Board of Directors
Care for Newcomers
In 2009 Frank immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands with his family. Soon after their arrival in Red Deer he started volunteering with amongst other Care for Newcomers to connect to the community, make friends and also to build a Canadian resume. After a successful career for over 20 years in international sales, marketing and business development, Frank decided to change his career path to the community serving business. Since September 2013 he is the Executive Director with Care for Newcomers in Red Deer, and has lead introduction of several new initiatives, such as employer readiness training, community-based childcare, applied ESL and the Red Deer Local Immigration Partnership.
While he challenges fellow immigrants to take initiative in obtaining a good quality of life in this country full of space and opportunities, he is a strong advocate for building stronger communities to be welcoming and inclusive to new immigrants. In this he believes that a strong settlement sector is crucial on regional, provincial and national levels.
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)
Gordana Radan came to Canada as a refugee from former Yugoslavia, with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society’s Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre serving as her first home upon her arrival. On January 1, 2023, she became the CEO of CCIS. Throughout her 24 years with CCIS, Gordana has been actively involved in designing and delivering innovative programs and services that address the needs of local employers and support the labour market integration of immigrants and refugees.
Dr. Christina Nsaliwa is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association and Grande Prairie Centre for Newcomers. Her academic qualifications include a Doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Alberta, Masters in Education and in Human Ecology from University of Birmingham in England and Mount St. Vincent University, in Halifax respectively.
She has broad experience in leadership, administration and management; program planning, implementation and monitoring at government, community and institutional levels; curriculum development and teaching; research and community development.
She has served as the Vice-Chair of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and Chair of the AAISA Training and Accreditation Committee. Her community involvement includes sitting on various initiatives and boards including Canada Volunteerism Initiative, Edmonton and Area Child and Family Authority, Volunteer Alberta, Council of Canadians of African and Caribbean Heritage. She actively participates in various community support networks for immigrant families, women, children and youth. Christina is a past recipient of Daughter of the Year, RISE and Diversity awards.
Catholic Social Services
Kathryn Friesen is Director of Catholic Social Services, Immigration and Settlement Service in Edmonton and Red Deer. Kathryn completed her MA in 2004 focusing on Canadian Refugee Policy. She has worked in the settlement sector since 2006 and has participated on the National GAR-RAP Working Group and the UNHCR's Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement.
Action for Healthy Communities
Portail De L'Immigrant Association (PIA)
Evelyne Kemajou is a Canadian of Cameroonian origin. In 2008, she immigrated with her family to Calgary where she founded the PIA which has offered a range of services and programs that meet the needs of Francophone women and young people in Calgary. Evelyne has been recognized with multiple awards during her career including receiving the Dulari-Prithipaul Prize from the Association Canadienne Française de l'Alberta (ACFA), a prize that rewards the actions of an immigrant within the Francophone community of Alberta.
Centre for Newcomers
Dario is the Vice President of Settlement Services at the Centre for Newcomers (CFN) - Calgary. His knowledge of the Canadian settlement sector built up through the years, bolstered by assuming different roles he occupied at CFN that started out as a volunteer in 2008, the year he and his family arrived in Canada. The most essential part of his roles is taking on the responsibility of preparing and consolidating CFN’s settlement periodic and annual reports that go to IRCC, a valuable exposure that enabled him to gain a good grasp of settlement needs, issues, challenges, evolving trends, and best practices in settlement service. He has been a consistent awardee as among the agency’s top performers, whichever role he assumed.
Graduated salutatorian in high school, Dario completed bachelor’s degree in Agriculture in Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines, and went on to finish a master’s degree in Public Services Management, both as a government scholar. He and family decided to immigrate to Canada after a long tenure in government service. He took the online program on Introduction to Non-profit Organization at Mount Royal University-Calgary. Courses he completed in his continuing education included Board Governance, Ethical Issues, Fund Development, Finance, Law for the Nonprofit, Strategic Planning, and Program Planning and Evaluation.
He relishes and takes pride of his background as coming from a small island, six-town province named Siquijor, or “Island of Fire”, if folklore stories were to be believed.
As a key staff of Centre for Newcomers, he continues to contribute to working on and achieving the mission and vision of the organization. His current role at the organization puts him at an even more compelling position to understand emerging needs and challenges of newcomers. It accords him to put forward enabling interventions to make their settlement journey better and meaningful and empower them to make significant contributions to the country that welcomes them.
“Being in the immigrant settlement sector, it is my goal to continue working and building on a path where the experience of arriving newcomers to Canada would be much better than my own when I was once like them”.
Meghan Klein became Executive Director for Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers in April 2020. With a wide-ranging background in strategy, HR, fund development, communications, settlement, language services, arts, early childhood development, entrepreneurship, government relations, and community engagement, Meghan Klein brings her inquisitive nature and desire for positive transformation into every role she takes on. Meghan holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from Queen’s University at Kingston, has completed programs through the Max Bell Public Policy Training Institute and CommunityShift at the Ivey Leadership Academy, and is currently enrolled in a Masters program through the University of Calgary. She holds professional designations as a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and is a Certified Leadership Coach. Meghan currently serves on the YWCA Edmonton board as Past President and previously, Meghan served on boards for Goodwill Industries of Alberta, Parkland Turning Points Society, and Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton.
Oscar Vergara has been involved in the settlement sector for several years in Alberta. He has worked diligently in language education for newcomers and has conducted research on a variety of newcomer challenges that are faced by many individuals and families who are new to Canada. As Chair of the LINC Coordinators’ Committee in Calgary (2018-2019), he led the group in discussions over IRCC mandates, language curriculum review, and general education for newcomers. Liaising and connecting with representatives from all parts of Alberta was a fruitful endeavor in which Oscar developed many relationships across the sector.
At present, he is the Chair for Settlement Studies at NorQuest College and overseas the training of future settlement practitioners. He is an advocate for domestic and newcomer students alike, as they navigate through the education system to prepare for their careers in assisting others. One of the highlights of his career at NorQuest was leading a team of writers to publish a first-ever book as part of an Open Education Resource. The main objective being to establish free online textbook resources for the Settlement Studies program.
In representation of and visibility in the local Edmonton context, Oscar has been an active participant in PAC Advisory meetings hosted by Norquest College from 2021 to the present. In his capacity as the Chair of the Settlement Studies program, he participates in active discussions that help improve the area of settlement practice. Oscar is also EdD candidate at the University of Calgary where he is researching newcomer education in Alberta urban center LINC programs.
With over 30 years of experience empowering teams, supporting clients, and generating results, Lori’s career focus has been on the value of relationship building – both internal and external relationships – and their impact on the bottom line.
Lori’s career journey has taken her from for-profit work in the business communications and training field, to launching her own personal coaching business, to working in non-profit organizations. Lori has spent the last 15 years in senior roles within non-profit organizations guiding and supporting strategic planning, program development, human resources, funding initiatives, and stakeholder engagement. Lori is passionate about empowering women and helping to ensure all individuals are provided equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual identification.
In October 2022, Lori joined Making Changes Association as their Executive Director. The association has over 40 years of empowering women, those who identify as women, and teen girls – helping them reach their full potential. The alignment of Lori’s passions, and the vision and values of Making Changes, is an exciting chapter in Lori’s life – bringing her experience and life-long focus on people, full circle.