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.

Kristina Akpalo, Outreach Officer

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 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. She joined IEC to be a part of Manitoba’s discussions surrounding local employers, while providing support and awareness of the services available to help navigate IRCC’s economic programs and policies.

Vijay Sharma, Strategic Initiatives

Manitoba 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.
He joined the IEC to provide support to Manitoba Immigrant Employment Council by exploring, developing and implementing immigration and recruitment strategies for rural based employers through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, when local recruitment efforts are exhausted.

Charlene Gulak, Economic Development Advisor

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.

Andrea Aiello, Director of Workforce Development

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Andrea Aiello is the Executive Director of Workforce Development at Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) Manitoba. 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, Immigration & Settlement Coordinator

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, Human Resources Advisor

West-Can HR

Sangeetha migrated to Canada in 2012 with her family. She has a robust background in developing and executing HR strategies in various industries, ranging from manufacturing, healthcare, and food industries. With over 8 years of experience in Human Resources, She has a keen eye for talent acquisition and management and drives organizational success through her adept skills in recruitment, onboarding, performance management, payroll, and employee relations. With a Master of Business Administration specialized in Human Resources Management and a Bachelor of Law, Sangeetha brings a unique perspective by amalgamating legal acumen with HR expertise, ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations. She is currently working as Human Resources Advisor at West-Can HR in Brandon, Manitoba.She joined IEC as she considers this as a great platform to share her experiences on how to identify newcomer skills and promote diverse workforce and also to learn new opportunities and hiring strategies.

Christa Cels, Human Resources Supervisor

Maple Leaf Foods

Christa works as a human resources supervisor at Maple Leaf foods Brandon.Her career in Human Resources started in 2004 in Municipal Government.  After 19 years, She decided to change paths and join the private industry and started working with Maple Leaf Foods in June of 2023. She has a diploma in Legal Office Administration, and she graduated from Red River Community College with a certification in Human Resources Management. In 2019 she obtained her CPHR Designation. She has extensive experience in labour relations, full cycle recruitment, training and development, compensation and employee development. Maple Leaf Foods has exposed her to identifying newcomer skills and experiences and promoting a diverse workforce.  She joined IEC as she considers Manitoba IEC a great platform to share her experiences and to learn new opportunities and hiring strategies.

Odia Reimer, VP of People & Culture

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.Odia’s decision to join the Manitoba Immigration Employment Council (MBIEC) stems from her commitment to assisting other companies in Manitoba. She believes that her experience in navigating the complexities of recruitment and workforce development uniquely positions her to contribute to the council’s mission of facilitating employment opportunities for newcomers to the province, ultimately fostering a more diverse and skilled labor force.

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.