Guided by ISSofBC’s Mission Statement and Core Values, the board’s responsibilities include:

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

Annual General Meeting

ISSofBC holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) within six months of the end of the 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 21, 2017, the following persons were elected to ISSofBC’s Board of Directors (2017-2018).

  • Heather Judd


    Heather Judd


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

    Heather 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. Further, she has experience teaching critical reasoning, mathematics, and financial literacy. Heather holds a CPA designation and a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from McGill University.

  • Mahtab Rae


    Mahtab Rae


    As an immigrant herself from Iran, Mahtab Rae is passionate about helping other immigrants and refugees settle in Canada. Moving to Vancouver in 2013 after immigrating to Montreal, Quebec in 2008, Mahtab lost no time approaching ISSofBC, initially to seek support, and soon afterward to volunteer.

    Given her academic background and qualifications in science, she was tapped in 2016 to serve in the advisory committee of ISSofBC’s Alternative Career in Technology program, an online resource to help newcomers from regulated occupations considering a shift to alternative careers. Mahtab has a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Management from McGill University.

    She worked as a neuroscience researcher and lab coordinator at McGill U, and since moving to Vancouver, has staked out new ground in sales and marketing, earning awards and recognition as a sales leader and consultant.

  • 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.

    Born in Vancouver of 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 (Richard) Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

    Joanna has over 20 years’ experience in areas of 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.

  • Jim Tallman

    1st Vice President

    Jim Tallman

    1st Vice President

    Jim Tallman is the quintessential settlement mentor. Since 1992, when Jim first offered his time and effort to the ISSofBC Volunteer Connections program, he has helped over 20 newcomers and their families from four continents become adjusted to life in Canada. For most of these new Canadians – from Vietnam, Guatemala, Iran, Bosnia, China, Burma, Eritrea, Ecuador and Korea – Jim is considered a life-long friend.

    Jim, a training consultant since 1979 with clients in business, industry and government, has also been an active supporter of ISSofBC’s career services, generously sharing his knowledge and advice with numerous immigrant jobseekers through workshops and networking events. He has hired many newcomers for project work in his company, North Pacific Training & Performance Inc., a company that creates skills-based training and assessment systems for industry across North America and overseas.

    In 1995, Jim joined the ISSofBC board and has been a vital presence since. A Bachelor degree holder in English Literature from UBC, Jim has also served on the board of AMSSA.

  • Veronica Lee

    Facilities Manager, ISSofBC Welcome Centre

    Veronica Lee

    Facilities Manager, ISSofBC Welcome Centre

    Veronica Lee, ISSofBC Welcome Centre’s Facilities Manager, is among a small but growing number of ISSofBC staff moving closer to marking 30 years of service with the agency.

    From her position as Executive Assistant to ISSofBC’s first and second executive director in the early 1990s, Veronica has over the years continually taken on more responsibilities and is today Facilities Manager of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre, a world-class 58,000 square foot, Gold LEED building that regularly draws prominent visitors from Canada and around the world.

    In this position, Veronica oversees facility operations and ensures compliance of established safety policies and procedures and promotes safe work habits. “Although the job is challenging and unpredictable, my background and experience continue to serve me well,” says Veronica, who has over 19 years’ experience in operational management of facilities. She is currently also responsible for overseeing and tracking lease renewals for all ISSofBC locations.

    Veronica’s stint as a Tradeshow/Event Planner after completing her studies in England helped hone her skills in trouble-shooting problems and managing crises. Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Certificate in Administrative Management, Veronica enjoys travelling, reading and fine dining.

  • Ewa Karczewska

    General Manager/Community Relations, ISSofBC Welcome Centre – Surrey

    Ewa Karczewska

    General Manager/Community Relations, ISSofBC Welcome Centre – Surrey

    It’s hard to miss Ewa Karczewska in a crowd. Her exuberant personality and infectious energy bring a positive vibe to any gathering. As General Manager/Community Relations of the new ISSofBC Welcome Centre – Surrey, 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 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.

  • Jennifer Natland


    Jennifer Natland


    Jennifer Natland is the Director of Planning and Development for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Jennifer has been with the Port for 13 years, serving in several management roles in areas of real estate, planning and development. She has also worked as a planning consultant to the maritime sector and previously 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 the SFU 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.

  • Taruna Goel


    Taruna Goel


    Taruna Goel is a Learning and Development (L&D) professional with over 20 years’  experience in adult education, workplace training, curriculum design, competency assessment, and performance improvement. She holds a Bachelors Degree specializing in Community Resource Management and Education and an MBA in Marketing and Human Resources, and currently works as Program Manager at North Pacific Training and Performance Inc.

    Taruna has been volunteering in different capacities for many years including writing and editing articles for United Nations Volunteers and Volunteer Burnaby to promote and mobilize volunteer activities. More recently, she served as a Workplace Connections Mentor helping new immigrants settle into their professional areas of work. She also volunteered as a Family Settlement Mentor to help immigrant and refugee families adjust to the different ways of living in Canada.

    Taruna is an active participant in local, industry events and a speaker at community meetings in Vancouver. She is a reflective blogger ( and enjoys exploring the outdoors and nature photography. Taruna was born and raised in New Delhi, India and immigrated to Canada with her husband and daughter in October 2011.

  • Bea David

    Division Manager, Career Services

    Bea David

    Division Manager, Career Services

    Since joining ISSofBC in 2011, Bea David has had the opportunity to work in various capacities in two major operating divisions: settlement and career services. In the process, she has gained a rich perspective on frontline service delivery demands as well as the corresponding administrative and management support requirements. Bea has delivered, managed, and overseen a variety of programs for diverse clients in BC.

    As Bea sees it, her job is to “work my way out of a job”: building the capacity of the systems and people she supports – whether it’s clients, volunteers, front-line staff, or managers – until they can succeed and thrive independently.

    Bea has a Bachelor in Communications from Ateneo de Manila University, a Career Development Practitioner certificate from Simon Fraser University, and has received Career Development Programs Management training from Douglas College. She is a Certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator, and a Certified Job Finding Club Facilitator.

    When not at work, Bea can most likely be seen chasing Butter, a 13-pound Shi Tzu/Cavalier, as she rips through the city chasing squirrels she’ll never catch.

  • Jack Wong


    Jack Wong


    Jack Wong is a retired Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC) which he served for over nine years.

    Before joining REFBC, Jack was assistant managing director of the Vancouver Board of Trade. A certified member and Fellow of the Chartered Professonal Accountants of Canada, Jack holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Business Administration degree from UBC.

    An active volunteer, Jack currently serves on the boards of – in addition to ISSofBC – Brightside Community Homes Foundation and the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation for Community Revitalization and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He has also served as chair of the Social Innovation Working Group at UBC Farm, co-chair of Thompson Rivers University capital campaign, and Treasurer of the Vancouver Police Foundation.

    Jack  has also served in the advisory councils of the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, and SFU Faculty of Environment.

    An avid traveller and reader of non-fiction, Jack has two daughters with wife Alanna.

  • Joseph Chan


    Joseph Chan


    Joseph Chan’s association with ISSofBC began when he volunteered in the ISSofBC Host program, an iconic settlement-related program that has touched the lives of thousands of newcomers and their Canadian hosts through the years.

    A graduate of Simon Fraser University in Computing Science and Behavioral Psychology, Joseph’s advocacy activities have included co-authorship 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 is a former military officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, and has since worked in technical aspects of health care and telecommunications consulting. He speaks French and Cantonese in addition to English.

  • Sasha Ramnarine


    Sasha Ramnarine


    Sasha Ramnarine’s combined interest in business and law saw him pursuing a career in business law.

    He began exploring his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for business at the age of nine, honing his business skills by helping his father grow the family’s Trinidadian bistro in Kitsilano into a successful restaurant.

    Sasha eventually earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Simon Fraser University concentrating in finance, followed two years later by law studies at the University of Ottawa.

    He is currently an associate counsel with Remedios and Company. Off-work, he is a strong supporter of business and the community. Sasha is a former ambassador of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the New Westminster Police Board and Douglas College Foundation. He is also a professor at SFU and Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

    Sasha enjoys hiking, swimming, and playing cricket. His stated mission in life is to “inspire and touch the hearts of as many people as I walk the path of life.”

  • Bonnie So

    Division Manager, ISS Language & Career College

    Bonnie So

    Division Manager, ISS Language & Career College

    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.

  • Diana Smolic

    Division Manager, LINC

    Diana Smolic

    Division Manager, LINC

    In her 25 years at ISSofBC, Diana Smolic has contributed considerably to ISSofBC’s reputation for excellence in program management, administration and delivery.

    As Project Manager of ISSofBC’s LINC program until her promotion as Division Manager in 2010, and driven by a strong desire to provide quality language programming to newcomers, Diana has led the LINC team in introducing innovative ideas and practices in service delivery that have stood the test of shifting client needs.

    Under her management, LINC expanded from one location in Vancouver to six locations across Metro Vancouver, as well as one in Squamish. Diana was also responsible for implementing various enhancements to the LINC program including providing blended online and in-class training options and ensuring that ISSofBC is a leader in Portfolio-Based Language Assessment.

    Diana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Commerce from the University of British Columbia. When not at work, Diana enjoys travelling, reading, garden design, and yoga.

  • Edith Oen


    Edith Oen


    Edith Oen was an accomplished Certified Public Accountant in the Philippines before immigrating to Canada as a skilled independent immigrant in 1997. While in university, Edith served as president of the campus association for accounting students and was a recipient of several academic scholarships.

    She joined ISSofBC in 1999, carrying out multiple functions in the Finance department. Edith has extensive training and experience in bookkeeping, internal auditing, payroll, account reconciliations, cost analyses, and budget preparation. In her current position as controller, Edith is responsible for preparing the organization’s financial statements, monitoring internal controls and supervising the day-to-day processes in the department.

    Edith says she feels privileged to be “working with dedicated ISSofBC staff” and “feels honoured to be a part of an organization committed to serving newcomers.” During her free time, Edith enjoys long road trips with her family, nature hikes, dancing and arranging indoor plants.

  • Jennifer York

    Division Manager, Settlement

    Jennifer York

    Division Manager, Settlement

    Jennifer York’s career path at ISSofBC gives her a rare vantage point not available to anyone else in the organization at her level.

    From serving as volunteer 13 years ago to occupying positions as receptionist, program assistant, employment counsellor, senior counsellor to being manager of federally and provincially-funded employment programs, Jennifer brings to her current position as Settlement Division Manager, a unique understanding of the work requirements and challenges at each level of the organization’s operations.

    Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Alberta, an Executive Master of Business Administration and a Certificate for Responsible Leadership from Queen’s University. She currently serves as secretary for Kindness Foundation which promotes kindness through a school toolkit used by Vancouver School Board and other school districts.

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

  • Kathy Sherrell, PhD

    Director, Settlement

    Kathy Sherrell, PhD

    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.”

  • Lily Lim

    Division Manager, Communications

    Lily Lim

    Division Manager, Communications

    Lily Lim left a rewarding career behind when she immigrated to Canada nearly three decades ago, but with her current assignment as ISSofBC’s Communications Division Manager, things have come full circle.

    Lily had a lucrative job as a communications executive in a commercial bank with a nation-wide network when she gave it up to pursue her passion for journalism. From writing a popular daily human interest column in a national newspaper to serving as news editor of another national daily, Lily had the opportunity to interview a military dictator (and later on attend the presidential inaugural reception of the housewife who toppled him), a UN General Assembly president, the longest current-serving female US senator, even a saint: Mother Teresa. She also directed assignments and guided reporters covering breaking news including military coups.

    “My career at ISSofBC may not be the adrenaline-pumping affair that my journalism career was, but the psychic rewards are just as great,” says Lily, who oversaw ISSofBC’s Career Services division for 23 years before she fully transitioned to Communications in 2016. Lily is currently responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of the organization’s internal and external communications initiatives. She has a Bachelor in Mass Communications, majoring in Journalism.

  • Patricia Woroch

    Chief Executive Officer

    Patricia Woroch

    Chief Executive Officer

    Patricia Woroch, ISSofBC Chief Executive Officer, has over 30 years’ experience leading social service organizations in diverse sectors including legal services, victim/witness services, health care, community services and family services.

    As CEO since 1998, she has led ISSofBC to be recognized globally for leadership in services for immigrants and refugees, including construction of the purpose-built ISSofBC Welcome Centre, a unique integrated housing and support facility for newcomers that regularly draws local and international visitors interested in services for immigrants and migrant issues.

    Under Patricia’s leadership, ISSofBC expanded its services from two locations to 17 locations in Metro Vancouver, Squamish and Northern BC, and gained recognition as one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada for seven years. In addition to several recognition awards given to ISSofBC during her tenure, Patricia herself received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2017 for propelling change through her “leadership, professionalism and vision within the non-profit sector” and for making “a significant and sustained difference in Metro Vancouver.” In 2019, Patricia received the “Legend” award from the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) for “outstanding contributions to the social services sector.”

    Patricia has been, and continues to be, an active volunteer in a variety of capacities in various organizations. A Registered Social Worker since 1975, she also has a joint BA in Anthrolopology/Sociology and an MA in Organizational Development.

    “The impact our work has on individuals and on community is profound. Our role is integral to nation building – to making Canada the strong, safe and diverse country we are.”

  • Lawrence Tam, CPA

    Director, Finance & 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”

  • Theo Madeley

    Director, Human Resources

    Theo Madeley

    Director, Human Resources

    After a long and solid career in health care, Theo Madeley, Director – Human Resources, joined ISSofBC in 2011, an experience Theo describes as “profoundly rewarding.”

    After post-secondary studies at both UBC (Education) and SFU (Foundations in Business), Theo worked for the City of Vancouver in several public health units, and then in the HR Department at the former Shaughnessy Hospital (currently Women’s and Children’s Hospital). This was followed by a senior HR position at Burnaby Hospital and then as Director of HR at a denominational care facility and a veteran’s care facility prior to coming to ISSofBC.

    Theo was selected to be part of the provincial negotiating team representing healthcare employers during three rounds of collective bargaining and was involved in the building and staffing of a new hospice centre.

    Theo sees the commitment that ISSofBC staff and leadership demonstrate to the organization and clients as being key “to the success and credibility that the organization has garnered provincially, nationally and internationally.”

    “F.E.A.R (Face Everything and Rise!)”

  • 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, MBA

    Director, Language & Career Services

    Carla Morales, MBA

    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.”