Our Team

Donnamarie Dunk

Executive Director


Hello and welcome!  I am happy that you stopped by to learn about our organization, the impact of our work and our team.

In 2018, I found my place of belonging as Executive Director of Bridges to Belonging. My personal, professional and community life journey has allowed me to witness the abundance of community, the power of authentic relationships, the impact of a commitment to our shared humanity and the inexplicable capacity and resilience of the human spirit.

I am passionate about advocating for human rights, social justice and the rights, privileges and freedoms of citizenship for people and families in our community.  My “calling” is to inspire hope, empower vision, influence change and engage others to develop creative solutions to overcome barriers to social and economic inclusion and isolation.

I have a natural curiosity, an insatiable thirst for learning and a deep desire to “clear a path”  for people to live their best lives possible. As such, I am a life long learner with a degree in Human Resource Management and one in Psychology and Theology, I also hold certifications in facilitation, mediation and solution-focused coaching. My career has allowed me to serve public and private sector organizations as well as community-based enterprises in a leadership capacity, including community and inpatient health care, community and inpatient mental health, developmental services organizations, and the Waterloo Wellington LHIN.  I have also had the privilege of serving on a number of boards and am currently a member of the CMHAWW board of directors.

The best part of my work is hearing people with disabilities describe the life THEY want –  knowing, that our Independent Facilitators at Bridges to Belonging will walk with them and the family, to create and implement a sustainable plan, supported by a network of meaningful relationships that empowers the person to have a good life and their families to have peace of mind.


Carmen Sutherland

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Community Relations


I’m Carmen Sutherland and I’m so excited to be a part of Bridges to Belonging as the Community Presenter.

I have a background in Rehabilitation Counselling and have been involved in disability communities in both the United States and Canada, and if you want to see me cry, ask me what these experiences meant to me! I love to help people with disabilities build meaningful relationships and have fun in their communities. I love the feeling of belonging I have in Waterloo region, and I want to help others feel the same in any way I can. Besides these topics, I love to talk about books, food and television.

Please get in touch if you would like to have me join your group to talk about Bridges to Belonging!


Carolyn Leighton-Hilborn

Independent Facilitator


I was thrilled to accept the opportunity to join this fantastic team of Independent Facilitators with Bridges to Belonging! I am eager to help motivate and encourage the people I work with to go after their dreams and find a greater sense of belonging in our community – whether they want to join a choir, learn to knit, go stargazing or live independently. I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures the people I work with will take us on.

For the past ten years I have worked as an employment advisor with a local not-for-profit agency. There I supported those I worked with in identifying and setting their goals, and assisting them in achieving them – whether that was to find a new job, better opportunities, completing their grade twelve education or obtaining post secondary education.

Beyond my employment, I work with several organizations including the KW Parents of Multiple Births Association, Preemie Parents of Waterloo-Wellington Region, Multiple Births Canada and the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation.

I am married and have three wonderful children including identical twin boys. I enjoy blogging, tinkering with social media, scrapbooking, taking photos of anything and everything, and hanging out with my family.

Email – Extension 226

Leah Bowman

Administrative Assistant


I am so excited to become a part of the team at Bridges to Belonging as the administrative assistant. I am passionate about participating and creating communities where ALL can belong and believe that Bridges to Belonging is a great fit for that passion. I’ve worked in the social service sector for many years as a program supervisor at Christian Horizons and family supervisor at Nairn Family Homes. Through these jobs, I have had the opportunity to walk alongside many children & adults as they find their sense of belonging in the communities where they live. My life has been enriched by journeying with these individuals as they find acceptance, inclusion and community.

My previous supervisory roles have had many administrative and organizational components to them. I have a natural inclination towards organizing and seeing things run smoothly. This will be a real asset to my role as administrative assistant. I hope to be able to use my gifts and unique experiences to impact and become involved in the important work that Bridges to Belonging does.

I live in Kitchener with my husband and two children.  I enjoy spending time with family & friends, going for walks, reading, creating & crafting, playing roller derby and having a good laugh.

Email – 519-886-8886 ext. 2427

Jess Cave

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Creative Housing Coordinator


I’m very excited to be part of the Bridges to Belonging team as Creative Housing Coordinator!

I have lived, worked and volunteered in several countries which enriched my perception and awareness of the barriers and challenges people face when they move to a new country/home and what it means to belong.

I first experienced this when I lived in a developing country where I met my life partner. He opened my eyes to the harsh realities of living in extreme poverty and inspired me to pursue a path in social services. For the last 14 years, I have had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life in health and social service agencies building relationships to help people achieve their goals and potential for success.

As a social justice, environmental and human rights activist, I volunteer to help educate others on the protection and preservation of our natural environment. As a recent member of Waterloo Region Cohousing Ecovillage; a pilot for an intentional community open to all that aims to create a sustainable lifestyle for multiple generations to be adaptable to environmental changes. I hope this will lead to more creative solutions to current affordable housing issues.

Now, as I begin this new chapter as Creative Housing Coordinator- I am eager to help build a more sustainable, inclusive community that provides a choice and a voice by helping support individuals with their housing goals in Waterloo Region.

In the words of Naguib Mahfouz; a home is not where you are born, home is where all your attempts to escape cease.


Nancy Garza

Independent Facilitator


I am very honoured to become a part of the Bridges to Belonging Facilitation team. Ever since I learned about the organization, I felt in love with the work they do, and wanted to become involved in their activities.

I have been working and collaborating for the last 13 years with persons that face barriers to participation in the community. I truly believe that everyone has something unique to contribute to the community, and just like a puzzle, despite our differences, when we get all the pieces together, something beautiful will arise.

I am from Mexico, where I completed a Masters degree in Inclusive Education. From my learning and work experiences there I was able to better understand the barriers that impede participating and becoming a part of the community. I arrived to Canada on 2016, and being new to the country and culture allowed me to experience the importance of building community and finding a place in the community where I belong.

Email – Extension 227