Our Board of Directors brings together a diverse group of skilled and accomplished individuals with a shared passion for building a welcoming, inclusive society.
The board is a body of elected members – all volunteers – who jointly oversee the activities of the organization. Guided by ISSofBC’s Mission Statement and Core Values, the board’s responsibilities include:

  • Governance of the Society
  • Strategic Vision and Development
  • Fiduciary Oversight

ISSofBC holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) within six months of the end of each fiscal year. The AGM is an opportunity to:

  • present ISSofBC’s Annual Report;
  • conduct the business of membership
  • celebrate the contributions and successes of ISSofBC over the previous year, and;
  • introduce ISSofBC bursaries to recipients and present their awards.

At the Annual General Meeting on September 22, 2022, the following persons were elected to ISSofBC’s Board of Directors (2022-2023).

Jennifer Natland


Jennifer Natland is the President of the ISSofBC Board of Directors. She is also Director, Corporate Strategy for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and has held previous roles in planning, development and real estate during her 15 years with the organization. Earlier in her career, Jennifer worked in community planning for the City of New Westminster.

Jennifer has been involved with ISSofBC since 2017 when she and her family began volunteering as settlement mentors. In other volunteer roles, Jennifer served on both the alumni council and Council of Advisors for Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies program from 2012 to 2020. She also served as a commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission from 2010 to 2012.

In 2018, Jennifer earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the SFU Beedie School of Business. She earned a Master of Urban Studies degree, also from Simon Fraser University, in 2008. She is a Registered Professional Planner and member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

“Volunteering with ISSofBC has been an extremely rewarding experience for me. As a settlement mentor, I witnessed the immense positive impacts the organization makes in the lives of newcomers to our region and province. By serving on the board of directors, I hope to help ensure ISSofBC continues to provide this much-needed support to newcomers well into the future.”

Craig Stocking


Craig Stocking is the Treasurer on the ISSofBC’s Board of Directors, as well as a partner with an accounting firm in the Fraser Valley focusing on tax planning and corporate structuring.  He has also worked extensively with clients on compliance issues and appeals with the Canadian Revenue Agency. 

Craig has worked for over a decade with Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada and its predecessor organization in marking the national final exams for CPAs. He holds a CPA, Chartered Accountant designation and earned a Bachelor of Business Accounting degree from Simon Fraser University. 

Away from work, Craig volunteers much of his time to charitable and not-for-profit organizations as director or volunteer in various capacities.  He currently acts as a director/trustee for three local charities.  He has served as a member of the ISSofBC Finance Committee since March 2021. 

Taruna Goel


Taruna Goel is a Learning and Development professional with over 23 years of experience in workplace learning and performance improvement. She is currently a Competence Development and Assessment Specialist at North Pacific Inc., where she collaborates with industry associations, training institutions, and governments to design occupational standards and certifications.

Taruna immigrated to Canada with her family in 2011 and has been volunteering for over 10 years with ISSofBC’s Volunteer Connections program. As a Board Director, she brings a unique combination of lived experience, grassroots knowledge, and her ability to collaborate strategically with partners.

Taruna is passionate about building inclusive communities and bringing people together. By supporting the mission of ISSofBC, she hopes that newcomers and refugee families feel a sense of belonging and can thrive socially, economically, and emotionally as they build their futures in Canada.

Taruna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Resource Management and Education, a Master of Business Administration, and a Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education. She is also an active participant in industry events and has her own blog.

Joseph Chan - Secretary

Joseph Chan


Before becoming the Secretary on ISSofBC’s Board of Directors, Joseph Chan graduated from Simon Fraser University in Computing Science and Behavioral Psychology.  He was formerly a military officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and has since worked as an operational advisor and planner for Erinys International. 

His past advocacy activities include co-authoring and publication of studies on issues of the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, law enforcement and criminal justice for Simon Fraser University and the University College of the Fraser Valley. 

Joseph was a volunteer with the Host Program at ISSofBC. 

Lida Pasar

Lida Paslar


Lida Paslar brings with her a wealth of knowledge from the public sector and senior levels of government. Currently, she leads Customer Experience Strategy and Delivery at TransLink, our regional public transportation authority that spans 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver. Prior to TransLink, she held positions at the office of the Minister of Transportation for British Columbia, the Organization of Economic Corporation and Development, and at the federal level for the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Finance 

A first-generation Canadian, Lida grew up on the North Shore in a home that very much embraced her Iranian heritage through the arts, history, traditions, cuisine, and language. Today, she lives in Vancouver with her husband and daughter. As she has been no stranger to the struggles of an immigrant, she wishes to bring her personal experiences and professional expertise to help guide and present newcomers with opportunities and solutions to the hurdles they may face.   

 In 2013, Lida earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, with a major in Political Science and a minor in French.  

“Moving to a new country can present many challenges, but we are here to support and to ensure you have the tools you need to succeed in your new home.” 

Heather Judd - President - ISSofBC

Heather Judd

Immediate Past President

Heather Judd is the COO of an AI start-up focusing on understanding risks in financial disclosures. She has over 10 years of experience in accounting and finance roles, including internal financial reporting and external audit/advisory. She also has teaching experience in critical reasoning, mathematics, and financial literacy. Heather holds a CPA designation and a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from McGill University. 

Heather Judd first joined ISSofBC as a volunteer in the Settlement Mentorship program in 2016, where she became enamored with the organization through the people she met – both staff and clients. She joined the Board of Directors in 2018. 

Joanna Starczynowski

Joanna Starczynowski


Joanna Starczynowski brings to the ISSofBC Board her business industry experience and broad knowledge of the financial sector as well as her understanding of cultural dynamics and the growth of communities.  

Joanna has over 20 years of experience in self-employment, banking, and consulting. She has consulted internationally and was involved in a project restructuring regional and cooperative banks in Eastern Europe and a USAID banking project in Morocco. She currently operates a business management consulting company – Star Ventures Enterprises Ltd. 

Born in Vancouver to immigrant parents from Poland, Joanna was raised with strong ties to her ethnic community. In addition to ISSofBC, she is a board member of the M. Kopernik Foundation, a facility for seniors of Polish origins. She has volunteered for various organizations, particularly those that serve newcomers, students and entrepreneurs. She is currently a business mentor for the Caribbean-based Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and current Board Director at Fairleigh Dickinson University – Vancouver Campus 

Joanna completed Business, Business Law, Business English, and Psychology programs at UBC, BCIT and Capilano University 

“Embracing a culture of open-mindedness, diversity of thought, and cultural expression” 

Jack Wong - Director - ISSofBC

Jack Wong


Jack Wong is the recently retired Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia. Before being named CEO in February 2011, Jack was the Assistant Managing Director and CFO of the Vancouver Board of Trade 

Jack has been an active volunteer all his life. In addition to the Board Director position with ISSofBC, he is currently serving as a Director for Brightside Community Homes Foundation, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation for Community Revitalization, and a Governor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). He also has served as Chair of the Social Innovation Working Group at UBC Farm, Treasurer of the Vancouver Police Foundation, Capital Committee Co-Chair of Thompson Rivers University, as well as serving on the external advisory councils for the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC and the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University.  

Jack is a certified member and Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Business Administration degree from UBC. 

“As a descendent of immigrants who arrived to this country with hopes of a better future for their children, I feel it is my duty to them that I give back to the community that gave my parents the opportunity to provide what I needed to succeed.  I hope that future newcomers and refugees find success and become productive citizens by helping others.” 

Sasha Ramnarine - Director

Sasha Ramnarine


Sasha Ramnarine is an Associate Counsel with Remedios and Company focusing on business law, wills & estates, and real estate law. A tireless lawyer and entrepreneur, Sasha provides his clients with high-value and creative legal solutions for their business and personal life. He is also a Professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, teaching business law and employment law to commerce students.  

Sasha is a strong supporter of business and community engagement. Sasha is a long-time member and a former Ambassador of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, helping new members assimilate into the Board. He is also a Board Member of the BC-India Business Network and Surrey Board of Trade  

Sasha completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at SFU, concentrating in finance, and then spent two years providing financial advice for families and small businesses. With the aspiration to practice business law, he entered law school at the University of Ottawa and after that articled at a boutique corporate real estate law firm serving large companies and real estate developers. 

Abdullah Abunafeesa - Director - Cropped

Abdullah Abunafeesa


Abdullah Abunafeesa (he/him) is a corporate lawyer with extensive legal experience in governance, regulatory compliance, and general corporate law. Abdullah has advised boards of directors of companies in various business sectors on a broad range of legal issues, including risk management, financings, and governance matters. 

Abdullah and his family fled to Canada as refugees from Sudan and is fluent in Arabic. Abdullah is passionate about utilizing his personal experience as a refugee and his professional experience as a lawyer to help the ISSofBC achieve its objectives. 

Abdullah obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Neuroscience from Carleton University and Queen’s University, respectively, with a focus on the neural basis of human decision-making. Additionally, he obtained his J.D. (law degree) from the University of Ottawa. 

Jordan Simmons - Director

Jordan Simmons


Jordan Simmons (he/him) is an explorer at heart. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, he has since traveled to more than 50 countries, sparking his passion for migrant rights, cultural identity, and inclusion and belonging.

Jordan is the co-founder and CEO of Nominee, an organization dedicated to supporting and encouraging more women, youth, 2SLGBTQ+, and people of color to run for office and equipping them with the skills they need to change the world.

For the past 15 years, Jordan has been active in politics and advocacy at every level of government, serving as a political advisor to several B.C. cabinet ministers, and leading grassroots advocacy campaigns, with a particular focus on justice and human rights.

Jordan brings to the ISSofBC Board a strong combination of lived and professional experience in government relations and corporate strategy, as well as a deep passion for building diverse, inclusive communities where we can all thrive and succeed.

Lisa Richlen


Lisa Richlen (she/her) is originally from Bellevue, Washington, but grew up in the Lower Mainland. She previously lived in Israel, where she worked for human rights organizations that supported non-Jews living in Israel. 

As an immigrant twice over (first to Israel and then to Canada), Lisa has been engaged with immigration issues for nearly 20 years. From 2004-2010 she worked at the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, and in 2008, she participated in the Refugee Studies Centre International Summer School on Forced Migration at Oxford University. She also coordinated the Faces of Exile project through HIAS’s office in Tel Aviv in 2014. 

Beyond her non-profit work, Lisa also holds a B.A from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Social and Emotional Learning from Lesley University and a Ph.D. in African Studies from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. 

Lisa moved to Vancouver in 2021 and now works in the Department of Sociology at UBC. She is excited to share her expertise, practical experience and knowledge of the non-profit sector with ISSofBC. 

Alec Attfield - Director

Alec Attfield


Alec Attfield (he/him) began his career as a teacher and management consultant before moving to the Federal Public Service in 1992. 

Over 30 years, Alec served at the Treasury Board Secretariat in Economic Policy, was a Security and Intelligence Advisor to the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister at the Privy Council Office, served as the Chief of Staff to the President of the Canada Border Services Agency, represented Canada as a Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C., and served as the Director General, Canadian Citizenship, at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Alec’s expertise encompasses international relations, intelligence, national security, Canada-US relations, citizenship, customs, and immigration. 

Alec was educated at Queen’s University and holds degrees in mathematics and education and a Master’s degree in Public Policy. 

Passionate leaders committed to the mission and goals of ISSofBC, ISSofBC’s Leadership Team has a combined 125 years’ experience in executive management.

Jonathan Oldman - ISSofBC CEO

Jonathan Oldman

Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Oldman joined ISSofBC as CEO in September of 2021, succeeding Patricia Woroch who held the post for over two decades.

Jonathan has over 20-years senior leadership experience in BC’s not-for-profit sector, working with a range of organizations and systems serving populations including the homeless, individuals with mental health and addiction challenges, seniors, and those at end-of-life. Jonathan was formerly Executive Director of The Bloom Group, one of the largest community organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In the two years prior to joining ISSofBC, he worked in a variety of senior leadership roles in the cancer care sector, including with the Canadian Cancer Society. Jonathan also serves on the Board of Directors of Catalyst Community Developments Society, a BC-based not-for-profit real estate developer. Born in the UK, Jonathan began his career in the British National Health Service, working in a variety of hospital and community health care settings.

“I have spent my entire career working to strengthen communities and support systems. I’m humbled and proud to continue this journey with ISSofBC and look forward to building on the incredible success Patricia and the ISSofBC team have achieved to date. As we continue to address the impact of COVID-19 and other critical challenges facing our society and country, furthering our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our broad work to promote social justice, and our support of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will be key priorities for me.”

Chris Friesen - Chief Operating Officer

Chris Friesen

Chief Operating Officer

Chris Friesen who served as ISSofBC’s Settlement Services Director for almost 30 years, has long been recognized as a leader in the refugee and immigrant sector throughout Canada and has been at the forefront of major refugee resettlement initiatives in BC and Canada. Chris has been an integral member of national bodies including holding senior leadership roles with the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance and National Settlement and Integration Council. He has also represented Canada on the international stage and is a sought-after speaker on immigration-related policies and programs. Chris played a key role in the development of ISSofBC Welcome Centre, a social purpose built, one of a kind facility in Vancouver.

As an undergraduate student at UBC in the mid 1980’s, Chris led a successful referendum on campus to increase student fees to establish a permanent student refugee scholarship program. What started as a one-off initiative has rippled through over 60 post-secondary institutions across Canada through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Student Refugee Sponsorship Program and is now an international resettlement promising practice for alternative resettlement pathways. Prior to his roles within ISSofBC, Chris coordinated a British-Kenyan Educational Trust for Refugees in Nairobi for over two-and-a-half years.

“Underlying my work for over three decades is a profound respect and awe for the strength and resilience of immigrants and refugees who chose or were forced to start over in this country. They inspire and drive our work.”

Carla Morales - Director of Language and Career Services

Carla Morales

Director, Language & Career Services

Carla Morales is an accomplished professional with proven success in development, governance and strategic planning for non-profit groups and community based organizations in Canada and overseas in East Africa.

For over 15 years, Carla has diverse experience in the non-profit sector, a well-developed analysis of key development issues and high competence in intercultural communication. She has held a strong orientation towards community engagement and partnership development.

Carla has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and holds a Masters of Business Administration from the City University of Seattle. She has completed courses through the Executive Education arm of the UBC Sauder School of Business. She currently serves as advisor to two community-based organizations in rural Kenya to support their capacity-building efforts. Much of her time is spent staying abreast of the issues that influence the social impact of the organizations she is involved with.

Carla enjoys reading, practicing yoga, travelling and spending time with her young daughter.

“The key to supporting newcomers successfully is to constantly be assessing their experience – to really listen. You have to be grounded in that understanding before you can innovate and serve with excellence.”

Kathy Sherrell - Director of Settlement

Kathy Sherrell

Director, Settlement

Kathy Sherrell has worked at ISSofBC in settlement services for over 12 years. During this time she has taken a lead role in program development and evaluation, contract negotiations and oversight, and quality assurance and standardization. Involvement in special projects such as the BC Refugee Hub and allows Kathy to share her passion for refugee resettlement with others, promoting policy change and greater understanding of refugee issues.

Kathy holds a PhD in Geography from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts Degree from Simon Fraser University with an emphasis on refugee resettlement in Canada. Kathy continues to be actively engaged in research. At present Kathy is a co-investigator on two pan-Canadian, multi-year refugee research projects, as well as a lead on numerous internal research projects. She is an Affiliated Scholar with York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies and serves on UBC Centre for Migration Studies Executive Committee.

Kathy is passionate about evaluation and outcomes measurement, serving on IRCC’s National Settlement Outcomes Group, co-chairing the BC Settlement Outcomes Working Group, and as a member of the BCSIS Program Evaluation Working Group. She is the internal Project Manager for implementation of the NewTrack client information system.

“I am inspired by the strength and resilience of refugee newcomers to Canada and committed to reducing structural barriers to their integration through my work and research.”

Lawrence Tam, CPA - Director of Finance and IT

Lawrence Tam, CPA

Director, Finance & IT

Lawrence Tam arrived here with his family as a youngster from Hong Kong during Canada’s centennial year in 1967 and settled in Vancouver. A Bachelor of Commerce graduate from UBC and a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA – CGA) for over 30 years, he has been with ISSofBC for over 10 years as the Director of Finance and IT. Prior to this, Lawrence held executive finance and administration positions in several major credit unions, in addition to a short tenure with the provincial Finance Ministry.

Lawrence is an active member of the Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club. During his year as President, the Club received the Lions Club International Club Excellence Award and was the Top LCIF Contributor Club in Canada. He has received several Lions International President Letter of Commendation and Certificate of Appreciation.

Lawrence has been married for more than 40 years to Cathy and has two sons and four granddaughters. In his spare time, he enjoys live concerts, dancing, running and going to the YMCA. Last year, Lawrence completed his 20th consecutive Sun Run.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your Life”

Parm Sandhu - Acting Chief Information Officer

Parm Sandhu

Acting Chief Information Officer

Parm Sandhu is an accomplished technology leader with proven success in technology & solution implementation and business transformation initiatives for clients across North America, Europe and Asia.

For over 20 years, Parm has been working in the technology sector and has become well versed working with organizations across various sectors – non-profit, public and private. During this time he has held executive positions in large regional, national and multi-national organizations and has led cross functional technology, sales and business teams. Over the last few years Parm has been leading the Digital Transformation initiatives at ISSofBC with a focus on business transformation and modernization.

Parm immigrated to Canada from the UK in 1993. He is an active member of the community and continues to serve on several boards. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys and active lifestyle.

“In order to effectively service the needs of newcomers our sector needs to adopt and embrace technology. The demand for services and programs will continue to intensify. We need to enhance our business processes and workflows and endorse technology to enable greater service capacity, leverage business intelligence and foster more effective interactions and engagement with our clients”

Rebecca Irani - Director of Communications

Rebecca Irani

Director of Communications

Rebecca Irani is a global communications strategist with over 18 years of experience in the international development/NGO, non-profit, private, and public sectors. She displays a passion for issues including education, diversity, inclusion, social justice, and sustainability.

She has worked at some of the world’s leading communications and marketing consultancies. She speaks English, French, and Spanish and has lived and worked across Europe, East Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Australasia. She immigrated to Canada in 2008.

She holds an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of London, a BA in Modern Languages, and an advanced Certificate in Marketing (Chartered Institute of Marketing). Fervent about education, she’s also a qualified English teacher (CELTA).

Rebecca enjoys the great outdoors, yoga, traveling, and spending time with her young son.

“Canada is the land of newcomers and ISSofBC plays a leading role in their successful integration. I am proud to become part of the team. As a result of my own immigration journeys and diverse cultural background, I empathize with all newcomers and refugees and admire their strength and hope.”

Anar Amlani - Head of PCI

Anar Amlani

Director of People, Culture and Inclusion

Anar joined ISSofBC as our Director of People, Culture and Inclusion in November 2022.

Prior to joining us, Anar worked at the Ontario Medical Association where she was the Senior Lead, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and brings more than 20 years of people and culture leadership experience in both the private and public sectors, with a particular focus on the post-secondary education sector. She has worked extensively both in Canada and internationally and is returning to live and work in Vancouver after a decade in Toronto.

Her experience covers a range of HR areas, with recruitment, organizational development, and talent management core to her work.

Anar has a MA in Organizational Leadership from Royal Roads University as well as a range of HR, DEI, and coaching training certificates. Leading through a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is central to her approach and values.

“Everything I am and want to be as an HR leader is informed by my lived experience as a Ugandan refugee to Canada.  In addition, my professional and volunteer experience with the newcomer community in Ontario have prepared me for this incredible opportunity. Being the 50th anniversary year, I see this as one of life’s full circle moments.  I’m grateful and excited to be a part of the ISSofBC family, it’s mission and culture transformation.”

Knowledgeable professionals dedicated to service excellence. ISSofBC’s dynamic team of senior managers encourage high levels of staff performance and professionalism.

Shae Viswanathan - Associate Director of Settlement

Shae Viswanathan

Associate Director, Settlement Programs

Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Shae Viswanathan began her career in Southeast Asia where she lived and worked for more than 10 years, occupying progressively senior roles in a number of multi-national organizations and traveling the region extensively. She returned to her roots in Canada in the Fall of 2006 and found her ultimate calling in the non-profit sector, focusing on community development, immigrant settlement, and language services. Since then, Shae has managed a wide variety of portfolios and programs while working with diverse teams of staff and volunteers from a large spectrum of ethnocultural backgrounds and professions. She continues to sit on a variety of committees within the Metro-Vancouver region dealing with immigrant settlement issues and remains passionate about building a community based on equity, diversity, and inclusion. In her free time, Shae enjoys cooking Southeast Asian cuisine and hiking BC’s beautiful rainforests.

Bonnie So

Associate Director, ISS Language & Career College (LCC)

Bonnie So is the first to admit that her pride in the ISS Language and Career College (LCC) – ISSofBC’s very successful social enterprise – goes deeper than merely professional.

“It has been so fulfilling to witness LCC grow from one class of 12 students to our current operation with over 2,000 students attending ESL, vocational and co-op programs each year,” says Bonnie, who was involved in the creation of the program in 1995.

“Having come to Canada from Hong Kong as an international student myself, I value and enjoy our multicultural clients and our diverse staff and volunteers,” says Bonnie, who has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Toronto’s York University and a Multicultural Settlement Certificate.

Under Bonnie’s management, LCC became a recognized college, earned accreditations from Languages Canada and the BC government (Private Training Institutions Branch), and was listed on the federal government’s prestigious Designated List of Institutions. LCC revenues generated over the years have contributed significantly to supporting unfunded ISSofBC programs.


Ewa Karczewska

Associate Director, LINC

It’s hard to miss Ewa Karczewska in a crowd. Her exuberant personality and infectious energy bring a positive vibe to any gathering. As the Associate Director for our Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program, Ewa may be counted upon to deliver with vigor the client-focused, multi-service model that its forerunner in Vancouver was built on.

Ewa, who joined ISSofBC in 1994, has a well-known record for connecting with people, identifying problems, finding solutions and getting things done. As one of her colleagues said, “Ewa leads with flair! She is an exceptional leader who is proficient, fun, and never afraid to roll up her sleeves and do what needs to be done.”

Ewa joined ISSofBC in 1994 as Childcare Supervisor. This was followed by promotions to ELSA Assistant Manager position then to ELSA/LINC Manager position in 2007. Ewa was instrumental in the setting up of the ISSofBC LINC satellite locations in Tri-Cities, Richmond, New Westminster and Maple Ridge. She has also served in several BC-wide and regional committees and boards, including the City of Coquitlam Multicultural Advisory Committee.

In her spare time, Ewa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, traveling and relaxing in the sun.


Gabby Korcheva

Associate Director, Career Services

Gabby Korcheva joined ISSofBC in 2019 and, as an immigrant herself and a solutions-focused “people person,” she gets her energy from building meaningful employment and business start-up opportunities for immigrants and refugees coming through ISSofBC’s doors.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy and a Master of Education in Adult Education from the University of British Columbia. Gabby was also a 2016 RADIUS Fellow at the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business and completed the Social Impact Business-Start Up Incubator program at Spring Activator in 2015. Prior to joining ISSofBC, she was co-founder and manager at Binners’ Project, a local social enterprise of waste-pickers dedicated to creating new economic opportunities and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors.

Gabby believes strongly in the principles of lifelong learning that places learners at the centre. She knows that when the connection is right, we derive confidence, a strong sense of self-efficacy, and valuable learning through work. It is through this belief that she is confident we can move towards greater social and economic equity for all.


Jennifer York

Associate Director, Refugee Services

Jennifer York’s career path at ISSofBC gives her a rare vantage point not available to anyone else in the organization at her level. Jennifer started out as a volunteer after seeing newly arrived government-assisted refugees children playing at Welcome House. Soon after volunteering, she began working at ISSofBC to provide frontline work in employment programs and eventually managing federally and provincially-funded employment programs.

In 2015, Jennifer moved on to Settlement Division as a senior manager to oversee the multiple settlement programs and projects in nine locations. Her current role as Associate Director of Refugee Services provides oversight of the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), a program serving newly arrived Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) to Canada, and also the Settlement Orientation Program (SOS), a program that supports Refugee Claimants.

Highlights of Jennifer’s career at ISSofBC include being part of Operation Syrian in 2015 when Canada welcomed over 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, the opening of the Welcome Centre in Vancouver, the royal visit with the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and since August 2021, Jennifer has been the lead representative for BC RAP Service Providers for the National Afghan Resettlement Initiative. In addition to oversight and management of program operations, Jennifer takes great pride is seeing the development of her team and has been known to mentor and support colleagues with their professional growth and development.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Alberta and an Executive Master of Business Administration and a Certificate for Responsible Leadership from Queen’s University.

Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys spending her free time hiking in the BC trails, baking bread, learning and trying new activities and spending time with her little Pekinese, Sunshine.