Meet the DHBC Team

We are a small and mighty bunch, who work on behalf of our members and Board of Directors.

Paul MacKinnon

Chief Executive Officer

Paul (or @Downtownpaul as he’s known on Twitter) is the voice for all things Downtown Halifax. He is a passionate advocate for the need to make the right decisions and investments in Downtown, so that it can continue in its role as the economic, cultural, artistic, historic, and entertainment hub of the city and province. He leads the talented and dynamic team at DHBC.

Paul’s favourite thing about Downtown
The fine-grained, historic street pattern from 1749, means that I am never more than a short block or two from the nearest donair

Kimberly Dossett

Director of Finance & Operations

As the financial controller and Director of Finance & Operations, Kimberly is the glue that holds all the pieces together. Kimberly's extensive experience with project management, accounting, and not-for-profit management helps keep everything DHBC does on time and on budget. Kimberly manages DHBC's yearly budgets and the office, organizes Downtown beautification and logistics projects, and oversees the DHBC Downtown Halifax Crew.

Kimberly’s favourite thing about Downtown
Sipping iced tea on the various patios around Downtown.

Allana MacDonald Mills

Director of Marketing

It’s Allana’s job to develop and deliver all the marketing and promotional materials for DHBC. A native Haligonian, she has over 10 years of marketing experience on the agency side having worked in Toronto and Halifax on a variety of clients. Her goal is to develop and execute marketing campaigns and programs that get more "feet on the street" in Downtown Halifax.

Allana’s favourite thing about Downtown
How family-friendly it is. Halifax Dance, the Discovery Centre, the Submarine playground, the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market – you can keep kids busy all year round!

Jonathan Goldson

Placemaking Manager

Jonathan is responsible for the management and execution of DHBC’s placemaking programs, events, and initiatives. In addition to his Bachelor of Community Design with a double major in Urban Design & Planning and Sustainability, Jonathan also has experience working with HRM’s Planning & Development business unit. He has a passion for creating vibrant and inclusive public spaces with a strong understanding of how such spaces impact the community.

Jonathan’s favourite thing about Downtown
Whether you’re walking or rolling along the waterfront or cycling along the protected bike lanes on Hollis or Lower Water Streets, there is always an active way to travel within the Downtown area.

Jessica Pettigrew

Membership Engagement Manager

With a background in marketing and communications, Jessica enjoys connecting with people to reach creative and strategic solutions. She has a passion for all things local and works to engage, promote, and act as an advocate for DHBC and its members. You may be greeted by her at our Welcome Centre when she is not visiting Downtown businesses or attending events. Outside of work, she is a fitness instructor and nature lover who enjoys exploring all that our beautiful province has to offer. 

Jessica’s favourite thing about Downtown
There is something for everyone to enjoy. The diverse range of local shops, restaurants, entertainment, services, and attractions are enjoyed by those who spend time working, living, or visiting Downtown Halifax.

Jayme Lynn Butt

Communications Manager

It’s Jayme’s job to tell DHBC’s story. Joining us with 20 combined years working in radio, PR & fundraising, Jayme is excited to develop DHBC’s media relations and advocacy programs. Outside of the office, Jayme can usually be found with her son exploring beaches, snuggling kitties, and seeing as much live music and theatre as humanly possible. 

Jayme's favourite thing about Downtown

Neptune Theatre! We are so lucky to have this magical place. Go to all of the shows. #supportneptune

Raf Peligro

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Raf’s role is to assist in marketing and communications activities, such as social media and website updates. He works to help promote Downtown as the ideal place to live, work, and have fun! Raf is passionate about sharing the dynamic, diverse, and vibrant stories of the people and businesses that make up the district.

Raf’s favorite thing about Downtown 
The eclectic mix of picturesque scenery, local art, world-class restaurants, entertainment for all ages, historical buildings, and so much more —  all in a few city blocks!  

Ryan Bellefontaine

Business Census Researcher

With a background in economics, political science and journalism, Ryan is responsible for gathering census data from all downtown businesses. He has published articles for CityNews Halifax about local developments, beaches, university tuition, and more.


Favourite thing about downtown:

The density & walkability of downtown Halifax makes it the most environmentally friendly place to live in Atlantic Canada. Also, the link system is great for when the weather is poor!

Mini Mills

Office Dog and Chief Barketing Officer (CBO)

Mini oversees the day-to-day interactions at the DHBC office as she is Downtown most days. Although she spends the majority of her time in her office bed, she is very friendly and enjoys greeting staff and visitors alike.

Favourite thing about downtown:

Ham breakfast wraps from Bird's Nest Cafe and walks to Peace and Friendship Park.

Board of Directors

Kristan Hines

National Public Relations

Joyce Liu

Lumi Studios

Marilisa Benigno, Vice Chair

Benigno Group of Companies

Nathalie Morin

Rousseau Chocolatier

Issmat Al‐Akhali, Secretary Treasurer

Granville Hall

Matthew Martel

Black Business Initiative

Jeff Ransome

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

Christian Rankin, Chair

Obladee Wine Bar & Wonderlust Media

Blaise Morrison

The Armour Group Limited

Erin Esiyok-Prime, Member at Large

Events East Group

Ashwin Kutty, Member at Large

WeUsThem Inc.

Sanjeev Pushkarna, Member at Large

Nova Scotia Power

Melissa Carey

RCR Hospitality Group

Advocacy Action Team

Christian Rankin

Obladee Wine Bar

Jeff Ransome

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

Kristin O'Toole

Develop Nova Scotia

Ismaat Al-Akhali

Blacksheep Projects

Sanjeev Pushkarna

Nova Scotia Power

Marketing Action Team

Ankur Gupta

Scanway Catering

Emily MacNeill-Liot

Events East Group

Andrea Saint-Pierre

Craft Nova Scotia

Krista Lingley

Parks Canada

Melissa Carey

RCR Hospitality Group

Laura Oakley

Legendary Hospitality

Katie Conklin

Discover halifax

Jenna Rideout

Develop Nova Scotia

Leah Veinot

Discovery Centre

Jessica Muzzerall

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

Emily Richards

Neptune Theatre

Membership Engagement Action Team

Griffin Hewitt

Reef Technology

Erin Esiyok-Prime

Event East Group

Marilisa Benigno

Benigno Group Companies

Jennifer Punch

Discovery Centre

Kim Farmer

The Prow Gallery

Kate Hamilton

Another Shop

Mindy Wong


Placemaking Action Team

Lindsay Ann Cory

Halifax Regional Municipality

Annie Cameron

Discover Halifax

Rose Zack

Jury Member

Elora Wilkinson

Jury Member

Amber Solberg

Jury Member

James Janssen

Jury Member

Mike Burt

Jury Member

Adriana Afford

Argyle Fine Art

Grant Ruffinengo


Matthew Martel

Black Business Initiative

Nathalie Morin

Rousseau Chocolatier

T. J. Maguire

Develop Nova Scotia