Our Faculty

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John P. Ryan

OSJ, KStG, C.GIS, RCIC, ICD.D, C.Dir, ASC, A.C.C., H.R.C.C.C.

John has enjoyed a diversified career that includes International experience as Corporate Director, Senior Manager, Public Servant and Entrepreneur.

As a public servant, John has had the privilege of serving Canada as Senior Immigration Officer, Customs Inspector and a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces. He was awarded Grant of Arms by the Governor-General of Canada in 1998 in recognition of his contribution to the community. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

As a corporate director, John has been sitting in various non-profit and for-profit boards during his career in corporate Governance. He is the award winner of the Gill Bennett Award in Corporate Governance in 2010 and he was also a fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) USA in 2011.

As an entrepreneur, he started up various businesses including VSI, Aerie Leisure Inc. and Splashvox Inc. He also set up various profitable businesses for the boards he has served. He is an expert in both immigration consulting and corporate director/senior executive education.

John is also a licensed realtor in BC and an FAA licensed private pilot.

Imran Qayyum

C.GIS, FCMI, ICD.D, C.Dir, ASC, A.C.C., RCIC

Imran has been a practising immigration consultant for over 26 years and specializes in family, skilled worker and business class immigration. He has been a strong advocate for the promotion and enhancement of the Immigration Consulting profession. He regularly participates in consultative meetings with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on matters involving immigration policy and operational procedures and has been invited on several occasions to appear as a witness in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) to give testimony on issues pertaining to Canada’s immigration system being examined by the Committee. In addition, Imran regularly contributes to immigration matters for Canadian media.

Throughout his career, Imran has been closely involved with the progression of Canada’s Immigration Consulting profession and firmly believes that in order to provide competent service, all immigration professionals must undergo a formal education program of immigration studies to gain the core competencies needed to understand Canada’s complex immigration laws and policies. To that end, he teaches and mentors on a regular basis.

Dianne Normandeau

C.GIS, RCIC

Dianne Normandeau is a Global Immigration Consultant with over 25 years of experience in the industry. She runs her own immigration consultancy practice in the province of Quebec, Canada. Throughout her career, she has assisted individuals from around the globe to immigrate and settle mainly in Canada, but also in the USA and other countries. Over the last ten years, she taught and prepared professionals with diverse backgrounds in becoming immigration consultants. She has contributed to course development projects, including one with the Institute of Global Immigration Specialists (IGIS). She is looking forward to assisting you in successfully achieving your career goals.

Holly Gracey

C.GIS, RCIC,

Holly has been involved in the immigration consulting profession for close to 35 years. She has a passion for teaching and has been an instructor since 2009. In addition, she has also taught at immigration consulting educational conferences at both a national and regional level. She has consistently proven her dedication to her chosen profession by holding several key positions on boards of directors and committees instrumental in the development and growth of the immigration consulting profession.

Holly is the Managing Director and Secretary of R.M.G. Consultants Ltd. She specializes in Canadian immigration applications for all federal and provincial economic classes with special emphasis on business classes, temporary classes (including visitor and student) and worker family classes specific to spouses and parents, as well as dependent and adopted children.

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Dr. Saqlain Halim

Dr. Halim possesses extensive international experience in senior executive management positions and a multidisciplinary academic background with a doctorate and five master’s degrees among several other qualifications in Business Administration, Computer Information Science, Political Science, Philosophy, History, Aerospace Engineering, Aviation Technology, Airframe Technology, and Powerplant Technology.

As President, Xymius Education Group, Dr. Halim has been helping institutions and businesses for years with their international business needs. In the past, as President and Chief Academic Officer, he managed a large, complex multinational educational consortium with executive management degree program offerings in several countries. He has repeatedly helped numerous institutions and businesses representing a wide range of industries with a strategic turnaround, management of change, rapid business expansion, and international partnerships. He has lived and worked in many countries, managed several institutions, taught, lectured, and trained senior civil servants and their trainers, business owners, and corporate executives from around the world.

Dr. Halim has published over 100 articles covering a wide range of topics and has been the recipient of numerous international awards for academic and professional excellence from prestigious honour societies.

Tina Ryan

C.GIS, RCIC,

Tina is the Chair of Canadian Migration Institute, the President of Visa Seminars International Inc.—a reputable immigration consulting firm based in Vancouver Island and the General Partner of US-based Aerie Leisure LLP. Tina is also a US FAA licensed Private Pilot and a Co-author of PCTIA accredited immigration educational program CSIC E-Academy, an instructor and a bilingual entrepreneur who has conducted business successfully in different countries such as China, Canada and the USA.

Canadian Immigration Law

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Holly Gracey

Holly has been involved in the immigration consulting profession for close to 35 years. She has a passion for teaching and has been an instructor with e-Academy since its inception in 2009. In addition, she has also taught at immigration consulting educational conferences at both a national and regional level. She has consistently proven her dedication to her chosen profession by holding several key positions on boards of directors and committees instrumental in the development and growth of the immigration consulting profession.

Holly is the Managing Director and Secretary of R.M.G. Consultants Ltd. She specializes in Canadian immigration applications for all federal and provincial economic classes with special emphasis on business classes, temporary classes (including visitor and student) and worker family classes specific to spouses and parents, as well as dependent and adopted children.

Imran Qayyum

RCIC, ICD.D, C.Dir, ASC, A.C.C.,

Imran is the Chair of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) and the former Chair of the Canadian Migration Institute (CMI).

Imran has been a practising immigration consultant for over 26 years and specializes in family, skilled worker and business class immigration. He has been a strong advocate for the promotion and enhancement of the Immigration Consulting profession. He participates regularly in consultative meetings with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on matters involving immigration policy and operational procedures and has been invited on several occasions to appear as a witness in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) to give testimony on issues pertaining to Canada’s immigration system being examined by the Committee. In addition, Imran contributes regularly to immigration matters for Canadian media.

Throughout his career, Imran has been closely involved with the progression of Canada’s Immigration Consulting profession and firmly believes that in order to provide competent service, all immigration professionals must undergo a formal education program of immigration studies in order to gain the core competencies needed to understand Canada’s complex immigration laws and policies. To that end, he teaches and mentors on a regular basis.

John P. Ryan

RCIC, ICD.D, C.Dir, ASC, A.C.C., H.R.C.C.C.

John’s diversified background and teaching experience makes him a top-notch instructor at e-Academy. His career has spanned several professions, but his dedication to immigration consulting and the regulation of the profession has always been top of mind.

John has a thorough understanding of most areas of Canadian immigration, rendering his experience virtually unparalleled in the profession. He has been fortunate to enjoy a diversified career that includes international experience as a corporate director, a senior manager, a public servant and an entrepreneur. As a public servant, he also had the privilege of serving Canada as a Senior Immigration Officer, a Customs Inspector and a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces.

John has several areas of specialty including immigration, corporate governance, human resources and compensation.

Dianne Normandeau

Dianne has been an instructor with the CSIC e-Academy since June 2010. She is an accomplished Immigration Consultant with over 20 years of experience in the immigration industry. Her background has given her the advantage of gaining practical experience and knowledge in various areas of immigration most specifically, business, family class and all temporary applications, such as work permits, study permits and visitors. Her professional path has led her to her own immigration consultancy practice since October 2008.

Dianne is a member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), and is a Recognized Consultant by the Quebec Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities (MICC).

Dianne has great pleasure in providing guidance and helping the students to reach their goal of becoming a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant. The e-Academy not only teaches them about immigration matters but where to research to find the valuable information they will need to help their future clients; tools of the trade and industry insight.

TINA RYAN

RCIC, CCIC
Tina is the Chair of Canadian Migration Institute, the President of Visa Seminars International Inc.—a reputable immigration consulting firm based in Vancouver Island and the General Partner of US-based Aerie Leisure LLP. Tina is also a US FAA licensed Private Pilot and a Co-author of PCTIA accredited immigration educational program CSIC E-Academy, an instructor and a bilingual entrepreneur who has conducted business successfully in different countries such as China, Canada and the USA.

KEITH C. A. FRANK ESQ.

REGULATED CANADIAN IMMIGRATION CONSULTANT

Mr. Keith Frank has been in practice, specializing in immigration law for the past 39 years.

Mr. Keith Frank is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and a member in good standing of the ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council). He has held the title of National President of the Association of Immigration Counsel of Canada (AICC) as well as Vice President of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Counsel (CAPIC) for several years, which is the current professional body of Immigration Consultants.

Mr. Frank was instrumental in encouraging the government to regulate Immigration Consultants, which came into being in 2004. He also advocated that all Immigration consultants meet a test of competency, which is still in place today for all prospective Immigration Consultants, through the regulatory body, the Immigration Consultant of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

Before the creation of the ICCRC, Mr. Frank was selected by the first regulatory body of Immigration Consultants, the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC), to mediate a dispute, thus preventing a lawsuit in the Federal Court.

Mr. Frank has equally received various recognitions, such as recognition from the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC), for his distinguished service. He is also a past recipient of the Leadership Award for his outstanding vision, courage, dedication and commitment in service to the association, its members, and the profession.

Canadian Border Services Program (CBSA)

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Debra Heater

Debra Heater is a retired Border Services Officer. Born in Montreal, Quebec, she began her career in Ontario as a bilingual officer. She worked with CBSA for 25 years in various areas, including traveller processing and commercial. She also worked on the FRT (Flexible response team). In this capacity, she chose different projects to work on on a daily basis, which also included JFOs (Joint Forces Operations).

After some time, Debra worked strictly as an Immigration Officer, dealing with work permits, study permits, visitor visas, those seeking asylum in Canada, and inadmissible and fraudulent individuals. On the lighter side, she also processed temporary visitor records for entertainers like 50 Cent, Marilyn Manson, Blake Shelton, and Tommy Lee, to name a few. Debra now works from home as a TEFL teacher, teaching English to foreign nationals who wish to learn English and/or expand their English vocabulary whether for business or social reasons.

Carl Brault

Carl worked for the Canada Border Services Agency for 20 years. In the last 11 years, Carl worked as an Immigration Enforcement Officer in Calgary. He also worked as a Border Services Officer and an Intelligence Analyst with the CBSA.

Carl now runs his own consulting firm which specialized in Immigration issues and French/English interpretation and translation. Carl was born in Montreal and now resides in the Calgary area.

Alan Plaxton

Alan started his career in law enforcement in 1999 as a Correctional Officer in Renous, NB, the maximum-security institution for Atlantic Canada.

In 2006, Alan attended POERT for 13 weeks in Rigaud, QC. After initial training, he worked passenger mode at a highway port for a few months before transferring to St. John’s, NL, where he worked airport and marine, in traveller as well as commercial modes, occasionally boarding and searching small sailboats to large oil tankers, as well as aircraft of all sizes.

Alan has completed acting assignments as both superintendent and intelligence officer. At different points, he has also been a union rep and a Facilitator for several joint learning programs.

Alan left CBSA in 2018 after 12 years of service to move back home to New Brunswick and has worked in transportation since then. He enjoys spending his free time in nature to hike, snowshoe, dirt bike, and kayak.

Todd Bondy

Todd was a Border Services Officer for almost 22 years and retired from the Canada Border Services Agency with the intention of pursuing a career in the legal services industry. He is a paralegal member of the Law Society of Ontario in good standing.

During his career with the CBSA, working at the busiest land border crossing in Canada, Todd held positions as a legislative Technical Trainer and Mentor, Acting Superintendent, Enforcement Officer, and completed assignments on Hiring Boards and in the Intelligence Division. As a CITES Specialized Officer (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), Todd attended the North American Conference in Wild Bird Trade held in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico as the anglophone representative of the CBSA.

He has designed and taught courses to Border Services Officers, security guards, and college students. Todd is a part-time sessional instructor at St. Clair College, developing and delivering various course materials to adult college students in the Border Services Officer Program and he has also developed and delivered course materials in the Paralegal Program. Prior to retiring from CBSA, Todd was a recipient of the Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal Award from the Governor-General of Canada.

Morgan Pollyck

Morgan has been with the Law Enforcement community for over 20 years. He joined the Canada Border Services Agency in 2008 and has primarily worked in the Calgary area for the last 11 years.

Morgan started as a Border Services Officer in the Calgary airport as a Customs Officer. He was an acting Superintendent in the passenger mode then moved onto the Calgary Enforcement Team as an aircraft examiner. He did a few months in administration working on the development of the new Calgary Airport terminal (CBSA workspace) before progressing on to the Inland Enforcement team with EIOD (Enforcement Intelligence Operations Division).

Natural Resource and Environmental Specialist

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Dan MacKinnon

Having accomplished 40 years of work experience in the field of natural resources with the province of Nova Scotia, Dan MacKinnon has fulfilled many of his life`s ambitions. After graduation from the Maritime Forest Ranger School, Fredericton, New Brunswick, he held various roles to inform, educate and advise clients about forestry and wildlife matters.

As a Conservation Officer, he enforced acts and regulations, as a Hunter Education Coordinator, he taught our youth about hunter safety and ethics, as an Extension Coordinator, he interacted with many groups about natural resources topics and as the Provincial Wildfire Training Officer, he taught wildland fire courses in four Canadian provinces and the United States. Dan received the Neil Wilcox Forest Fire Service Award for his outstanding contribution.

Dan’s passion is the outdoors and can be found hiking through the woods or fishing in his kayak. He is also an avid amateur photographer and enjoys watching a game of hockey. He resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is always looking for a new adventure.

Stephanie Chong

Stephanie has been working in the Environmental field since 2010, first joining the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a Species At Risk (SAR) Biologist. She continued working with SAR when she later joined Environment Canada. From there, Stephanie combined her love for teaching and her love for the outdoors and became an Outdoor Educator, creating and delivering outdoor programs with an emphasis on STEM to schools, private groups, and corporate groups.

Stephanie is certified with the Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network, which is a multi-sector collaboration that standardizes aquatic macroinvertebrates monitoring in streams, wetlands, and lakes. Stephanie is also a piano teacher and has worked abroad teaching English.

Kim Houghton

Kim Houghton is an environmental professional with over 25 years of experience working in both the
private and public sectors.

Her private sector work has focused on wintering waterfowl, wetland and natural habitat research, public education and invasive species management.

Her public sector work has focused on industrial and commercial environmental inspections, environmental bylaw enforcement, agricultural stewardship, park stewardship, environmental sampling, education and outreach.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Engineering and a Diploma of Technology in Fish, Wildlife and Recreation.  She lives in Vancouver, BC Canada.

Darrell Misner

Darrell was raised on a farm in rural Alberta where he developed an appreciation for the natural
environment and a love for the land.

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry, Darrell has spent his career in forest management roles with private industry and governmental departments. He has spent the past 10 years in private environmental consulting roles primarily for clients in the energy and land management sectors.

Darrell has extensive knowledge of provincial and federal regulatory requirements for environmental land-based activities, advising clients on planning and application requirements for activities on land and around water and wetlands.

He is also very interested in expanding the public knowledge of environmental issues and raising awareness of career opportunities in the environmental sector for young people and new immigrants to Canada.

Sarah Proceviat

Sarah’s experience has taught her that success is proven when environmental experts work collaboratively with members of other teams, to address issues, requirements and ensure compliance.

During her 20+ year career, Sarah has managed environmental projects (natural resources and environmental sciences) and has developed environmental management systems/plans for organizations throughout Canada and the U.S. Sarah has developed the knowledge and skills needed to merge environmental sustainability with infrastructure development and operations so the requirements and intent are understood and respected.

Sarah has numerous academic publications to her credit and has guest lectured at academic institutions, conferences and workshops. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in zoology as well as wildlife management; and, has worked with both private and public entities, government and Indigenous organizations.

Diedre Park

Diedre Park is from the Bay of Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador. She holds a diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology, a Bachelors in Applied Sciences from Memorial University, a post-graduate diploma in GIS and a masters in Marine Studies also from the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
She has over 10 years of experience in the environmental and natural resources field ranging from environmental monitoring to data collection, research and development and project management. Diedre has spent the majority of her career working with various indigenous groups throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and specializes in community-based and participatory monitoring, data collection and implementation.
She currently resides in Goose Bay, Labrador where she works as a Wildlife Biologist studying Species at Risk with the NunatuKavut Community Council, which is the governing body for the Inuit of southern Labrador.

Global Education Specialist

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Dr. Kristina Bendikas

Dr. Bendikas is a recently retired academic with over two decades of experience as a teacher and administrator in post-secondary education. After completing her education in Canada and the United States, she taught for twelve years at Eastern Connecticut State University, Bay Path University, and the State University of New York at Albany. In 2010, she joined the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), serving first as Associate Dean for Assessment and Planning and later as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. While at MCLA she led the office of Institutional Research and Planning, Chaired the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and served on numerous academic committees. In 2016, she returned to the State University of New York (SUNY) System as an Assistant Provost of Academic Programs and Planning, where she managed a portfolio of twenty-two campuses, including community and technical colleges, and a doctoral center. Dr. Bendikas was a Teagle Assessment Scholar from 2011-2018 and in 2018 completed the SUNY Strategic Academic Innovative Leadership (SAIL) program on academic leadership.  She continues to teach workshops on leadership for the SUNY System. She holds a Ph.D. in Drama and an M.S. in Higher Education Administration and Policy.

Shaun-Teka Joyner

Shaun‐Teka Joyner has over 15 years of experience assisting students with getting into and paying for the college of their dreams, both as a nonprofit leader and education consultant. As a creative problem solver, Shaun‐Teka specializes in creating dynamic programming for “at‐promise” youth, developing scholarship programs and collegiate preparatory programs, improving nonprofit governance and accountability, program planning, development and innovation, and increasing student, volunteer, and donor engagement. She assists executive directors, colleges, school districts, non-profit organizations, and their boards, increasing their programs’ effectiveness.   

Shaun‐Teka is the former Executive Director of the All Ways Up Foundation, a national organization dedicated to empowering individuals striving to improve their standard of living by bridging the gap between their ambition and their opportunity to achieve. During her tenure at All Ways Up, she created two nationally recognized programs, the Up Through Education Summit at UCLA, a dynamic five‐day, four‐night retreat designed to assist low‐income, first‐generation, and recently graduated high school seniors make a transition into and successfully complete college, and the Bridging the Gap Awards (BGA), a grant program that invests capital into smaller‐sized nonprofit organizations. 

She is also the former Director of Connecting Communities to UCLA (CCU). CCU was a multi‐faceted program established in 2007 to connect community groups, faith‐based organizations, and local schools to UCLA. At CCU, she facilitated college access matriculation among underserved youth. After leaving, she continued to work with UCLA as an Undergraduate Admissions Reader, analyzing prospective college students’ qualifications by assessing their academic and personal achievements and submitting recommendations. Throughout her career, she has read and made recommendations for over 6,000 college applications. She now uses her wealth of insider knowledge to create programs that give youth the tools to overcome obstacles and view education, their circumstances, successes, and failures in a new light. 

Shaun‐Teka is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) with an emphasis on nonprofit management. In addition to her professional experiences, Shaun‐Teka is the author of Don’t Get Rejected: How to Get into the College of Your

Dreams, a comprehensive education guide that helps students in grades 6‐12 their parents understand what it takes to become a competitive college applicant. Her dedication toward ensuring the success of youth is infused into everything she does. Shaun‐ Teka will continue to work to ensure that all students are given an equal opportunity to excel in college and beyond.

Dr. Carla Tarsitano

Carla Tarsitano completed her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt University in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. Her research focused on community-engaged scholarship through participatory action research, highlighting the use of asset-based and cultural wealth frameworks to build efficacy and cultivate relationships for civic planning. Such frameworks center on legitimatizing resident lived experiences and narratives to co-construct sensible, place-based solutions with local residents while deepening social bonds and attachments to place.

Carla is motivated by a passion for education – maximizing pedagogical and andragogical practices for shared learning across school, community, and industry environments. Fascinated by the way people tell their stories, she seeks to incorporate social and emotional experiences of youth and adults into curricula and business structures to develop meaningful pathways for success. This fascination has broadened her skills set across sectors of U.S. K-12, international/transnational education, higher education, and non-profit research.

Holly Gracey

While Holly’s background was initially in corporate legal research, for the last 35 years she has been involved in a variety of focusses. She owns and operates an Immigration Consulting firm headquartered in British Columbia, Canada. She is currently a subject matter expert and instructor for the CSIC and IGIS programs relating to Canadian Immigration Law, Global Immigration Specialist and now the Global Education Specialist program. Both in her own practice, as well as in her educational capacity, Holly has always provided and had a focus on corporate business structure and establishment – sometimes in the capacity of counselling my business clients, sometimes in more of an oversight role as a Board member, and in other instances in providing education relating to those that seek to establish businesses or expand an existing practice both in Canada as well as internationally relating to immigration, investment and education.

Holly is excited to share what she has learned in her years of related experience.  She has assisted International Education Agencies in expanding their practices into Canada. She also established branch offices of her own company (as well as that of her clients) internationally, assisted in establishing international educational institutes, as well as assisted international students in securing status to acquire their studies. Holly’s unique and diversified perspective would greatly enhance what she may be able to share with those that intend to become Global Education Specialist or those that wish to establish such agencies or expand an existing one.

Holly has substantial hands-on experience in respect to organizational structuring and oversight in her various positions on Boards of Directors and associated standing committees. This has included organizations that were involved in Education, Regulation and Compensation, with specific focuses on finance, audit, bylaws, governance, education and standards, ethics, discipline and membership.

As a subject matter expert and instructor for various programs relating to business development, Holly recognizes that each learner’s ultimate goal will be unique. Some are wishing to start a new practice; others are looking to expand an existing one. Yet others may be seeking to secure employment in the industry or perhaps retaining an existing position. Holly endeavours to make her courses as germane as possible to each individual student’s ultimate game plan by tailoring the instruction to meet their needs. She is excited to work with students and provide them with the guidance that they seek.

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Candace McGovern

Dr. Candace McGovern has served as a lecturer, educator and consultant for some of the largest museums, schools and universities in Europe and America. Born in Southern California, she completed her undergraduate education in San Diego before moving to New York where she worked at Rockefeller Centre, Christie’s Auction House and the New York Historical Society. It was in New York where she also began working as an education consultant, primarily for students interested in attending competitive secondary schools and universities. After moving to London in 2012 she completed a Ph.D. and started her own consultancy company. Specializing in high-profile clientele, she loves the opportunities working as a consultant and educator has provided including working with clients in Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany along with companies such as Macmillian Publishing. She is also an active co-owner of the Charleston Club and volunteers for local non-profits. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling throughout Europe, finding the best vegan food, riding, snorkelling and skiing.

Nataliya Stephens

Nataliya has been in international education management in the private education sector since
2005. She has several areas of expertise including both the sales and marketing function,
admissions and visa services within the UK, USA, Canada, EU immigration laws. For the last 15
years Nataliya has been instrumental in helping students to achieve their goals of studying
abroad. With a proven track record of establishing and growing international business,
knowledge of academic and legal compliance, Nataliya is equipped to understand the needs of
the widest range of students, delivering a customer experience rooted in service, integrity and
expertise.

Nataliya’s student recruitment and legal expertise coupled with personal and professional skills
led her to establish an educational agency, Global Directions Education Services. Prior to that,
as an Admission Manager at Grafton College and Bristol Language Centre, leading sales and
marketing while managing admissions and visa applications.
A global citizen and humanitarian with an invaluable desire to strengthen and enrich the
objectives of students and colleges, Nataliya is always striving to help others to achieve the best
possible results. She is an inspiring motivator who believes in people, the power of education
and the principles of equality.

Papa Kojo Botsio

Papa Kojo Botsio is an Education Consultant and DPhil (Ph.D.) candidate in Comparative and International Education at the University of Oxford. 

In 2016, he co-founded University Avenue, an Education Consultancy that provides University Application Counselling Services to students in Ghana and across Africa, and recently (2020) founded Access Education Global to provide global admissions and tutoring, advisory and partnerships services for educational development.

Global Procurement Specialist

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Muna Sayid

Muna Sayid is a project management and procurement/contracts professional with over 10
years of experience in facilitating and managing the end-to-end procurement lifecycle. She has
worked in all domains of the public sector and has proficient knowledge of procurement
strategies as it relates to both Federal and Provincial purchasing principles. Her expertise
consists of the administration of activities related to the sourcing of a wide variety of spend
categories; including, goods, professional services/consulting and construction/services, and
then managing the subsequent contracts and associated vendors.

She specializes in collaborating and building relationships with various internal stakeholders to ensure that the efficiency and transparency of the procurement process are maintained. She helps organizations employ policy and trade agreement guidelines with the expectation of delivering the best value. In addition, she is well experienced in implementing open and effective competition to tender organizational requirements to the market and award contracts with negotiated cost optimization arrangements.

Teaching is one of her passions and she is thrilled at the opportunity to teach students about the methods of implementing best practices in public procurement to reach optimal results.

Chinedu Ojuyenum

Chinedu Ojuyenum has over 15 years of experience in procurement across Oil and Gas, Food Manufacturing, Transportation, Defence and Nuclear Industries. In the various positions he has held, Chinedu has provided hands-on support in negotiating, awarding and managing multi-million dollar contracts.

Chinedu has a first degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MSC in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management (Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Scotland).

Trevor Dickinson

Trevor is a legal counsel with an extensive background in Canadian public procurement, contract management, drafting and negotiations including RFPs, RFQs, RFIs, and Government Tenders. He has vast procurement experience in senior management roles in the public sector including, Alberta Health Services, Ontario Health, Service Alberta, and Justice and Solicitor General. Trevor also had previous teaching experience at the Public Procurement Law Certificate Course at York University.

Dr. Toscha Dickerson

Dr. Toscha Dickerson is a Certified Professional Life Coach, Author, Professor, and C.E.O. of Dickerson Management & Associates, LLC. She is the Vice-Chair of Rève Preparatory Charter School and an expert panellist for Houston Business Journal Leadership Trust. She received her undergraduate degree at Grambling State University. She later pursued her Master’s in Public Administration at Southern University A&M College and obtained her Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialization in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management at Capella University.

With numerous honours and acknowledgements, Dr. Dickerson’s most recent award was received from Global Forum for Education & Learning, “Top 100 Leaders in Education” 2020. Dr. Dickerson has committed 20 plus years to assisting others in their personal and professional development within various industries. Her dedication to seeing others succeed and achieve their goals is the reason she expanded her reach globally.

Dr. Dickerson’s experience originates from working in various industries from municipalities, state government, aerospace/defence companies and universities. With multiple positions held throughout her career, she can assist small business owners in various areas. Dr. Dickerson decided to depart from the corporate sector and work as a consultant to assist companies by improving the efficiency and growth of their supply chain operations. By doing so, she has been able to train on strategic planning, supplier registration initiatives, curriculum development, procurement/contracts and much more.

Geoffrey Matte

A Canadian Supply Chain Management Professional with a career spanning four decades in multiple industries and sectors, both Public and Private.

Having achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg through evening studies in 1988, with a double major in Political Science and Administrative Studies, Geoff moved on to management studies at the University of Manitoba and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada’s professional program.  PMAC is currently known as Supply Chain Canada.   Geoff was active with the Manitoba Institute Board of Directors until relocating to Calgary with Nortel, and he remains a member in good standing with the Institute.

He worked in Electronics manufacturing while attending night school, working as a buyer and through several positions in the disk drive industry until it, like so many others, was offshored to Asian manufacturers.  He also worked in Transportation, Mining, Telecommunications, Aviation, Health Care, and Education.  In all these various industries, Supply Management plays a significant role in achieving both tactical and strategic objectives, and Geoff has developed an excellent understanding of the multiple forms which the profession of Purchasing displays across diverse industries. 

Geoff was a team leader on some of the first Quality Teams in any industry in North America.  He has led Quality Seminars, delivered in-person seminars and continues to pursue professional development in his semi-retirement.  

At his last position with Lakehead University, Geoff was at the centre of the transition to move the acquisition process to an electronic tendering platform and to move the institution to a position of all major acquisitions formatted as Negotiated Requests for Proposals. He continues with lifelong learning.

Anthea Simons

Anthea’s procurement experience spans over 8 years with her first procurement role as a Contracts Assistant for Tramlink (part of Transport for London). Though her procurement specialism has been largely within the public sector, having worked for large public sector organizations such as Tramlink, Transport for London (in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA), The National Health Service (NHS) and government agencies such as The Royal Parks, Ofgem, The National Physical Laboratories, she also has private sector experience having worked in the telecommunications industry and with multiple private stakeholders. 

Anthea has a passion for teaching and has delivered several Procurement courses including a Contract Management Course for Senior Stakeholders within a public sector organization; and a Bidding within the Public sector course for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Her procurement experience has not only spanned various sectors but also various capacities most recently Procurement Consultancy and Bid Management.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialist

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Maris Sekar

Maris Sekar is a professional computer engineer, Certified Information Systems Auditor (ISACA), and
Senior Data Scientist (Data Science Council of America). He has a passion for using storytelling to
communicate on high-risk items within an organization to enable better decision-making and drive
operational efficiencies. He has cross-functional work experience in distinct domains such as risk
management, data analysis, and consulting. Maris’ love for data has motivated him to win awards, write
LinkedIn articles and publish research papers with IEEE on applied machine learning and data science.

Dr. Mohammed Ashtari

My name is Mo Ashtari and I am a senior Data Scientist at the Bank of Canada.
I started machine learning in 2003 where I managed to model the performance of rechargeable commercial batteries using artificial neural networks in MATLAB. Since then, I have been doing machine learning and have enjoyed every second of it. I continued my Ph.D. (building predictive models for pharmaceutical companies), and my postdoc (building predictive models to increase the encapsulation efficiency of m-RNA into cancerous cells) at Queen’s University, and the University of Calgary, respectively. Then I joined Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of the largest biotech companies in the world, working on a very large project named “virtual column”, which was a winning factor in the success of the “separation science” product line. At the same time, I was a Data Consultant at Cloudera, one of the most well-known Big Data companies in the world which brought me a lot of experience in different business sectors. During all these 7 years, I have been teaching at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology several courses for Python, machine learning, business analytics, and deep learning.
Currently, I am working with the Bank of Canada, mostly on economic models to provide answers for the macroeconomic challenges we face in Canada as well as globally. Besides, I am teaching at several institutes and Universities/colleges.
I can assure you if you enjoy learning, this field is for you. About ten years ago, when I started to seriously consider machine learning as my career, I had a shortlist of topics I had to learn. Since then, I have been learning every single day. Today, my list is even longer.

Moez Ali

Moez Ali is a data scientist with more than a decade of experience in solving complex business problems through data, particularly in the domain of Healthcare, Education, Fintech, and Professional Consulting. Moez has a background in Finance and he is an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Chartered Professional Accountant, Ontario (CPA, CMA). He also has an undergrad degree in Commerce and Business with a dual Masters in Economics and Management Analytics.
He is currently leading a team of data scientists at Moneris Canada where he is building sophisticated data science solutions at scale to solve some of the most complex problems. Alongside the full-time day job, Moez is very passionate about teaching data science and open-source community contribution that’s where he dedicates over 40% of his time. Moez has also created an open-source, low-code machine learning library (PyCaret) which is used by over half a million data scientists around the world including some major tech companies and research organizations.
Moez was awarded, most-read writer two times in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in 2020. He was also nominated for Highly Influential Data Scientists in Canada and has an impressive following on social media.

Dr. Nathan Nifco

As an experienced AI practitioner and the architect of multiple high-tech entrepreneurial innovations and executive accomplishments in several organizations as a founder and CEO, Dr. Nifco’s doctoral Ph.D. studies on AI’s human and organizational systems implications, including four master’s degrees and multiple recognized industry certifications, have contributed to the practice, advancement and understanding of the road ahead with AI, ML and DL.
As a passionate thinker in the systemic, ethical, organizational, and societal implications of AI, he has a keen interest in maintaining a balance between technological advancement and the evolution of our human consciousness. Dr. Nifco has developed the notion of ‘Organic thinking’ within the constructs of Knowledge, Awareness and Meaning to formulate potential models to understand and project the implications of AI in our own humanity.

Dr. Mostafa El Gamal

Dr. Mostafa El Gamal received the B.Sc. degree from Cairo University, Egypt, in 2004, the M.Sc. degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 2012, and the Ph.D. degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, in 2017. He has over 10 years of academic and industry experience in Artificial Intelligence and Information Theory. Mostafa is currently managing the Data Science team in a FinTech company.

Foreign Services and International Development Specialist

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Timothy J. Hodges

Timothy Hodges is Professor of Practice in Global Governance at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID), where his work focuses on environmental global governance, and the negotiation and implementation of international sustainable development treaties by Indigenous Peoples, governments, and stakeholders.

Professor Hodges is a former career Canadian diplomat, with a focus on multilateral negotiations in broad range of instruments – including, for example, United Nations (UN) General Assembly, World Trade Organization, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Stockholm Convention, Basel Convention, Cartagena Protocol, Nagoya Protocol, NAFTA, and the Arctic Council.

Concurrently, he is Principal at Timothy J Hodges & Associates — an international consultancy providing confidential strategic advisory, negotiation and leadership services to governments, private non-profit organizations, industry, and Indigenous and local communities.

 

Professor Hodges lectures widely on international treaty law negotiation at universities across Canada, Europe, and Asia.

 

He served as Co-Chair, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the United Nations treaty on Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge (i.e., the Nagoya Protocol).

 

Professor Hodges is past President of Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO).

Claudette Russel

Claudette Russell has almost 10 years of experience working in the international development arena as an independent consultant for organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Youth Business International, the UNICEF Office of the Eastern Caribbean, the Commonweal Secretariat, USAID, and the Caribbean Development Bank. This international experience has primarily been in the fields of education reform, technical and vocational education, and youth development. She has also worked with these and other organizations to develop institutional and individual capacity to conduct research, undertake monitoring and evaluation, and to develop and cost strategic plans.

Her experience also includes over 30 years in the Public Service of Canada, including 10 years at the executive level covering a range of public policy issues that focus on lifelong learning, with special attention on providing policy advice on Indigenous K-12 and post-secondary education, youth development, and labour market development. She has briefed and prepared Ministers and senior officials for multilateral and bilateral meetings as well as G8 meetings and designed and participated in international study tours to Australia and the US. She was also involved in setting up the Youth Secretariat in the Privy Council Office of the Government of Canada, responsible for the Prime Ministers Youth Council.

Ms. Russell has a deep understanding of international development issues and has worked in cross-cultural environments with Indigenous peoples in Canada, across the Caribbean, and in parts of South America. She understands the challenges facing marginalized peoples and communities, and challenges working in multi-sectoral environments to effect change.

She is a seasoned communicator with exceptional oral and written communications skills which has enabled her to prepare a broad range of reports, policy papers, and discussion papers for a range of audiences, including Parliamentarians, policy researchers, community leaders, educators, and administrators in a domestic and international context. She is known for my ability to convey information in a concise, articulate, engaging, and accessible manner.

Ms. Russell has a Master of Arts in International Development, Master of Science in Statistics, and Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics. Currently, as the Owner of Russell and Associates she designs and brings together creative teams for international development consultancies.

Patrick Brennan

Mr. Patrick Brennan is currently serving as a Special Advisor to the   President of Vancouver Island University and is the Chief Executive   Officer of Advanced Professional Training Centre, where he applies decades of leadership experience in diplomacy, program and policy development, mentorship, and Indigenous affairs.

From 2014 to 2018, he served as the Executive Director for McGill  University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, where he ran executive training programs, built strategic partnerships with key institutions including government departments, UN Agencies, the World   Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, and supported the   Institute’s research programmes in collaboration with leading global think tanks, universities, foundations, NGO’s and the private sector.

Prior to McGill, Mr. Brennan served as the Manager of Multilateral   Relations in the Intergovernmental and International Relations Directorate of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. During his time at the Department, Mr. Brennan assisted with Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, initiated research for the examination of programming and policy approaches taken by other countries in the area of Aboriginal affairs, supported Canada’s work in the area of the Post 2015 United Nations Development Agenda, and contributed to Canada’s Strategy for Engagement in the Americas.

Mr. Brennan has also worked at the Department of Canadian Heritage on initiatives ranging from multiculturalism and citizen engagement to public service renewal and the establishment of a forum for the promotion and advancement of policy development within the department.

Prior to joining the Department of Canadian Heritage, he worked for six years at the Department of Foreign Affairs in support of international indigenous issues and was the Deputy Director of the Haiti Program at Foreign Affairs and assisted in writing Canada’s bilateral strategy for engagement in the country.

Mr. Brennan has also worked as a program specialist at both the United Nations World Food Programme and at the Canadian International Development Agency. He was posted with the United Nations in Haiti from 1997-1998.

Mr. Brennan holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal.

Diego F. Osorio

Diego currently serves as Manager, Policy Team, Centre for Rural Economic Development, Canada’s Ministry of Infrastructure. He was previously Senior Advisor of Climate Security at CGIAR Climate Security.  Diego is a PhD Candidate (Utrecht U.) and former Canadian Diplomat with 23 years of public administration and international experience covering the UN, NATO, World Bank, Canadian diplomacy, and private sector ventures. Diego has worked globally on diplomatic/political and economic matters, climate change-conflict/adaptation policy, as well as institutional/social reconstruction, civil-military coordination, and humanitarian issues. He has deployed to Afghanistan, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia (Banda Aceh), Iraq, Central African Republic, Jordan, Kosovo, Liberia, Pakistan, and Timor Leste to name some of his multiple field missions. He previously served as Senior Peacekeeping Officer (2006) and as Senior Advisor on Mediation, Negotiation and Peace processes (2019) at Global Affairs Canada. He is also an Associate Fellow of both the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the Université de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies.  Diego has lectured in humanitarian action, governance design, the humanitarian-development nexus, reconciliation/mediation, conflict and climate change, post-conflict recovery, political economy, complexity/economic geography, and urban conflict at universities in Canada and abroad. He also works on co-creation and human design methodologies. Diego is also an Adjunct Professor, Master of Public Policy, at Adler University, Canada. 

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