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Learn more about Languages Canada's 17th Annual Conference keynote speakers,
panelists, moderators and presenters.

Melanie Alter

Director of Junior Programs and Groups, Canada
ILSC Education Group

Melanie Alter is the Director of Junior Programs and Groups, Canada, and oversees the Junior Programs offered in ILSC’s Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver campuses as well as the Junior Camp programs at UBC and McGill. Melanie has a master’s degree in educational technology and has been working in the field of education for over 25 years as a teacher, curriculum and instructional designer, school director, and project manager, developing large scale online learning programs for various corporate industries. Melanie’s love of learning and passion for education fuel and motivate her to always look for new and innovative ways to not only engage and motivate learners but the teams she leads.

Mardy Arenas

Director of Operations
ILSC Education Group, Vancouver

Mardy Arenas is the Director of Operations at ILSC Vancouver. She has close to 20 years of experience in the ESL industry which began as a teacher in Canada, Japan, and the United States. Her teaching career eventually evolved into director roles at EC English in San Diego and Santa Monica, EF Education in Honolulu, Kaplan International in San Diego and Westwood, and presently at ILSC Education Group. Mardy has always been an active member of NAFSA and PIER, and now that she is back home in Canada, is an active member of Languages Canada.

Nadine Baladi

Senior Vice President, Canada
Oxford International Education Group

Nadine Baladi is Senior Vice President, Canada, Oxford International Education Group. Nadine is passionate about quality programming and puts the student experience at the core of everything she does. Nadine sits on the board of the National Association of Career Colleges in Canada, and on the board of Career Colleges Ontario, and has served on various ESL Accreditation Commissions in the USA, including CEA and ACCET. She has spent over 20 years in progressively senior roles in the international education space, from teaching to academic operations. Her main passions are pathways to higher education, pathways to careers, student outcomes, skills training, and international connections.

Francesca Boschetti

Associate Director
York University English Language Institute

Francesca Boschetti has worked in the field of higher education for 13 years, with a concentration on program management and development, people management, language teaching (English, Italian, Spanish), career development, and international student services. Francesca is currently Associate Director, English Language Institute at the York University School of Continuing Studies. Francesca holds a PhD in English, two master’s degrees, and a bachelor’s degree (Hons.) with a focus on English, Foreign Languages, and Multiculturalism. She is an Ontario Certified English Language Teacher (OCELT) and an Internationally Certified Teacher of English as an Additional Language (ICTEAL), and has been involved with TESL Ontario, TESL Canada, TESL NL, and TESOL International in different capacities. She is the recipient of two York University Globally Networked Learning Awards (2022-2023, 2021-2022) as well as a number of leadership awards and recognitions.

Lindsay Brooks

Academic Director, English Language Program
School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto

Lindsay is the Academic Director of the English Language Program at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. Prior to her current role, she had many (many!) years of teaching and coordinating in university-based Intensive English Programs and EAP Programs at several institutions, and taught in a TESOL training program for 14 years. She has extensive experience consulting in both curriculum design and in language assessment, working on projects for Cambridge ESOL and on several research projects funded by the Educational Testing Service. Additionally, she has conducted language proficiency standard-setting workshops for regulatory authorities. Her academic and research interests include teacher training, curriculum design, and language assessment.

Karen Burkett

Director, School of English
Queen's University

Karen Burkett has been working in the field of English language education since she taught English in Japan in the late 1990s. She has served as Director of the School of English at Queen’s University since 2019. Karen has been pursuing her PhD in Educational Leadership since 2021. She champions those who identify as learners at their core, those who embrace their vulnerability and have the courage to try new things, learn new things, and see things in a new way. Creating a community of belonging amongst diverse individuals is what sustains her and drives her work as a leader.

Helen Chaikovskaya

Academic Manager
The Language Gallery

Helen is a seasoned English educator with over 15 years of teaching experience, both within Canada and overseas. In her position as Academic Manager at The Language Gallery Canada, Helen oversees and enhances all academic processes within the institution, guiding students throughout their academic journey, and offering support from enrolment to graduation. Collaborating closely with faculty members, she makes sure to provide essential resources and strives to create an environment that supports efficient and effective learning experiences for all. Helen's language education expertise focuses on lesson planning, curriculum development, and classroom management. She also actively engages in the recruitment and training of new teachers. Join Helen for this exciting milestone - her first time presenting at the Languages Canada Conference!

Jon Chodarcewicz

Head of Operations (Canada)
EC English Language Centres

Jon Chodarcewicz has over 30 years of experience in the ESL industry, in both the public and private sectors. During his career, he has progressed from teaching and training positions into Director of Studies and Centre Director roles and is currently the Head of Operations (Canada) at EC English Language Centres. Jon has served on several committees delivered presentations at various conferences including Languages Canada.

Chia Suan Chong

Author, communication skills trainer and teacher trainer
National Geographic Learning

Chia Suan Chong is a writer, communication skills trainer and a teacher trainer. She is the author of Successful International Communication, where she presented her ADAPT model as a framework for dealing with intercultural conflict. Delivering both online and face-to-face training to teachers and learners around the globe, Chia specializes in interactive workshops that encourage reflection for more effective international communication and improved collaboration. Currently based in York, Chia was English Teaching Professional’s award-winning resident blogger between 2012 and 2019. She has contributed extensively to the British Council Learn English website and holds a DELTA and a Masters in Applied Linguistics and ELT. Chia is a co-author for VOICES, an integrated skills series by National Geographic Learning for adult learners of English.

Rose Clesham

Director of Assessment Research and Validity

Dr. Rose Clesham is the Director of Assessment Research and Validity, working in Global Assessment at Pearson. Her career started in teaching and teacher education, before moving on to governmental positions in the UK, running national assessment programmes. Her work centres on issues surrounding the content, standards, reliability, and validity of assessments, in order to meet the needs of evolving international educational landscapes and requirements. Her research interests include the emerging development of e-assessment and artificial intelligence in particular. Dr. Clesham holds a Master’s in Formative and Summative Assessment from Cambridge University and a Doctorate in Educational Assessment. She is a Fellow of the Association for Education Assessment – Europe and an Associate Professor at the University of London.

James Cowan

Director of School Sales

James Cowan has been working in the international education industry since 2008. He spent four years teaching English in South Korea, then founded a boutique language school in Vancouver which he ran for three years. James joined Edvisor at its foundation in 2014, focusing on bringing technological solutions to schools and agencies in the industry.

Scott Cross

Regional Manager of North America
Higher Education Marketing

As Regional Manager of North America for Higher Education Marketing, Scott is responsible for assessment, consulting, and coaching of schools in digital marketing and enrollment strategy. His experience in digital marketing and school administration allows him to provide strategic solutions for schools who want to turn their online presence into a marketing and student recruitment tool. Scott’s previous roles include teaching Digital Marketing at McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies, Communications and Marketing Manager with St. George’s School, and working with private and not-for-profit organizations in the US and Canada.

Cath D'Amico

Executive Director, Global Enrolment and Business Strategy
Trent University

Cath D'Amico has a career in language and higher education that spans over 25 years in the public and private sectors, and association governance. Through leadership and strategic developments, Cath has made significant contributions to postsecondary education and language education, including program development and global partnerships. With an established background in higher education, Cath has played a pivotal role in fostering a dynamic learning environment at Trent University. As president of Languages Canada, Cath has strongly advocated for Canada’s recognition as a top-quality language education destination contributing to the advancement of Canada’s reputation globally, and educational standards nationwide. Known for her commitment to excellence, Cath D'Amico is recognized as a driving force in the intersection of higher education and language learning.

Martha Delgadillo

Centre Director
EC Vancouver

Martha Delgadillo, currently serving as the Centre Director at EC Vancouver, brings over two decades of expertise to the ESL industry. With a dedicated tenure exceeding 15 years within the EC English Group, Martha has successfully navigated roles such as Centre Director at EC San Diego and Assistant Director of Operations for the West Coast in the United States. Martha holds a Bachelor's in Sociology from University of California San Diego and an MBA with a specialization in International Business from National University.

David Emery

Marketing Content Manager for EAP for Canada and the US
Cambridge University Press

David Emery taught English in the public and private sectors in several countries for 15 years before transitioning to academic management and product development in New York City. He then spent 10 years as a commissioning editor for Cambridge University Press, leading the development of the academic series Final Draft, Making Connections, Prism, Prism Reading, and Grammar and Beyond 2nd edition with Academic Writing. During that time, his primary focus was on ways to help teachers identify and improve the skills needed for non-native English speakers to succeed in North American higher education. Last year, he became Cambridge’s Marketing Content Manager for EAP for Canada and the United States. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Furman University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from New York University, and a CELTA certification from International House London. When he is not working, he enjoys running, reading, cooking, and riding carousels and rollercoasters with his wife and five-year-old daughter.

Jennifer Flasko

Senior Content Development Lead, Language Acquisition Portfolio

A consummate subject-matter expert, Jennifer holds a BA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Victoria, and an MA in Applied Linguistics specializing in testing from the University of Melbourne. Jennifer’s expertise stems from 10+ years of instructional and content development experience as an EAP and ESL instructor. Before joining Prometric, Jennifer served as an Academic English Instructor and Curriculum Developer in the Langara English for Academic Purposes (LEAP) program, where she prepared students for post-secondary study and analyzed and revised language placement and proficiency assessments. Currently, Jennifer leads content development for Prometric’s language assessment products.

Danielle Freitas

Associate Dean, English Language Institute
Fanshawe College

Danielle Freitas is the Associate Dean of the English Language Institute at Fanshawe College. She has worked at both private and public academic institutions for over 17 years and is part of the Languages Canada Quality Assurance Committee and Public Sector Interest Group. She is currently doing a Post-Doctoral Bridge to Management in Leadership and Organizational Strategy at Walden University, and holds a PhD in Languages and Literature Education and a Master’s in Second Language Education from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s in TESOL from the University College London.

John Friel

Director of Studies
EC Toronto

John Friel is a Master of Applied Linguistics graduate with 20 years of experience in the private ESL industry in both Turkey and Canada. During this time, he has taught ESL, Pathways, and was a TESOL Teacher-Trainer. Since 2010, John has been the Director of Studies at two or the largest private sector schools in Toronto. Starting in 2023, he is also the Head of the Teacher Training Department. John has served on the Private Sector Committee for TESL Ontario, and has delivered presentations at various conferences including TESL Ontario, Languages Canada, and the EUSA Professional Development Conference.

Christina Furtado

Mental Health and Wellness Specialist, Wellness and Learning Initiatives International Insurance

With a background in education and mental health care, Christina brings her clinical expertise to the guard.meCARES Wellness and Learning Initiatives Program. As an active member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals, Christina has dedicated 20 years to empowering individuals and fostering opportunities for positive transformation and growth. Through her work, Christina has developed a reputation for authenticity, integrity, inspiration, and passion.

Mtra. Dulce Liliana Chávez García

Academic Director
Universidad Tecnológica El Retoño

Mtra. Chávez is an Electronics Engineer with a Master’s Degree in Education, with 15 years of experience in the education and business sector, specifically in metal-mechanical and service areas. In 2020, she was named Academic Director of the Universidad Tecnológica el Retoño, where she has achieved the international accreditation of most of the university's academic programs, worked on the evolution of the International, Sustainable, Bilingual Education Model, and supported several projects alongside the industrial sectors of Aguascalientes.

Elisa Gazzola

Centre Director and Customer Service Lead for North America
EC Montreal

Elisa Gazzola is the Center Director and Customer Service Lead for North America, EC English. She began her journey with EC (formerly known as LSC) in 1998. She holds a BA in Business Management from Concordia University with a minor in Human Resource Management.

Rania Ghaly

Executive Director
Apex Language and Career College

A lifelong educator who is now operating a school, Rania is in her happy place anywhere near a classroom where students are achieving their milestones. She started her career as a teacher and has evolved to administrator and now Executive Director of Apex Language and Career College. Rania is also a big fan of professional development and the collaboration of ideas, supporting schools to become even better vehicles for our future students.

Melanie Goode

Academic Director
Atlantic Canada Language Academy

Melanie Goode has been an English language educator for 10 years, working in 4 different countries. She is currently teaching students and training teachers in her role as Academic Director at Atlantic Canada Language Academy. Her prior work experience included Brock University, Education First, and Operation Mobilization. In recent years she has begun speaking about student engagement and teacher training at conferences in Canada. Melanie's passion for English language learners has inspired public school teachers, administration, and adult English educators across Canada.

Simone Hengen

PhD Candidate
University of Regina

Simone Hengen is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina, where she has been an English for Academic Purposes educator in the English as a Second Language Program since 2003. Guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, she works to decolonize English language teaching. Her research into ESL students’ experiences with Indigenous peoples has been disseminated through conference presentations and published in a co-authored chapter.

Michael Holaday

Vice President, Revenue, Language Proficiency and Prior Learning Assessments

Michael Holaday has spent his career in education with over 20 years of experience working in 40+ countries on five continents in areas of international student recruitment, graduate management education, business development, and educational technology. He had the privilege to work in international student recruitment at UBC for over nine years. After pursuing an MBA at the UBC Sauder School of Business, Michael became the Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at the Sauder School while launching recruitment for the Master of Business Analytics and Professional MBA programs. He is currently Vice President of Revenue for Prometric’s Language Proficiency and Prior Learning Assessments, where he works to continue the growth of the English language and prior learning assessment portfolio, including the CAEL, CELPIP, and DSST products.

Julian Inglis

Associate Director, ESL
Brock University

Julian Inglis is currently the Associate Director, ESL at Brock University. Julian has worked as an international language educator for over 20 years, as a teacher, teacher trainer, and manager. He has been active for many years on a number of Languages Canada committees and initiatives, and is a former Board member, and former co-chair of both the Quality Assurance Committee and the Public Sector Interest Group.

Ishmael Johnson

Centre Director
Bayswater Calgary

Ishmael Johnson, a seasoned professional with a rich background in international education, boasts a decade of experience, including three years as a full-time ESL teacher. As the Center Director at Bayswater Calgary since 2018, he excels in managing operations, ensuring compliance, and spearheading project management initiatives. Ishmael's proficiency extends to stakeholder relations, budget management, and staff leadership, fostering continuous development aligned with organizational goals. His earlier role as Director of Studies at Stafford House, Boston, showcased his prowess in academic program delivery, curriculum development, and HR leadership.

Maria (Masha) Kostromitina

Assessment Specialist
Duolingo English Test

An assessment specialist at the Duolingo English Test, Masha received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University. One of Masha’s primary research areas is fairness in high stakes English proficiency tests. She has also done research in language learners’ development of pragmatic skills. Masha’s studies have been published in top-tier journals including Studies of Second Language Acquisition and Language Testing.

Anne-Marie Leclerc

Education Trade Commissioner
Global Affairs Canada, Pacific Regional Office, Vancouver

Anne-Marie Leclerc is the Trade Commissioner responsible for the international education sector at Global Affairs Canada’s Pacific Regional Office in Vancouver, where she supports BC education institutions in their international business development and partnership activities.

Julie Lee

University Access Program (UAP) and Communications Instructor
University Canada West

Julie Lee holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Master’s in Education (TESOL) from Exeter University in England. Julie was a journalist in Toronto before deciding to move to Vancouver where she discovered her love of teaching. She has been an instructor since 2007, and has been a University Access Program (UAP) and Communications Instructor at University Canada West since 2018. Her teaching philosophy is to ensure that her lessons are always focused on the specific needs of her students; with that in mind, her current focus is on showing students how to utilize AI as a tool in the academic writing process to assist with writing content rather than generating plagiarized content.

Alexander Leon

Education Trade Commissioner
Embassy of Canada to Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua

Alexander Leon has been a Trade Commissioner for the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica since 2008. He conducts business development activities in the sectors of education, agriculture and agri-food products, and information and communication technologies, among others. His previously worked for international companies in positions related to business intelligence, marketing and sales, customer service, exports, operations management and human resources. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama, United States, and an MBA in marketing from Universidad Fundepos Alma Mater, Costa Rica. Since 2009, he is also a marketing professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Jennifer Walsh Marr

Academic English Lecturer
University of Toronto OISE and UBC Vantage College

Jennifer Walsh Marr is an Academic English Lecturer at UBC Vantage College where she has won awards for teaching, innovative pedagogy, and learning design. She holds a BA in Applied Linguistics and Japanese Studies, an MA in Curriculum & Instruction, and is a doctoral candidate in Language & Literacy Education at OISE with a specialization in Comparative, International, and Development Education. She has several academic and pedagogic publications and draws on critical pedagogy, genre theory, and applied linguistics to help make implicit language patterns more explicit and accessible to both instructors and students.

Randall Martin

Executive Director
British Columbia Council for International Education

Since 2006, Randall Martin has led BCCIE in advancing the Province of British Columbia’s agenda on international education. His experience spans more than 30 years in post-secondary education, development education, project management and implementation, and international education, having worked on projects in institutions, associations, and societies across BC. He regularly engages in external reviews and consultations for institutions and other jurisdictions. Randall is the author or co-author of numerous papers and is a sought-after speaker and regular presenter at national and international conferences and symposia.

Cyndi McLeod

CEO Canada
Global University Systems

Cyndi McLeod is an award-winning executive with 30 years of leadership experience in international education. Her expertise lies in building strategic partnerships with businesses and organizations. Cyndi’s specialization is in the internationalization of education, and she has led numerous joint ventures between education entities in Canada, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Under Cyndi’s leadership as CEO, GUS Canada has grown to include six institutions and two public-private partnerships across Canada. She also co-founded Glow Ed, a non-profit organization aimed at empowering and engaging women at all levels of international education through mentorship programs.

Steven McWilliams

Educational Developer and Student Advisor
Queen's University School of English

Steven McWilliams is currently studying for an MSc (TESOL) and has been teaching English since attaining his CELTA in 2007. From his early career teaching in private European language institutes to his current position as Educational Developer and Student Advisor with Queen’s School of English, Steven has always fostered a love for the English language. His experience teaching students from all over the world has broadened his worldview and connected him with many different cultures.

Dr. Fatma Ismail Mohamed

Assistant Professor and Academic Manager, English Language Centre
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Fatma Ismail Mohamed is an Assistant Professor and Academic Manager at the English Language Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. She holds a Doctorate of Education, and a Master’s of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Exeter, UK. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in English Applied Linguistics, and a Bachelor’s in English Language Education. Dr. Mohamed has taught in the areas of language education, linguistics, TESOL, English for academic purposes, assessment, writing, and communication. Her research studies focus on teacher assessment literacy, assessment, feedback on writing, teacher professional development, teacher job satisfaction, teaching and learning modalities, methodology, curriculum design, SoTL, and quality assurance in post-secondary education. She has worked in different international universities in Egypt, Kuwait, Dubai, South America, and Canada.

Alyson Murray

Senior Strategic Engagement Manager, Canada
Duolingo English Test

Alyson is the Senior Strategic Engagement Manager, Canada with the Duolingo English Test. Prior to joining the DET team in 2023, Alyson spent more than a decade in international recruitment and admissions leadership roles at Dalhousie University. Her role at Duolingo is focused on engaging and supporting Canadian post-secondary institutions in their exploration, adoption, and ongoing use of the DET.

Melissa Nisbet

Associate Director of Operations and Strategic Engagement
Canadian College of Technology and Business

Melissa Nisbet is the Associate Director of Operations and Strategic Engagement at the Canadian College of Technology and Business. Melissa moved to the CCTB team in Student Services, from her Administrative Coordinator role at Global University Systems Canada. She brings over 25 years of experience in international education including housing, student services, marketing, communications, and strategic engagement. Melissa believes that building strong support systems for students, employees, partners and local communities leads to open and productive conversations and solid partnerships.

Ali Noori

ILSC Education Group and Fanshawe College

Ali Noori is the Director of ILSC Toronto and manages ILSC's University Pathway and Higher Education Program at the national level. Ali holds a Master's in English Literature and a Master's in 2nd Language Education from OISE, University of Toronto. He has over thirty years of English language industry experience in different capacities, both in Canada and internationally.

Ariane Noronha

CEO and Founder
Soul Bilingue

As CEO and founder of Soul Bilíngue, Ariane Noronha has spearheaded a transformative social initiative that empowers underprivileged Brazilian youth through vital English language education and opens doors to international exchange opportunities. Her efforts have earned the organization prestigious recognition as Brazil's Best Small NGO in 2023 by the Best NGOs Award. Soul Bilíngue has reached approximately 3,000 students across 20 states since its inception in 2018. Ariane's own journey as a former exchange student in the United States in 2014 profoundly influenced her approach and understanding of cultural exchange. A graduate in journalism, Ariane has recently expanded her vision with the launch of Soul Intercâmbio – a travel agency focused on broadening perspectives through international experiences. Profits from Soul Intercâmbio are reinvested back into Soul Bilíngue, sustaining and furthering the NGO's critical mission.

Okokon Odiongenyi

Partnerships Director, IELTS
IDP Canada

Okokon supports relationship management with IELTS Recognising Organizations in Canada, and leads efforts to win acceptance of the new IELTS service - the One Skill Retake, which launched in the country in December 2023. From 2015 to 2021, Okokon served as the Education Trade Commissioner at the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria, advising Canadian schools on student recruitment and institutional partnership strategies. He also previously worked for an Edtech provider, overseeing their portfolio of K-12 clients.

Lic. Natalia Covarrubias Olivares

International Affairs Coordinator
Universidad Tecnológica El Retoño

Natalia earned a degree in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City in 2016. During her academic life, she participated in different forums such as "Foro de Visión y Solución Global" and "Las Patronas" in Amatlan de los Reyes, Veracruz. In 2016, she started working in public policy with Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración. In 2018, Natalia started working for Universidad Tecnológica El Retoño as Assistant to the President, and in 2020 was named Head of the International Affairs Department, where she has developed several projects focused on student mobility, international engagement, and internationalization at home.

Spiros Papageorgiou

Principal Measurement Scientist, Research Division
Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Spiros Papageorgiou is a Principal Measurement Scientist in the Research Division at Educational Testing Service (ETS). Spiros received his doctoral degree in linguistics specializing in language testing from Lancaster University, UK. At ETS, Spiros conducts research on the assessment of English as a foreign language and is involved in the coordination of the TOEFL internal research program, as well as the external research program supported by the TOEFL Committee of Examiners (COE). His recent projects include the mapping of the TOEFL iBT test scores to the China Standards of English Language Ability (CSE). Spiros was the recipient of the Robert Lado Memorial Award by the International Language Testing Association (ILTA), and the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award by ETS. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for TIRF, the International Research Foundation for English Language Education.

Yiannis Papargyris

Assessment Development Director

Yiannis Papargyris is an education management professional with over 20 years’ experience in the fields of English-medium higher education, qualification development and language assessment. At LanguageCert, he holds the position of Assessment Development Director. He is responsible for the development of the LanguageCert exams portfolio and for LanguageCert's Research and Validation Programme.

Chris Paredes

Business Development Manager

Chris has been with ICEF since 2019. In his role as Business Development Manager, he supports Western Canadian institutions as well as institutions offering French programs across Canada. Chris came to ICEF from the private K-12 sector where he served as the International Recruitment Manager for many years. His work was extensive throughout Brazil, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Russian speaking countries. His first-hand experience in recruitment and working with agents in these regions allows him to best support institutions who are looking to increase their international student enrolments through advising on recruitment strategies and the development of new agent relationships.

Dr. Julie Peters

Vice President Research
Academic Group

Dr. Julie Peters, Academica’s VP Research, is passionate about research design and enjoys working closely with postsecondary institutions and organizations to develop and carry out research that will best support their needs. She has been invited to present research findings at institutions and conferences across the country, and has led research on a broad range of topics in PSE including language education, lifelong learning, and micro-credentials. Julie holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Western University.

Hannah Pyo

Associate Director, EAP/ESL
Toronto School of Management/The Language Gallery Canada

Hannah has over 15 years of experience within the language learning sector, both in Canada and internationally. In her role as Associate Director for EAP/ESL programs at Toronto School of Management, Fleming College Toronto, and The Language Gallery Canada, she leads all aspects of the academic departments. She is a member of TESL Ontario’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and is an advocate for creating equitable spaces within the language learning community. She specializes in areas of curriculum design and program planning and development as well as teacher management and training.

Xavier Rodriguez

Senior Trade Commissioner and Public Affairs Officer
Embassy of Canada, Iceland

For the last six years, Xavier Rodriguez has been a key member of the Embassy of Canada in Iceland's team as Senior Trade Commissioner and Public Affairs Officer as well as providing backup to other positions, including Emergency Management Coordinator and Consular Officer. A dual national Icelandic-Spanish citizen, with a background as an environmental lawyer from Barcelona, Xavier moved to Iceland in 2005 to undertake a Masters Degree in Environmental and International Law and in 2009 finished his Education Masters Degree at the University of Iceland. With more than 20 years of experience in Corporate and Environmental cases dealing with clients from different countries, he has broad experience dealing with international contracts and services while also sitting as a Member of the Board of the Icelandic-Spanish Chamber of Commerce between 2017 - 2021.

Philip Rylah

Regional Examinations Director, Americas
British Council

Philip is the Regional Examinations Director, Americas for the British Council. Based in Bogota, Colombia, he oversees the British Council’s assessment delivery and partner support across the region. Philip has had a long career with the British Council, having previously been Regional Examinations Director in the Middle East and then Europe, and was also previously Global Deputy Director IELTS, during which time he directly oversaw the IELTS programme in Canada.

Monèle Schrot

Director of French Language Programs

Monèle Schrot is ICEF’s Director of French Language Programs, supporting Canadian institutions offering French programs with their overall international student recruitment strategies. She has extensive experience in all aspects of education through her teaching career, her role as a principal, and as the Director of the International Education Program at Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, where she was responsible for the strategy and management of the K-12 International Education Program and the Higher Institute of Vocational Education for 10 years. Ms. Schrot holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master’s of Education Administration from the University of Manitoba.

Ayse Sezgin

ICCRC Member and International Student Services Manager
Bayswater Calgary

Ayse Sezgin, a dedicated International Student Services Manager and recognized ICCRC member, brings over 15 years of teaching experience to her role at Bayswater, Calgary. With a commitment to excellence, Ayse manages operational systems, ensures compliance, and provides high-quality immigration advisory services. Holding a Cambridge University CELTA Certificate and a Bachelor of Education in English Language Teaching, she is well-equipped to lead student services, admissions, and welfare initiatives. Ayse's expertise extends to ESL instruction, sales management, and immigration advice, making her a valuable asset in navigating the complexities of international education.

Sunand Sharma

Associate Dean, Student Services
Sheridan College

Sunand Sharma has been a proud member of Sheridan College since 2005 and is currently the Associate Dean - Community Citizenship and Student Leadership & Engagement in Student Affairs. He holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University and is passionate about improving the lives of students on an individual and policy level. Sunand has led Sheridan's Off-Campus Housing Strategy, resulting in the establishment of the college’s Off Campus Housing department. His work has successfully cultivated partnerships which generate safe and affordable housing options, personalized support, and evidence-based practices to understand and address the diverse housing needs of the students at Sheridan College.

Steven Sinclair

Leader, Public Investment and Advocacy, Planning & Development
City of Calgary

Steven is an experienced solutions architect and strategy execution specialist. He has been trusted by senior executives in public, private, and non-profit organizations to help resolve their most pressing challenges. Steven deconstructs complexity with data and insight and by integrating ideas and diverse perspectives to create new opportunities. In his current role at the City of Calgary, Steven is seeking to elevate and enable a vibrant post-secondary school presence in the heart of Downtown Calgary.

Nathan Speedie

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Nathan has worked in student housing for the past 15 years. He has helped educators and administrators at dozens of school districts, language schools, colleges, and universities across Canada to develop housing plans and build out housing inventory of all kinds. At the heart of his work is the belief that international education makes the world a smaller, better-connected place... that knowledge comes from the classroom while wisdom comes from experiential learning, and that all of this begins where the student lives.

Carole St. Laurent

Associate Vice President, International
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

For more than 30 years, Carole has worked in the field of education for Higher Education institutions in both Alberta and British Columbia, as well as the Ministries of Education and Advanced Education for the Government of Alberta. In her current role as Associate Vice President, International, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Carole is responsible for providing leadership, oversight and strategic vision to KPU International - a team made up of 60+ staff who are dedicated to the recruitment, admissions and success of international students and providing opportunities for faculty and students exchanges, business development and academic collaboration. She has recently served as Chair and Vice-Chair for BC Heads of International. Carole holds a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education, and a Masters of Business Administration with a specialization in Public Management. She also holds a Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) designation.

Oussamah Tamim

Deputy Director, EduCanada Brand and Mission Support, International Education Division
Global Affairs Canada

Mr. Tamim joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 2000. In Ottawa, he has held positions as Departmental Spokesperson in the Media Relations Office, Economic Policy Officer for APEC and Senior Trade Policy Officer for Asian countries. His postings abroad include the Embassy of Canada in Warsaw, the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, and the Consulate General of Canada in Chongqing, China. Mr. Tamim became Deputy Director of the International Education Division in 2022, leading a team of Regional Education Trade Commissioners, and overseeing the EduCanada brand in collaboration with provincial and territorial partner governments. Prior to joining Global Affairs, Mr. Tamim worked in a general practice law firm in Ottawa. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science and professional degrees in Common Law (LL.B.) and Civil Law (LL.L.).

Sarah Verkinova

Senior Research Manager

Sarah Verkinova is a Senior Research Manager at BONARD, a market intelligence and strategic advisory firm. Since joining the company in 2019, Sarah has embraced the role of an international education mobility specialist, delivering insight-based consultancy projects across various international education sectors. She actively monitors global source market performance in over 90 countries, identifies growth opportunities, and develops market entry strategies to support individual education providers. In response to emerging ELT trends, Sarah investigates approaches to blend traditional teaching models with EdTech delivery benefits, aiming to design a compelling and accessible course offering that caters to the evolving needs of students seeking outcome-driven education. Sarah is responsible for supporting Languages Canada’s annual and quarterly data collection.

Charles Voth

Associate Dean
Niagara College School of English Language Studies

Charles has been a certified language educator for 30+ years, but he has been teaching languages for around 45 years because as a child of expats in Colombia, he taught English to his school friends. During the first 10 years of his language teaching career, he taught Spanish and English as additional languages at UBC and Brock University. After a 3-year departure from teaching to be a full-time stay-at-home dad, he began teaching ESL and TESL at Niagara College, where he just completed 20 years of service as faculty. He is currently the Associate Dean for the School of English Language Studies at Niagara College and is passionate about change management within the context of the "world of language learning".

Matilda C. Vincent

Director of Studies and CELTA Trainer
Bayswater Calgary

Matilda C. Vincent, an accomplished language educator, holding a Cambridge DELTA qualification and a PGCE in Secondary Modern Foreign Languages from the University of Oxford. As a seasoned CELTA Teacher Trainer since 2019, Matilda specializes in IELTS, Young Learners, and Business English. Currently serving as the Director of Studies at Bayswater Calgary, she brings a wealth of experience from roles such as Assistant Director of Programs and Teacher of English at Global Village Calgary. With a passion for teacher development, Matilda's journey spans across continents, leaving an indelible mark on ESL education.

Livia Wolffenbuttel

Academic Manager
ILSC Education Group, Vancouver

Livia, the Academic Manager at ILSC Vancouver, has over 18 years of expertise in ESL teaching and program management. Her career began in Brazil, where she specialized in creating personalized language training programs for professionals in law, medicine, and business. Her passion for facilitating global English communication has led Livia to dedicate the last two years of her career in Canada to team leadership, organization, and cross-cultural communication.

Dahlia Younan

Senior Account Manager
British Council IELTS

After an extensive career in higher education, Dahlia joined the British Council supporting the IELTS portfolio and Recognition. Dahlia went from international recruitment to focussing on the Canadian market and supporting colleagues throughout Canada with IELTS. In her role with the British Council, Dahlia has the joy to support test takers looking to make Canada their home or their study destination. She is a proud Torontonian, born and raised, and an avid tea drinker - Earl Grey being her favourite.

Thank you to our 17th Annual Conference supporters!





We would like to acknowledge that this meeting will take place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We express our gratitude to the traditional caretakers of these lands and waters and respect the graciousness of their welcome. We acknowledge that we are here as uninvited guests on their territories.