About Innovating for Impact


After the experience of the first cohort, the project team is excited to launch the second season!

The goal of the project is to help service provider organizations increase newcomers’ sense of belonging by considering new pathways, tools, and approaches to our work.

The project, funded in 2021 by IRCC, was launched by ARAISA and Inspiring Communities as a two-year capacity-building program for settlement agencies in the Atlantic Region. This project is designed for individuals who work for an IRCC-funded agency in Atlantic Canada (Francophone, Anglophone, and Bilingual organizations).


The project is structured in 3 main phases

What are participants learning?

  • Discovering Social Research and Design, outcome measurement, and developmental evaluation tools to support innovative approaches to their work
  • Collaborating with peers in the region and across organizations in the sector
  • Turning ideas into real projects supported by project funding 
  • Supporting newcomer’s sense of belonging through a participative, experiential learning approach



Program Timeline

To learn more about the project: impact@araisa.ca  

Meet the project team

Laura Huynh Lê

ARAISA Project Co-Lead

For over 5 years, Laura has supported newcomers build a future in Nova Scotia and help them feel empowered in finding fulfillment in their new life in Canada as project  coordinator. She is fortunate to  have worked with both the Francophone and Anglophone sides of the settlement sector. She is passionate about creating conditions for change and lifelong learning. Originally from Belgium, Laura holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Brussels and earned a Certificate in Adult Education from Dalhousie University. Laura is Bilingual and her native language is French.

Contact: laurale@araisa.ca 

Sara Bateman

Developmental Evaluator

With more than 15 years in public and corporate community investment working closely with the non-profit sector, Sara brings a broad perspective of the philanthropic and social sector organizational challenges and opportunities. As a graduate of the Social Innovation Graduate program at the University of Waterloo, her consultancy practice works with clients to develop emergent strategies for system change and social impact evaluation frameworks. With a focus on developmental evaluation and social innovation tools, she brings an adaptive strategy and systems lens to her work. Sara works across sectors. One of her roles was co-chair of the Calgary Local Immigrant Partnership (CLIP) Council. Over the past decade, she has been involved with a number of social labs. Additionally, she was an instructor at Mount Royal University on the social innovation lab design and facilitation as part of their past Social Innovation program. Sara brings a keen facilitation skill-set to uncover assumptions, barriers, and opportunities for her clients and their organizations. 

Contact: bateman.sj@gmail.com 

Elissama Menezes


Elissama has more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of environmental and social justice with international organizations in Brazil, the US, Canada, and France. Born and raised in Brazil, Elissama is a shaker and community builder who has worked towards solutions for people and the environment through a social justice approach. Elissama is currently co-leading the Innovating for Impact Project, supporting representatives from the settlement sector to unlock their innovative potential and better serve newcomers. 

Contact: emenezes@inspiringcommunities.ca