share the experience with other artists. 

Q: If you could share one piece of advice for other artists living with disabilities what would it be?

A: Every day is a new day. Every new day comes with new possibilities. Do what brings you joy and find strength in your creativity.


This photo is a headshot of Taylor smiling and wearing a suit and tie.
pictured is of Taylor (right) and a friend (left) standing together after running the Bluenose Marathon, they are both wearing light green Bluenose Marathon t-shirts and medals around their necks.

Taylor Coady 

Taylor has been involved with our Board of Directors since 2019 and currently serves as the Board Chair. We reached out to Taylor for a quick Q&A session: 

Q: What are a few things everyone should know about you?

A: I grew up in P.E.I., so Nova Scotia is my adopted home. I have lived all over the Maritimes and it has helped me appreciate all the good things we have here, and how our challenges are not impossible to overcome. Also, I'm a huge Montreal Canadiens fan - go Habs go!

Q: What are your favourite parts about being involved with ILNS? 

A: My two favourite things about working with ILNS are working with a wonderfully talented group of people and seeing the impact, both large and small, of ILNS in the community. And of course the Christmas Gala!

Q: What is one future goal you have for yourself?

A: I've never seen a mountain in person. One day I want to travel out West and see the sights - Banff seems like a great place to visit!

Q: What is one piece of advice you want to share with our audience?

A: If possible, have plants around your home or apartment. They're nice to look at, have a calming effect, and seeing a plant grow over time is very rewarding.


First photo shows Lance standing up, with one hand on his hip and the other signalling a piece sign, and smiling at the camera.
A Spencer House group is shown (from left to right): Allison standing up beside a Yamaha keyboard, Don who is sitting behind the keyboard, Lance standing to the right of the keyboard and also holding up his nametag, and finally, ILNS staff member Pierre who is standing beside Lance.

Lance Capoquian

Lance is currently participating in our RISE transition to employment program and also completed the GAME edition of our Community Access Program (CAP) this past winter. We sat down with Lance for a quick Q&A session:

Q: What are a few things everyone should know about you?

A: I'm a great person. I am very outgoing and I like to meet people. I enjoy walks around my neighborhood, watching TV, and I always have an iced coffee from Starbucks in hand.

Q: What is one future goal you have for yourself? 

A: A full-time job. I would love to be able to buy a house for my family.

Q: What is your favorite part about participating in ILNS programming?

A: The people here are great. I like my work experience at Spencer House because I love to help seniors and I get to do fun activities like chair dancing, cooking, etc. ILNS has been very helpful with people with disabilities.

Q: How has participating in ILNS programming helped you to be more independent?

A: I take metro transit now independently, I have learned how to be employable - time management, presentation, etc. I have also learned how to budget money better. 

Q: What is some advice you want to share with our audience?

A: Be yourself and don't be hard on yourself. If you're hard on yourself you won't be able to see yourself for who you are - everyone is important. If you need help, ask someone at ILNS, home, etc. Keep up the good work everyone!

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