Board of Directors

Board of Directors2018-11-02T11:39:45+00:00

Jessie Thomson

Jessie Thomson is currently the Senior Director of CARE Canada’s Program Innovation and Strategic Partnerships Team. Between 2012 and 2017, Jessie served as the Senior Director of CARE Canada’s Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Team. Jessie joined CARE as an Emergency Response Program Manager in March 2011.  Prior to joining CARE, Jessie worked as a protection delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Pakistan; as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Response Group at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada; and, as a Senior Policy Advisor and Manager in the Resettlement Division in Refugees Branch at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

As a 2008 Walter and Gordon Duncan Foundation Global Youth Fellow, Jessie co-produced and co-directed Home Free, a short film about Burundian refugees in Tanzania. Jessie began her career with the UN Refugee Agency in London, England and as a volunteer with World University Service of Canada’s Student Refugee Program at the University of Toronto.

Jessie is currently co-chair of Ottawa Welcomes, a private refugee sponsorship group, currently sponsoring refugee families from Syria. Jessie lives in Ottawa and speaks both French and English.

Christopher Braeuel
Vice President

Chris is an international development practitioner and leader with over 17 years’ experience in multilateral negotiations and global project management. He is currently the Executive Director for Veterinarians Without Borders Canada. Prior to this, he served as Country Director for Cuso International’s Nigeria program, First Secretary for Development with the Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan and Senior Adviser and Negotiator on matters affecting Small Island Developing States under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Chris also represented Canada as the National Focal Point, Chief Adviser and Bureau Vice-President to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

In 2013, he was awarded the Queen’s Operational Service Medal (South West Asia) from the Government of Canada for his contributions in Afghanistan. Chris has actively served on various boards including the Leadership Council for McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development (founding member); the Society for International Development Governing Council (North American Representative); One World Arts (Board Adviser); Society for International Development Canada Chapter (President); and the City of Ottawa’s Environmental Advisory Committee (Policy Adviser), among others.

Chris is a lifetime Ottawa resident with a Masters in Public Policy and Administration, and is a registered international PRINCE2 Project Management Practitioner. Chris speaks English, French, German, Spanish and Swahili, and is a recent recipient of the 2017 Carleton University Humanitarian Alumni Award.

Kathy Liu

Kathy Liu is a Senior Associate in PwC’s Valuations, Modelling and Disputes practice in Ottawa. She is a chartered accountant (CPA, CA) and completing her CBV (chartered business valuator) designation. Kathy’s work experience includes buy and sell-side due diligence mandates, as well as corporate finance sell side mandates. Her areas of specialization include valuation, fairness opinion and loss quantification reports and risk management reviews. Prior to joining PwC in the Valuations group, Kathy worked at Deloitte and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners. Her focus in public accounting at Deloitte was largely around the technology sector, financial services industry and not-for-profit organizations. As an auditor, in addition to providing assurance and accounting work, Kathy has experience with evaluating internal controls, providing fraud risk assessment, and making operational recommendations. Kathy has since worked in the renewable energy industry at Brookfield Renewable in the consolidations accounting and asset valuations group. Kathy enjoys working with not-for-profit organizations, in particular, organizations focused on sports and recreation and social development programs.

Having immigrated from China to Canada at the age of six, Kathy’s personal experience of growth and immersion had made her aware of the challenges and rewards of adapting to life in a new country. She is passionate about helping people and learning new cultures, and when combined, she believes there are opportunities to make a positive impact. Currently, she is the team manager for the 2018 Ontario Winter Games badminton team representing the National Capital Region. Her past Board involvement include the audit and finance committee and rewards committee at the Recreation Association of the Public Service of Canada (RA Center), as well as the Finance committee for Hope Volleyball. Kathy is a certified yoga instructor and an avid yogi who enjoys teaching yoga as much as she enjoys practicing yoga.

Gorav Chaudhry

Gorav is a second-generation immigrant who grew up in the city of Ottawa with experience in the public, private, non-profit and multi-lateral sectors. He is currently an Economist working in the Financial Sector Policy Branch at the Department of Finance.

In this position, he is responsible for providing policy advice on Canada’s housing finance framework. Gorav holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. While at Johns Hopkins University, he specialized in South Asian and Canadian studies.  Gorav has experience within the financial sector as a Treasury Analyst for TD Bank.

Additionally he spent time in Malawi contributing to a World Bank impact evaluation of a government skills training program for vulnerable youth. After spending several years working in the private sector and living abroad, Gorav has been active in his professional and local community, serving as Vice President of Finance for Engineers Without Borders Ottawa City Chapter.

Noah Arshinoff
Member at large

Noah is a bilingual lawyer, business consultant, and advocacy strategist. As an international trade advisor, he has researched and authored influential reports that have guided the federal government’s policies and ambitions with various markets, including China and the United States.

He currently utilizes his legal background at the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation working on maintaining and modernizing Canada’s financial sector regulatory regime. He previously led the Canadian Bar Association’s Anti-Corruption Team and spearheaded their advocacy efforts in strengthening Canada’s anti-corruption framework.

As a member of OCISO’s Board of Directors since 2015, Noah is passionate about providing newcomers to Canada with the best opportunities to succeed.

He is a graduate of the French Common Law program at the University of Ottawa and completed an undergraduate in Political Science.

Daljit Nirman

Daljit is adjunct lecturer of law and president of Nirman’s Law Professional Corporation and is pleased to serve communities in English, Hindi and Punjabi. He is Chair of Federation of South-Asian Lawyers Ottawa.

He has over two decades of diverse legal experience from the Industry, has received a Master of Laws from University of Ottawa, and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Physics and Bachelor of Laws from University of Delhi. He also holds post-graduate specialized diplomas in Labour Laws, International Law and the Law of International Institutions.

Daljit volunteers his time with various charities and not for profit organizations in Ottawa and raised funds for Monfort Hospital Foundation to purchase CT Scanner with the specialized cardiac module to help save lives of patients with cardiac issues.

Rohit Samaroo

Rohit is a director with the federal government in the area of results-based management, and a champion of diversity in the workplace. Prior to this Rohit worked at the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto and in the private sector as well. Rohit holds degrees in Engineering and Political Science.

He has an interest in assisting immigrants to reach their full potential in Canada.

Eric Agyemang

Eric Agyemang is a global trade professional with over a decade of experience  in international business and trade finance. He presently works with Export Development Canada (EDC) as an Account Manager with the Business Development Group, where he helps Ontario-based exporters expand their international business footprints.

With a deep passion for community development, helping others has become Eric’s life’s work. He has worked with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Canada, Ireland and Ghana. In 2006, he founded an NGO in Ghana, focused on recruiting and placing international volunteers in sustainable community-based programs such as micro-finance, rural community education and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns.

Eric has been an active Career Mentor and Connector with OCISO since 2014. As a first generation immigrant who now calls Ottawa home, he also has a first-hand understanding of some of the challenges faced by immigrants in our community.

Eric holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in  International Management from University of Ottawa, and an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from Algonquin College.

Eric previously served as a member of Algonquin College’s Board of Governors.

Luz Maria De-Regil

With 20 years’ experience in the public, private academic, not-for-profit and intergovernmental sectors, Dr. De-Regil leads a diverse and multidisciplinary group of 40+ experts who provide international technical support to deliver programs that aim to end child and women’s malnutrition.

After 5 years in Canada, and as a result of interacting with many newcomers and women in trades, Luz Maria became more conscious of the challenges that many women face finding their first job in this country or as service providers. She decided to use her experience, skills and resources to educate and empower women living in Canada and co-founded From Women to Women, a local enterprise that connects women seeking and providing services.

An Immigrant herself, Luz Maria brings to OCISO’s board long -time experience in management, research, negotiation, and -more recently- marketing and entrepreneurship.

Prior to moving to Canada, Dr. De-Regil held positions at the National Institute of Perinatology and Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico; the Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Oakland, USA; and the World Health Organization in Switzerland.

Melissa J. Pang

Melissa Pang is a Manager with the federal government responsible for workplace health issues.  Prior to joining the core public service, Melissa worked as a lawyer for a private immigration law firm, as an analyst for the Parliament of Canada and as an executive of a non-profit organization.   Melissa obtained her Common Law and Civil Law degrees from McGill University, and her Honours B.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Ottawa.

Born in Ottawa to immigrant parents and having studied at an international high school, Melissa has always been fascinated by cultures and languages, as well as challenges faced by immigrants to Canada.  Her own family includes members of Chinese, Mauritian, Lebanese, Indian and Peruvian descent!  Melissa can often be found exploring the NCC trails with her family or dancing along in Zumba classes.

Robyn Aaron

Robyn Aaron is a human rights professional with 15 years of experience in community and international development, advocacy, policy, and strategic planning, for the governmental, non-profit and private sectors.

Currently, Robyn is a senior human rights and governance specialist for Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development). Among her many responsibilities, she advises staff and management on matters related to human rights-based approaches to development, governance, and children’s rights —applying gender equality principles to her work. She is also a branch co-champion for psychological health and well-being in the workplace.  Previously, Robyn served as senior advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Partnerships for Development Innovation Branch, for Global Affairs Canada.

Her career in the governmental sector also includes working for the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), where she co-chaired the Federal Interdepartmental Working Group on Children’s Rights, and was a representative on the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. In the non-profit sector, Robyn spent several years at UNICEF Canada—including director for international programmes and domestic advocacy specialist, where she appealed to various levels of government to better align with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Robyn is especially passionate about child protection, migration, mental health and supporting survivors of trauma. She is a volunteer employment mentor with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization and volunteers with the Children’s Aid Society. In addition, she has volunteered with Mothercraft Ottawa, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, the Canadian Red Cross and other community organizations.

Robyn has a Master in Environmental Studies from York University, a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University, and is certified in refugee mental health.  Currently, she is pursuing additional studies in counselling and trauma.

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Our Mission!

OCISO supports immigrants through the journey of making Canada their home by providing creative and responsive programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, by building community through mutual respect and partnerships, and by fostering healthy and inclusive spaces for open dialogue and healing.

What we do 🙂

We are community based non-profit organization that has been providing services in Ottawa since 1978. We are motivated by the stories of new immigrants, and we are there every stage of the journey. OCISO directly serves over 10,000 immigrants and refugees every year. Our work is augmented by the generous efforts of our enthusiastic, caring and talented staff, volunteers, both established and new Canadians.