Board of Directors
PIRS is constituted under the Societies Act of the Province of British Columbia (Societies Act BC). The Board acts in a position of trust for the community and represents the interests of the community serving as a link between the community and the Society.
The PIRS volunteer Board of Directors (Board) is responsible for making high-level leadership decisions based on PIRS’ vision, mission, values, strategic direction, and the best interest of the Society.
The Board of Directors is elected by the PIRS membership at the Annual General Meeting. We welcome community members to consider joining the PIRS Board.
Interested in joining the Board? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet our Board of Directors
Kathy Price, Chair
Kathy is a first-generation Canadian who is returning to PIRS from many years in the post-secondary field of Early Childhood Education. She is an avid supporter of PIRS and has been inspired by the passion and commitment of those involved in programs supporting immigrant and refugee children and their families. Currently, she also volunteers on the Publications and International Outreach Committees of the Association for Early Childhood International. She completed a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction and graduate studies at the University of British Columbia and her current interests follow global and education diplomacy.
Angela Heino, Vice Chair
Angela Heino has been a Registered Nurse for over 17 years, and she has over a decade of training and experience as an educator in both health care and post-secondary settings. She has worked in three Canadian provinces across various clinical areas and spent several months volunteering overseas with a community development NGO in eastern Uganda. She holds a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a BNSc from Queen’s University. She completed her MSN at UBC in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Varcoe and Dr. Annette Browne. The focus of her graduate research work was the exploration of women’s pain experiences in relation to pressing health concerns, and the need for creating culturally safe environments for clients, families, and health care providers alike. Currently, she works as the Education Program Manager at PAIN BC. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, running, reading, and spending time in nature with her family. Angela joined the PIRS Board in Fall 2019 and she is honoured to help support the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Fatima K. Ahmed, Secretary
Fatima is a lifelong learner who seeks to understand the interplay between individuals and systems and how this can be harnessed, harmonized and leveraged to bring about positive, impactful change in an increasingly globalized world. In her professional life as a scientist and research professional, she has over a decade of experience spanning multiple countries and blending academia, the biotech industry and NGOs, and has built an interdisciplinary career in support of improving human health. She is passionate about finding ways to build equity in healthcare through technology, supporting marginalized communities, and seeking out ways to be an instrument of change. A third-culture-kid who grew up on stories of cousins and community, she seeks to build home wherever she goes, and is most happy when discussing ideas and planning solutions over drawn-out meals with brilliant souls.
Melissa Guillergan, Co-Treasurer
Melissa’s passion for creativity has fueled her career in marketing and advertising, having led award-winning campaigns for world-renowned brands. Melissa was also recognized as a Top Young Filipino Entrepreneur by the Filipino Post as a result of her starting a local cleaning company that focuses on establishing rewarding careers for new immigrants.
She is a proud second generation Filipino-Canadian who is dedicated to helping local charities and non-profit organizations, most recently as a board member of the Foreign Migrant Workers Centre. These experiences reinforced to her the importance of building confidence and providing support for newly landed immigrant women and mothers.
Melissa brings with her a wealth of experience in fundraising and promotions to the PIRS with the goal of elevating its presence and exploring innovative ways to raise funds for the organization. In her spare time, Melissa loves all things fitness, whether it’s running a half marathon or running after her two young children.
Sonam Swarup, Co-Treasurer
Sonam’s (pronouns: she/her) passions lie in the intersection of community economic development, equitable design and story-telling. She has spent the last 10 years working with various social impact organizations including 312 Main, Vancity Community Foundation, The Wellbeing Project, The Discourse and The Urban Worker Project. Previously, she co-founded a social venture that focused on engaging immigrant women and their transition to the Canadian workforce through cultural cooking classes. She earned her BA from Simon Fraser University and has studied internationally at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She has received multiple awards for her work including HSBC Women Leader of Tomorrow for Western Canada and an AMEX Emerging Innovator.
A researcher by training, I have experience working with immigrants and refugees in Germany and Switzerland as part of World Health Organization. In Canada, I work with vulnerable populations by providing community services. At present, I am working with single mothers and homeless women in the Downtown Eastside. An avid horse rider and swimmer.
Renuka Sarup Seru
Renu has decades of experience as a passionate and dedicated counsellor and educator in the post-secondary environment. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and is certified in several therapies modalities, including EMDR, DBT, and EQ-i.
When Renu immigrated to Canada from India, she faced many challenges trying to integrate into Canadian society, both professionally and socio-emotionally. She has real experience of the challenges immigrant women face. She is passionate about helping immigrant women and youth with their mental health, wellness, and personal growth. In 1990s, Renu participated in the Building Bridges program of PIRS which helped her to gain confidence and was successful to market her skills. Now she has some time to give back to the society. Renu brings a wealth of knowledge and experience related to leadership, problem solving skills and issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
In her spare time, Renu enjoys painting, pottery, and gardening.
Coral Gonzalez Gutierrez
Coral is a researcher at heart whose lifelong passion is to understand individual choices, their relationships, their impacts on one another, and how we can make a better world for ourselves and for the future generations, in particular for women and children. In her professional life as an economist, she works with public and private sectors. She holds a PhD in Economics from UBC where she specialized in development economics and gender.
Coral is a proud Mexican who immigrated to Canada in 2011, and has since become a mom; as such, she understands the difficulties that a newcomer (and mom) might encounter navigating this new life. One of her passions is to empower women to help them advance their personal and economic well being, and build communities that lift each other up. When Coral is not parenting or working, she is most happy enjoying friends and family a the beach or over a good meal.