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The New Canadians Centre is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Board members are elected at the Annual General Meeting where the NCC shares its Annual Report. Any inquiries for the board can be emailed to board@nccpeterborough.ca.

Board of Directors, 2018/19

Catia Skinner (Co-Chair)

Catia is a senior marketing executive with international experience and is well versed in all aspects of marketing.  Catia is the CEO at Kawartha Entertainment Group Inc., that owns The Venue and Dolcé Vita. She brings expertise in developing and implementing successful multi-channel marketing and business development strategies.  Catia is also co-owner and Strategic Planning Director at Mega Experience, a full-service marketing agency that specializes in brand experience.  Mega’s creative and innovative methodology connects remarkable experiences between brands and consumers.

Gabriele Zeh-Abramsky (Co-Chair)

Gabriele has been on the Board of Directors since 2010. She has an Executive MBA from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Spanish from Trent University, and a degree in Commerce from Industrie und Handelskammer in Germany. She has been a business consultant for the Peterborough DNA Cluster, an owner of a real estate and property management company, a co-owner of Charlotte Jewelers, and Director of Business Development at Vectorsoft Limited in Lindsay.  As a volunteer she has been on the Underwriting Committee for the Festival of Trees, and the funding review committee of United Way as well as the local president and national Board member of Hadassah WIZO, and the Kawartha Montessori School. She hopes to lend her financial expertise to the NCC Board. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough YWCA and is a past Director of The Board of Directors for Hospice Peterborough. As an immigrant herself, Gabriele knows what it is like to make a new start in a new country with no support system and a foreign language.

Janet Hunter (Secretary)

Janet has lived and worked in France, Germany, and Thailand, and taught adult English as a Second Language learners here in Canada.  She has been involved with the New Canadians Centre and the Peterborough Immigration Partnership since she moved here in 2007.  Janet designs resources for people working with newcomers to Canada, as well as providing research and evaluation services to not-for-profit organizations and government clients.  Janet believes that everyone benefits when newcomers find their place in Canadian society, and that we can all play a role in opening doors and breaking down barriers.

Liezel Ann Grijaldo Cancer (Treasurer)

Liezel is a professional in the financial sector, having taken early retirement from an insurance company executive position at Philam Life in her native Philippines before immigrating to Canada two years ago, where she is now happily married. Liezel has traveled most of Asia in her professional life, making contacts in business, finance, and government. She is fluent in English, Tagalog, and other Philippine dialects, as well as conversant in Spanish, Cantonese, and Japanese. As a proponent of life-long education, Liezel graduated with a B.Sc in Accounting from Notre Dame Dadiangas University, earned four LOMA professional designations, including Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI), Associate Financial Services Institute (AFSI), Professional Customer Service (PCS), and Associate Reinsurance Administration (ARA), and is an alumnus of ASEAN School for Young Insurance Managers. Among her many accomplishments in the financial services industry, she was the Philam Life Branch Operations Area Head for Manila and several other regions in the Philippines, and most recently was head of the company's national transformation initiative, which focused on systems, process improvement, training, and people development. Liezel brings her corporate expertise to the NCC, along with a compassion for its clients. She considers her volunteer work with the NCC a privilege, being a new immigrant herself.

Stephen D. Kirton

Steve is a native of Sarnia, Ontario, but has a lifelong connection with the Kawartha Lakes region through their family cottage near Apsley.  He has a B.Sc from the University of Waterloo and 34 years' experience in the international upstream petroleum sector.  He began his career in Calgary and since 1991 has been working on oilfield development projects in Russia, Kazakhstan and elsewhere within the states of the Former Soviet Union.  He has many years of exposure to executing and managing projects under difficult and remote conditions and across cultural and linguistic divides, but it has made him a better person with enhanced awareness of the challenges of living and working in a foreign country.   He understands and empathizes with people who are forced to flee their homelands, or who otherwise seek a better life.  In 2015 he returned home to Bridgenorth and began looking at ways to get involved in the local community.  At the NCC he hopes to apply his knowledge of foreign cultures in helping newcomers adapt to their new surroundings.  Steve is happily married for 34 years and has 4 grown children.

Marcelo Sarkis König

Marcelo founded Prima IP having practiced 26 years at a leading intellectual property boutique firm and an internationally renowned multi-disciplinary law firm. Marcelo has extensive experience in the drafting and prosecution of patent applications and industrial designs in the pharmaceutical, chemical, oil and gas, medical device and mechanical areas and has advised clients on the procurement, management and assessment of intellectual property rights. Marcelo has participated in many patent infringement and validity actions before the Federal Court of Canada. He has also advised foreign counsel in proceedings outside of Canada. He is a founding member of StartUp Peterborough, member of the Peterborough Agricultural Society, Co-Chair of the Peterborough Chapter of Professional Engineers, President of the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce, Fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, and intellectual property advisor for Ryerson's Digital Media Zone (DMZ). He is also the Canadian Co-Lead for the Sustainable Technologies/Green Energy Working Group of the Canada-Brazil Joint Committee for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation. Having emigrated from Brazil to Canada with Brazilian and Lebanese parents in the mid-1960s, Marcelo is forever grateful for the opportunities presented to him and his family by Canadians and is looking to give back to newcomers to Canada.

Marie Lummis

Marie is a Peterborough born and raised community member who obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in Human Resources Management from Trent University. She has developed a strong skill set through her experience working in finance, human resources, administration, and program management.  She has worked for not-for-profits, public sector, and private sector organizations. She is currently the Operations Coordinator for Kawarthas Northumberland where she manages a tourism funding program. Marie comes to the NCC Board with a passion for people, processes, and a definitive desire to make the world a better place. She has volunteered with vulnerable and at-risk individuals with the Warming Room Community Ministries and believes that relationship building has the power to transform lives.

Dr. Shelina Manji  

Shelina was born in Uganda, East Africa, but grew up in Essex, England. She has studied and worked in Belgium, Canada, and most recently the United States. She started her career in pediatrics (specifically working with children with special needs), as a speech language pathologist and then returned to university at McMaster to complete medical school. She specialized in pediatrics and genetics and is currently the Medical Director at Five Counties Children’s Centre, in Peterborough. Shelina is committed to helping those who are less privileged and are under-served. Her work in Chicago, Illinois was with under-insured, under-served immigrant children who lived in poverty. In addition, she volunteered with a not-for-profit group that provided housing and support for homeless families in Illinois.  She was also fortunate enough to be part of a medical mission to provide much needed medical care to children living in the remote highlands of western Guatemala. Shelina has witnessed firsthand the plight of immigrant refugees. In 1972, her entire extended family was expelled by then-President Idi Amin from Uganda and was scattered to various parts of the globe, as stateless, homeless refugees. It was with the help of settlement agencies and the dedication of numerous volunteers that her family regained their independence and dignity. Working with the New Canadians Centre is an opportunity to express her gratitude for all the privileges and advantages that she and her family have enjoyed. She believes strongly that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” Winston Churchill.

Elizabeth Lee Rahman (Peterborough Immigration Partnership representative)

Elizabeth was born in Cornwall, England, and is a Certified Translator by profession. She and her late husband (who was from India) immigrated to Canada shortly after they were married because of the discrimination and racism they encountered in England. Aside from working as a Translator, Elizabeth has taught English as a Second Language, as well as French as a Second Language. She also speaks passable Urdu. Elizabeth was among the founding members of the Kawartha Muslim Association 30 years ago, and is a former vice-president of the association. She suggested the name of the mosque (Masjid Al-Salaam, the Peace Mosque) rather than more traditional names, to send a message of peace to the wider community.  Elizabeth is co-founder of the Abraham Festival in Peterborough (which brings together Jews, Christians & Muslims and is now in its 15th year), and a founding member of the Multifaith Network formed in Peterborough after 911. She is past Chair of the Kawartha/Lakeshore Regional Multifaith Committee (a sub-committee of the Canadian Multifaith Federation), which supports chaplains in government institutions such as prisons & hospitals; Secretary of the Spiritual & Religious Care Partnership Council at Peterborough Regional Health Centre; and a member of the Ethics Committee at St. Josephs at Fleming Nursing Home. Elizabeth’s passion is promoting understanding and acceptance among people of different faiths and different cultures.

Dr. Saji Mon Mannoosseril Ravi

Saji Mon is a recent immigrant from India. He became a citizen of Canada in December 2015 and currently lives in Peterborough. He is a self-directed, integrity-driven professional, with over 18 years of experience in higher education management, healthcare service management, teaching, research, business development, and overall operations management. Saji Mon is the Program Manager for Practical Nursing, Paramedic and PSW programs of School of Health and Wellness at Fleming College. Saji Mon’s academic background includes a PhD in management studies, two master’s degrees in business administration in Human Resource Management and Hospital Administration and a Bachelor of Science. He has worked for not-for-profits, public sector, and private sector organizations. His professional background ranges from researcher, guide, mentor and coach, to administrative and academic leader. He has served as a volunteer for many organizations in various capacities both nationally and internationally and was a board member of Uttarakhand State Council for Child Welfare, India.

Raman Vauchetski

Born in Belarus (Eastern Europe), Raman studied and worked in Belarus, France and Cyprus before coming to Canada. He graduated from Trent University with a finance and accounting specialization and is presently pursuing CPA designation. He is currently employed with Gauvreau & Associates CPA, which helps him to be active in the field he enjoys, while professionally helping and improving the Peterborough community. Raman joined the NCC in September 2017 as a Finance Committee Member after he experienced the value NCC added to his family's life. Raman believes that Canada has an exciting and rich history, as well as a great deal of potential for the future. He believes that everyone who currently lives here and is coming in the years ahead can have an amazing impact on the development of this society. Raman and his partner Kate are also in the process of starting a company called WURK, which connects customers and local businesses in a completely different way by revolutionizing the way customers tend to look for vendors and vendors for their customers.

Tyna A. Vayalilkollattu

Tyna is an immigration lawyer working out of Toronto.  Tyna has grown her practice with a mind to providing clients essential legal service with a cost-effective and client-focused approach.  In addition to her practice, Tyna provides free legal education to community organizations throughout Ontario and provides pro-bono legal services and through this first began working with NCC Peterborough in 2016.  Tyna values community engagement for the purpose of empowerment and believes that an empowered community is best suited to make wise decisions for themselves and future generations.