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 Connections since 2011, having other volunteering experience with Pearson hospital, Marpole Community Center, and helping raise $50K for scholarships for Kwantlen University College.
Gagan Mann -
Gagan Mann is a lawyer at Watson Goepel LLP, a full-service law firm located in downtown Vancouver. She practices exclusively in family law and helps individuals in areas such as divorce, asset division, child and spousal support, guardianship, parenting arrangements, and drafting family law agreements. She has appeared before the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia, and the British Columbia Court of Appeal. She contributes to her profession by mentoring young lawyers, editing legal publications, and providing advice to low-income clients through Access Pro Bono legal clinics. Gagan has a particular interest in child-related issues, including the impact of family violence, and works with families to help minimize the effects of separation and divorce on children.
Gagan obtained her B.A. from the University of British Columbia with a political science major, and returned to UBC in 2008 to obtain her J.D. She was called to the British Columbia bar in 2012.
Gagan is a Richmond native and maintains strong ties to her community. She is pleased to be in a position where she can serve in the community where she grew up and is raising her young family.