I am the I in IWK – Melissa Marsman

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Senior Accounts Payable Clerk
Finance Department

“I want a better future for African Nova Scotians, and especially female African Nova Scotians,” Melissa Marsman says. “Changes need to be made. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I want to be a part of those changes.”

Melissa, senior accounts payable clerk with IWK finance department, serves as a volunteer on the following boards and committees:

  • Chair of Human Rights – NSGEU
  • Federation of Labour Anti-racism and Human Rights
  • Representative of Workers of Colour in the Maritimes

Born and raised in central Halifax, Melissa went through the Dalhousie Transition Year Program for Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian students who did not have the means to pay for university. “Rocky Jones was the first student to come out of this program,” Melissa says.

She could have attended university after this program, but decided to raise her two sons instead. “I was good in math so I got to take some extra courses and that has served me very well in my position over the past 14 years.”

African Heritage Month is very important to Melissa and her family and she takes part in a number of events every year.

“I celebrate African Heritage month by going to Nova Scotia Mass choir with my mom. My cousin is in it and once we went five years ago at her invitation and now we go every year,” Melissa says. “I’m also going to a book launch at North Branch library on February 23. It’s called ‘R is for Reparations’ and it was written by young activists in the community.”

Melissa still turns to her mentor, her mother Ruby, every day for advice. “Even though my dad was in the picture, my mom raised me by herself,” Melissa says. “She also worked at the IWK in housekeeping for 12 years and just recently retired.”

Even though Melissa has felt welcome at the IWK since day one, she has advice that she thinks would serve everyone: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Get to know the person.”