Our Board of Directors

Strong guidance starts here.

With a diverse Board of Directors, TIES is guided by a talented group of members from the community.

M’Liss Edwards


M’Liss is one of the founding members of TIES and its very first secretary. She originally sat in on the Board of Director in this role until 2003 when she was re-elected as a Board Member and later became President in 2014. She holds a BA from the University of California, Master’s Degree from Whitworth University, and an ECE diploma and certificates in organizational development and board development. Her vision for TIES is that it may continue to serve newcomers and help alleviate the effects of dislocation and trauma through English, employment, and skills-based training, all while finding the peace and safety found in being a part of Canadian culture. Her husband is a long term volunteer with TIES, as are her four children who all continue to volunteer to this day.

John Li


John Li began volunteering at the TIES in 2013 as an invitational guest speaker for the Project Management Training program, and joined the Board of Directors in 2014. John holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Waterloo, as well his PMP designation from the Project Management Institute. He currently works as a manager at Shaw Communications, and is an avid volunteer in the field of continuing education. John is a regular industry speaker at several educational institutions, including SAIT, the University of Calgary, as well as TIES, on project management and information technology. John has grown up in Calgary ever since arriving as a child of immigrant parents, and believes in giving back to assist new-comers to Canada.

Philip Baker


Philip joined TIES in 2002 and became the Treasurer in 2007. A computer-design draftsperson, he graduated from the University of Calgary where he acquired a degree in Computer Science. He also attended SAIT where he gained knowledge of Engineering Graphics Technology.

Marilynne Smith


Marilynne’s passion for helping immigrants started 20 years ago when she began volunteering at an ESL school in Calgary.  Since that time, she has had the opportunity to teach English both in Canada and overseas and hopes to do more.  Marilynne’s career has included working for non-profit, oil and gas and the education sector.  Her areas of expertise have included Human Resources, performance reviews, payroll and benefits, recruitment and accounting.

Gita Boyd

Board Member

Gita Boyd has been a friend of TIES since its inception. Gita holds a BA in Sociology from Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and is a Registered Immigration Consultant. In Calgary, Gita has taught ESL classes and citizenship education classes, been involved in numerous non-profit organizations, and has contributed countless volunteer hours to make Canada a better place to live before setting up her immigration consulting office in January 1993.  With her busy immigration practice, she still volunteers her time and expertise to non-profit and immigrant serving organizations.  In 2002, Gita was awarded the Governor General Golden Jubilee medal, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Queen, for her outstanding community service.  Gita hopes to be of service to the Board in fulfilling its mandate.

Wilson Howe

Board Member

An immigrant himself, Wilson Howe became involved with TIES in 2011 to help plan for the Project Management Program and guest speaker for classes. The CEO and Co-founder of Symroc, Wilson is a highly skilled engineering and business management professional with a track record of success in developing and improving projects for industrial operations. Wilson has obtained significant industrial experience in Oil and Gas exploration, production, oilsands development, chemical/petrochemical and power industries. Wilson is a Professional Engineer registered with APEGA, a certified PMP and has received his MBA with the University of Alberta. Wilson is also an original founder and a board member of Alberta IOT association.

A. Ray Kristinson

Board Member

Mr. Kristinson has an extensive background of volunteering in and around Calgary. He has volunteered with TIES for over 25 years, been a past volunteer with the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede, and is a retired volunteer firefighter / EMT. Having served as an advisor to Mr. Salim Sindhu in the past, Mr. Kristinson has also been a V/P and board member with the Drumheller Stampede and AG Society. He currently lives in Morrin, AB and volunteers as an office official with the Drumheller Dragons hockey team of the AJHL.

Nalini Plesche

Board Member

A founding member of the society since 1988, Nalini Plesche started off as one of the first ESL teachers and was the first Volunteer Coordinator for TIES. Married with three children, she has worked for the Calgary Herald for 12 years in the Newsroom, worked for the Calgary Board of Education, and managed a church office and it's rental facility. Currently she runs her own business in the financial industry while simultaneously bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills to the Board of Directors as an immigrant herself.

Peter Plesche

Board Member

Peter has been involved with the Society since 1989 as a Board Member. In 1992 he was elected Vice-President and in 1994 was elected President. Presently he serves as a director and is actively involved in the affairs of the Society.

Rabail Qasir

Board Member

Rabail first joined TIES as a volunteer ESL teacher in 2014. A graduate of University of Lethbridge’s Bachelor of Management program, Rabail has worked in project management, training development, and analysis roles within the energy, finance, and engineering sectors.

Gerry Robitaille

Board Member

Joining Unified Valve Group as President in 2014, Gerry has brought over 20 years of team building, organizational leadership and operational management experience across a variety of industries. Throughout his career, Gerry has drawn on his exposure to both hands-on and executive roles within the process controls industry including oil and gas valves and instrumentation, and has lead a commercial instrumentation division for a public company, as well as strategic investments in various public infrastructure developments. He has been involved in several not-for-profit organizations, including United Way, local community associations and as a board member of the Edmonton Community Living Association and the Calgary Recreational Hockey Association. Gerry possesses a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Alberta.  He has two adult children and recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary.

Kuldip Thind

Board Member

Kuldip Thind has been involved with TIES since its inception. Over the years, Kuldip has served the organization in different capacities: originally a founding member in 1988, she then became the Office Manager at TIES from 1989 until 2002. Kuldip holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science from Punjabi University, India. Kuldip now works as an Insurance advisor with Great Way Financial Inc.

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