IRSA board of directors 2023 - 2024
Tina Saksida, President
Tina Saksida is an Associate Professor of Management in the University of Prince Edward Island's (UPEI) Faculty of Business. She holds a Ph.D. in industrial relations and human resources from the University of Toronto and specializes in the areas of organizational behaviour, human resource management (with a focus on nonprofit organizations), diversity management, and evidence-based management. Prior to joining UPEI in the summer of 2014, Tina lived in Toronto for nine years during her undergraduate and graduate studies and also has European work experience as a project manager in the public sector in Slovenia, her home country. Tina lives in Charlottetown with her husband and young son.
Vanessa Wachuku, Vice President
Vanessa C. Wachuku is in the final stages of completing a Doctorate Degree at Ryerson University where she specializes in Canada's immigration policy and the integration of immigrants in Canada. She has over twenty years of extensive professional experience in every sector in Canada and most recently works in the Federal Public Service. She worked in a nonprofit managerial capacity at the Canadian Red Cross where she served for almost a decade.
Vanessa contributes extensively to the field of immigration through publications, engagement and presentations in domestic and international platforms such as the International Public Policy Association. She serves as the Assistant Editor of the International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (IJMBS) and serves as a Regional Coordinator of a Committee of Pathways to Prosperity Canada which is an alliance of university, community and government partners dedicated to fostering welcoming communities and promoting the integration of immigrants and minorities across Canada. Vanessa lives with her family in Charlottetown, PEI.
Rachel Murphy, Treasurer
Rachel works at the Bradly Handrahan Chartered Professional Accountants firm since 2015. She obtained her MBA in finance from Saint Mary's University in 2010. She is a CPA, CMA charter holder, and a Financial Risk Manager certified by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. She also passed all three levels of the Certified Financial Analyst exams. Rachel was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to Canada in 2009. She is fluent in English and Mandarin. She actively volunteers in the local community and through her own Chinese newscasts to help the PEI Chinese community to stay informed with local news, events and new government policies.
Gary Demeulenaere, Secretary
Gary Demeulenaere is a partner at Stewart McKelvey in Charlottetown and has been practicing law since 2005. His practice includes civil litigation, asset recovery, and real property. From 2017 to 2019, Gary worked as the Director of Legal and Policy Services and FPT Relations with the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Gary grew up on a family farm in Grandview, PEI and is a second-generation Canadian as his parents both proudly hail from Belgium. He is an avid soccer fan and coaches within the Stratford soccer association. He lives in Stratford with his wife and four children.
Cher is an immigration lawyer with McInnes Cooper. She joined the Law Society of Prince Edward Island in 2016. Cher received her Juris Doctor from Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law. In 2010, she obtained a Masters of Arts in International Law and Human Rights from the United Nations mandated University for Peace. Cher is an avid traveler and looks forward to exploring more of the world. She lives in Charlottetown with her husband and daughter.
Bio coming soon
Trung Dung Ngo is a Professor at the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE), the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). He received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Robotics), Aalborg University, and an MSc. degree in Computer System Engineering (Robotics) from the University of Southern Denmark. Dr. Ngo is the founding director of the More-Than-One Robotics laboratory and the lead researcher of the Centre for Excellence in Robotics and Industrial Automation. Before joining UPEI, he was the faculty member of the Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University and the Faculty of Science, University of Brunei.
Dr. Ngo has supervised two postdoctoral researchers and more than 40 Ph.D. and Master students to date. He received the best paper award, the best video presentation award, and was the finalist for the research work with his graduate students. He was the recipient of the UPEI Faculty Association’s Merit Award for Scholarly Achievement in 2020. Dr. Ngo is a Senior Member of IEEE and a Professional Engineer registered at Engineers PEI, Canada.
Matt Totten is a Partner with Grant Thornton LLP in the Prince Edward Island business unit. Since starting his career nearly 20 years ago, he has gained a wealth of experience providing complex accounting, tax, and general business advisory services. In addition to his time with Grant Thornton, Matt has also held a Chief Financial Officer position for a large manufacturing company. This position allowed him to gain a broader business skill set from an industry perspective.
Matt has lived and worked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Calgary, Alberta. He moved back to Prince Edward Island in 2015 and now resides in Summerside with his wife and daughter. Matt is an avid volunteer and has sat on several not-for-profit organization boards, including Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce, Community Connections, and Habitat for Humanity. He also enjoys coaching the sports in which his daughter plays.
Julius has a Master's degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Management Consultant and a Certified International Trade Professional with over thirty-five years of experience in international trade and export, agriculture, processing, food safety program development and management. He has extensive international experience in export development, marketing, value chain distribution, procurement, processing, manufacturing, commercial grower operations and food safety and quality management program schemes.
Julius was born in Budapest, Hungary. His family immigrated to Canada as refugees in 1972. For the last forty-five years he has been living in Alliston, PEI. He is married to his wife Jolee, and they have three adult sons, Evan, Dane, and Jace Patkai.