Say “Hello” to the ARAISA team. Do not hesitate to email or call us, we’d love to chat!
Board of DIRECTORS
Meet the 2018-2020 Board of Directors
ARAISA counts on a committed Board of Directors. Elected every two years by ARAISA members, our Board is composed of full member agency representatives who are experts in settlement and integration in the Atlantic region.
Megan Morris has worked in the immigrant settlement sector for over fifteen years and is currently the Executive Director of the Association for New Canadians (ANC), a community-based, non-profit settlement agency in Newfoundland and Labrador. Megan worked with various federal government departments, and served as a political aide to a former Cabinet Minister. With a long interest in immigrant and refugee issues, she has served on various Boards, Committees and Working Groups including, for example, the Coordinating Committee on Newcomer Integration, ARAISA, the Atlantic Metropolis, the Performance Measurement Advisory Group and the Professional Development & Sector Coordination Working Group.
Jennifer Watts is CEO of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), the largest immigrant serving agency in Atlantic Canada. ISANS provides a wide range of programs and services including resettlement, language, employment, business development, employer engagement, community integration and online programs both pre and post arrival. Trained as an Urban and Rural Planner, Jennifer has a background in community development, urban and rural planning and municipal issues having served as a Municipal Councillor on Halifax Regional Council from 2008-2016. Jennifer has lived overseas in Central America and the Middle East and her family has been involved in supporting refugees through private sponsorships and university refugee programs.
Mohamed Bagha is the Managing Director of the Saint John Centre (SJNC). He has been involved in the Newcomer Settlement Sector for over 10 years. Mohamed is very passionate in carrying out the mission of the SJNC – to improve the socio-economic well-being of Greater Saint John by supporting newcomer settlement and promoting multiculturalism. He wants to see communities across Atlantic Canada, like Saint John, thrive through diversity, where newcomers actively participate in society by fully contributing their talent, skills and culture. Mohamed has a Master of Interdisciplinary Degree focusing on Community Economic Development from the University of New Brunswick.
Kathryn Melvin is the General Manager of Newcomer and Community Connections at YMCA Newcomer Connections in Saint John, New Brunswick. Kathryn works with a team of over 60 staff to support newcomers with their settlement needs in Saint John. She has been working with newcomers for the past four years and loves meeting people from many backgrounds and walks of life. She believes that newcomers are essential to building a welcoming and inclusive community. Kathryn completed a Masters in Science before joining the Y family. In her down time you can find her getting creative in the kitchen or curled up with a book.
Lisa Bamford De Gante
Lisa Bamford De Gante is the Executive Director of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton Inc. (MCAF), in New Brunswick.
Angie Cormier is a long-time immigrant to PEI from the U.S. She arrived in 1984, and in 1999, she was appointed to the first Population Development Committee in the province sponsored by UPEI Institute of Island Studies. She has always been active in local economic development, women’s groups and began “officially” working in immigration in 2011 as Coordinator of LIENS, a francophone project designed to promote immigration within the Francophone community. In 2013, she became a community outreach officer for Francophone Immigration for the PEI Office of Immigration. In 2018, Angie became the Director of the CIF, a Francophone Immigration services agency responsible for recruitment, settlement and employment services on PEI.
Ron has a combined 17 years of CEO experience leading regional economic development agencies. He has been a catalyst for change, leading the branding of regions and agencies, creating, and implementing strategic planning, and mobilizing community stakeholders around a unified vision.
Ron recently served three and half years as CEO of Economic Development Greater Saint John. Prior to this, he spent a decade leading several regional economic development agencies in Ontario and NB. Ron is currently an Executive Board Member of the Economic Developers Association of Canada
He has been recognized as Canadian Economic Developer of the Year, Canadian Top 40 Under 40, and one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs.
Frank Gough has worked as both an instructor and school administrator in the ESL (LINC) program at the Association for New Canadians in St. John’s for some 25 years. He has been on the ARAISA board for a number of years and currently serves on the membership committee.
Craig Mackie is the Executive Director of the Immigrant & Refugee Services Association (IRSA) PEI. He has been in that role since 2010. Prior to that, Craig spent more than 35 years in media including over 25 years with the CBC. Craig has been Co-Chair of ARAISA and he has also been Co-Chair of the Immigration and Settlement Working Group at the Canadian Council for Refugees. When Craig is not at work, he is a competitive curler and plays tai chi. Craig is currently serving as the VP of Curl PEI and is on the board of the Community Sector Network.
Jennifer works with a diverse group of passionate and professional staff and volunteers in the Immigrant Services department of the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth which has been providing settlement programs for over 25 years in locations all across Nova Scotia. As part of a multi-service, multi-sectoral organization that has a mission of ‘building healthy communities through the power of belonging’, this team provides client and community responsive programming that focuses on families, creates connections, is place based and that incorporates the holistic YMCA focus on spirit, mind and body in all aspects of service delivery.