President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Sally Zhao obtained her Ph.D. in ESL (English as a Second Language) Testing and Assessment and an MA in Language and Communication from Cardiff University, UK, an M.Ed. in Teaching English for Specific Purposes from University of Exeter, U.K., and a BA in English Language and Literature from Lanzhou University, China. Sally has experience in teaching ESL, English Language and Communication, LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada), and ELT (Enhanced Language Training) courses. Sally started her career at TIES in 2005. Since then, she has been in different roles within the organization as ESL volunteer tutor, LINC instructor, ELT instructor, LINC Manager and Executive Director Designate. On November 1, 2014, Sally became the Executive Director of TIES, a title that recently changed to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Chief Financial Officer
Wei has worked with TIES since 2015, including previous roles as Finance Manager, and Manager of Finance & Operations. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in China. In 2002, he came to Canada as an international student and obtained his Master of Arts in Economics at the University of Ottawa in 2004. Before joining the Society, Wei had worked in financial reporting, auditing and tax for over 10 years. He also holds Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified General Accountant designations. As a first-generation immigrant, he received a great amount of community and government assistance after his family became immigrants, and as such, Wei’s goal is to give back to the community and the country that first helped him succeed. He is grateful and pleased to work for TIES, an organization that serves communities and helps newcomers.
Chief Program Officer
Born in Nepal, Suman Khanal obtained his Masters in International Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire. He also received his Masters in Business Administration from Lincoln University, California and is working on his Doctorate. He also earned his post-graduate diploma in Community Based Development from St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Suman served as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Federation of Community Credit Unions in Nepal for nearly 7 years before he moved to North America. In the United States, he served as Financial Literacy Program Director for America’s Credit Union Museum and for nearly 5 years he served other non-profit organizations as they helped immigrants in their settlement and integration. Suman has travelled to over 20 countries and provided short term consultancies in the area of Community Economic Development and Assets Building for poor and disadvantaged people, especially in Senegal, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, and others. Since 2003 he has been a Certified Development Educator with the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions. After finishing his assignment with McBride Career Group as an instructor for career planning/job search and job maintenance, Suman joined TIES in September 2013 as a Program Coordinator for Financial Literacy and the Welcome Resources Information Program, and served in this position until he became the Manager for Settlement Services and Facility Operations. In 2017 he expanded his work portfolio to include a new title, Management of Settlement Services and Employment Training, and assumed the role of Director in 2018. His mission is to help immigrants and low income citizens enjoy a meaningful life in their community.
VP, Communications & Community Engagement
Robert Toth is an is an experienced branding and marketing professional with over 20 years of work in the communications field with companies in agricultural, insurance, homebuilding, and not-for-profit. He is also a first-generation Canadian with cultural roots in Hungary. Robert’s immigrant story of leaving the former Yugoslavia with his family and only two suitcases, drives his passion to elevate the work that The Immigrant Education Society does in the community helping newcomers establish roots and find a purpose in Canada. Robert has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary and an Advertising and PR Diploma from MacEwan University. Robert is also focused to giving back to the broader community of Calgary through his volunteer work as the Chair of the Board for Antyx Community Arts and as the Vice-Chair for the Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network (CFAN).
Senior Manager, LINC Program
Jana Ciobanu has over ten years' experience at TIES, during which time she has filled a diverse number of roles, including volunteer, English language instructor, and PBLA Lead. Jana has taught all CLB levels and demonstrates a clear understanding of the CLB framework and its application in classroom planning. In 2015 she completed the PBLA Foundation Course and became a Lead Teacher. As a PBLA lead, Jana has provided PBLA training to our instructors and helped implement PBLA at TIES. With her ESL/LINC teaching background, Jana has had the opportunity to instruct a wide variety of students from various backgrounds. She has taught ESL with English Programs for Internationals in the USA and Translation and Interpretation at the Free International University of Moldova. She has also worked in program management with international organizations. Aside from her rich work experience, Jana also has a solid educational background. She graduated from the Educational Department at the University of Calgary and acquired a Master’s Degree in TESL. Jana also studied Adult Education at the University of South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts in English and French at Alecu Russo University in Moldova. Jana always looks forward to working with our clients and hopes to help them call Canada home.
Manager, Human Resources
Eva Su was born in Taiwan. She obtained her degrees from San Francisco State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Master of Arts in English (TESOL). Eva also taught in a pre-academic program in San Francisco State University for one year and a junior college in Taiwan for four years before moving to Canada in 2004. Eva joined The Immigrant Education Society (TIES) in January 2005 as a teacher for the ELT Program and later became the manager of the Drop-In ESL and Volunteer Programs from August 2005 to March 2011. Currently, Eva holds the position of Manager of Human Resources and Office Operations.
Manager, Facility & Operations
Cliff was born in Calgary, where he graduated from SAIT with a diploma in Computer Technology. His career has required him to travel the globe extensively, setting up joint ventures and constructing manufacturing plants, and with over 25 years of progressive facilities and project management experience he brings a number of unique skills to enhance security, building services and maintenance for the Society's physical assets. Cliff joined TIES in December of 2016, and currently holds the position of Facility and Operations Manager.
Wei came to Canada in 2005, and received her Bachelor of Accounting degree (with distinction) from the University of New Brunswick. She has held CPA, CGA designation since September 2011. With over 13 years of accounting experience, Wei ensures the accuracy, reliability and integrity of TIES’s financial information through maintenance of effective controls and timely collecting, processing, analyzing and reporting of operational and financial data. In September 2021, she joined TIES as the Financial Controller.
Manager, LINC Program
With over 8 years of experience at TIES, Kerry Howard has held numerous roles prior to taking on the role of LINC Program Manager including LINC Program Instructor, PBLA Lead, and LINC Program Supervisor. Through these roles, Kerry has developed a detailed understanding of all CLB levels through the courses he has taught as well as the instructors that he has coached as a PBLA Lead and supervised as a LINC Program Supervisor. Kerry has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and English Literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland as well as a Master of Arts (TESL) from the University of Birmingham. Kerry is committed to assisting TIES’ clients in their path to settlement in any way that he can.
Manager, Drop-in ESL & Volunteer Programs
Irina has been with TIES since 2013, and has fulfilled different roles in the LINC and Drop-In ESL programs including: LINC Program Supervisor, LINC Program Instructor, LINC Program Coordinator, Volunteer Program Coordinator, Calgary Learns Programs Coordinator and Drop-in ESL Program Coordinator. Besides supervisory experience, Irina has vast experience teaching English at the primary, secondary, and university levels and has successfully completed SIT TESOL and CCLB PBLA certificate courses. Irina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and French Linguistics, a Master’s Degree in English Linguistics/International Studies from Moldova State University and acquired an A.E.C. certificate (Program Scholar) at the Centre for Continuing Education at Vanier College in Montreal. Currently, Irina holds the position of Manager, Drop-in ESL and Volunteer Programs and is delighted to provide support to clients and volunteers at TIES.
Manager, Computer & Accounting Programs
After earning his Bachelor Degree in Sciences in Senegal, Racine pursued and graduated from the Specialized in System and Software program at EPITA-France (School of Computer Sciences and Advanced Technologies). Racine started teaching computer software and applications to youth and adults, as well as in corporate settings, in Paris, before moving to Canada in 1995. Driven by his passion for IT and a profound desire to help others, Racine has more than 10 years of experience as a computer and network instructor in several educational institutions in Canada, such as I.S.I. (Institute Superior Informatique), Institute Demers, Delta College and CDI College in Montreal. Before joining the Society in February 2013 as Computer Programs Coordinator, he worked as IT System Analyst at BELL and at Guest-Tek, and IT Support Analyst at HP . He has been Manager of Computer and Accounting Programs at TIES since March 2014.
Manager, E-Learning & Special Projects
Whitney has worked with TIES since 2016, including her previous role as Supervisor, e-LINC & Special Projects. She holds a B.A.(Hons.) in English and History from the University of Manitoba, a Diploma in New Media Production and Design from SAIT, and is currently enrolled in a Certificate in Adult Learning specializing in e-Learning at the University of Calgary. Whitney has worked across a diverse number of organizations in Winnipeg and Calgary, and possesses extensive experience in social marketing and research. She has had a lifelong desire for travel and for learning from other cultures, and is passionate in her drive to help newcomers make a successful start in Canada.
Manager, Settlement & Mental Health Programming
Ronni Abraham was born in Calgary and raised across the Canadian prairies. She comes from Metis and Mennonite heritage. She holds a Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Manitoba. She began her career as a university professor with a research focus that included the development of empathy and social determinants of wellbeing for children, women, and families. She shifted her focus to community-based work to create innovative programs that celebrate the power of the ordinary—family, play, community—to help people create joyful lives and hopeful futures. She served in leadership positions in several Calgary agencies and is delighted to be supporting TIES' mental health and wellness projects in her current role.
Manager, Employment & Career Development Programs
Mayssoun was born and partially raised in Syria, and moved to Canada as a teenager. She joined TIES as a volunteer for Empowering Syrian Refugees (ESR) program in 2016 before she was hired as a program coordinator for the Economic and Social Integration of Syrian Refugees and Other Youth (EASSY) and later Empowering Youth through Employment (EYE program. She took on different additional projects in the Employment and Settlement Department and then became Employment and Settlement Supervisor in 2019. Mayssoun volunteers for various organizations and charities in Calgary. Mayssoun has a Business Administration Diploma from Lambton College in Ontario. Mayssoun is passionate about empowering newcomers and helping them integrate smoothly into their new home, hence her work at TIES is a channel to put that passion into action.
Manager, Research & Program Development
Katerina was born in the Czech Republic and came to Vancouver in 2011. In 2017, she moved to Calgary and joined TIES as a Drop-In ESL volunteer. Since then, she held multiple roles, including Supervisor, Research & Program Development. She holds an M.A. in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from UN-mandated University for Peace. Katerina has previously worked for governmental bodies in the international relations field and in the corporate sector as an employee engagement consultant. She is passionate about helping newcomers settle and succeed in their new home country.
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The Immigrant Education Society (TIES) is located on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nation. The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.