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Our Board of Directors

The Saskatoon Open Door Society is governed by a Board of Directors with a maximum of 12 members and is led by a Chief Executive Officer appointed by the Board. Board members are elected by the SODS membership.

The Board meets at least six times annually and is responsible for the oversight of the organization’s policies, programs, budgets and grant decisions. As stewards of the membership’s trust, the Board oversees the organization’s governance. The Board is accountable to the membership.

Board decisions are guided by our Mission, Governance Policy and Strategic Framework.

Nominations for SODS Board of Directors are now closed.

Our Board Members

Rokhan Sarwar

Rokhan Sarwar President

Rokhan Sarwar holds two Bachelor's degrees, in Economics and Business, from the University of Saskatchewan and has completed his MBA at the Edwards School of Business. He has an extensive background in management, strong knowledge of business environments, current technology, leadership, and finance, and loves to serve others. For these reasons, Rokhan joined Saskatoon Open Door Society’s Board of Directors to offer his expertise and to help others. While serving on SODS’ Board, he has gained experience as both Vice President of the Board and Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Kiela Caudillo

Kiela Caudillo Vice President

Kiela Caudillo has been serving on the SODS Board of Directors since 2020. Kiela has a passion for community service and believes that her international experience and communications skills can help newcomers. Originally from Mexico, Kiela came to Saskatoon 10 years ago seeking a Master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She worked with the U of S as a Research Assistant, International Student Recruitment Officer, and International Partnerships Specialist. Currently, she works at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus as an International Project Coordinator. 

Kiela is also a multi-entrepreneur and has co-founded three small businesses in Saskatoon. She participates in multiple community events to support fundraising initiatives, from volunteering to planning and performing. Kiela believes that it is necessary to help and support the community in every way one can. 

Also, Kiela has a solid commitment to supporting women in business and promoting higher education for new immigrant women. Volunteering with the SODS Board of Directors has given her an opportunity to be directly involved in initiatives and programs that benefit newcomers while improving the local economy and social services.

Tyler Nguyen

Tyler Nguyen Treasurer

Tyler Nguyen is an Economic Intelligence Manager with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA). Part of his role is to maintain Saskatoon's economic voice and to support the growth and economic development of the Saskatoon Region. He is also Chief Editor of the SREDA NEWSflash, delivering business and economic news to almost 5,000 subscribers in the city.

Tyler graduated from the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance. He was born and raised in Saskatoon after his parents immigrated from Vietnam more than 38 years ago.

Tyler believes in giving back to the community and has volunteered his time with his organization’s Learning Together Mentorship Program for Indigenous students, and as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and Area in 2020. He also enjoys playing tennis and curling and he volunteered with the 2021 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials.

Growing up as the son of two immigrant parents who received kindness and support from Saskatoon, he is now looking to give back to the community and become a leader in creating an environment that values and respects individuals for their uniqueness.

Omar Abuelela

Omar Abuelela Secretary

Omar Abuelela is a passionate marketing professional who earned his MBA degree in 2015 with marketing as his major. He is currently working as a Senior Marketing Specialist for Federated Co-operatives Limited. He has more than a decade of related marketing experiences, and has handled all phases of both the technical and creative elements of marketing projects and initiatives. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a member of the American Marketing Association.

Omar moved to Canada from Egypt in 2018 and has been residing in Saskatoon since then. After moving to Saskatoon and before taking up his current position at Federated Co-op, Omar had the opportunity to be part of the settlement sector and to interact with refugees as a volunteer, interpreter and PATH Facilitator at Global Gathering Place.

Prior to his immigration to Canada and in addition to political activities, Omar was engaged in civil society. At university, he was elected president of the student union. Later, he served as a member of the city’s 6th of October Board of Trustees, and headed the marketing committee for the 100 Days initiative - one of the Masrena NGO’s projects to motivate Egyptian youth to volunteer and connect them to initiatives that needed their expertise.

Abid Sherali

Abid Sherali Board Member

Abid Sherali holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Finance and has also completed a diploma in Business Management. He has been working for Scotiabank for over 12 years and is currently a District Vice President for Saskatchewan North. He moved to Saskatoon in 2011 from Toronto, lived and travelled in various rural communities across Saskatchewan, and relocated back to Saskatoon in 2018.

Abid truly understands the struggles newcomers face when they land in Canada as he, his family, and his parents have gone through the same struggles. He would like to serve and help community members, especially newcomers, to settle as smoothly as possible and guide them with his resources.

Abid has been involved in many newcomer initiatives in Prince Albert, including the Prince Albert Muslim Association, and has also spent time with many organizations to help newcomers. He and his wife are very passionate about helping newcomers and serving the community, as they understand the struggles of newcomers and are in a position to guide them. Abid’s skill set and experience include proven leadership and management, human resources and people management, strategic relationships, change management, small business and diverse knowledge of Canadian banking.

Adedoyin Ajayi

Adedoyin Ajayi Board Member

Adedoyin Ajayi is the Legal Services Manager with the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC), one of the Crown Corporations under the Ministry of Social Services. Before joining the SHC, Adedoyin worked as an Investigator/Advocate with the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth. She advocated and investigated matters concerning services provided to the children and youths by a provincial ministry, an agency of the government or a publicly funded entity. In addition, she worked as an associate lawyer where she practised general law, including but not limited to immigration, family, criminal, real estate, and corporate/commercial law. Adedoyin attended the LL.M. program at the University of Saskatchewan on full scholarship in 2012 and was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2018.

Adedoyin moved to Canada alone as a student and experienced first-hand the challenges and struggles of being part of that demographic. She enthusiastically advocates for newcomers and their benefits to the Canadian economy. In addition, she is passionate about gender equality, intercultural awareness, diversity and inclusion and women's empowerment. In her spare time, she has volunteered as a mentor with the Canadian Advisory of Women Immigrants and currently sits on the Board of Revision with the City of Saskatoon. She is excited to use her knowledge, legal expertise, and experience to help improve the governance of an organization that is passionate about building a sustainable and inclusive Canadian economy.

Biswa Patra

Biswa Patra Board Member

Biswa Patra is an accomplished researcher, mentor and advocate, as well as an entrepreneur. He currently works as a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, with a M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from the same university. He has launched his own startup, Algal Earth, to tackle climate challenges and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, in a merger with King Tide Carbon, is forging global partnerships across Colombia, the United Kingdom, West Africa and India. He serves on the advisory board of King Tide Carbon, to drive oceanic CO2 sequestration, and provides expertise to Cellular Goods PLC, UK.

Currently Biswa plays key roles as Co-President of the Rotary Riverside Club and General Secretary of the India Canada Cultural Association (ICCA). His leadership expertise is grounded in past positions, among them those of Treasurer on the ICCA board, VP of Operations and Finance for the India Students' Association, and Director of Fundraising for Engineers Without Borders. 

Biswa is a dedicated advocate of education and community service. He has volunteered as a Let's Talk Science ambassador, engaging high school students in science activities. He also volunteers and supports Canada's Asha for Education, raising funds for underprivileged students' education in rural India. His dedication to strengthening local and global communities reflects his unwavering commitment to making positive change.

Edward Perekebina Agbai

Edward Perekebina Agbai Board Member

Edward Perekebina Agbai is an author and management professional from Nigeria with backgrounds in leadership, research, and engineering. He has authored the books Travails: Memoir of an Oil and Gas Field Worker and Taking the Long Route: Lifelong Learning. He is the co-author or a contributing author to books like 1) Workplace Experience Across International Borders, 2) A Great Nation in Bewilderment, 3) Key to A Great Africa – Leadership Guide for Peaceful Coexistence, 4) Leadership and Management for Health Workers, and 5) Leadership and Governance for Developing Economies. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in local and international journals. 

Edward completed his Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at the Rivers State Polytechnic in Nigeria (2002), obtained an MSc in Project Management (2015) and a PhD in Management with specialization in Leadership and Organizational Change (2018) from the Walden University, USA, and a Diploma in Business Administration from the Academy of Learning Career College, Saskatoon campus.

He participated in the SODS LACE program in 2020 and presented the proposal “Driving Economic Growth and Human Resource Development through Bridging Programs between Highly Skilled Immigrants and Job Placements” to the City of Saskatoon.

Edward is the Director of Governance, Black Engineers of Canada (BEC) and Director of Research, International Institute of African Scholars (IIAS). He started his career with Eni, a major player in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria, before joining Smart Alliance Consulting Services Limited in Saskatoon as Resource Partner. He is presently working with Circle Drive Alliance Church and is married with three children. 

Madhurja Ghosh

Madhurja Ghosh Board Member

Madhurja Ghosh (he/his) moved to Saskatoon 10 years ago as an international student and has since made connections with people from diverse backgrounds. Madhurja finished his Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, with distinction, at Edwards School of Business. He is currently working as an Auto Claims Adjuster at SGI. He has volunteered with the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Association, Saskatoon Sharbojonin Puja Porishod (SSPP), USASK Connects Mentorship Program, and in various spheres of the society in his own limited capacity. 

In his journey, the focus is to engage with the community and create cross-cultural relationships with communities, organizations and groups that will make him a true global human being. Madhurja's aim in life is to touch as many lives as possible in the profoundest ways imaginable. Madhurja was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022 in recognition of his social service to the community.

Sam Rezazadeh

Sam Rezazadeh Board Member

Samuel Rezazadeh is a Student-at-Law. He came to Canada seven years ago to pursue his graduate studies, put down roots, and make Saskatoon his amazing home. Canada has offered him many great opportunities, and being a part of the Saskatoon Open Door Society as a Board Member is his way of giving back to this incredible country and its diverse and vibrant communities.

In addition to learning how best to serve the wonderful individuals who access services at SODS, he is completing the articling requirements for admission to the Saskatchewan Bar to become a lawyer.

In his spare time, Samuel likes to go to the movies with his friends, try to alter TikTok recipes (and hopes his kitchen does not burn up), and go to the gym to hang out as well as sitting on the bench press talking for hours. He hopes that his contributions as a Board member make the vital support SODS offers its clients even more relevant and effective.

Shakya Abeywickrama

Shakya Abeywickrama Board Member

Shakya Abeywickrama was born on the island of Sri Lanka and moved to Saskatoon with her family 12 years ago. She received her Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from the University of Saskatchewan in 2014 and now works at Vendasta as the VP and Divisional GM of White-label Marketing Services. In her current role, she directs and oversees a division of five cross-functional teams with over 175 employees in the areas of product marketing, website development, social media marketing, digital advertising, and digital reputation management.

She's passionate about female empowerment, gender equality, and diversity in the workplace and community. During her volunteer hours, she supports the local emerging tech community by working as a Tech Start-Up Mentor for Co.Labs, a provincial tech incubator. She has also served on the Board of the Sri Lanka Association of Saskatoon and Saskatoon Open Door Society. 

Having moved to Canada at the age of 19, Shakya realizes how important it was for her and her family to have a great support system. She is thankful for her education, lifelong friends and growth in her career as an immigrant woman. Saskatoon is home to her and she believes that now is the time to give back to this community. Saskatoon Open Door Society’s vision and mission align with Shakya’s passion to help newcomers make Saskatoon home.

Zehra Rizvi

Zehra Rizvi Board Member

Zehra Rizvi obtained a Bachelor's in International Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and an MSc in Integrated Water Resource Management from McGill University. She is the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation, an organization committed to inspiring Canadians in global education and Sustainable Development Goals. She is an avid traveller and photographer. 

Zehra has served as Vice President of SODS’ Board of Directors and Chair of its Governance Committee. She hopes that her contribution will help newcomers in Saskatoon feel empowered to realize their dreams, particularly girls and women, who face greater challenges in their new homeland.