MANSO is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors, elected from candidates nominated by its member organizations.  Board members are elected for a three-year term and vacancies are filled at the MANSO AGM in June each year.

MANSO est dirigée par un conseil d’administration composé de onze (11) administrateurs élus parmi et par les organismes membres. La durée du mandat des administrateurs est de trois (3) ans et les postes vacants sont pourvus par voie d’élection à l’assemblée générale tenue annuellement en juin.

2020 – 2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  • Jana McKee – President
  • Steve Reynolds – Vice President
  • Susan Emerson – Treasurer
  • Traicy Robertson – Secretary

  • Jorge Fernandez – Immigrant Centre
  • Cathy Dowd – Portage Learning & Literacy Centre
  • Nina Condo – Elmwood Community Resource Centre
  • Codi Guenther – New Journey Housing
  • Salwa Meddri – Réseau en Immigration Francophone (RIF)
  • Jennifer Tomsich – NEEDS Inc.
  • Gillian McGrath – North West Regional Immigrant Services Inc. – Interim board

BOARD BIOGRAPHIES

 

Jana McKeeJana McKee – Seven Oaks Adult Learning and Settlement Services Centre

Jana is the Manager of Seven Oaks Adult Learning and Immigration Services Centre and has been involved in Manitoba’s immigration sector for the past 7 years, and is currently an interim director for MANSO. Jana has worked in education and non-profits for the past 17 years both abroad in New Zealand and in Winnipeg. She possesses a Master’s degree and her strengths include policy and program development, research and evaluation, and community and organizational building. She has participated in a number of committees in the sector over the years including professionalization committee, health/mental health committee, NISW group, and is a member of the WELARC advisory group. In New Zealand, Jana was a Chair of a Community Development Trust from 2000-2006, and aboard member of the YWCA from 2004-2006.

 


Steve Reynolds, Regional Connections Immigrant Services

Steve has been working in the sector since 2007, beginning as a LINC and English at Work instructor for Regional Connections before moving into the role of Workplace and Employment Services Coordinator in 2012, Language Program Director in 2017, and Executive Director in 2018.  Steve is a trained Diversity and Intercultural Facilitator who has delivered presentations and workshops to a variety of audiences at conferences, in workplaces, for community groups, and in schools. He has also presented on EAL and settlement at various conferences hosted by IRCC, MANSO, TEAM, and HCC. His original passion for teaching and learning (MA Educational Studies, Providence Seminary) has evolved through his experiences of living and working in Osaka, Japan for two years, working with newcomers to Canada for the past 10+ years, and settling in small-town Manitoba himself, into a vision for building healthy communities together through settlement, integration, and successful community partnerships.  Steve’s three young kids have also drawn him into various community roles including sports committees and coaching 5-7-year-olds in baseball and soccer.


Susan Emerson –YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

Susan is the Vice President Operations – Community Programs with the YMCA YWCA of Winnipeg.  For over 25 years she has been involved in the childcare sector. From providing front line inclusion support services to administering programs she remains connected to the sector as a part-time Educator with Red River College.  A trained ECE, Susan also has a degree in Developmental Studies from the University of Winnipeg and her Adult Education Certificate from Red River College.  She is her Association’s Child Protection lead and along with sitting on the Child Protection Steering Committee for YMCA Canada, conducts nationwide Peer Reviews.  Her board experience includes Willow Place; a family violence agency supporting transformation, healing and healthy relationships.   She just completed serving as a member of the Community Solidarity Fund through the Manitoba Council of International Cooperation assessing projects for Manitoba not-for-profit, community-based groups involved in development projects overseas.  Her work in the community sector continues to provide her with a greater understanding of the complex systems that children and families find themselves within.


Traicy Robertson, Manitoba Possible (formerly Society for Manitobans with Disabilities)

Traicy has worked in the settlement sector in Winnipeg since 1998. In the past, she has served on the board of Manitoba Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Sector Association, (MIRSSA), where she co-chaired the Health Committee and served on the working group for the Winnipeg LIP.  Traicy is also a member of the WRHA Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Working Group, and Cancer Care Manitoba’s Newcomer Advisory Group. Traicy is also a founder member of the Community Health Workers Network of Canada, (CHWN), an organization that supports, and advocates for, the professional development of Cultural Brokers in Canada; she also co-chairs MANSO’s Health Committee. Joining the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (now Manitoba Possible) in 2010, she continues to expand her expertise, specifically in the area of culture and disability, specializing in cultural brokerage program development and its’ benefits for various human service sectors. Presently, Traicy manages the Newcome Navigation and Support Unit (NNSU) at Manitoba Possible. The unit provides holistic supports to newcomers and refugees living with a disability, ensuring equitable access to all available services, and providing information to clients in their first language to enhance understanding. Created in 1997, (and formerly known as the Ethno-Cultural Program), the NNSU continues to be at the forefront of services for newcomers living with disabilities. She is proud to be a part of this work.


Jorge Fernandez – Immigrant Centre

Jorge Fernandez started with the Immigrant Centre in 1993 and became Executive Director in 2014. He is responsible for developing and delivering effective settlement services, plays a lead role in identifying immigration trends, and engages proactively with funders and key stakeholders.

Working as a teacher’s aide in Winnipeg with students who had migrated from Spanish speaking countries, Jorge realized that being an immigrant he could help other immigrants. This opened the doors to seek employment at the Immigrant Centre. While making a difference working through different levels at Immigrant Centre Manitoba, Jorge has helped countless immigrants and newcomers put roots down in Winnipeg.

Jorge was born and raised in Ecuador and moved to Winnipeg in 1985. He graduated from the Catholic University of Ecuador with a degree in Business Administration. Jorge has had a long journey working in the settlement field, giving him over 28 years of experience working in the settlement sector and supporting newcomers to Manitoba.


Cathy Dowd, Portage Learning & Literacy Centre

Cathy Dowd has been the Program Director of the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre for the past six years, overseeing programs for Settlement, Language Training, Employment, and Skills Training & Work Experience (for youth). Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union for six years, overseeing the operation of six major on-campus businesses and over 35 different services and programs, which encompassed a $16 Million budget and employed 30 full-time and over 175 part-time staff.
Cathy was previously on the Board for MEALO (2015-16), serving as Secretary, and then joined the MANSO Board for its inaugural year (2016), continuing to serve as Secretary. Since 2017, she has been on the Board for English Online, serving as Secretary for the past two years. She is currently a member of MANSO’s Professional Development Committee as well as the Employment and Entrepreneurship Working Group of the Portage Local Immigration Partnership.
Cathy has extensive organizational and program management experience and is a strong believer in continuous learning. She holds a B.Sc. degree and a B.A. degree from the University of Manitoba, as well as a Certificate in Management and Administration (CIMA) through the Canadian Institute of Management (CIM).
Cathy is honoured to serve on the MANSO Board again, as she recognizes its significant role in
supporting members through communication, networking, and professional development activities, as well as acting as a strong voice for the Manitoba settlement and integration sector.


Nina Condo – Elmwood Community Resource Centre

Nina is the Executive Director of the Elmwood Community Resource Centre (ECRC) since 2014.  She serves as Co-chair of the Inclusion & Civic Engagement sector for the Immigration Partnership Winnipeg (IPW). She developed a brief on the experiences of newcomer women and girls in Manitoba in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) in response to the invitation from the House of Common Standing Committee on Status of Women’s study on “Violence against Young Women and Girls”.Prior to her role at Elmwood Community Resource Centre, She was as an instructor within the Applied Counseling Program at Red River College for four years. She managed a Women’s domestic violence prevention program for Five years which allowed her to mentor people from various organizations and to work closely with other organizations through policy recommendations, Clinical consultation, program development and facilitation.

She is passionate about community development, advocacy, and empowering individuals, families …her philosophy is “it takes a community to build, raise, and heal families while supporting the growth, liberation of everyone.” She is a wife and a proud mother of two boys. She is Canadian with Rwandese heritage, her life experience both locally and internationally has inspired her desire to dismantle racism and oppression.


Codi Guenther, New Journey Housing

Codi Guenther started working in the settlement sector through her practicum at IRCOM in 2008 after graduating from CMU with her BA in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies.  From there, she moved on to working at New Journey Housing, first as a receptionist, then housing counselor and now currently as Executive Director.  Working in various positions has given Codi 10 years of experience meeting with individuals and families as they work their way towards making Winnipeg and Manitoba their new home.  Codi has been the chair of the MANSO housing committee since 2013 and works hard to bring forward the various housing needs of newcomers to the Right to Housing Coalition, MB Non-Profit Housing Association, and other housing advocacy groups.  Codi spends non-work time hanging out with her partner and 2 kids in their west end neighbourhood.


Salwa Meddri

Salwa Meddri – Réseau en Immigration Francophone (RIF)

Salwa is the Coordinatrice of the Réseau en immigration francophone (RIF) – Francophone immigration network coordinator. The RIF’s role is to bring together organizations that play key roles in attracting, recruiting, welcome, and integration French-speaking immigrants in the Province. Salwa participated and served on different boards such as l’Association des résidents du vieux Saint-Boniface, Saint-Boniface Network, Healthy Together, Vulnerable Cancer Patients Working Group, Saint-Boniface University research group on French-speaking newcomers’ mental health, MIRSSA and MANSO.


Jennifer Tomsich, NEEDS Inc.

Jennifer Tomsich is a Senior Psychosocial Advisor at Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (NEEDS) Inc. Jennifer has worked at NEEDS Inc. for over 10 years in a variety of roles and capacities over the years by providing direct support, facilitating programming, program development, program coordination and overall client support to immigrant and refugee children, youth and their families. Jennifer currently holds a Bachelor of Social Work and is expected to graduate with a Master of Social Work in 2021. Jennifer is currently a member of the MANSO Health Working Group and also an executive member of the Gang Interagency Action Network (GAIN). Jennifer also previously involved with Youth Agencies Alliance on the Programming Committee and Friends of Sherbrook Pool.


Gillian McGrath – North West Regional Immigrant Services Inc. 

Gillian arrived in Canada in December 2009 with her family, having immigrated from Spain where they had lived for 5 years after immigrating there from the United Kingdom. They moved directly to Swan River, where they have remained, using the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program with a job offer to work as a head chef in a local restaurant. From there, Gillian moved to a managerial position at a fast-food chain in town and then into the role of Settlement coordinator for the Swan Valley in 2012 where she successfully built up the settlement and immigrant program in the Swan Valley as a one-stop, one-person shop for service to local immigrants. In 2016, with an unknown funding future, Gillian regretfully left this position to pursue a role in accounting, but her heart remained with serving immigrants. She stepped onto the board of Swan Valley Settlement and Immigrant Services and also took on the role of financial administrator, successfully negotiating new contracts for the settlement program. In late 2018, she was asked by the board to pursue opening a satellite office in The Pas, and in late 2019, they were successful in starting a pilot project in the town. In 2020, Gillian accepted the full-time position as Executive Director of the newly formed North West Regional Immigrant services operating in the Pas and Swan River.