MLI Homestay

Meet the MLI Homestay Team

Local Coordinators

Q

Addie Guccino

Hi my name is Addie, I have lived in Innisfil for 20 years. For 15 years I worked as an Aesthetician in the community and loved developing relationships with my clients and providing them with a relaxing experience. I am a mom to 2 energetic boys and as a family we enjoy camping, going to the cottage and swimming. We also love hiking and spending time in nature. I have hosted students for many years and have really enjoyed each experience. We have developed long lasting relationships with our students and have learnt so much about many different cultures. We have kept in touch with most of our student and they have become part of our family.

I look forward to developing new relationships with host families and students and can’t wait to help provide lasting memories and share the love and experiences I have had with hosting.

Addie Guccino

Local Coordinator, Innisfil and South Barrie, Ontario

Q

Adriene Mackenzie

I am happy to be the new Local Coordinator for Bruce Grey. I have been involved as a host family for the past 6 years, enjoying the students we welcome into our home and love the connections that last long after they leave to return their home country. In June of 2023, I retired after 32 years of teaching a variety of high school subjects including music, geography, foods, and law, to name only a few. Most recently, I started Adriene’s Canning & Jamming and enjoy making a large assortment of canned goods. My husband, Eric, and I love to be outside (hiking, biking, and gardening) along with tending to our honey bees. I love being busy with playing musical instruments, scrapbooking, knitting, cooking and visiting with our two grown children.

Adriene Mackenzie

Local Coordinator, Bruce Grey, Ontario

Q

Anelise Farias

I came from Brazil 21 years ago and I understand how it feels to leave home and live away from home. I have a teenage daughter in grade 12, a son at Simon Fraser University and a stepdaughter that lives in London, England and comes home for the holidays, and we have a beautiful dog we adopted a year ago. I have been working with international students for more than 15 years and I love doing it. I worked with a lot of school boards in BC and Alberta and I try to keep up with the new programs offered at the Canadian High Schools in my area. I speak Portuguese, English, Spanish and some French. I like to read, hike, go to the movies with my family and spend time with friends. I love Canada and the way Canadians are welcoming and multi-cultural. I love working with kids and having the chance to start all over every semester with new students.

Anelise Farias

Local Coordinator, Burnaby, British Columbia

Q

Aneta Soszynska

My name is Aneta Soszynska. I was born and raised in Poland. There, I studied Travel and Tourism and worked in the industry as a Travel Coordinator and Event Coordinator. After I immigrated to Canada 30 years ago, I completed the Travel and Tourism Diploma at St. Clair College. I always have passion for traveling, learning about different cultures and meeting new people. Now, I have been working as a Direct Support Professional for the last 20 years. I have coordinated and assisted people with developmental disabilities of all ages and in all stages of their lives. My goal has always been to help the people I support experience a satisfying and rich quality of life. I have three multi talented daughters but one thing they had in common was a passion for folk dance. Their participation in our local folk dance group has given me the opportunity to explore and learn more about Windsor’s multiculturalism and share in the uniqueness of several different cultures and nationalities. Even though we all have differences – whether it be cultural or physical – it is important to acknowledge and respect that we also have similarities that connect us all.

Aneta Soszynska

Local Coordinator, Windsor, Ontario

Q

Anne Baxter

Over the years, I have gained extensive project management, marketing and sales experience with national agencies ranging from the Canadian Library Association and The Heritage Canada Foundation to international organizations such as Amnesty International and the Canadian International Development Agency. I invite the opportunity to take on new projects and meet new people. What I love about this job: I look forward to working with new and existing host families in the Brockville area, developing new relationships and providing international students with a positive and rewarding experience. For enjoyment, I enjoy traveling, kayaking and hiking.

Anne Baxter

Local Coordinator, Brockville, Ontario

Q

Barb Ouchareck

I am a full-time Project Manager in the communications industry. I really enjoy coordinating and seeing a job from beginning to end and I enjoy collaborating with teams and seeing the interlock of how people work , come together and be successful.

In my spare time, I am a hockey team Manager and goalie Mom to a teenage boy. While one may think this is stressful, that really only happens in a shoot out scenario when all the pressure is on the goalie! I enjoy seeing the excitement of the game!

In my “other” spare time, I enjoy boot camps and hot yoga classes. I am an avid animal lover and have two cats and a weinmaraner and boxer dog. I adore being greeted at the door with tails a wagging and a blanket that they share and bring to you!

Barb Ouchareck

Local Coordinator, Calgary, Alberta

Q

Barbie Barta

I have been involved as a host family for the past 5 years and just love meeting students from all over the world and staying in touch with them after they leave. I also currently work for a developmental services agency as a Marketing Coordinator. I am an artist and owner of Paperlicious – upcycled jewelry and barnboard art. I love to travel with my family and have been to many countries with more to go! I love photography, design, yoga, and skiing. I am married, have two children, a dog and a cat and love meeting new people.

Barbie Barta

Local Coordinator, Collingwood, Ontario

Q

Christian Salmoral

My name is Christian Salmoral and I was born in Toronto, Canada.  I am the daughter of immigrant parents who arrived from Spain in 1969.  I was born shortly thereafter and have strong roots and dual citizenship to both Canada and Spain.  I love living in a country that is progressive, multicultural and accepting of differences & diversity.

I obtained my B.A in Psychology & Social work from Carleton University and graduated in 1995.  I have dedicated the majority of my life and career working with children and adults alike in areas of cognitive development, mental health, advocacy and community services.  

In my spare time you will find me doing what I love most and that is spending time with my family (and dogs) in nature, participating in sports and cooking.  I am also an avid puzzler who is always up for a challenge.  The more pieces the better. 

I have travelled extensively and embrace a multicultural and inclusive environment.

I love helping others and am invested in doing the best I can to help those who need it.

Christian Salmoral

Local Coordinator, Ottawa, Ontario

Q

Christine Barbe

I have a passion for travel and discovering new cultures. I worked at Hydro-Quebec for 32 years in the field of electrical distribution. When I retired, I decided to join work as a local coordinator. I hosted several times and I truly enjoyed this experience. That is why I love to help students and families take part in this beautiful adventure. I have 3 children, 4 great-children and a dog called Bono.

Christine Barbe

Local Coordinator, Laurentians, Québec

Q

Cindy Froud

I’m Australian and studied Herbal Medicine, Massage Therapy, Sports /Exercise Therapy in Melbourne, Australia. We are a multicultural family. I lived in France for 5 years. I taught English in French elementary schools; my son was born in France. We moved to Florida USA for my husband’s work and stayed 4 years, my daughter was born in Florida. We came to Vancouver in 2009 and have never looked back. 

I’ve worked in various areas, health & wellness, teaching, massage, administration, customer service.

I love the North Shore, meeting people from all around the world, hiking the beautiful trails and mountains, skiing, biking, yoga, reading, cooking and learning about art and culture.

Cindy Froud

Local Coordinator, North Vancouver, British Columbia

Q

Corinne Nelson

I love volunteering at my kid’s schools, spending time with my family, walking my dogs, and photography. Canada is my home. I was raised in Kelowna, British Columbia but moved to Alberta to continue my education. I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor degree in Physical Education. My passion has always been to travel around the world. I enjoy meeting new people, and learning about their culture and language. I have hosted over fifty International students from many different countries and worked with students in a variety of different roles. I feel I have extensive experience and knowledge with International Students. As well, my family enjoys having an extended family.

Corinne Nelson

Local Coordinator, Red Deer, Alberta

Q

Debra Yantha

Hi, my name is Debra and I am married with 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls and not to forget my two furry kids Thor and Maple. I love having a busy home with lots of kids which led me to start hosting International students a couple of years ago and which has now led me on a new adventure working for MLI Homestay as a local coordinator.

A bit about me! I was born in England and lived in Scotland, moved to Canada when I was 13. I have a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English from Carleton University and I have worked the majority of my career in Customer Service and Facilities Management. My passion is travelling and I have started to really love gardening although I still have lots to learn. 

What I love about MLI: It gives me great pride when I can make a difference in young lives whether it is through hosting or being a coordinator. I enjoy taking the time to learn about my students and making a difference in their lives.

Debra Yantha

Local Coordinator, Perth / Smith Falls, Ontario

Q

Devon Crossgrove

My name is Devon and I’ve lived in Sudbury for 30 years. I am married and we have 2 girls. We love to travel and getting outside as a family to enjoy the Great North.

Sudbury is such a wonderful community to raise a family and has so much to offer.

As I enjoy living a full and busy life, I work part time at my family’s Financial Services Firm, I also help out at my daughters’ school and I am also an occasional supply

teacher. My family has been hosting students for 5 years. I have also previously worked as a local manager, supporting international students at home and school. When the

opportunity came up for me to join the organization as a local coordinator, it was an easy choice. I love this work for all that it has to offer its students. I’m thrilled to be part of a team of individuals who share the same passion for international education as me. I look

forward to greeting all my students and helping facilitate smooth transitions with their host families.

Devon Crossgrove

Local Coordinator, Sudbury, Ontario

Q

Ella Ramezani

My name is Ella, I was born and raised in Iran. I got my master degree in software engineering in Iran and then moved to Canada in 2003. I am lucky to be a mother and my partner is a musician. As I enjoy living a full and busy life, Since 2007 I have been  working as an IT professional in major Canadian Bay street firms. I enjoy working with people, consulting  and understanding their needs. I also like baking and cooking along with dining out and getting ideas of different ways of cooking and creating new tastes. Living in Toronto, as one of the most diversified cities in the word, has given me the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and ethnicities. I have been hosting international students from different parts of the word and it has been a joyful experience. Last but not least, I am very excited to be part of the MLI organization as a local coordinator.

Ella Ramezani

Local Coordinator, Brampton / Mississauga, Ontario

Q

Ella Ramezani

My name is Fatima Massri, born of a French mom and a Lebanese dad. I was 20 years old when I came to Toronto. I am proud to be Canadian, multicultural, and diverse.

I am Trilingual and I am very diverse and multi-culture. I always strive to resolve issues and establish a good business relation among co-workers and public. I use my analytical skills to decipher the situation and to analyze to assess to ensure efficient customer service to our society. I have a strong ability to liaise with different parties. Using my excellent communication skills allows me to ensure full compliance

I do function effectively in more than one culture, and this gave me a multi-culture minds, and tastes. I am good in the kitchen, and I cook all cuisines in the world. As we always say: “Food brings people together” and this is me.

I did host with MLI, and this led me to get a new adventure working for MLI as a local coordinator for Lindsay and Peterborough.

During my journey in Life, I always enjoy reading about the lives of real people who made a difference in our world. I have fun traveling and spending time with family and friends.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

In our professional lives, it’s essential to remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. I am glad to be part of your team and I am certain that together we can make a difference in our society.

Fatima Massri

Local Coordinator, Peterborough and Lindsay, Ontario

Q

Jackie Allen

Hello, bonjour, hola, nǐn hǎo, salve, konnichiwa, guten tag. 

My name is Jackie. I’ve lived in Huntsville, in beautiful Muskoka, for my entire life.  With my husband and two daughters in tow, I enjoy spending as much time outside as I can.  I love to hike and snowshoe. I’m always wanting to see what’s around the next corner or what the view is like from the top of the next hill. In summer months I camp whenever I can. I love visiting provincial parks and exploring all they have to offer. 

When I was a teen my family hosted students from Japan for a few summers.  It was such a wonderful experience! I knew that it was something that I wanted to do with my family as soon as we were able.  I’m so happy that hosting has led to working as a coordinator in Muskoka.  I’m looking forward to building relationships with other host families and helping to create memories that will last a lifetime!

Jackie Allen

Local Coordinator, Muskoka, Ontario

Q

Jane Banks

I have been a part of the company for 5 years, in the capacity of a part-time Program Coordinator with groups and now a Local Coordinator. My background is in education as I still am teaching at Georgian College for the past 28 years in the Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Program. As a teacher, I have organized and coordinated many trips for students in Canada and abroad to other countries. I have been coordinating and teaching part-time in France on semester abroad programs for the past 4 years. My teaching experience has allowed me to work closely with domestic and international students. I have quite enjoyed learning from the students in their experiences, backgrounds, cultures and customs.

My family is my top priority, I have raised 3 wonderful children who still keep me very active in their lives. In my spare time I enjoy travelling and learning about new cultures.In my role, once I have placed a student with a host family, I see and hear the wonderful stories from the Host Family and from the Student who have experienced their new Canadian family. It’s a fantastic rewarding feeling, that you were a part of making that Canadian Memory.

Jane Banks

Local Coordinator, Barrie and Orillia, Ontario

Q

Janis Foy

I recently retired from the teaching profession, which I thoroughly enjoyed over the past 20 years. I taught Junior and Intermediate multilingual learners, and during my last 7 years of teaching, I had the honour of being an ESL/ELD Teacher Consultant. In this role, I collaborated with elementary and secondary teachers who had Immigrants and International students in their classrooms, to develop teaching strategies that best support both English skills development and content learning.

I am proud to live in Windsor, which is a large multicultural city. I am married to a fabulous husband and have two adult children who also live in Windsor. I have recently become an MLI Homestay mom and have had the privilege of hosting students from Japan, France and Spain. It is truly a wonderful experience for my husband and I, and I look forward to expanding my role with MLI as a Local Coordinator.

Janis Foy

Local Coordinator, Windsor, Ontario

Q

Jennifer Gauthier

My name is Jennifer and I am the Coordinator for the Orangeville area.

I enjoy living in Orangeville with my 2 sons and our dog Trixie. I love spending time with my 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson.

I very much enjoy my position as a local coordinator. I love meeting new people and having the opportunity to enrich the lives of many families. My background is Gerontology so working with students is an exciting new challenge for me.

Jennifer Gauthier

Local Coordinator, Orangeville, Ontario

Q

Jingy Chen

I graduated from University of Windsor with a Master’s

degree in Human Resources Management in 2016. After

graduation, I didn’t leave Windsor like many of my

classmates. Instead, I chose to stay here, and now I am

having a family in Windsor.

I have witnessed many students from all over the world

come here to study every year. I was an international

student here. Facing a new learning and living

environment in Canada, I know what concerns or

problems students may have, and I hope I can be of help

to them drawing on my own past experiences.

Jingy Chen

Local Coordinator, Windsor, Ontario

Q

Jodie Rogers

My name is Jodie Rogers and I am married with three children, ages 18, 15 and 12. I have a background in corporate sales and marketing and my family moved to Bruce Grey County from Mississauga in 2021. I work from home and enjoy the freedom that entrepreneurship offers. We have 3 acres, where we have started to learn about homesteading. We have egg-laying chickens, meat birds, bunnies, fruit trees, a big vegetable garden and a loyal Australian Shepherd named Bailey. My husband and I lived in Japan for six years and can completely appreciate the importance of a successful homestay. Some of our best memories were when we were invited into the homes of Japanese families. In 2021, we hosted our first homestay student (yes, she was from Japan!). It was a joy to see our own children benefit from the experience as much as the student we hosted. We look forward to building strong relationships with host families in the area so that together we can offer our exchange students a great Canadian experience!

Jodie Rogers

Local Coordinator, Bruce Grey, Ontario

Q

Julie Pyke

My name is Julie Pyke. I was born and raised in Huron and Bruce Counties. I grew up in Lucknow and have lived in Wroxeter for the past 31 years. I have a husband of 31 years. A daughter Jenna who is 28 and lives in Hamilton and works as a nurse. I have a son Justin 24 who is a Pig Farm worker and still lives at home. I also have a 4 year old Grandson Oshawa who lives with my son part time. We also have to labs Maggie and Millie and a cat named Molley. I have worked for AMDSB for the past 33 years as an EA. I spent 6 years working as an ESL EA and the past 4 as an EA online. In my free time, I liked to do puzzles, read and watch Netflix. I also love camping up north during my summer holidays. I am excited to start the job as Local Coordinator for the Northern part of AMDSB.

Julie Pyke

Local Coordinator, Avon Maitland North, Ontario

Q

Kayla Knight

Hi! My name is Kayla, and I can’t wait to be a part of your international studies experience. I was born in North Bay, ON but have travelled to many other countries as a tourist, as a university student, and as a teacher. 

Myself, my husband, and two children have recently moved back to my hometown, and we are exploring the beautiful area and taking part in all the fun activities that North Bay has to offer.   

We look forward to welcoming you to North Bay!

Kayla Knight

Local Coordinator, North Bay, Ontario

Q

Linda Utas

My name is Linda Utas a mother of 4 children ranging from the ages of 26 to 18 and a wife to Dr. Don Utas for the last 29 years. I have a Bachelor of Education degree and taught in the education system for 10 years before staying home to raise my children. During that time, I was also a professional power skating coach. I have been actively involved in my community as a volunteer and on committees, in all the organized sports my children have played over the years. Currently, my youngest daughter is a Junior National Water Polo Player so we are still very involved in sports. Over the past several years I have been the coordinator for the Valley Women’s Network, as well as running a small business

out of my home. Our family enjoys travelling to experience cultures from around the world. We currently have two homestay students from different cultures and are enriched by the experience.

I am thrilled to be part of the local coordinators team. Together we can offer opportunities to international students and host families that will create lasting memories and relationships.

 

Linda Utas

Local Coordinator, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia

Q

Lisa Hill

Lisa joined MLI in 2022 as the Local Coordinator in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Before joining MLI, she developed and implemented inclusive program services for children, youth, and their families. Most recently she led a recreational and wellness program for youth in a mental health aftercare program. Along with managing and maintaining the day-to-day services for Supervised Access between children and their families.

When working with MLI students it is her goal to help them experience a seamless transition into a new environment so that they will be able to thrive in Canada and within their homestay. Lisa understands that it is a privilege to be a part of each MLI students’ journey while here in Canada and looks forward to supporting them and their host families to make the most out of their time together. 

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys travelling, eating out, and spending time with family and friends. She loves to try new things and enjoy new experiences!

Lisa Hill

Local Coordinator, Thunder Bay, Ontario

Q

Lisa Kawalauskas

 

Lisa Kawalauskas

Local Coordinator, Okotoks, Alberta

Q

Lisa Metivier

I have had the privilege of being an Educational Assistant with our local school board. I specialize in working with kids with Autism and special needs. Our family fostered with the Children’s Aid Society for 13 years and during that time I recruited and trained new people to become foster and adoptive parents. Our family had the opportunity to also host students from Spain, Brazil, Germany and Japan and had amazing connections and a lifetime of memories. I am excited for this next chapter and look forward to learning and growing with MLI.

Lisa Metivier

Local Coordinator, Avon Maitland South, Ontario

Q

Lori Trelinski

I’ve been involved in various capacities in Thunder Bay working with families. In the past, I was on the Board of Directors for a daycare centre, was a leader with Girl Guides of Canada and a member of Thunder Bay Jaycettes. Some hobbies I enjoy are camping, biking, and hiking.

My children are now grown up. I look forward to working with you and my goal is to ensure a positive experience for the host families and our students.

Lori Trelinski

Local Coordinator,  Thunder Bay, Ontario

Q

Lynette Johner

My name is Lynette Johner. I have been happily married for 35 years with three grown children and one granddaughter. I enjoy the simple things in life, full of energy, high-spirited and have a passion for old cars and travel. I love being surrounded by my friends and family, the more the merrier.

I have worked with children and young adults in many aspects of life from daycare to home care support to foster parent to many years as a homestay family. We have hosted students from around the world and it was a great experience for our whole family. It taught my children many different cultures and how to accept the differences in people.

Lynette Johner

Local Coordinator, Victoria / Sooke, British Columbia

Q

Marketa Galligan

Hi, my name is Marketa, and I am a single mom of two children. My son Marek is 19 and my daughter Meg is 13. Our family started hosting international students 13 years ago, when my son was 6, and just after Meg was born, so I can say we are a seasoned and experienced host family. I love a busy house and we enjoy welcoming new students into our family, getting to know them, learning about their home country, and sharing with them all the experiences during their stay in Canada. I recently accepted a position of a local MLI coordinator in Collingwood Ontario and I am looking forward to be involved with even more students!

I grew up in Prague in the Czech Republic and moved to Canada when I was 28. I have two language degrees from the Charles University in Prague. Although we are a multilingual family, the language used in our home at all times is English. I lived in several countries before I moved to Canada and I have experience with different cultures. This has proven very helpful when helping our students to adjust and understand life in Canada.

As a family we spend a lot of time outdoors, biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming in the summer and skiing, skating and snowshoeing in winter. I also love gardening and have both a large vegetable and flower garden. Another passion for me is cooking and baking and we spend many hours with our students preparing our meals and of course trying some of their favorites from their home countries.

It is exciting for me to watch our students mature, become more confident and independent and I love to be part of that process!

Marketa Galligan

Local Coordinator, Collingwood, Ontario

Q

Matthew Dengate

Hello ! My name is Matthew Dengate, and I am very excited to be a part of the MLI team! I have lived in London, Ontario my entire life and have the privilege to continue to enjoy this beautiful city. Growing up, my family was a part of international hosting programs for more than 10 years so I have always had a number of different students in and out of my house. It was such an amazing experience for me and I am really excited to be on the other side of it now- supporting students and families through this great opportunity! I have always had a passion for working with youth and helping them develop their full skills. I also believe that hosting is such an amazing opportunity to learn and grow through the experience of different cultures. I am a recent graduate of Western University with a political science degree and am married to a beautiful woman, who has also worked for MLI. We are expecting our very first child this July and are very excited about that new adventure. We have 2 pets at home, a very high energy Australian shepherd and a much quieter and to herself tabby cat. Some things I enjoy doing are hiking, playing and watching baseball and hockey as well as travelling to new towns and beaches to explore different areas of our great province! I am so excited about the opportunity to be the London Local Coordinator and connect with students and families through this amazing journey.

Matthew Dengate

Local Coordinator,  London, Ontario

Q

Meenu Bhandari

I love meeting people from different backgrounds and learn different cultures. I finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology and English from India, my Canadian Diploma in Office administration led me to work as an Administrator at a nonprofit agency. In 2015 I finished another Diploma in Social Service Worker and I am working part-time as a Settlement worker with YMCA, where I help new immigrants settle in Canada, I have been volunteering with nonprofit agencies and giving back to the community.   I am blessed with two successful children and my husband is an entrepreneur. I have hosted International students for few years, which gave me the opportunity to join the MLI team as a Home coordinator for Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge in 2016, and gained new experiences and making lasting friendships.

Meenu Bhandari

Local Coordinator, Kitchener, Ontario

Q

Mozhgan Zolfi (Fahimeh Zolfi Sistani)

I was born and raised in Iran and I have studied applied linguistics. I moved to England to continue my education as a PhD student. I was a lecturer at the University of Manchester from 2003 to 2011. Then I moved to Vancouver with my family and started working at UBC as a lecturer for over 10 years. During my career in education, I always worked with international students and enjoyed cross-cultural communication. It is a privilege to be part of MLI team and look forward to supporting international students and host families to have the most amazing and transformative experiences of their lives. I enjoy traveling with my daughters, eating out, spending time with my friends, planting and gardening, and hiking.

Mozhgan Zolfi

– Fahimeh Zolfi Sistani 

Local Coordinator, North Vancouver, British Columbia

Q

Nancy Shaw

Hi!  My name is Nancy, and I am married with two teenage daughters.  We love to travel and spend as much time as possible during the summer at our waterfront property.  We live on a farm with horses, chickens, a dog and a cat.  We like to hike, swim, ride horses, run, ATV, and watch movies together.

In addition to my role as Local Coordinator, I also work as an Administrative Assistant with the Catholic District School Board.  I started my career as an Educational Assistant, moved to Early Childhood Educator and most recently into administration.  I appreciate the path my life has taken.  

I love the fact that my work with MLI will allow me to meet fascinating young people from all over the world.  I am looking forward to helping our students get to know Canada.

Nancy Shaw

Local Coordinator, Carleton Place, Ontario

Q

Neil Reid

My family and I moved to Gibsons, B.C., in the summer of 2021 after living 17 years on the subtropical island of Okinawa, Japan. Many people ask why we decided to move from the beautiful turquoise-blue oceans of Okinawa. From my experience, the Coast is equally as beautiful! From the lush green natural beauty of the trees and rolling mountains to the driftwood and soft sands that line beaches nestled along the rocky pebbled coastal shores – the Sunshine Coast has so much to offer. To top it off, the people are down-to-earth and hospitable. It also helps that the Sunshine Coast is my old stomping ground – I grew up in Roberts Creek and Langdale and graduated from Elphinstone Secondary school in Gibsons. My parents and siblings live here, and my wife and kids are now adapting well to the culture and community. For me, I would love to share the nature, culture, and people of the Sunshine Coast with homestay students of MLI.

Neil Reid

Local Coordinator, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia

Q

Patie Ramnarine

My name is Patie Ramnarine and currently live in Innisfil, Ontario. I completed my post secondary education and continued with my studies in Business and Law Management through Anglia Ruskin University (UK) and Trinidad. I moved to Canada at the age of 22 where I stared off working as a factory worker but continued to pursue better opportunities and education. I continued my studies at Seneca College where I attained my Diploma in Child Educator and continued with completion of Medical Terminology and Personal Support Worker. I am currently employed with the Simcoe County District School Board for the past 6 years where I’ve held several titles as Education Assistant, Designated Early Childhood Educator, Office Assistant and unqualified Teacher. I continue to pursue opportunities that are challenging and making a difference within society and look forward to this new chapter with MLI students and families.

 

Patie Ramnarine

Local Coordinator, North Barrie, Orillia and Angus, Ontario

Q

Paula Greaves

A  life-long passion of mine has been to discover, learn and appreciate other cultures through travel, the arts and food, so in my free time you will find me eating at new restaurants, visiting museums, attending theatre or packing a suitcase for my next adventure.

Being a life-long learner with a keen desire to serve, has resulted in me having a professional life in the hospitality industry as well as teaching young people in this field, so the combination of culture, education and helping both host families and students made working as a local coordinator a perfect fit. Building communities is very important to me and I have had the honor of serving on the Town of Ajax Recreation and Culture Committee and now I enjoy building that same sense of belonging with my host families who are all very warm, giving people and many have truly become my friends.

 

Paula Greaves

Local Coordinator, Durham West, Ontario

Q

Rippy Chhabra

I love music, cooking, reading, interacting with people from all over the world and learning new exciting things about them, their countries and cultures.

I did my Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English Literature and Bachelor of Education in India. I am certified by the Ontario College of Teachers to teach the Junior and Intermediate divisions. I have done the CELTA to teach ESL and also a course in Special Education from the OISE. I am fluent in four Indian languages – Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi. I thrive best in a multicultural atmosphere as is prevalent in India. When I came to Canada, I was delighted to find an extension of the same environment in Toronto as well. I was working as a teacher and a coordinator for 13 years in India, teaching primarily English to High School students. In Canada, I have tried my hand in the retail industry, taught ESL to International students and now I have donned the role of a Local Coordinator. It is only after working here that I have realized my passion for utilizing my educational, communication and problem-solving skills to provide our students with the most wonderful cultural experience of their lifetime, here in Canada. I am filled with great pride and a sense of responsibility to be part of such an amazing team that strives to bring out the best in one and all. With each passing day, I am inspired and motivated to make a memorable difference in the day of a student or a host family.

Rippy Chhabra

Local Coordinator, Greater Toronto Area, Ontario

Q

Shanice Flournoy

My name is Shanice and I recently moved to Guelph after living in Toronto since 2010. Prior to that, I was living in the United States.I graduated from Humber College specializing in Protection, Security and Investigations. In addition to my role as Local Coordinator, I also work in financial services as a Risk Manager. When I am not working, I enjoy the outdoors. You might catch me and my family at the beach or a park, skating or on the ski/snowboard slopes. After being a part of this program as a host, I wanted to be involved with the process of building bridges, connecting, and creating memories for other families.

Shanice Flournoy

Local Coordinator, Guelph, Ontario

Q

Shari-Ann fleming

I have been working with the company since 2009 as the Montreal Homestay Coordinator. I have twin boys of my own. I also host students throughout the year and enjoy learning about their cultures. My passion is the performing arts and for several years I have co-chaired (and performed in!) an annual fundraiser for the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. I currently work for the Cummings Centre as a registration associate and assist in Marketing. I also drive seniors and kids to appointments and to school. My other passions are foreign films and travel. I love my kids and the experience of meeting new people from different countries as a Local Coordinator.

 

Shari-Ann Fleming

Local Coordinator, Montreal, Quebec

Q

Shauna Porter

My name is Shauna and I am one of the Local Coordinators in Guelph. I was born and raised in Guelph and although I left for a few years, I knew that Guelph was where I needed to return to raise my family. I have three amazing children, a giant lap dog and a cat who rules us all.  I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing places! I love good food, especially cheese, baseball is my favorite sport and I spend any (rare) extra free time reading. I love warm weather because one of my favorite sayings is “Life is better in flip-flops” and warm weather means flip-flop season and sunshine!  I am passionate about helping people and making a difference in the lives of others. I look forward to meeting my students and host families am excited to make Guelph home to these students through my work with MLI.

Shauna Porter

Local Coordinator, Guelph, Ontario

Q

Sherri Kosti-Bartolomei

I have worked in the Travel and Tourism industry for almost 20 years before meeting my husband on board ‘The Love Boat’. My seafaring Captain and I have been married 16 years and I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom to our two teenage sons and have lived in Nanaimo for 15 years. We love our community.

We have hosted international students for the last 7 years and have had nothing but wonderful experiences. I absolutely love the teenage years as these are one of the most memorable years of your life. We have travelled extensively as a family to all corners of the world experiencing many ethnic cultures, food, scenery, and traditions. We enjoy summers at our home in the Liguria region of Italy, but mostly enjoy our Vancouver Island lifestyle and what it offers, not only to us, but to the visitors. We are an outdoorsy family that enjoys biking, hiking, kayaking, and fishing off our personal vessel, ‘Seaclusion’.

Sherri Kosti-Bartolomei

Local Coordinator, Nanaimo / Ladysmith, British Columbia

Q

Skyler Chretien

My name is Skyler Chretien. I am the father to my beautiful daughter, Grace, who is 4 years old and to my step-son, Vance, who is 10. I love spending a lot of my time with family and friends and I enjoy playing sports such as, basketball, softball, golf and tennis. I live in Cornwall, Ontario, where I was born and raised. It is a great place to live, as we are close to some major cities as well as the United States border. I went to College in Cornwall, where I received my Social Service Worker Diploma and then graduated from the University of Ottawa a few years later with a Bachelor’s Degree in the Social Sciences. I have worked in various settings as a Social Service Worker, and for the last 5 years I have been working in Employment Services with the Eastern Ontario Training Board. What I love about being a local coordinator: seeing the special relationships that are formed between students and their host families. I love hearing the stories about the families who continue to connect with their former students, once they’ve returned home.

Skyler Chretien

Local Coordinator, Cornwall, Ontario

Q

Sonia Ellis-Seguin

Hi! My name is Sonia Ellis-Seguin. I was born and raised in Toronto Ontario. I moved to the Durham Region over 15 years ago to start my family. I am married and a proud mom of 4, who enjoys spending time with my family, travelling, site seeing, live music and entertainment. I have spent over 25 years in the education sector, which I believe, has equipped me with some experience in working with international students. We have been involved as a host family for almost 5 years. Our children love making new connections with the students who are placed in our home. They have created a photo album of their friends from around the world! Some of whom they continue to stay in touch with to this day. I am excited to be the Local Coordinator for Durham East and for the opportunity to work with my team at MLI and supporting host families and students from around the world.

Sonia Ellis-Seguin

Local Coordinator, Whitby and Oshawa, Ontario

Q

Stéphane Lavoie

They call me the social butterfly! I live in Orleans Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa. I was born and raised on a farm in eastern Ontario, where helping others just became part of my everyday routine. I have been with Global Affairs Canada for the past 15 years, working with employees in Canadian embassies around the world. At the same time, I have been hosting international students since 2001, an experience that has given me a chance to learn about so many different cultures. I have always had – and always will have – a strong passion for helping youth achieve and develop their skills to their fullest! My favourite things to do are spending quality time with family, friends, socialising, camping, traveling, hiking and cooking food from all around the world with the students!! “Never too old to learn and try” they say! I am so proud to be part of this beautiful community and being your Local Coordinator where passion meets friendship for life!

Stéphane Lavoie

Local Coordinator, Ottawa, Ontario

Q

Tina St.Martin

Hi, my name is Tina.  I am married, Mom to two grown children and proud Nana to Mia, Connor and grand pup Ozzie.   I cherish the time I spend with my family and friends; I enjoy travelling and I practice yoga in my free time.  I was born and raised in Cornwall; it is a great place to call home.  We are situated along the beautiful St. Lawrence River, and it is only a short drive to the bustling cities of Ottawa and Montreal. I studied Dental assisting at college and worked in an oral surgery practice for twenty years before moving to the educational field.  I have been employed by the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario for the last seventeen years as an Administrative Assistant.  I currently work at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School in Cornwall in the Student Services office.   My husband Denis and I have been hosting students for the past nine years and have made lasting friendships with our students and their families.  It is very gratifying to know that as their host family we contributed to their success and made lasting memories during their time spent in Canada.   I look forward to meeting new international young people from all over the world in my role as Local Coordinator with MLI and hope that I can make a difference in their lives too.

 

Tina St.Martin

Local Coordinator, Cornwall, Ontario

Q

Tina Wilson

My personal interests are family, friends, travelling, cottaging, gardening, and dancing. For the past 28 years, my professional background has been in Education, specifically Special Education for the Board of Education in the Niagara Region. I have also programmed and coordinated activities for students in their ESL schools. Besides working in Education, for the last 10 years I have worked as Homestay Coordinator as well as recruiting adults and high students to ESL schools and summer programs. I love the energy I get from my involvement with international students and helping them to adapt to life in Canada.

Tina Wilson

Local Coordinator, Hamilton, Ontario

Q

Tracey Maranda

I call Ottawa my hometown, I have lived here my entire life. My educational background is in the dental field as a Manager. I retired from that field and became a caregiver for my family members. I am a proud mom of 4 kids, and a dog as well as a wife to a wonderful, supportive husband. In my spare time I enjoy being with my family and being creative in my resin art and other art media.

I became involved with international students more than 11 years ago as our family hosted many students from various parts of the world. I found it to be rewarding to see how the students grow while in Canada. You get to see them try new foods, make new friends, and for some it may be taking public

transportation and of course learning English. As a host we became part of that new experience and together we built many lasting memories. I am very excited to the be a Local Coordinator in my city.

Tracey Maranda

Local Coordinator, Ottawa, Ontario

Student Care Team

Q

Ayla Tafreshi

I have studied Literature and Law. I live in Vancouver with my family since 2016. Before coming to Vancouver, I worked in China and Iran. I love cross-cultural environments and that’s why I enjoy joining MLI-CISS. As a lifetime learner, I am so excited that we could provide an unforgettable experience for international students.

Currently, I am studying online Psychology at Athabasca University. I enjoy spending time with my teenage daughter and get involved with my family activities. I am a cinephile who once used to be a bookworm. I love swimming and cooking as well.

Email: atafreshi@mliesl.com

Ayla Tafreshi

National Senior Manager, Student Care

Q

Mary Voulgaris

Born and raised in Toronto, I graduated from Ryerson University’s school of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Throughout the years, I enjoyed working at some of the city’s most vibrant places: CN Tower, Maple Leaf Gardens, Skydome Hotel and the Toronto International Airport in food and customer service. My travelling bug led me to a role as sales ambassador for the island of Puerto Rico in the Canadian tourist office upon graduation. From there, I ventured to Greece co-operating a small family hotel on the island of Kos. When I settled back home in Toronto, my husband and I proudly launched a fine food retail outlet in the city which is still going strong! 

I joined the CISS MLI family in 2001 and have held various positions in Sales, Contracting and Product Development within the Summer Camps division. I am thrilled to now be joining the Homestay team.

My daughters are my greatest joy and I love hosting gatherings with family and friends. Volunteering as a Kid Coach for a number of years has also been very rewarding.

Email: mvoulgaris@mlihomestay.com

Mary Voulgaris

Manager, Student Care East

Q

Carol D'Souza

I was born in Kuwait City and completed my secondary schooling there. I completed my graduate studies in India graduating with a degree in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery and diplomas in Naturopathic Medicine and in Psychological Counselling. I continued in Homeopathic Medical Practice at my clinic in Mumbai till the birth of my second child in 1995. I handed over my practice to my colleague and became a full-time home maker.  We moved to Canada in 2003. I was actively involved in volunteering at the Catholic School our children attended and on the Board of a not-for-profit water polo high performance club. My sons remain actively involved in water polo in different capacities (Coach, Referee and Athlete). My youngest son captained the Canadian Junior Water Polo team and currently represents the Canadian Senior Mens’ team.

My husband and I love to travel. We have covered most of Europe, Asia and New Zealand. I have a passion for cooking and baking. I love reading cook book memoirs and enjoy cooking a nice meal for family and friends. I also enjoy long walks with my family and our dog Bailey. 

Email: cdsouza@mlihomestay.com

 

 

Carol D’Souza

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Chris Shumaker

I was born in Toronto but raised in Muskoka.  After graduating from Gravenhurst High School, I went to Laurentian University in Ontario.  After that I attended Teacher’s College in Sydney, Australia. After returning to Canada, I decided to travel to Japan to teach for one year… and ended up staying for FIFTEEN years!  I have traveled to many countries in Asia and Europe. I returned to Canada this spring to help my family move to a new house.  I now live in Bracebridge, Muskoka and joined MLI in October.  I’m very excited to start my journey with MLI and look forward to a great future together!

Email: cshumaker@mlihomestay.com

Chris Shumaker

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Curtis Nash

I was born and raised in Montreal. I attended Vanier College and graduated with a diploma in Communication. I completed my Bachelor of Arts focused in Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. I also played varsity football ball there and was drafted to the CFL

I bring to MLI over 20 years of experience, skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Social Services, Settlement Issues, Event Planning, Crisis Intervention, Program Evaluation, and Youth Services. I am currently taking project management courses. My passion for the last 10 years has been assisting immigrants who migrate to Canada and navigate them into in school system, employment and communities.

Email: cnash@mlihomestay.com

Curtis Nash

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Jeff Brosseau

I am a married father of four living in the community where I grew up, Belle River, Ontario.  After completing a university degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Windsor, I was fortunate to enjoy a 32+ year career in education.  This experience included time in the high school Math classroom, time as a union leader representing more than 1500 members, as well as time in the role of guidance counsellor.

My way to unwind is to enjoy any-and-all racquet sports, fishing, hiking, BBQing and spending time with family.

Our family became involved in the world of international students when we hosted a student from Japan in 2023.  My wife and our three sons have thoroughly enjoyed having him become part of our family, and learning more about him and the Japanese culture.  This experience prompted an interest in  MLI as an organization and lead me to my current position.  I look forward to learning and growing with MLI in the months and years ahead.

Email: jbrosseau@mlihomestay.com

Jeff Brosseau

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Linda Utas

My name is Linda Utas a mother of 4 children ranging from the ages of 26 to 18 and a wife to Dr. Don Utas for the last 29 years. I have a Bachelor of Education degree and taught in the education system for 10 years before staying home to raise my children. During that time, I was also a professional power skating coach. I have been actively involved in my community as a volunteer and on committees, in all the organized sports my children have played over the years. Currently, my youngest daughter is a Junior National Water Polo Player so we are still very involved in sports. Over the past several years I have been the coordinator for the Valley Women’s Network, as well as running a small business

out of my home. Our family enjoys travelling to experience cultures from around the world. We currently have two homestay students from different cultures and are enriched by the experience.

I am thrilled to be part of the local coordinators team. Together we can offer opportunities to international students and host families that will create lasting memories and relationships.

Linda Utas

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Mariel Duinker

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and have lived across Canada. I have a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology/Sociology) and a Diploma in Rehabilitation and Disability Management. I’ve worked in the social service field for 10+ years supporting adults and youth with developmental disabilities, brain injuries and mental health.  I am passionate about social inclusion and ensuring everyone integrates successfully in their own communities.  I recently moved to Calgary from Vancouver with my family. I have a 4-year-old son and 1 year old daughter.  I enjoy playing and watching hockey, running, and going for bike rides with my son. When I’m not working, I spend as much time as I can on the east coast in PEI and Halifax with my family at the beach.

Email: mduinker@mliesl.com

Mariel Duinker

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Neil Reid

My family and I moved to Gibsons, B.C., in the summer of 2021 after living 17 years on the subtropical island of Okinawa, Japan. Many people ask why we decided to move from the beautiful turquoise-blue oceans of Okinawa. From my experience, the Coast is equally as beautiful! From the lush green natural beauty of the trees and rolling mountains to the driftwood and soft sands that line beaches nestled along the rocky pebbled coastal shores – the Sunshine Coast has so much to offer. To top it off, the people are down-to-earth and hospitable. It also helps that the Sunshine Coast is my old stomping ground – I grew up in Roberts Creek and Langdale and graduated from Elphinstone Secondary school in Gibsons. My parents and siblings live here, and my wife and kids are now adapting well to the culture and community. For me, I would love to share the nature, culture, and people of the Sunshine Coast with homestay students of MLI. 

Email: nreid@mliesl.com

Neil Reid

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Nissa Francisco

My name is Nissa Francisco, and I was born and raised in Canada. I currently reside in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and am the mother of a life-loving 8-year-old who keeps me very busy.

I graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Art’s in Gender Studies and Political Science and went on to complete my Master’s ‘degree at York University in Public Policy Administration and Law. I have spent several years working in the non-profit sector, providing various services to diverse communities across the GTA.

Email: nfrancisco@mliesl.com

 

Nissa Francisco

Student Care Supervisor

Q

Jodi Andersen

When my husband and I first moved into our current home, we had an extra bedroom and decided to host an international student for a year, which turned into two. It was a really great experience learning about another culture and sharing ours with her. That experience has been an advantage for me to understand the perspective of host families for MLI Homestay.

I have worked in the media world for all of my adult career, originally in publishing and moving into the digital world a few years ago.  I’m excited for this opportunity to work with MLI Homestay and help build the community engagement even greater.

Outside of work I am glued to my family and having fun together. I’m a brownie leader for our local brownie group, enjoy cooking, knitting and reading, and spending time at our summer cottage on Georgian Bay. 

Email: jandersen@mliesl.com

Jodi Andersen

Community Engagement and  Social Media Specialist

Q

Anqi Zhang

I was born in a historic city Xian in China. I studied abroad since high school in Boston, USA. And I got my bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University (Go green!) Upon graduation, I have taken concrete steps to enhance my abilities by taking a student-facing role in the education industry for two years. I have always been passionate about working in the education industry by providing service and support to all types of students. I have much experience as an international student and would like to leverage them to help international students resolve problems and achieve their specific goals. I came to the University of Toronto to pursue my master’s degree with a major in educational leadership and policy. Now I am proud to join MLI Homestay as a student care administrator to gain more experience within the education industry. 

I like volunteering to help more students and people during my spare time. Besides that, cooking is the most relaxing thing for me during the weekend; I enjoy cooking different countries’ dishes and tasting food worldwide.

Email: azhanq@mlihomestay.com

Anqi Zhang

Student Care Administrator

Q

Michelle Karnine

My name is Michelle Karnine.  I am married and have 2 beautiful adult daughters. My husband and I grew up in Penticton, a small town in the South Okanagan.  Over the last 30 years, we have had the pleasure of living in multiple provinces and abroad in Europe.  We love travelling, meeting new people and experiencing their cultures and food.   

I appreciate and value all the hard work, on every level, that goes into supporting students as they embark on a new adventure far from home.  While living in Belgium, my oldest daughter completed her Grade 12 in Switzerland, living with a host family that she has since gone back to visit.  Now that our daughters are grown, we have settled in the beautiful city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island. I have worked in a variety of Administrative roles, most recently with the Ottawa Catholic School Board.  I look forward to now supporting this MLI-CISS team.

Email: mkarnine@mlihomestay.com

Michelle Karnine

Student Care Administrator

Q

Laura Tieken

I was born and raised in the Netherlands and emigrated to Canada when I was eight years old, so I understand the challenges students face coming to another country to learn another language. Learning English was scary for me but my family and I had so much support from our new school and Canadian friends – Canada is a wonderful place to live! I love traveling, world music, yoga, playing piano and exploring new places with my daughters.

I have a diploma in Tourism Management and have enjoyed working with international students and tourists from all over the world!

Email: ltieken@mliesl.com

Laura Tieken

Student Care Administrator

AYP

Q

Analia Diaz

I immigrated to Canada from Argentina when I was 7 years old so I am fluent in Spanish and English. I have a BA of Commerce in Information Technology Management with a minor in Systems Analysis and eBusiness. My previous experience was in the customer service industry as a regional manager for a large chain of sportswear stores.

At MLI I began as a supervisor in the Homestay department and then transferred to the High School Programs department. Now I am the manager of the entire amazing High School Programs team. My role is to support the team of coordinators who take care of all the high school students from around the world.
I love reading, baking, cooking, travelling, watching soccer and hockey, musicals and going to live concerts.

Email: adiaz@mliesl.com

 

Analia Diaz

Manager, High School Programmes

Q

Katsumi Watanabe

I was born and raised in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan where it is known as “Gyoza Town”.  This is a story over thirty years ago, but the high school I attended was strongly involved with the exchange programs. Every year the school hosted a student from overseas for the whole school year and as a return, a few students were sent to the USA to attend high schools at different locations. From the intercultural experience I had with the exchange students, I had interest in the world outside of Japan and was determined to go overseas. I was fortunate enough to travel to different countries and areas as a professional tour guide. After I got married and came to Canada, I’ve taught Japanese to Canadian students, and to Japanese-Canadian Second Generation children. My son who is about to start university was born and raised in Canada but because he has studied Japanese since he was a small child, the language we use together is always Japanese.

Email: kwatanabe@mliesl.com

Katsumi Watanabe

Coordinator, High School Programme

Q

Mayu Kida

I was born and raised in Osaka and Kobe, and it was when I was 15 that I first experienced a two-month stay in Oxford, UK to study English. Everything looked different and I really enjoyed the life there so much, and gradually felt like studying at university overseas. My old fashioned father didn’t want me living abroad full time, however, I was lucky that he sent me to London two months each for eight years in summer instead. After graduating from university in Japan, I had a job to support very talented interns from foreign universities mainly from the US who wanted to be architects, and I felt so fortunate that I could communicate and support them, and also learn from them in English.

Later I’ve got married and have two kids now and in my life journey, I moved to Canada. We were lucky enough to get to know so many generous Canadian who helped us a lot and later became our friends. We have been here for nine years and we love living in Vancouver and love Canada. My children are now grown up. The older one is going to college to study Computer Science and the younger one will be in Gr.11 this year. I assume you’re around the same age.

Email: mkida@mliesl.com

Mayu Kida

Coordinator, High  School Programmes

Q

Nissa Francisco

I was born and raised in Japan, and I have been overseas for more than 25 years in various countries. I started my journey when I was 18 as an exchange student in the US for 10 months. After I graduated from university and worked for a few years in Japan, I moved to Hong Kong to work for a Japanese company for nearly 4 years. After marrying my Canadian husband, we moved between the US, Canada, and Japan raising our 2 children and now I am back in Canada. My children spent most of their lives in the US and now my son is a graduate student, and my daughter is an undergraduate student both living in Toronto, Ontario. My home is located on the east side of Lake Huron which spans from Detroit Michigan all the way to Ontario. The town is very quiet from October to April but as soon as the spring flower starts to bloom, the town becomes busy with many tourists until the Labour Day Weekend. 

I like to read books and watch movies about the Edo period. In my time living in Japan recently, I was an English tour guide in Tokyo catered to foreigners. This introduced me to the incredible history of Tokyo and the Edo period. I also like scrapbooking. I have created many scrapbooks of my family and I love seeing my family enjoying them page by page. 

My experience in the US became the core of my later life. I not only became able to communicate in English, but I was also able to develop a very different mindset that I may have not, had I stayed in Japan. I learned that each individual was respected as themselves, the differences and similarities in thinking, and I was able to examine my own country, Japan, and appreciate it from afar. Being away from Japan helped me realize how wonderful and unique the Japanese culture and history are.

Email: nwebb@mliesl.com

Noriko Webb

Coordinator, High School Programmes

Q

Reina Taniguchi

I am originally from Saitama, Japan.  I was a high school student who came to Canada at the age of 17 on a school trip organized by MLI. That trip to Muskoka helped me decide what I would like to do with my life. Upon returning to Japan, I focused heavily on English language schools and after graduating from high school, I moved to Canada and joined St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. There I attained a diploma in Child and Youth Care and had firsthand experience working with children aged 6 – 16 with learning disabilities, anxiety, as well as emotional and behavioural challenges.  My experience living abroad and education in childcare provided me with a strong base to both understand and support the needs of the students.

Email: rtaniguchi@mliesl.com

Reina Taniguchi

Coordinator, High School Programmes

Q

Rina Kawasumi

I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. My father used to work in Indonesia. Having been exposed to that environment, drove me to learn English. When I was in grade 9, I joined a three-week homestay program in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. After coming back to Japan, I returned for one year to Boise, Idaho as an exchange student. After graduating high school, I came to study in a Canadian university in Nova Scotia. My university was in a small city with a population of 4000 which helped me learn Canadian culture. I went to study in Freiburg, Germany as an exchange student for one year when I was in a 4th year. Since university, I have enjoyed teaching ESL at a language school in Toronto. 

I enjoy studying languages, traveling and cultural exchange. I have studied in three different countries; however, I believe that my first study abroad experience had a huge impact on my life. 

Email: rkawasumi@mliesl.com

Rina Kawasumi

Coordinator, High School Programme

Q

Yuki Inoue

I am originally from Tokyo, Japan, but I have lived in Boston and Halifax. I graduated from Showa Women University in Tokyo and also Humber College in Toronto. My major was English Communication and Global Business Management. After my graduation, I worked as a Sales Representative, and a School Manager of an English conversational school and Japanese teacher.

During my time in Halifax, NS, I had the chance to experience homestay life, when I came to Canada to study English. Back then, my English skills were low, and I was too shy to communicate with my Host Family. However, the host family kept asking me questions every day and tried to talk to me and made me feel like a real family member. Thanks to them, gradually I became open with them and now even after 7 years we still contact each other like they are my real family. 

Email: yinoue@mliesl.com

Yuki Inoue

Coordinator, High  School Programmes

Groups

Q

Ai Yu

I love nail design and home decorating.

I am a busy mom, and have worked in the tourism industry for many years. I was once upon a time an exchange student when I was in Grade 11 for a year! I have over ten years of experience with MLI and have worked in almost all areas of the business. I specialize in pricing quotations and on-the-ground client support, troubleshooting and problem-solving. I speak English and Japanese.

What I love about MLI: Connecting with the agents and schools, seeing the smile on students from Canada and overseas, and helping to gain the interest and understanding of different cultures.

Email: ayu@mliesl.com

Ai Yu

Manager, Programme Development and Planning

Q

Sae Yokoi

I was born and raised in Japan. Moving to Canada was very exciting but at the same time, it was the biggest challenge in my life. I have struggled to adopt the cultural differences, weather and food here. Through the challenges that I have experienced since I moved to Canada, I have grown up and learned to accept the differences. Now I can enjoy the great diversity of cultures in Canada!

I am excited to support every single student who is willing to take a shot and come to Canada. I am very happy that I can coordinate programmes that introduce this beautiful country.

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.  – Wayne Gretzky”

What I love about MLI: We love Canada and each team works hard together to make student’s staying in Canada special and safe.

Email: syokoi@mliesl.com

Sae Yokoi

Groups Supervisor

Q

Risa Shafi

I am originally from Japan and it has been over 10 years since I moved to Canada. I came here to tour the country as an international student but somehow magically fell in love with the Beautiful British Columbia. Ever since then, this is home. I have a Master’s degree in International Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Education.

I have worked in Education industry in various roles starting from a teacher to a student counsellor. I have been with MLI since 2017 and have held various positions in Groups department and Student Care Team.

I am a mama of two energetic children and in our free time we love to go explore every single playground in North Shore. I am a foodie and have a passion for learning new recipes. As a Vancouver family who values the cultural diversity of the city, we are grateful for the variety of culinary cultures and cuisines that we are able to experience in Vancouver.

Email: rshafi@mliesl.com

Risa Shafi

Group Supervisor

Registration

Q

Ai Kobayashi

I’m from Tokyo, Japan. After high school, I came to Toronto as an ESL student on my own. At that time, I literary had no English skills so I had to study from the very beginning including basic things like grammar taught in middle school. It was also my first time living away from home. However, during my stay here, I fell in love with this Canada, and decided to stay longer; thus, I enrolled at Seneca College where I majored in Hospitality Management. I have worked in the hospitality industry and the media industry before joining MLI, and it made me a knowledgeable person. If you want to ask me questions about foods, travels, events and fun things to do in Canada, I’ll probably have a good suggestion for you!

Ai Kobayashi

Registration

Q

Fathima Mubeen

I moved to Canada in the year 2008 from the Middle East after working as an International School Administrator for over a decade. I am originally from the Indian state of Kerala, which is famous for its golden sandy beaches and beautiful backwaters.  My mother tongue is Malayalam and I do speak Tamil as well. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a post-graduate diploma in Business Management. For the past eight years, I worked as an Administrator and as a Testing center Supervisor in a Private Career College in Ontario. This extensive role of School Administrator has given me valuable experience in the areas of registration, financial aid and record management. Throughout my career, I have spent time helping students from different walks of life to achieve their goals.

Fathima Mubeen

Registration

Q

Kae Mikado

Kae Mikado

Registration

Sales

Q

Kristi Ash

I have spent most of my career in education administration, operating, managing and growing my own businesses in the tutoring field, testing business and private high school industry. Prior to joining MLI,  I moved into the post-secondary sector and worked in a private college as Campus Manager setting up a new campus and growing it. My experience covers business operations and development, marketing and advertising, program development, call centre operations, sales and management. I have a degree in Business Management.

Outside of my work life, I am a busy mom with a very active family. When I find time for myself, I love to exercise, garden and travel.

What I love about MLI: I am impressed with the commitment to the quality of the service that we provide and the great team of people who make all of it happen.

Email: kash@mliesl.com

Kristi Ash

Director of Sales – Global

Q

Anastasia Belashov

Since my youth, I knew my career path was in education.  Born in Montreal and raised in Windsor, I obtained both a BA in French and History, followed by a Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor.  Feeling the need to travel before settling into a full time career, I spent almost two years teaching English in Prague, Czech Republic while also reconnecting with my Eastern European family roots. Living in Europe for a time also allowed me to fulfill my passions for history and culture by exploring many other countries.

Upon returning to Canada I moved to Toronto and continued to teach ESL before joining the CISS MLI family.  I am now over 20 years with this amazing company, having been an integral part of both the High School team and Summer Programs.  I have worked in various roles within operations, product development, marketing, and sales.  I am now very happy to bring my experience and knowledge to my new role with the Student Care Supervisory team, helping students to achieve their educational dreams.

Janet Stvan

Sales Team

Q

Bruna Provetti

My name is Bruna Provetti.

I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil – born and raised. With a degree in Tourism, I have joined the International Education industry after returning from my exchange program in the US, back in 2011, which was a game changer to my career and personal life. 

After seeing so much that an international experience could bring, it became my moto to help people achieve their personal and professional goals through international education.

 Since then, I have worked in various positions within the industry, and I am now very excited to join CISS MLI team and assist the Brazilian market by sharing all my experiences and knowledge to help more students achieve their educational goals.

Email: bprovetti@cisscanada.com 

Bruna Provetti

In-Market Sales Representative – Brazil

Q

Jun Saito

I worked for the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo for over 25 years. My work there included establishing the student market program in 1993. With my 25 years of Canadian Tourism marketing experience, I was one of the leaders of the Canada–Japan tourism business. I have extensive knowledge of Canada’s various regional tourism products and business practice and, as a result, I am one of the key specialists in the Canadian student market.

In October 2003, I joined MLI to promote MLI’s customized Study Tour programs and High School programs across Canada.

Email: jsaito@mliesl.com

Jun Saito

MLI Japan

Q

Daisuke Takeda

My name is Daisuke Takeda.

I’ve spent over 10 years graduated from high school in Toronto and have a bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario.

I have been working in the student service field in the educational institution since graduated from university and am very excited to assist Japanese market with sending more students to Canada!bI am more than happy to share my own experience in Canada which may resent more with what your students/children would experience once they study abroad in Canada.

Email: dtakeda@mliesl.com

Daisuke Takeda

MLI Japan

Q

Kaora Umemoto

My name is Kaori. I worked in the education sector for as the Commercial Education Officer for the Alberta Education Department from 2014 to 2020. During this time, I built a network with Canadian school boards, Japanese high schools and universities by planning and conducting study abroad seminars and FAM tours for students, their parents, and teachers, proposing new programs to meet their objectives. This network and understanding of the education landscape will be valuable for MLI.

My personal motto is: Nasake-wa, Hito-no tame narazu, which translates into “Compassion is not only for other people. It will return to yourself and warm your heart!” I enjoy seeking new adventures with my extended family, whether in Japan or abroad. 

Email: kumemoto@mliesl.com

Kaori Umemoto

MLI Japan

Finance

Q

Sandra Yu

Sandra Yu

Financial Controller

Q

Risa Yoshinaki

Risa Yoshinaki

Accounting Associate

Q

Christine Tsang

Christine Tsang 

Payroll Specialist and Accountant

Executive Team

Q

Andrew Lind

My role at MLI is to lead our dynamic team, provide strategic, operational direction and work to continually improve our company, while providing excellent education experiences in Canada. Prior to MLI I have spent 17 years in the travel business, and my family has been in the travel industry since 1986. Most of my business career in travel was spent at Jonview Canada. At Jonview I held a variety of positions at various levels, starting in sales from 1998 to 2004 in the US, then Australia, Asia Pacific and Europe. From 2004 to 2008 I ran the Contracting and Product departments which annually purchased and built all the products Jonview sold.  Jonview has two offices and I ran the Montreal office for about 18 months, from 2008 to 2010 while living in Toronto, a true professional challenge. I was appointed the Vice President and General Manager in August 2010, which was an exciting, challenging and very rewarding position, leading a team of 120 professionals that worked together and achieved some incredible goals and milestones. 

Email: alind@mliesl.com

Andrew Lind

President & CEO

Q

Cheryl Lee

I have a degree in Economics with a specialty in Urban studies from UBC. I have worked in the tourism industry since 1985 and have lived and worked in both B.C. and Ontario. I had the pleasure of being part of Expo 86 and the build of the event in the year leading up to it. Since then I have continued to work in tourism in all facets of the industry including operations, sales, marketing and consulting work. I lived in Toronto for 10 years and worked with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, where I first began to work with Mike Ruby. I then moved back to B.C. and worked as a consultant for a regional tourism association, Thompson River University, as well as consulting work for small tourism businesses in B.C. I joined MLI in 1997 and have never looked back!
I speak French and English.

Email: clee@mliesl.com

Cheryl Lee

Chief Operating Officer

Q

Adrienne Burtnick

Adrienne Burtnick

Chief Sales Marketing Officer

Co-Founders

Q

Bev MacWilliams

I have spent 22 years in education. I was a teacher in both elementary and high schools, after which I became a Principal of Schools. Later, I held various positions at the school board level where I was Principal of Curriculum and Special Education, and Principal of Information Technology. In addition, I was a member of the senior administration team at the Muskoka Board of Education and Trillium Lakelands District School Board. In 1995, Mike Ruby and I founded MLI.

My role at MLI has been to work with my business partners and staff to build and manage the company’s operations. In addition, I am also very involved in sales, marketing and product development.

Email: bmacwilliams@mliesl.com

Bev MacWilliams

Co-Founder

Q

Michael Ruby

I love my family, skiing, golf, running, volunteering and building businesses.

I have owned and operated a number of businesses and held senior positions in the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, and worked with a four season resort business in British Columbia. As a volunteer, I have played a leadership role sitting on a number of national, international and regional tourism marketing boards. I am currently a chair of the Canadian Tourism Commission Emerging Markets Committee.

Email: mruby@mliesl.com

Michael Ruby

Co-Founder

MLI Homestay

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