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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

Jeff Brooks, having worked in the substance abuse field and for the Vancouver Health Department, Jeff Brooks recently retired after 11 years as the City of Vancouver’s director of social planning. After attaining a master’s degree in counselling psychology, Jeff began his 35-year career in health and social planning, working with an array of government and community groups in policy and program development. Areas of special interest include aboriginal issues, at-risk youth, childcare, housing, addiction and mental health.

Currently, Jeff volunteers with the Urban Native Youth Association and the Chief Dan George Centre.

Bryan Cassidy is the Director of Business Development at Zaber Technologies, a local manufacturer of high-precision positioning devices, where he has worked since 2008. Some of his responsibilities include managing the marketing and sales staff, creating and implementing marketing and sales strategies, selecting and retaining international distributors, coordinating Zaber’s presence at trade shows/exhibitions, and leading various HR initiatives as a member of the HR committee.

Having also held a variety of teaching positions in mostly private schools whose target audience was international students, he became very aware of matters relating to immigration, refugees, settlement, and the visa/permit process. He has an ongoing interest in Canada remaining a welcoming, safe, and fair environment for immigrants, refugees, international students, visitors, and temporary workers.

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.

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.
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.

Deanna Okun-Nachoff is an immigration lawyer in private practice at McCrea & Associates since August 2010. After receiving her call to the Bar of British Columbia in 2003, Deanna became Staff Lawyer and Executive Director of the West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association, where she represented live-in caregivers in all aspects of immigration and employment law. Deanna has extensive experience assisting marginalized and low-income workers, undocumented workers, trafficked persons and applicants for permanent residence who require Ministerial permission to remain in Canada due to medical inadmissibility or other non-compliance with Canadian immigration requirements.

Deanna is currently serving as Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Immigration Law Section.

Adam Policzer was born in Hungary in 1938. He arrived in Chile in 1946, and in 1975 moved to Canada with his family, seeking a safe haven from the military dictatorship. He was an architect in Chile, and after two years of Canadian training he continued practicing in B.C.

In 1982, together with a partner, Adam opened a successful architectural firm specializing in affordable and subsidized housing. When he retired in 1999, the firm employed 15 people. Since then, he has been busy with volunteer work (mainly with the Latin American community), some consulting and small-scale architectural work.

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).

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.
Executive

Mehran Kiai (Chairperson)
Cheryl Nelms (Vice Chairperson)
Chris Duff (Treasurer)
Maia Tsurumi (Secretary)
George Somerwill (Member at Large)
Bark Kong (Member at Large)
Eyob Naizghi (ED)

Finance

Christian Duff
Cheryl Nelms
Mehran Kiai
Eyob Naizghi (ED)
Sue Trevor (Finance & Administration)

Public Policy

Deanna Okun-Nachoff
Maia Tsurumi (Secretary)
Jeff Brooks
Miliça Nauman
George Somerwill
Bark Kong
Mehran Kiai
Eyob Naizghi (ED)
Ninu Kang (ELT)

Nominations

Mehran Kiai (Chair)
Yijin Wen
Wendy Ma
Eyob Naizghi

Awards

Wendy Ma
Yijin Wen
Gillian Chetty (non-Board Member)
Mehran Kiai
Eyob Naizghi (ED)
Sherman Chan (ELT)