Ana Luz Martinez (English, Spanish) Ana Luz joined us in 2003 and has been managing our Settlement Team since 2008. Originally from Guatemala, Ana Luz studied dentistry at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemela before moving to Mexico where she studied education at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.  In 1994, she moved to Canada and became a proud Canadian citizen in 1998.  Ana Luz leads by example to ensure that our clients are served by a team of enthusiastic, passion and caring professionals. Ana Luz is an advocate for a number of health and education causes and issues of seniors and climate change are of special interest.  She is also an active supporter of a bilingual school in Guatemala, the Fundación Nueva Esperanza, Río Negro In her spare time, Ana Luz enjoys jazz music - especially latin jazz -  as well as art and culture in Waterloo Region.

Ana Luz Martinez (English, Spanish)

Ana Luz joined us in 2003 and has been managing our Settlement Team since 2008.

Originally from Guatemala, Ana Luz studied dentistry at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemela before moving to Mexico where she studied education at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.  In 1994, she moved to Canada and became a proud Canadian citizen in 1998.  Ana Luz leads by example to ensure that our clients are served by a team of enthusiastic, passion and caring professionals.

Ana Luz is an advocate for a number of health and education causes and issues of seniors and climate change are of special interest.  She is also an active supporter of a bilingual school in Guatemala, the Fundación Nueva Esperanza, Río Negro

In her spare time, Ana Luz enjoys jazz music - especially latin jazz -  as well as art and culture in Waterloo Region.

Brittney Emslie (English) Brittney joined us in 2015 and is passionate about helping newcomers find employment in Waterloo Region.  Brittney has lived in K-W her whole life and is part of the Employment Team.  She also coordinates our Global Skills Conference for Internationally Trained Professionals. She has a BA in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University. When Brittney is not working she can be found hiking, biking, enjoying nature, taking photos, and spending time with friends and family.

Brittney Emslie (English)

Brittney joined us in 2015 and is passionate about helping newcomers find employment in Waterloo Region. 

Brittney has lived in K-W her whole life and is part of the Employment Team.  She also coordinates our Global Skills Conference for Internationally Trained Professionals. She has a BA in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University.

When Brittney is not working she can be found hiking, biking, enjoying nature, taking photos, and spending time with friends and family.

Carmen Morun (English, Romanian) Carmen joined us in 2011 after volunteering with us for several years.  She helps businesses, governments and social service agencies dealing with new Canadians by matching them with the interpreter and translation services they need.  She loves the fact that she makes a difference by connecting people. Carmen was born and raised in Romania and came to Canada in 2000 with her husband and children. She became a proud Canadian citizen in 2004. She holds a Bachelors Degree from the Technical University of Timisoara in Romania and a College Training /Social Services Worker diploma from the Medix School here in Kitchener. When she isn't bridging the language barrier between people, Carmen can be found in her garden, spending time with her twin grandchildren or travelling.

Carmen Morun (English, Romanian)

Carmen joined us in 2011 after volunteering with us for several years.  She helps businesses, governments and social service agencies dealing with new Canadians by matching them with the interpreter and translation services they need.  She loves the fact that she makes a difference by connecting people.

Carmen was born and raised in Romania and came to Canada in 2000 with her husband and children. She became a proud Canadian citizen in 2004.

She holds a Bachelors Degree from the Technical University of Timisoara in Romania and a College Training /Social Services Worker diploma from the Medix School here in Kitchener.

When she isn't bridging the language barrier between people, Carmen can be found in her garden, spending time with her twin grandchildren or travelling.

Doha Shahin (English, Arabic) Doha joined us in 2006 and works with our Language and Interpreter Services division. Originally from Egypt, Doha moved to London, ON with her husband and family in 1990, graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies and became a Canadian citizen in 1994. Doha enjoys gardening, spending time with her grandchildren and travelling in her spare time.

Doha Shahin (English, Arabic)

Doha joined us in 2006 and works with our Language and Interpreter Services division.

Originally from Egypt, Doha moved to London, ON with her husband and family in 1990, graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies and became a Canadian citizen in 1994.

Doha enjoys gardening, spending time with her grandchildren and travelling in her spare time.

Eltag Elkhalifa (English, Arabic) Eltag joined us in 2007 and helps newcomers settle in this area and integrate into the Canadian society by providing information, counseling to help them plan for their life in their new country.   A top priority for Eltag is addressing his clients' diverse needs and then identifying and removing barriers that slow their settlement and integration. Eltag was born and lived in Sudan till he moved to Canada in the early 1990s following the military coup. He graduated with Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of Gezira in Sudan. After graduation, he worked for the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning in Sudan.  He has completed a number of training courses in the area of socio-economic development in Sudan and USA and also completed a training program in Non-profit Management at York University in Toronto. Eltag is active in our community and has volunteered with a number of organizations as committee or board member, including the YMCA (Host Program), African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, Immigration Partnership (Working Group), Employment and Income Support Community Advisory Committee, Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region, Syrian Refugee Housing Working Group etc. In his spare time, Eltag enjoys reading books on politics, history and culture, travelling and hiking.

Eltag Elkhalifa (English, Arabic)

Eltag joined us in 2007 and helps newcomers settle in this area and integrate into the Canadian society by providing information, counseling to help them plan for their life in their new country.   A top priority for Eltag is addressing his clients' diverse needs and then identifying and removing barriers that slow their settlement and integration.

Eltag was born and lived in Sudan till he moved to Canada in the early 1990s following the military coup.

He graduated with Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of Gezira in Sudan. After graduation, he worked for the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning in Sudan.  He has completed a number of training courses in the area of socio-economic development in Sudan and USA and also completed a training program in Non-profit Management at York University in Toronto.

Eltag is active in our community and has volunteered with a number of organizations as committee or board member, including the YMCA (Host Program), African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region, Immigration Partnership (Working Group), Employment and Income Support Community Advisory Committee, Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region, Syrian Refugee Housing Working Group etc.

In his spare time, Eltag enjoys reading books on politics, history and culture, travelling and hiking.

Fariba Kazemi Parsa (English, Dari, Farsi) Fariba joined us in 2008 after working as an interpreter for several years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Azad University in Tehran where she lived until immigrating to Canada in 1997. Fariba is a member of the KW Persian Women's Club and enjoys sports and music in her spare time.

Fariba Kazemi Parsa (English, Dari, Farsi)

Fariba joined us in 2008 after working as an interpreter for several years.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Azad University in Tehran where she lived until immigrating to Canada in 1997.

Fariba is a member of the KW Persian Women's Club and enjoys sports and music in her spare time.

Jay Palani (English, Afrikaans) Jay joined us 2010, shortly after moving to Waterloo Region from South Africa.  She focuses on helping newcomers access the labour market and community supports by facilitating workshops on job search strategies and short and long-term goal setting.  She excels at matching our clients' skills and education with the needs of Canadian employers. A passionate believer in taking a holistic approach to work and life, Jay holds a Bachelor of Paedagogics degree, with a major in Psychology, from the University of South Africa as well as a post-graduate certification as a Career Development Practitioner from Conestoga College. A Certified Life Coach and trained Reiki practitioner, Jay enjoys long walks in nature, meditation, music, reading and gardening.  In 2014, Jay became a proud Canadian citizen.

Jay Palani (English, Afrikaans)

Jay joined us 2010, shortly after moving to Waterloo Region from South Africa.  She focuses on helping newcomers access the labour market and community supports by facilitating workshops on job search strategies and short and long-term goal setting.  She excels at matching our clients' skills and education with the needs of Canadian employers.

A passionate believer in taking a holistic approach to work and life, Jay holds a Bachelor of Paedagogics degree, with a major in Psychology, from the University of South Africa as well as a post-graduate certification as a Career Development Practitioner from Conestoga College.

A Certified Life Coach and trained Reiki practitioner, Jay enjoys long walks in nature, meditation, music, reading and gardening.  In 2014, Jay became a proud Canadian citizen.

Juan Castillo (English, Spanish) Juan joined us in 2016 and is passionate about helping new Canadians put down roots in our community. Originally from Mexico, Juan moved with has family from Guadalajara to Canada in 2001.  Juan attended Galt Collegiate in Cambridge and then completed his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and North American Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, graduating in 2015. Juan is an advocate for healthy living, eating right and exercising regularly.  He is an active member of the community in Cambridge, Juan has volunteered with the Grand River Film Festival, Rogers TV and is a member of the Cambridge Tennis Club and Cambridge Rowing Club.

Juan Castillo (English, Spanish)

Juan joined us in 2016 and is passionate about helping new Canadians put down roots in our community.

Originally from Mexico, Juan moved with has family from Guadalajara to Canada in 2001.  Juan attended Galt Collegiate in Cambridge and then completed his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and North American Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, graduating in 2015.

Juan is an advocate for healthy living, eating right and exercising regularly.  He is an active member of the community in Cambridge, Juan has volunteered with the Grand River Film Festival, Rogers TV and is a member of the Cambridge Tennis Club and Cambridge Rowing Club.

Kristin Fox (English) Kristin joined us in 2009 and has been enthusiastically reunifying families and helping new Canadians settle into our community ever since.  She is an expert at assisting Canadians navigate the complexities of refugee sponsorship and enjoys helping new Canadians pursue their goals. Kristin is from the Stratford area and made the trek down Highway 8 to attend Renison College at the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work. Outside of work, Kristin enjoys propagating houseplants, spending time with family & friends, being active, and relaxing with a cup of tea. She is a Volunteer Action Centre board member and promotes environmental initiatives and active transportation as a member of the City of Kitchener’s Cycling & Trails Advisory Committee.

Kristin Fox (English)

Kristin joined us in 2009 and has been enthusiastically reunifying families and helping new Canadians settle into our community ever since.  She is an expert at assisting Canadians navigate the complexities of refugee sponsorship and enjoys helping new Canadians pursue their goals.

Kristin is from the Stratford area and made the trek down Highway 8 to attend Renison College at the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work.

Outside of work, Kristin enjoys propagating houseplants, spending time with family & friends, being active, and relaxing with a cup of tea. She is a Volunteer Action Centre board member and promotes environmental initiatives and active transportation as a member of the City of Kitchener’s Cycling & Trails Advisory Committee.

Lily Lanczi (English, French) Lily joined us in 2016 and works on fundraising and donor relations. Originally from Montreal, Lily has lived in Kitchener since 2012. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Innis College with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Commerce and has also studied Gestalt psychotherapy.  She is a lifelong learner and continues to take courses in subjects as diverse as fundraising, sales, building community, biodynamic agriculture, and most recently, social media marketing. Lily enjoys communing with nature, walking and reading fiction and non-fiction.  She is also writing a children's book.  When she's not reading, she can usually be found in her vegetable and herb garden.

Lily Lanczi (English, French)

Lily joined us in 2016 and works on fundraising and donor relations.

Originally from Montreal, Lily has lived in Kitchener since 2012.

She graduated from the University of Toronto, Innis College with a Bachelor of Arts in French and Commerce and has also studied Gestalt psychotherapy.  She is a lifelong learner and continues to take courses in subjects as diverse as fundraising, sales, building community, biodynamic agriculture, and most recently, social media marketing.

Lily enjoys communing with nature, walking and reading fiction and non-fiction.  She is also writing a children's book.  When she's not reading, she can usually be found in her vegetable and herb garden.

Lucia Harrison (English, Dutch) Lucia has been our Chief Executive Officer since 2006 and has been part of our organization since 2000. Originally from the Netherlands, she immigrated to Canada as a child with her family and became a Canadian Citizen in 1967.  She studied business at Wilfrid Laurier University and Third World Studies at Conrad Grebel College.   A fierce advocate for building a community of inclusion for everyone, she is the Past Chair and a current member of the Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership and Waterloo Region Refugee Resettlement Steering Committee.  She has served on the boards of over 20 local and provincial organizations and agencies and currently sits on the board of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and Youth In Conflict With The Law. In her rare (but occasional) spare time she likes to travel, cook and spend time with her grandchildren.

Lucia Harrison (English, Dutch)

Lucia has been our Chief Executive Officer since 2006 and has been part of our organization since 2000.

Originally from the Netherlands, she immigrated to Canada as a child with her family and became a Canadian Citizen in 1967.  She studied business at Wilfrid Laurier University and Third World Studies at Conrad Grebel College.  

A fierce advocate for building a community of inclusion for everyone, she is the Past Chair and a current member of the Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership and Waterloo Region Refugee Resettlement Steering Committee.  She has served on the boards of over 20 local and provincial organizations and agencies and currently sits on the board of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and Youth In Conflict With The Law.

In her rare (but occasional) spare time she likes to travel, cook and spend time with her grandchildren.

Maria Juyo (English, Spanish) Maria joined us in 2013 and works with our interpreters and the businesses, governments and social service agencies that we serve as part of our Interpreter Department Social Purpose Enterprise. Maria moved to Canada from Colombia in 2004 and holds a degree in International Trade and Business Administration from the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia as well as a Business Administration Diploma from Everest College. When she's not keeping our Social Purpose Enterprise running smoothly, Maria enjoys nature walks in Waterloo Region, spending time with her family and doing wordsearch and jigsaw puzzles.

Maria Juyo (English, Spanish)

Maria joined us in 2013 and works with our interpreters and the businesses, governments and social service agencies that we serve as part of our Interpreter Department Social Purpose Enterprise.

Maria moved to Canada from Colombia in 2004 and holds a degree in International Trade and Business Administration from the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia as well as a Business Administration Diploma from Everest College.

When she's not keeping our Social Purpose Enterprise running smoothly, Maria enjoys nature walks in Waterloo Region, spending time with her family and doing wordsearch and jigsaw puzzles.

Marika Galadza (English, Ukrainian) Marika joined us in 2015 and helps low-income families meet their needs and goals around recreation, employment and education, counselling, children's needs and transportation.  She is passionate about connecting newcomers to the programs and resources of K-W so that no one who lives in this community of abundance struggles to meet their basic needs.  She is the proud granddaughter of resilient, Ukrainian refugees to the United States.  She was born in Chicago, moved to Canada with her family as a child and became a Canadian citizen in 1999.  She has also lived and worked in Ukraine, Japan and New Zealand.   She earned a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in Community Planning and Policy in Organizations and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics, Society and Law from the University of Toronto, where she also studied Communications and Graphic Design. When she's not making our community a better place to live by working here, she's making it a better place to live in her spare time through her leadership in collaborative arts initiatives like the folk art collective kosa kolektiv and folkcamp.ca.  She also enjoys cycling, reading, crafting and travelling.

Marika Galadza (English, Ukrainian)

Marika joined us in 2015 and helps low-income families meet their needs and goals around recreation, employment and education, counselling, children's needs and transportation.  She is passionate about connecting newcomers to the programs and resources of K-W so that no one who lives in this community of abundance struggles to meet their basic needs. 

She is the proud granddaughter of resilient, Ukrainian refugees to the United States.  She was born in Chicago, moved to Canada with her family as a child and became a Canadian citizen in 1999.  She has also lived and worked in Ukraine, Japan and New Zealand.   She earned a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in Community Planning and Policy in Organizations and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics, Society and Law from the University of Toronto, where she also studied Communications and Graphic Design.

When she's not making our community a better place to live by working here, she's making it a better place to live in her spare time through her leadership in collaborative arts initiatives like the folk art collective kosa kolektiv and folkcamp.ca.  She also enjoys cycling, reading, crafting and travelling.

Ohayla Al-Khatib (English, Arabic)

Ohayla joined us in 1996 and manages our Language and Interpreter Services division.

Originally from Lebanon, Ohalya lived in the United Arab Emirates and then Cleveland, Ohio where she lived for eleven years before moving to Canada.  She graduated from Cuyahoga Community College with a Degree in Business and Computer Science and became a proud Canadian citizen in 1998.

When she's not connecting businesses, government and social service agencies in K-W with the interpreters they need to help them serve their clients better, she can be found at home in Kitchener, relaxing with a good book.

Paulina Cisneros (English, Spanish) Paulina joined us in 2014.  Her enthusiasm for helping newcomers simplify their lives is contagious! Originally from Mexico, Paulina moved to Canada in 2001 with her family and became a proud Canadian citizen in 2009.  As a former newcomer herself, Paulina is very familiar with the challenges, opportunities and issues facing newcomers to Kitchener-Waterloo. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and a post-graduate Diploma in Human Resources from Conestoga College. When not helping out people here at the KWMC, she can be found absorbed in a graphic novel, listening to music, reading about politics, cycling or hanging out with her friends.

Paulina Cisneros (English, Spanish)

Paulina joined us in 2014.  Her enthusiasm for helping newcomers simplify their lives is contagious!

Originally from Mexico, Paulina moved to Canada in 2001 with her family and became a proud Canadian citizen in 2009.  As a former newcomer herself, Paulina is very familiar with the challenges, opportunities and issues facing newcomers to Kitchener-Waterloo.

She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and a post-graduate Diploma in Human Resources from Conestoga College.

When not helping out people here at the KWMC, she can be found absorbed in a graphic novel, listening to music, reading about politics, cycling or hanging out with her friends.

Wasan Issa (English, Arabic, Kurdish -Faily Dialect) Wasan joined us in 2004 and works to ensure that newcomers to Waterloo Region settle successfully. Originally from Iraq, Wasan graduated from al-Turath University College in Baghdad with a degree in English Literature and subsequently spent six years as a refugee in Syria before moving to Canada in 2000.  She became a proud Canadian citizen in 2004. She is also a graduate of the Teacher of English as a Second Language program of Conestoga College and is completing the requirements for the post-graduate program in the Applied Counselling program at Conestoga, as well. She is active in the community as the Chair of the local branch of the Iraqi-Canadian Society of Ontario, as well as the Chair of KW Arab-Canadian Theatre.

Wasan Issa (English, Arabic, Kurdish -Faily Dialect)

Wasan joined us in 2004 and works to ensure that newcomers to Waterloo Region settle successfully.

Originally from Iraq, Wasan graduated from al-Turath University College in Baghdad with a degree in English Literature and subsequently spent six years as a refugee in Syria before moving to Canada in 2000.  She became a proud Canadian citizen in 2004.

She is also a graduate of the Teacher of English as a Second Language program of Conestoga College and is completing the requirements for the post-graduate program in the Applied Counselling program at Conestoga, as well.

She is active in the community as the Chair of the local branch of the Iraqi-Canadian Society of Ontario, as well as the Chair of KW Arab-Canadian Theatre.

Yoke Kennedy (English, Cantonese, Mandarin) Yoke joined us in 2003 and works extensively in supporting individuals and families experiencing issues such as divorce or separation, child custody and support, family violence, and mental health.   Yoke works to empower and develop the personal autonomy and individual strengths of her clients, whether they are international students, work permit holders, cross-cultural couples, or permanent residents Yoke holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and English from McMaster University, a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Originally from Singapore, Yoke has made K-W her home since 1990, after residing in Cincinnati, Hamilton and Oakville. She has worked in the settlement and integration sector since 1992, at first as an ESL instructor.  When she's not busy here, she remains involved in our community as a Board member of KW Counselling Services, a member of the Chinese Canadian Women’s Federation, and is the founder of South East Asian Family Support Group. And in her "spare time"?  Gardening, reading, swimming and meditation.

Yoke Kennedy (English, Cantonese, Mandarin)

Yoke joined us in 2003 and works extensively in supporting individuals and families experiencing issues such as divorce or separation, child custody and support, family violence, and mental health.  

Yoke works to empower and develop the personal autonomy and individual strengths of her clients, whether they are international students, work permit holders, cross-cultural couples, or permanent residents

Yoke holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and English from McMaster University, a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Originally from Singapore, Yoke has made K-W her home since 1990, after residing in Cincinnati, Hamilton and Oakville. She has worked in the settlement and integration sector since 1992, at first as an ESL instructor. 

When she's not busy here, she remains involved in our community as a Board member of KW Counselling Services, a member of the Chinese Canadian Women’s Federation, and is the founder of South East Asian Family Support Group.

And in her "spare time"?  Gardening, reading, swimming and meditation.

Yumna Zaghlol (English, Arabic) Yumna joined us in 2015 and helps newcomers to K-W settle into our community and begin the process of becoming Canadians.  She is the child of Egyptian immigrants and moved from London, ON to Waterloo Region when she was a child.  Yumna has a BA (Hon) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo and is considering returning to school for her MSW.  When she isn't busy helping new Canadians, Yumna can be found cycling, singing or with a paint brush in her hand.

Yumna Zaghlol (English, Arabic)

Yumna joined us in 2015 and helps newcomers to K-W settle into our community and begin the process of becoming Canadians.  She is the child of Egyptian immigrants and moved from London, ON to Waterloo Region when she was a child. 

Yumna has a BA (Hon) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Waterloo and is considering returning to school for her MSW.  When she isn't busy helping new Canadians, Yumna can be found cycling, singing or with a paint brush in her hand.