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).

  • Jim Tallman

    President

    Jim Tallman

    President

    Jim Tallman is the quintessential settlement mentor. Since 1992, when Jim first offered his time and effort to the ISSofBC Host 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 is president of North Pacific Training & Performance Inc., a company that creates skills-based training and assessment systems for the natural resource sector.

    In 1996, 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.

  • Jack Wong

    1st Vice-President

    Jack Wong

    1st Vice-President

    Jack Wong is Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC) which provides grants to support land use and real estate practices that contribute to resilient, healthy communities and natural environments.

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

    An active volunteer, Jack currently serves in the boards of – in addition to ISSofBC –Housing Foundation of BC, Vancouver Police Foundation, Richmond Museum Society, and the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network. He is also chair of the Social Innovation Working Group at UBC Farm, and sits on the advisory councils for the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC, and the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University.

    Jack is a fellow of the Ford Foundation’s Regional Sustainable Development Program, member of Lambda Alpha International, and associate member of the Real Estate Institute of BC.

  • Joanna McKinlay

    2nd Vice-President

    Joanna McKinlay

    2nd Vice-President

    Joann McKinlay is a Spanish-English translator and writer for over two decades, having worked with Mexican and Canadian companies in translations, media relations and consulting.

    A native of Vancouver, BC, Joann moved to live in Mexico City, Mexico for 12 years after obtaining a degree in Latin American Studies. Her previous positions include financial journalist, industry consultant, counselor at an international high school, and contemporary dance teacher. She was also involved in the administration of a non-profit professional association.

    Joann has served on the boards of the Mexican Business Association of Canada as president, and on the Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC. She is currently Registrar at the Vancouver School of Interpreting and Translation (VanSIT), and has launched a new venture providing counselling support for interpreters and individuals working with immigrants and refugees.

  • Nicolas Lozovsky (Dip Arch, M Arch)

    Treasurer

    Nicolas Lozovsky (Dip Arch, M Arch)

    Treasurer

    As a volunteer at ISSofBC for over two decades – 10 of these as president of ISSofBC’s board – Nicolas Lozovsky has seen the organization grow from “a very tiny organization made up of people with a lot of heart and commitment” to the professionally-managed, internationally-recognized institution it is today.

    The construction of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre holds a special place in Nicolas’ heart, given his involvement in the project from its early visioning years to its completion with him still in the front-row seat as a member of the building committee.

    Born in Russia and growing up in the Middle East and Europe, Nicolas Lozovsky speaks fluent Russian, French and Arabic. He trained as an architect before immigrating to Canada in 1969. Nicolas has been a member of the Architectural Institute of BC for 40 years, and was involved in the creation of the Vancouver Public Aquarium and St. Paul’s Hospital.

    A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Nicolas is a past board member of AMSSA and the Canadian Folk Society, and presided over the Russian Community Centre in Vancouver for 10 years. He plays in the Russian Folk Orchestra and enjoys travel, dance and scuba diving.

  • Brandon D. Hastings, BBA (Dist.), JD)

    Secretary

    Brandon D. Hastings, BBA (Dist.), JD)

    Secretary

    Brandon Hastings, born and raised in Richmond, BC, has built houses in Ecuador, lived and worked with Bedouin families in Jordan, and worked and studied in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Singapore.

    A lawyer and qualified civil and family mediator, Brandon holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership (with distinction) from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Brandon also sits on the editorial board and court services committee of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch’s BarTalk magazine, and is a frequent contributor to a variety of legal publications.

    Brandon co-founded Vancouver Legal Hackers which is part of a global movement aimed at solving some of the most pressing issues at the intersection of law and technology.

    Many of Brandon’s closest friends were helped by ISSofBC when they first came to Canada, and he is enthusiastic about seeing ISSofBC establish itself as an active player in the global NGO settlement services community

  • Naomi Linklater

    Member-at-Large

    Naomi Linklater

    Member-at-Large

    Naomi Linklater, BFA, B.Ed., has first-hand experience in, and knowledge of, key immigration and Aboriginal issues. For over 10 years, Naomi has worked with Indigenous, immigrant, multi-barriered, and at-risk youth and adults in visual/performing arts, ESL, cross-cultural competency, conflict resolution, and life-skilled classes.

    As a partner in The Drive Learning Consultants, Naomi has consulted on the creation of several online and face-to-face programs, including Indigenous Peoples, History and Cultures (City of Vancouver) Respectful Workplace (Provincial Health Services Authority), Aboriginal Relations (BC Hydro), Career Gateways, and Aboriginal Peoples (Vancouver Community College).

    She coordinated a Family Violence and Cultural Teaching Workshop Series for Native Education College in Vancouver. She also coordinated the recruitment of Elders, Spiritual Teachers and cultural workers from Indigenous communities to incorporate Aboriginal cultural protocols and teachings into workshops for promoting cultural awareness and self-identity, and facilitating positive change for members of the Aboriginal community.

    Naomi is Métis and a member of Vancouver Métis Community Association and a past-president of the board of Warriors Against Violence Society.

  • Maria M. Braungart

    Director

    Maria M. Braungart

    Director

    Maria Braungart brings to the ISSofBC board her substantial experience in membership engagement and retention, having been part of the Vancouver Board of Trade’s membership team for 18 years.

    In her last position at VBOT as director of membership services, Maria oversaw the VBOT’s membership committee and Ambassadors Club volunteers, ensuring these committees were effectively chaired and managed. She also managed their value-added membership events and secured sponsors for these events. In 2011, the VBOT recognized Maria with the Chairman’s Award for 18 years of outstanding contributions.

    Maria is a balcony gardener and a member of both the White Rock & District and the Richmond Garden Club. She enjoys travelling, hiking, knitting, baking and visiting family in Montreal. She also hosts the Maria Breakfast Club, a monthly networking get-together with colleagues and guests. Maria has a B.A. in interdisciplinary Sciences and a Minor in Psychology from the University of New York at Buffalo, New York.

  • Joseph Chan

    Director

    Joseph Chan

    Director

    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. In his free time, Joseph likes to travel, windsurf, and take a spin in a motorcycle.

  • Catherine Der

    Director

    Catherine Der

    Director

    Catherine Der is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, Chartered Accountant (CPA, CMA, CA) by profession and has her own public practice. Catherine has over 30 years of work experience in public practice that includes working with not-for-profit entities.

  • Sasha Ramnarine

    Director

    Sasha Ramnarine

    Director

    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 currently practices at a boutique business law firm in Vancouver, serving start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Off-work, he is a strong supporter of business and the community. Sasha is ambassador for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the New Westminster Police Board. He was the Member of Parliament Candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby in the last federal election

    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.”

  • V. Setty Pendakur, PhD

    Director

    V. Setty Pendakur, PhD

    Director

    It takes no less than a booklet just to list all the boards, foundations, academies, educational institutions and government commissions that Dr. V. Setty Pendakur has been, and is still, involved in.

    Setty, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia where he taught for 32 years, is currently president of Pacific Policy and Planning Associates which specializes in policy and planning for international development. He is a senior advisor to a number of Asian governments including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and is also a visiting professor/scholar at more than 25 universities around the world.

    It was a UN scholarship over 60 years ago that brought Setty to Vancouver, where he obtained his masters degree in urban and regional planning from UBC. This was followed by his PhD in Transportation Engineering and Public Policy from the University of Washington. He then worked for several years with the federal transportation ministry.

    Setty was elected to the Vancouver city councilor in 1972 (the first South Asian to do so) and has also served as director of Metro Vancouver and BC Transit Authority (TransLink predecessor).

  • 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 has 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

    Controller

    Edith Oen

    Controller

    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.

  • Freda Fernandes

    Division Manager, Career Services

    Freda Fernandes

    Division Manager, Career Services

    As an immigrant herself, Freda Fernandes has an intimate understanding of the challenges newcomers face in rebuilding their careers in Canada. She’s very passionate about helping newcomers achieve their potential, and this is reflected in her job overseeing ISSofBC’s employment services as Division Manager.

    Freda has over 16 years’ experience in the career services industry, with a focus on career counselling and project management. She began her career at ISSofBC in 2001 as a frontline staff, and built her administrative and management experience working in various employment programs.

    A Bachelor of Commerce degree holder in Accounting and Economics and a certified career counsellor, Freda has worked as project manager in several high-profile employment programs, including the Skills Connect for Immigrants and the Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program.

    In addition to encouraging excellent client service, Freda considers promoting staff morale and fostering a positive team environment a priority in her current role as Division Manager.

  • 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

    Associate Director, Settlement

    Kathy Sherrell, PhD

    Associate Director, Settlement

    Kathy Sherrell has worked at ISSofBC in settlement services for nine years. She takes a lead role in program development and evaluation, contract negotiations and oversight, and quality assurance and standardization. Involvement in special projects such as the Refugee Readiness Hub and the GAR Refugee Trauma Pilot allows Kathy to share her passion for refugees 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, including regionalization, legal status, housing, and settlement experiences. Kathy continues to be actively engaged in research with refugees. 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.

    Kathy is inspired by the strength and resilience of refugee newcomers and committed to reducing structural barriers to their integration through her 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 two years ago. 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.”

    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

    Director, Settlement Services

    Chris Friesen

    Director, Settlement Services

    Chris Friesen is a recognized mover and voice within the refugee and immigrant settlement sector and is a sought-after speaker, media resource person and research collaborator on immigration-related policies and programs.

    As Settlement Services director at ISSofBC for over 25 years, Chris has been at the forefront of major immigration and refugee resettlement initiatives in BC and Canada in recent history, including the unprecedented resettlement operation involving Syrian refugees in 2015-2016. Chris also played a key role in the development and construction of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre.

    Chris currently serves as chair and founding member of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA-ACSEI), and is co-chair with IRCC of the National Settlement Council. In 2013, he co-chaired the UNHCR Annual Consultation on Refugee Resettlement in Geneva, Switzerland as the NGO focal point.

    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 Program.

    “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.”