Haidah Amirzadeh arrived to Canada as a refugee in 1989 and has been advocating for refugees and newcomers ever since. Haidah’s association with Saskatoon Open Door Society began upon her arrival in Saskatoon, first as a client and later as a volunteer in various capacities. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. Haidah has an active role in the Saskatoon community. She was the co-founder of the Persian Language School and the Persian Cultural Association and has served on the board of directors of a number of non-profit organizations, namely, Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC) and Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association. She continues to work with various cultural and ethnic groups in the hope that common issues and concerns might be found in order to bridge communities. One of her greatest dreams is to foster a strong relationship between Newcomers and First Nations and Métis people of Saskatchewan and Canada. Haidah is sought out frequently by news media as a commentator on immigration and refugee issues. Called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2005, Haidah Amirzadeh has been primarily a sole practitioner in Immigration and Refugee Law since beginning her practice. Her interest in social justice issues has led her to take on a number of high profile cases in this area of law in the past few years. Haidah has taught Immigration and Refugee Law at the University of Saskatchewan since 2007. She is married to Grant McConnell and has a son and two daughters.
Usha Kapoor With over 20 years of accounting experience, Usha makes it a priority to use her knowledge and give back to the local community. She has been on boards and committees of various organizations such as India-Canada Cultural Association, Folkfest, Hindu Society of Saskatchewan, Broadway Theatre, Saskatoon United Nations, and many more. Usha is currently the Financial Controller at the Park Town Hotel in Saskatoon. Usha indicates that being a continued member of the Saskatoon Open Door Society would be a privilege and an experience that she will be able to learn from as well as contribute greatly to. Usha was nominated to the Saskatoon Open Door Society Board of Directors in October 2012 and is a member of the Fundraising and Audit and Finance committees.
Diego Monteiro immigrated to Canada in 1988 from Goa, India after a 6 year stint in the Sultanate of Oman. He holds an MBA in Information Technology Management and is a Certified Management Accountant. As the Vice President of Slot Operations and Information Technology, he was very involved in the set-up of the first four SIGA casinos and has been working in the capacity of 'Vice President, Licensing and Communications' at Indigenous Gaming Regulators, Inc. since 2005.Diego is married to Maria (Ameeta) and has 2 daughters: Meagan (20) and Kaitlyn (16). The family has a Bichon named Frosty that they all dote on. Diego is passionate about social justice, and has been and continues to be involved in numerous fundraisers for various calamities that have affected people all over the world. He has been on the Board of the Rotary (Nutana) Club, is a member of the Pastoral Council of the Holy Family Cathedral and is on the Board of the India-Canada Cultural Association. He hopes that through his work and life experiences, he can make a meaningful contribution to SODS as a Board member.
Jeremy Morgan has been actively involved with the arts and cultural communities in Saskatchewan for over 26 years. From September 1999 until March 2010, he was the Executive Director/CEO of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and prior to that was Chief Executive Officer of Wanuskewin Heritage Park from its opening in 1992 until August 1999. He has served as General Manager of the Saskatchewan Council of Cultural Organizations, the predecessor to SaskCulture Inc. In January 2012 to May 2014, he served as Executive Director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, guiding the Gallery through a significant change process involving governance, program review, strategic planning and long-term sustainability initiatives. Mr. Morgan has served as a member of various volunteer boards and committees, including the Citizen’s Advisory Council for the Centennial and as Chair of the Minister’s Heritage Council and of the Saskatchewan Tourism Authority. He was a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Centennial Medal, a Premier’s Public Service Award and the Mayor of Regina’s 2014 Business and the Arts award for Management Excellence and Service. In 2011 he was awarded a Diefenbaker Policy Fellowship at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. He is currently a member of the City of Saskatoon’s Public Art Advisory Committee.
Patricia Prowse is currently the Associate Director of the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. She has a B.A. (Psy), B.Ed. and a M.Ed. (Admin) from the University of Saskatchewan. During her career in K-Grade 12 education she was an elementary teacher in rural Saskatchewan and Saskatoon. Her leadership roles included vice principal, principal and superintendent of education for Saskatoon Public Schools. As a superintendent of education Patricia had strategic responsibility for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Education; Safe, Caring and Accepting Schools; and most recently English as an Additional Language (EAL). She was part of the interagency team that established the Settlement Support Worker in Schools (SSWIS) program and the development of a supporting MOU. Ms Prowse has received provincial and national recognition for her educational leadership. Her commitment to community partnerships and interagency cooperation and her leadership in this area was acknowledged in 2013 when she received the YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership and Management Award and the Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services’ Shield award for community service. Patricia has one son, Lance, who resides in Saskatoon with his fiancé Angela.
George Rathwell was born and raised in the Regina and area. He attended both the University of Regina and Saskatchewan where he earned three degrees. Mr. Rathwell then embarked on a 31 year career with the Saskatoon Public School Division. Interested in leadership roles, George became a vice principal followed by principal at various schools in the city before moving to work for the School Board. George has always been a large proponent of education having not only been involved in Saskatchewan schools but has also experienced other education systems in his travels abroad. During his time as a senior administrator, George helped lead major educational initiatives including Facilities for Learning and the award winning Literacy for Life and Collegiate Renewal learning priorities. Mr. Rathwell has also been a strong proponent of enhancing First Nations and Métis education, while simultaneously responding to the rapidly emerging multicultural component in the school division. He is a Past President of SaskSport and has been or is a member of a number of community boards including Wanuskewin, the Saskatoon Trades and Skills Center, READ Saskatoon and the Children’s Discovery Museum to name but a few examples. George is retired, married to Shammi (nee Thakkar) and they have two daughters; Nikita and Mika. Shammi’s family immigrated to Saskatchewan 50 years ago, so the experience of New Canadians is most relevant and important to the Rathwells and their extended family. As a family, they have a great interest in learning and providing a vibrant Saskatoon community that allows all people to experience a positive life. He joined the SODS Board of Directors in 2014.
Chris Stoicheff (B.A. Political Studies) is currently a graduate student in political studies and a financial analyst at the U of S. Chris served as President of the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) in 2011. In this role, Chris was instrumental to the provision of 90 new childcare spaces on the U of S campus, and the creation of the Gordon-Oakes Red Bear Aboriginal Student Centre. Chris has significant experience in Government, working as a Ministerial Assistant to the Minister of Advanced Education, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Immigration. Chris has served on numerous non-profit boards in the City of Saskatoon. In 2010-11, Chris served as a member of the University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors. He recently served as Governance Chair for the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and now sits on the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts (SFA). In 2013, Chris was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honour.
Meritt Kocdag is a policy strategist at Innovation Saskatchewan, a special operating agency of the provincial government. She holds a Bachelors’ of Arts (High Honours) in Public Administration, and received national recognition for her policy research in 2014 by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. She believes strongly in the value of public service and volunteerism, and is excited to apply her knowledge in the field of governance and planning as a member of the Saskatoon Open Door Society Board of Directors. Meritt served on the executive boards of Equal Voice Saskatchewan and Women in the Legislature, and has volunteered extensively with the Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association. She was a graduating member of the Saskatoon Police Service’s Community Police Academy program in 2015. Born and raised in Saskatchewan as the daughter of immigrant parents, Meritt’s multicultural and interfaith upbringing taught her the importance of diversity and inclusivity as fundamental values of Canadian society.”
Lily Sammak was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to Canada as an adult after finishing her M.Sc. in Genetics. After working sometime at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, she decided to move to Saskatoon to begin Dental education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a member of Canadian Dental Association and college of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan. Lily started her private practice in an inner city location so she can give back to the community. She has been involved in supervising and teaching at the college of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan since 2007. Lily has participated and worked with several non-profit organizations, in providing dental- health services to under-privileged abroad with KIA (Kindness In Action), Roland McDonald house in Saskatoon, SUM theater group providing free theater for children in the low income neighbourhood of Saskatoon. She hopes that through SODS, she will continue to contribute significantly to her community and provide a bridge between new immigrants, especially female new comers and help them to navigate the education system and find a career in their new country.
Tracy Muggli is a Registered Social Worker with 28 years of experience in the health and social services sectors. She is currently the Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS), Saskatoon Health Region, with responsibility for operations of several programs, including the Irene and Leslie Dubé Centre for Mental Health, Calder Centre, the Brief & Social Detox Unit and MHAS Outpatient Services. She was also a sessional lecturer with the Faculty of Social Work, U of R, for 13 years. She is a board member with the Saskatoon Community Foundation and the newsletter editor with the Canadian Federation University Women. She has served her community through the Aden Bowman and Georges Vanier School Community Councils, as a Board member of the Saskatchewan Intercultural Association, and as the founding Coordinator for the Newcomer Information Centre. Tracy received the Chief of Police Award for Community Service in 2014 and recognition for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Saskatchewan Psychiatric Association.