A Message from the IONS Board

Dear friends and supporters,

We have some important news to share with you. This summer will be a season of change for our organization.

After four busy and successful years leading IONS, our Executive Director, Annika Voltan, will move on to a new career chapter. Annika has accepted a tenure-track position at Saint Mary’s University and will transition from her current role over the next few months.

Annika leads with purpose, and we have all benefited from her leadership. Annika, with the help of funding partners at the Province of Nova Scotia and countless community members, has been the driving force behind elevating the importance of the community impact sector. The community impact sector within Nova Scotia has been thriving and has played a critical role through COVID, helping to build organizational capacity through research, sharing promising practices and much more. Through Annika’s leadership, IONS and team members have been recognized for their work in North American publications. We’re excited to continue to make a difference in this vital sector that employs about 19,000 people and the equivalent of 30,000 more in volunteer hours in Nova Scotia.

She has also championed the importance of decent work and worked closely with stakeholders to ensure justice and equity are embedded across our practices where possible. Annika has attracted outstanding talent to IONS and turned it into the well-run organization it is today. Thank you, Annika!

While leadership transitions can be difficult, IONS is a change catalyst at its core. Change is what we do, and we are excited about the possibilities this opening creates for us and the communities we serve.

Over the past few weeks, the IONS Board of Directors has established a Transition Committee, who will lead the launch of a professional search for our next Executive Director. We plan to welcome that new person to our organization in the fall.

As we make this leadership transition, we will provide regular updates about our initiatives and programs through our newsletter and social media accounts. We kindly ask you to share our role description with your networks when it is posted.

Please also feel free to reach out to us at any time. We value your feedback and are always happy to hear from you.


Janet Barlow (Chair) & IONS Board of Directors

If you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding this change, you can reach out to the IONS team: [email protected]

A Reflection on Leadership at IONS – A Message From Annika

When people ask how I became a leader in the community impact sector my response begins with “it’s been a windy road”. Until about eight years ago I had next to no experience with nonprofits and didn’t anticipate it would be part of my journey. But I am so incredibly grateful that it has been. It’s offered me experiences that have shaped, humbled and transformed me. I’ve been taught so much by so many about community, relationships, power, inequities and injustices, and the profound role this sector plays in our lives.

The past four years at IONS have represented a period of deep personal growth for me. I joined the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia in the throes of the pandemic and following a painful period for the organization. I’ve done my best in the face of difficult decisions and made mistakes along the way. But as I begin this transition, I feel so proud of my team and the work that’s happening. I can say without a doubt that this group embodies our values of being courageous, embracing an abundance mindset, and prioritizing space for building and maintaining trust – and I’m excited to cheer them on from a different seat.

It feels surreal to share that I am stepping away from this leadership path to contribute in different ways, as an educator, researcher and consultant. I remain committed to advocating for this sector and plan to offer support to those in leadership positions since I’ve seen firsthand how critical they are and how many are struggling in the face of increased demands and inadequate resources and structures.

Beginning in July you’ll find me at St Mary’s University teaching business students about sustainable entrepreneurship and enterprising nonprofits, and exploring research avenues based on my experiences. I’ll also be supporting IONS in a part-time capacity through the transition and whenever needed. I won’t be far and I’m happy to help wherever I can – my door is always open!

The gift of this work has been the relationships I’ve developed. I’m so grateful for my Board of Directors – they’re passionate about the work of IONS, engaged, and committed to helping support a positive transition. I’m excited for the next person who has the opportunity to step into this role and I look forward to supporting them in any way I can.

I feel honoured to have been able to work with my team and witness the growth and leadership they’ve developed. And it’s been a privilege to be in relationship with so many people across the province working to right wrongs and improve lives. I’m so grateful – thank you.

– Annika