Our Team

We are here to Elevate and Ignite You

We are a community of people passionate about the impact of education in changing the world: come meet our full-time and part-time staff, as well as volunteer-driven Board of Directors.

Laura Barbosa

Laura Barbosa

Executive Director
Education:

International University of Malaya Wales, Malaysia

Favourite Quote:

“Take only memories, leave only footprints” – Chief Seattle

Extra Curricular Activity:

Writing Poems

 

Kayah Clarke

Kayah Clarke

Volunteer Coordinator
Education:

Honours Bachelor in Human Kinetics

Favourite Quote:

“How you do anything is how you do everything”

Extra Curricular Activity:

Reading

 

Srilekha Yarrapalem

Srilekha Yarrapalem

Website Manager
Education:

Bachelors in Computer Science

Favourite Quote:

“Never Judge a book by its cover”

Extra Curricular Activities:

Dancing & Arts

 

Jimena Romero

Jimena Romero

Co-op student
Education:

Digital Marketing Diploma,Tamwood College

Hospitality Management,Universidad Panamericana,Mexico City

Favourite Quote:

“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

Extra Curricular Activities:

Read novels, Bikram yoga, hiking, running, watching classic movies, and soccer.

 

Our Board of Directors

Adam Hamovitch

Adam Hamovitch

Adam’s contributes an endless passion for personal and group development to SOS, which also fuels his work as an HR professional.  He is currently Talent Principal for XPV Water Partners, and previously played roles with BMO as Senior Consultant for Organizational Effectiveness, and with Deloitte as a Senior Partner. Adam is an avid skier. Adam completed his MSc from The University of Oxford and London School of Economics. Adam has been a member of SOS’ Board of Directors since 2016.

Laura Viselli

Laura Viselli

Laura has been involved with SOS since 2012 in many roles including a volunteer at Laurier SOS, an Outreach Trip participant, and a Head Office staff member. Her commitment to SOS is fuelled by the impact she continues to see the organization making each and every day.  Laura brings a wealth of historical knowledge about SOS to the Board of Directors, as well as experience in program development, management, and evaluation.

Mike Ziemerink

Mike Ziemerink

Mike was first introduced to SOS during International Development week in 2018 as a student at Centennial College and joined the board three years later. After completing his studies in International Development and Fundraising Mike began working for The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, the Anglican Church of Canada’s agency for sustainable relief and development. Mike supports SOS by using his experience and education in fund development and donor stewardship to assist the organization’s growth and strengthen future programs.

Rob Scott

Rob Scott

Rob first connected with SOS as a member of an Outreach Trip for Laurier Alumni in 2014 and has been involved ever since; inspired by the first experience, Rob launched a fundraising effort in support of SOS and our international partners in Nicaragua called ‘Winds of Change’ that has supported. Rob is Managing Partner of a boutique management consulting firm for C-suite executives, Ember Advisory. Rob previously held senior roles with PriceWaterhouseCooper, Ernst & Young, and Capgemini. Rob supports SOS by harnessing a multi-decade career in management consulting to assist the organization’s continuous improvement and growth.

Grace Guo

Grace Guo

Grace is an accounting professional that joined the SOS Board of Directors in Jan 2022. She holds both Canadian CPA and US CPA with experience in public accounting. Joining the Board of Directors of SOS gives Grace the opportunity to make a difference for underserved youth and to create a lasting impact. She’s a strong believer in education and wishes to help underserved youth to gain access to education. Grace provides support in the accounting capacity. She is thrilled to join the SOS and excited to provide adequate guidance in the annual budget and year-end audit process.

Caroline Sanders

Caroline Sanders

Caroline is an Associate at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, with a focus on tax law. Caroline has always loved to travel and while completing her law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School, she had the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad in Copenhagen. Joining the Board of Directors of SOS has given Caroline the opportunity to provide legal guidance to an organization that embodies her passion for travel and cultural exchange.

Jensen Arsenault

Jensen Arsenault

Jensen is an elementary school teacher with a passion for equitable access to education. She got involved with SOS in 2019 supporting the planning and coordination of the virtual exchange programs. Jensen was inspired by all of the students she worked with, both in Canada and Guatemala, to continue her work with SOS. She supports SOS by bringing her knowledge of curriculum development, program planning, and equitable learning.

National Advisory Committee

Konrad Suesser

Konrad Suesser

Educational Development Lead
PROGRAM:

BSc Honours Neuroscience

COACHING CLUSTER:

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to giveback through SOS?

“One of my favourite parts about SOS is always seeing how enthusiastic students are when they become aware that we are a not-for-profit organization. In addition to this, I love teaching and seeing the “moment” when students finally understand a concept. It brings me a lot of joy. ”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Konrad has been involved with SOS for over 2 years now. He has spent the entirety of his time as an exam-aid instructor, 1 year as a VP of Educational development, and 1 year, so far, as a Co-President of the UVic SOS chapter. Konrad has always been enthusiastic as expanding UVic SOS as a chapter and branching out to try new things.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

To be honest, this is a very difficult question and I do not think I can narrow my list down to one person for all contexts, but if I had to choose based on what I currently want to learn more about, I would pick David Goggins. His perseverance and grit, shown by his life story, is something to strive for. I would love to pick his mind to learn about what makes him tick.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I really enjoy research, volunteering, powerlifting, reading, hiking, and spending time with family and friends! 🙂

Dominique Baillargeon

Dominique Baillargeon

International Development Lead
PROGRAM:

University of Windsor Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Graduated in 2020

COACHING CLUSTER:

International Development

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

Personally, I feel my SOS experience was most rewarding when I volunteered on an SOS Outreach Trip to Las Arrugas, Guatemala! I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture of the community, build meaningful relationships, and create memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. It was truly a once in a life time experience that I would highly recommend to anyone that is interested!

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Dominique held the role of Exam-Aid Instructor for two nursing courses in her second and third year of university and was the SOS Trip Leader on her Outreach Trip to Guatemala in August of 2019. In her 4th year, Dominique held the role of VP of International Development and was selected as one of the National Student Ambassadors during the SOS 2019-2020 award ceremony.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

I would have dinner with Greta Thunberg so we could discuss today’s environmental issues and our planet! I’ve always been very passionate about environmental activism and would be able to learn a lot from her. 🙂

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to run, travel, hangout with friends, and binge watch Netflix shows!

Karyssa Hamann

Karyssa Hamann

International Development Lead
PROGRAM:

Medicine, 1st year

COACHING CLUSTER:

International Development

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

“SOS has been one of the highlights of my university career. The model not only allowed me to make a difference on my own campus, but also pushed me beyond my own environment, allowing me to make an international impact. SOS has been a huge part of my own personal growth and enrichment and I continue to give back in order to elevate this experience for the leaders to come.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

2 years as VPID, 1 year as chapter president at Laurentian, EAI for PSYC 1105, trip leader in the May 2019 trip to Santa Apolonia, Guatemala, part of the national advisory board now. Outside of SOS – attending medical school at McMaster as of August!

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

Jesus, so I could hear the stories firsthand!

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

Gym, piano, hiking, yoga

Brian To

Brian To

Finance Lead
PROGRAM:

University of Ottawa, Accounting, Recent Graduate (June 2020)

COACHING CLUSTER:

Finance

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

I was inspired to be part of SOS because of its entrepreneurial initiative in making a meaningful world impact in education; not just helping post-secondary students in Canada, but also helping communities elsewhere such as Latin America through Global Impact Fund projects. Even today, there are still many communities who do not have the infrastructure and access to quality education. Education is such a fundamental part of our growth and our future. SOS inspires students to become leaders of tomorrow and break down barriers to education. I want to be a leader and giveback to those who may not have been as fortunate as I am to quality education.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Brian held the role of VP Finance (for the uOttawa Chapter) for two years. Being the only commerce student on the executive team, he has provided the team with valuable inputs and ideas from a business perspective to improve the chapter’s operations and presence on campus. His prior experience taking on executive roles in event planning and finance, as well as his advanced proficiency in Excel, has allowed him to implement a unique financial process that ensures better transparency, accuracy, and completeness of the chapter’s financial performance. Even though Brian has graduated from university, he continues to be involved with SOS.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

If I could have dinner with any person, it would be Jack Ma, the co-founder and former executive chairperson of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. He is the definition of perseverance. No matter how many challenges and failures he faced and how many people doubted his abilities, he never gave up. His determination and willingness to experiment is what led him to success. I have learned a lot about him from reading articles to watching his keynote speeches. It would be an honour to meet him in person and get to know him on a personal level.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

Hanging out with friends, Volunteering in my community, Going on foodie adventures (exploring new food places, immersing myself in a new culture, taking food pictures, writing food reviews), Learning new languages, Travelling and Road Trips

Katerini Hatziantonis

Katerini Hatziantonis

Finance Lead
PROGRAM:

U of T, mathematics, graduated 2009

COACHING CLUSTER:

Finance

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

I felt my SOS experience was most impactful when I attended a meeting with my fellow VPs and saw a slideshow of the work achieved in a recent outreach trip to Guatamala. I was able to see actual university students accomplishing actual tangible change in developing communities. What struck me most was that these educational endeavours are sustainable and work with the local community to increase the local economy.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

While Katerini held the role of VP of Finance, she never hesitated to lend support to her other VPs when in need. She acted as a spokesperson and spread the word of SOS across campus when attending events held by other groups and succeeded in recruiting some students.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. I find his one-hour radio talk show, StarTalk, both engaging and entertaining. He has the ability to discuss complex ideas in very simple terms. Great speaker.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to craft, crochet, button making, graphic design, and eat spicy food.

Vidhi Trivedi

Vidhi Trivedi

Nick Philbin

Nick Philbin

Jayden Robins

Jayden Robins

Alumni Engagement Coordinator
Education:

Wilfrid Laurier University, Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing Concentration

Favourite Quote:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever” – Mahatma Gandhi

Extra Curricular Activities:

Hiking, Spontaneous Adventures, Watching Reality TV

 

 

Local Partners in Guatemala

Isabela Toma Zacarias

Isabela Toma Zacarias

Program Officers, Guate Groundswell
Education:

Bachelor of Business Administration, Mariano Gálvez University of Guatemala.

Favourite Quote:

“”If you can dream it, then you can achieve it”  – Zig Ziglar

Extra Curricular Activities:

Walk and contemplate the beauty of nature

 

Noé Caal

Noé Caal

Program Officers, Guate Groundswell
Education:

Natural Resources Technician, Fox Valley Technical College, USA.

Favourite Quote:

“We all leave footprints as we journey through life – make sure yours are worth following”-Bob Teague

Extra Curricular Activities:

Extracurricular activities: Playing soccer and mountain biking