Immigrant support groups

Board of Directors

MOSAIC’s Board of Directors is responsible for the overall management of the organization through its role in policy development and program evaluation.

The board restricts its activities to the following:

  • Strategic planning
  • Determination of annual objectives and organizational outreach
  • Ensurance of financial stability
  • Response to significant community issues in the areas of settlement work

Through the Executive Director’s monthly report, the Board of Directors is informed and apprised of key operational matters and personnel decisions. The Board of Directors recommends and approves global policy decisions, and respond to matters in the community that affect the overall operation of the organization.

Christian Duff is a CPA, CA with a Ph.D. in health care management. He has a track record in both financial management and academia. He is now retired from full time teaching but continues as a Professor Emeritus focused on academic publishing and research into the delivery of health care services. He has extensive experience in educating overseas students and new Canadians. He has a long time interest in community education and is currently a coordinator and instructor for the CPA Community Connect program. This program supports the Federal Government objective of increasing population financial literacy in Canada.
George Somerwill worked as a journalist for the BBC African Service in the early seventies, and joined the CBC in 1976, where he worked for 13 years. Following a brief stint with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in the early nineties, George joined CARE Canada, working in emergency programming in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Rwanda. It was while working with CARE in Angola in 1995, that he was recruited by the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

In 1998, while taking up a humanitarian post with the UN Oil-For-Food Programme (OFFP) in Saddam’s Iraq, George took over as Baghdad spokesperson for the OFFP.
In 2002, as Afghan refugees poured into Pakistan, George served with UNICEF Pakistan. In mid-2003, he returned to United Nations peacekeeping and to the Horn of Africa, to serve in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). From late 2004 to 2007, as the UN struggled to bring peace to North and South Sudan, George joined the fledgling UN peacekeeping mission in Khartoum as the Chief of Public Information, UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS).

George ended his UN career with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), where he served as Director of Communications/Public Information from 2007 to 2011. He continues to do consulting work, as part of a team training Asian military officers to lead UN peacekeeping contingents. He has joined the national board of the UN Association of Canada (UNAC) as a B.C. regional representative and is Vice-President of the board of UNAC Vancouver. George Somerwill has an MA in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, from the University of York (UK).

Bark is the Director of Finance & Administration for the Alzheimer Society of B.C., a province-wide network of support that exists to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, promote public awareness and search for a cure. In this role, Bark’s focus is on leadership and operational excellence across a number of service areas including finance, human resources, information technology and facilities.

Prior to this position, Bark was a partner at Charlton and Company, Chartered Accountants, providing auditing and consulting services to public and private companies and health and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, Bark has spent much of his career in the health sector, having previously served as a Director of Financial Planning and Reporting with the Fraser Health Authority and the Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre.

Barb has over 33 years of diverse leadership experience with a proven track record in developing and delivering large and diverse strategies and project plans. Barb formed 2020 Consulting Services in 2010. Barb leverages her consulting, program management, human resources, and marketing skills to serve a diverse group of public and private sector clients. For six years (2005-2011) Barb worked as the Program Director, Project and Information Management for the 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Barb led the VANOC-wide strategic planning, business planning and dissolution planning projects. Barb has also worked at Accenture, BC Hydro and Ontario Hydro in a variety of customer care, client relationship and human resources management positions.

Barb has experience with volunteer Boards in the non-profit sector, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Vancouver Community Services Society, the Autism Community Training (ACT) and the White Rock Public Art Advisory Council. Barb has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from McMaster University.

Dr. Kanya Adam currently teaches at Simon Fraser University in the Department of Political Science. Her work focuses on Transitional Justice and Peacemaking in Divided Societies.

She completed her doctoral degree at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University and her B.A. in International Relations at the University of British Columbia. Her work has focused on The Politics of Redress, Human Rights and comparative equity policies and race relations.

Kanya has lived and conducted research in South Africa, Germany, Egypt and France. Her book “The Politics and Redress” examined policies on employment equity and affirmative action in comparative perspective. Her recent work and publications include “Becoming Mandela”, with Kogila Moodley, which examines Nelson Mandela contribution to education in Africa.

She is the Past President and Chair of MOSAIC. Kanya Adam was born in Vancouver, B.C. to immigrant parents from South Africa and Germany.

Gillian’s interest in working with MOSAIC stems from her personal and academic engagement with issues of immigration, settlement, anti-racism and social justice in Canada. She is trained as a Sociologist and has taught at the University of British Columbia since 1986, appointed as a Professor in the Department of Sociology and in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. Gillian has held several administrative positions within UBC (as Program Chair, Director of a unit, and now Associate Dean of Arts, Faculty & Equity) where organizational skills, teamwork, problem solving, and collegiality are critical.

For the past 20 years she has engaged in research on local settlement issues in metro Vancouver, addressing the gender dynamics that affect women and men differently, and focusing particularly on working with smaller communities that come from sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to research with immigrants and refugees, Gillian has a long-standing interest in government policies around immigration and settlement in Canada, and in comparison to the United States, Europe and Australia.

Gillian has a long association with MOSAIC. She served as a member of the MOSAIC Board of Directors from 1994 through 1999, including serving as Vice President from 1995 to 1997. She also has experience working with a smaller settlement agency. From 2008 until 2015 Gillian served as a member of the Board of Directors of Umoja Newcomer Family Services.

Gillian has been fortunate to be able to combine her passion for research with her teaching, her community service, and her advocacy for greater social justice in Canada.

Dr. Mehran Kiai is the Principal at the Strategic Management Consultants, providing educational, business and capital management consulting services. He is the former Director of Enrollment Services in Simon Fraser University and Dean of Lifelong Learning at BC Institute of Technology. He has over 25 years of experience in education, engineering, and senior level management in the private and public sectors.

As a senior partner for 12 years in an engineering consulting firm, he provided engineering services and technology integration solutions to the construction, architectural, manufacturing, and service industries. He provided leadership in multi-disciplinary projects for a team of consultants, engineers, and technicians. He is a civil engineer and a graduate of the Executive Development Program at Queen’s School of Business. He obtained his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University in the United States. Mehran immigrated to Canada in 1982 and has since maintained a strong interest in education, orientation and advocacy with the purpose of integrating skilled immigrants into Canadian society.

Wendy Ma is an education management executive who has spent the past 17 years working in several senior roles at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Most recently, Wendy held the position as Assistant Dean and Director of Professional Graduate Programs at the Sauder School of Business. She holds a BSc from UBC and an MBA from Queen’s University. Wendy’s past community involvement includes organizations such as Vancouver Board of Trade, Minerva Foundation for BC Women and Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration. She has travelled to more than 25 different countries and has extensive experience working in international education.
Fred Milowsky came to Canada from New York City in 1969 because of Vietnam War. He came with a BA in psychology and worked for a short time as a child care worker in a treatment centre for youth prior to returning to UBC for his Masters in Social Work in 1972. Upon completing his Masters, Fred began working for the Municipality of Burnaby as a Social Worker.

Between 1977 and 2004 Fred worked for the Ministry of Child and Family Development (in his many renditions) as a Social worker, Manager and finally as an Executive Director for a region. It was in this later capacity that he met MOSAIC many years ago. Fred was very committed then to Multiculturalism (as he still is today) and worked with community agencies to try to make the Vancouver Coastal Region culturally competent and responsive to the diversity in our region.

In the capacity of Executive Director, Fred has had responsibly for programs such as Child Protection and Family Support, Youth Justice, Early Childhood Development, Income Assistance, Addictions, Special Needs Children and Adults with a Developmental Disability.

In 2004, he retired from MCFD and worked as a Deputy Child and Youth Officer until 2007. Fred is currently a senior advocacy with the Representative’s office primarily involved in the advocacy mandate of the office. In the course of his many roles in government, Fred has been an advocate for assisting immigrant and refugee families to access services.

Fred would like to continue to use his knowledge and skills in a volunteer capacity to work with the immigrant and refugee populations.

Miliça Nauman is the Director of Strategy Management at the Canadian Tourism Commission, responsible for setting strategy, managing performance and looking at opportunities to help grow Canada’s tourism. Prior to joining the CTC in 2013, Miliça was the Manager of Food Aid at the Canadian International Development Agency. In this role, she managed a team responsible for Canada’s $300+ million food aid program. Miliça has over 10 years of strategic policy and programming experience with the Government of Canada. She has over eight years of experience in managing large-scale development programs, working closely with United Nations organizations and in representing the Government of Canada in international settings.

Miliça also worked with the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation. She holds an MPA from Queen’s University and a BA from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Cheryl Nelms is a Professional Engineer and holder of a Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia in Civil Engineering. She is currently the Director of the Project and Quality Management in the Department of Engineering at the City of Vancouver. Cheryl has extensive experience advising public agencies at an executive level on managing complex infrastructure projects, project finance and developing new partnership structures for the delivery of large infrastructure projects and national procurements. Her experience in engineering and project management has led to invitations to speak at international conferences, teach at the university level and participate in national committees.

Cheryl’s interest in supporting skilled immigrants integrate into the Canadian workplace led to her involvement with MOSAIC.

Dr. Maia Tsurumi clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006-2007 and was called to the bar in British Columbia in 2008. After working with the Commercial Litigation group of a large downtown Vancouver law firm for a number of years, she currently provides legal services for a number of different lawyers and firms.

Maia came to law after completing a Ph.D. and a postdoctoral fellowship in marine biology; she has volunteered for a number of years with Pivot Legal Society and she has worked on pro-bono criminal appeals. In addition to being on the Board of MOSAIC, she also sits on the Board of the Community Legal Assistance Society.

Yijin Wen has been a registered architect in B.C. since 1996; he is also a project management professional (PMP) and LEED-accredited professional. Born in China and educated in China, the U.S. and Europe, Yijin immigrated to Vancouver in 1989, where he worked as a senior architect and associate with various private architectural firms prior to joining the Fraser Health Authority in 2006. Today he acts as a senior facilities planning leader, Lower Mainland facilities management, for four health authorities in the Vancouver area. Since 2000, Yijin has been involved with community volunteer work in Chinatown, as chairman of CHIPAC and vice-chair of the Chinatown Revitalization Committee. He also serves as a member of various committees, including that of the Architectural Institute of BC and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.

Chris Duff (Board Chair)
George Somerwill (Vice Chairperson)
Bark Kong (Treasurer)
Barb West (Secretary)
Olga Stachova (CEO)


Bark Kong (Committee Chair)
Cheryl Nelms
Chris Duff
Fred Milowsky
Yijin Wen
Olga Stachova (CEO)
Sue Trevor (Finance & Administration)


Chris Duff (Committee Chair)
Yijin Wen
Wendy Ma
Olga Stachova (CEO)


Wendy Ma (Committee Chair)
Gillian Creese
Fred Milowsky
Gillian Chetty (non-Board Member)
Chris Duff
Olga Stachova (CEO)
Sherman Chan (ELT)


Barb West (Committee Chair)
Wendy Ma
Kanya Adam
Miliça Nauman
Olga Stachova (CEO)
Ninu Kang (ELT)
Susan Rae (Senior Manager of Fundraising)
Gabrielle Smith (non-Board Member)
June Francis (non-Board Member)