Manitoba IEC is guided by a council of employers, labour market stakeholders, and immigration department stakeholders. To join or support the work of the council, please contact us.

Charlene Gulak

Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corporation

Charlene is an Economic Development Advisor with Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corp., serving Parkland and Midwestern regions. Her expertise in rural development has involved leading community and economic initiatives and facilitating immigration strategies and partnerships with municipal, First Nation and Indigenous leadership. In her current role and in previous work with Community Futures Parkland and Workplace Education Manitoba. She has served on Dauphin’s Local Immigration Regional Partnership Council as an advisory member, since its inception.  She is a graduate of the Rural Development Graduate program at Brandon University and possesses a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in political studies from the University of Manitoba. Having served as an elected official in both municipal and school board roles, her leadership experiences contribute to a unique understanding of Manitoba’s rural landscape and workforce issues. She currently serves as a school trustee with Mountain View School Division and as a Director with the MB School Board Association.

Kristina Akpalo

IRCC Canada

Kristina joined Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in 2009 and currently works as an Outreach officer in Winnipeg, MB. In her current position, she helps Canadian employers learn how Canada’s economic programs can be used to support their hiring needs and-help-drive economic growth.

Vijay Sharma

Government of Manitoba, Strategic Initiative Unit, Immigration Division, Department of Labour and Immigration

Vijay Sharma has been employed with the Government of Manitoba since 1986.  He began working as a Policy Analyst with the Manitoba Intercultural Council, an advisory body to the Government of Manitoba on Multiculturalism. In 1992, he joined the Department of Citizenship and Multiculturalism as a Policy Analyst for the Immigrant Credentials and Labour Market Branch. From 1996 – 2021, he worked as an Immigration Program Officer with the Manitoba Immigration Promotion and Recruitment Branch, Department of Labour and Immigration. From 2021- present, he is working in the Strategic Initiative Unit, Immigration Division, Department of Labour and Immigration, as the lead in promoting, developing and implementing economic immigration initiatives for Manitoba regions outside the Winnipeg Capital Region related to skilled labour and business immigration.

Andrea Aiello

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Andrea Aiello is the Executive Director of Workforce Development at Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) MB. As a member of the Immigration Advisory Council that was formed in 2022 at the request of the Premier to review and make recommendations to the Provincial Nominee Program, Andrea shifted her focus in 2023 to joining the IEC to further support Manitoba manufacturers as they continue to look for best practices in attracting and retaining newcomers as a critical component of their talent strategy.

Leticia Munoz

Kroeker Farms

Leticia works as an Immigration & Settlement Coordinator at Kroeker Farms which is one of Canada’s leading potato producers and Manitoba’s largest grower of organic potatoes. She moved to Canada 6 years ago.

Sangeetha Kavasseri Sadasivan

Maple Leaf Brandon

Sangeetha migrated to Canada in 2012 with her family. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in Business Administration specialized in Human Resources.  She has extensive experience in Human Resources in various Industries and is currently working as Recruitment Specialist at Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in Brandon, Manitoba.  She is responsible for domestic and international recruitment. She is currently a CPHR Candidate.

Mark Sawatzky

Winkler-Stanley Economic Development Corporation

Mark graduated from University of Manitoba in 1992 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Hons), Majors in Marketing and Human Resource Management. He has 30 years business experience including working with Great-West Life in Hamilton, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia as well as for Winnipeg’s Economic Development Corporation, Friesens Corporation, and 20 years running his own management consulting firm.

Odia Reimer

Friesens Corporation

Odia leads the People & Culture division at Friesens Corporation, an employee-owned company based in Altona, Manitoba, with a legacy dating back to 1907. Friesens serves diverse markets, including trade books, yearbooks, packaging, and self-publishing. Operating in a region with minimal unemployment, Friesens has navigated unique recruitment challenges, implementing a robust foreign recruitment program to attract skilled workers and employee development to cultivate the requisite skills for future needs. Beyond her role at Friesens, She is an active board member of Candace House, a Winnipeg-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting victims of crime within the justice system.

Joanne Riel

Joanne is a Métis mother of 3 children, She recently left her position with the province of Manitoba to return to the city to help with an organization that is positively helping youth transitioning from CFS to independent living as their bookkeeper and other administrative duties and be closer to family.   She joined Manitoba Immigration Employment Council to represent francophone minorities in rural areas and to be a liaison between francophone organizations. 

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