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 19, 2019, the following persons were elected to ISSofBC’s Board of Directors (2019-2020).

  • Jack Wong


    Jack Wong


    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 – Brightside Community Homes Foundation, 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 of 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.He has two grown daughters with wife Alana.

  • 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.

  • Naomi Linklater

    2nd Vice President

    Naomi Linklater

    2nd Vice President

    Naomi Linklater BFA, B.Ed., has first-hand experience in, and knowledge of key immigration issues. She has worked for over 10 years with 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 Indigenous Peoples (Vancouver Community College), and the Indigenous People Modules for BCIT and KPU.

  • Heather Judd


    Heather Judd


    Heather Judd’s first contact with ISSofBC was as a volunteer in the settlement mentorship program, which focuses on building friendships between newcomer families and long-term Canadian residents.

    A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) candidate, Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from McGill University. She currently has a public practice providing assurance services. She has previously provided accounting consulting services to small businesses.

    In addition, Heather has years of experience teaching mathematics, critical analysis and reasoning skills for exam preparatory courses. Among Heather’s volunteering experiences is a stint as Treasurer for Vines Art Festival Society – a popular annual multidisciplinary eco-arts festival that offers platforms for local artists and performers to create and steer their creative impulses toward work that focuses on the environment.

  • 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 ambassador for 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Ellen Vaillancourt


    Ellen Vaillancourt


    Ellen Vaillancourt is a bridge-builder, external relations professional, peacemaker and creative development strategist. A passion for beauty and the ability to make unusual connections has led her from couture to culture: From fashion school in Paris to academia where she facilitated multi-million dollar CIDA funded local and international projects in areas of Adult Education for Economic Development and sustainable Women’s Empowerment initiatives. At Simon Fraser University’s “Centre for Muslim Societies and Cultures” – the first of its kind in North America – Ellen developed, implemented, and oversaw the organization’s operations and a wide range of educational programs and outreach initiatives. Her role concentrated on creating an awareness and understanding of plural and diverse societies, and platforms for rigorous academic discussion.

    Ellen currently works for the City of Vancouver and volunteers to mentor new immigrants and refugees in building new lives, careers, and dreams. A natural extension, she is delighted to now serve as a new board member. Her university studies from 4 different institutions, equipped her with degrees and credentials in Leadership, Liberal Arts, Design, and Education. She is currently an MA Candidate in SFUs Graduate Liberal Studies program, researching the healing and transformative effects of beauty. Her rare mix of education, training, and experience is well suited to public service.

  • Reshmeena Lalani


    Reshmeena Lalani


    Reshmeena Lalani CPA, CA was born in Mumbai, India and moved to Canada in order to pursue university studies in the late 90s. Reshmeena holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in Advanced Accounting from the BC Institute of Technology.

    Ms. Lalani has accumulated significant experience in the areas of tax compliance and responsible governance by serving terms as Director of Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre Society (BC), Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and the BCIT Alumni Association. As part of an international non-profit agency, Ms. Lalani has conducted audits of institutions in India.

    Ms. Lalani worked in the Audit and Assurance group of PWC and KPMG prior to taking a tax compliance role with the Government of Canada. She was awarded the Commissioner’s Award at the 2018 CRA Award of Excellence and currently leads a team of auditors in the International and Large Business Investigations Branch at CRA.

  • Taruna Goel


    Taruna Goel


    Taruna Goel is a Learning and Development (L&D) professional with 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. She has been working full-time in the learning and development industry for the last 20 years and is currently working as a Program Manager with 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 for the purpose of promoting and mobilizing 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 many 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.