OUR BOARD MEMBERS.
Samina Tajwar –
Ms. Samina Tajwar is a certified Project Management Professional and holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of British Columbia, as well as an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo. Samina has spent the last 10 years with Mitacs Inc.,where she managed a strategic partnership with the Government of British Columbia to pilot a program integrating academic research and evidence-informed policy-making at the provincial level. Prior to that, she was the Director of Integrated Business Planning at Mitacs, where she led the executive team through a three-year project integrating and streamlining the organization’s business systems.
Mursal Khyabani -
Mursal Khyabani is the Manager of Business Development at the UBC Sauder School of Business and has worked at UBC since 2015. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UBC and has been working in the career development space for over 10 years. Her work spans developing a career readiness model, building strategic industry partnerships and driving equity and inclusion in the workplace. She is also a Certified Emotional Intelligence coach and has taken coursework in human resources, project management and strategic planning. Prior to joining UBC, Mursal worked at Connections Community Services for 3 years as a Program Coordinator/Employment Counsellor for the JobOptionsBC and Urban Older Workers Programs. She is thrilled for the opportunity to continue serving her community and the organization in her capacity as a board member. In her spare time, Mursal enjoys travelling, reading, listening to podcasts and practicing calligraphy.
Gary Ma –
Gary is the founder of Gary Ma Accounting and Consulting Ltd., a CPA firm that serves clients across a variety of industry sectors including retail, real estate, technology, hospitality, financial services, consumer goods and entertainment. He is a designated Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Management degree (Honors) from University of British Columbia. As an auditor and a business consultant, he brings with him experience in both corporate and not-for-profit environments. Previously, he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers and a medium-size professional services firm, where he specialized in providing audit, accounting and advisory services.
Gary is committed to giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of youth. He has volunteered with Connections Community Service Society (previously RYSA) since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures.
Dennis Li -
Dennis is a seasoned media professional with an inherited entrepreneurial spirit. He has led the business growth and performance for multinational corporations, listed companies, start-ups, and non-profit organizations. His expertise lies in developing growth strategy, engaging content, digital & social media solution, marketing analytics, customer engagement, and team building & motivation.
Before he returned to Canada, he had assumed key business roles at a dynamic range of companies in Asia including the largest not-for-profit statutory body in Hong Kong, the leading English newspaper group, and the largest event company in Asia. He returned to Vancouver with his family in 2016 and involved actively in social services work, managing a 36-year-old media platform to bridge Chinese immigrates to settle well in Canada. He is also the Associate Partner of One Hub, a Toronto based Business Development Centre providing strategic ideas, initiatives, back office outsourcing and training activities.
Dennis graduated from Simon Fraser University with a B.A. degree in Criminology and obtained an MBA degree in Marketing from Western Sydney University.
Jerry Huang -
Mr. Huang is an experienced finance and capital markets professional in the natural resources, banking & tech space. He has extensive experience in corporate development and investor relations roles with mining and resource companies globally. He has over 10 years of public companies experience, executing on strategic and financing initiatives for junior companies on joint ventures, financings, and deals over $90M to date. Previously he worked with CIBC in Financial Advisory roles managing high networth portfolios. He graduated with Masters of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia jointly with Jiaotong University in Shanghai. He has also completed the Chartered Professional Accountant PEP program. He has been on the board of RYSA since 2011, having other volunteering experience with Pearson hospital, Marpole Community Center, and helping raise $50K for scholarships for Kwantlen University College.
Pam Khinda -
Pam Khinda is the Senior Program Coordinator and a term faculty at Vancouver Community College (VCC). She has an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Post-Secondary from Simon Fraser University, Online/eLearning Instruction certificate and Provincial Instructor Diploma from VCC and is a certified MBTI facilitator. In addition, Pam is a term instructor in SFU’s Career Development Practitioner Certificate training and is a Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) through BCCDA (British Columbia Career Development Association). Pam has extensive experience in teaching, project development, implementation and management, proposal writing, curriculum development and career counselling/case management.
Prior to joining VCC, Pam worked at Connections Community Services Society (CCSS) as the Manager of Youth Programs for 3 years during which she managed a variety of employment, children’s and youth programs. Pam is excited to have re-joined CCSS and is looking forward to serving the organization and the community as a board member. Pam describes herself as a perpetual student who loves to learn new things and spend time with her family and friends. She enjoys biking, hiking, gardening and reading mystery novels.
Chris Pereira -
Chris Pereira is an experienced business and communications professional from Canada with 15 years of experience in China. Fully bilingual (written/spoken) Mandarin and English, he has built his career upon being a constructive bridge between different people, interests, and cultures. He has worked with hundreds of companies, and dozens of Fortune 500 enterprises, supporting their branding and communications.
Chris was recently featured by Vancouver City News, Omni News, and Richmond News for his sponsorship of the translation of a BC First Nations history book into Mandarin, a project led by Professor Keith Carlson at University of the Fraser Valley. As a featured speaker at the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA), Chris recently represented his company Canadian Ecosystem Institute as a panelist during a conversation about Accelerating the Global Digital Economy (Toronto Global Forum), and as an opening speaker for a session on inclusion and diversity at the IEFA’s Conference de Montreal.
Chris has spoken at dozens of universities and colleges, sharing insights about the future of technology and business, networking, and career. With his team at Canadian Ecosystem Institute, Chris helps companies and people integrate smoothly into the market in North America and China.