Our friendly, professional team of about 20 employees comes from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. We speak more than 15 languages, including Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Chokwe, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Lingala, Tigrinya, Mandarin, Punjabi, Russian, Sinhalese, Spanish and Tagalog.
Grace Eidse, Executive Director, Founder
I grew up in the village of Kamayala in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and completed high school in the congested capital city of Kinshasa. Every 4 years, my family came back to Manitoba for a furlough. I love languages and have learned many over the years, including German (at home), Chokwe, Kikongo, Lingala, French, Spanish, and a little Serbo-Croatian and Arabic. I am as comfortable living in a remote African village as I am living in a city of 10 million people.
My first job was teaching English in Africa. Back in Canada, I worked as a teacher, language assessor, teacher trainer, project manager, and educational consultant. I have worked with the Federal and Provincial government, and as an entrepreneur in the private sector. I finally found the perfect niche for my skills when I established Altered Minds Inc. as a not for profit company in 2005.
I believe that our lives are transformed when we meet people from around the world and listen to their stories. Understanding others and learning from their experiences opens our minds and makes us more empathetic, caring and respectful.
Someone asked me recently, “What inspires you about your work?” My staff inspires me. Every day I am amazed at how everyone on our team cares about each other and the individuals in our programs.
Jacqueline T. Salamisan, Financial Administrator
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, major in Accounting, and a Bachelor of Law degree. I worked as Project Accountant for USAID, CIDA and AUSAID. I also worked as Admin and Financial Officer in two International Non-Government Organisations – Leonard Cheshire International, Far Eastern Region Office, and Christian Blind Mission, CBR Office.
My motivational phrase of encouragement is “Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight.” You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive. Thanks to all the wonderful newcomers I’ve met at Entry Program for teaching me so much.
I’m an internationally trained IT Professional, certified by Microsoft since June 2012. I worked as a System & Network Administrator back home. I joined Altered Minds Inc. in February 2018 and love to work here. I speak English, Hindi and Punjabi and here I can hear different languages and accents. Altered Minds Inc. is everyday learning, joyful and positive point.
“A warm smile is the Universal language of kindness”
Hana Ditamo, Senior Administrative Assistant
(B.Sc. Computer Programming)
I am from Ethiopia and speak Amharic and English. I have traveled to Dubai, Nashville & Atlanta. I enjoy meeting people from different places in the world and learning about their cultures. As an immigrant myself, I also like to help newcomers in every way I can.
“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
Anita Sharma, Instructor
I am a passionate teacher with over 15 years of experience working with newcomers to Canada. I also worked as a Financial Advisor with CIBC bank for 7 years. In the early years of my professional life, I started off in retail management. The oddest position I held was managing a fitness centre. I am proud and happy to say that Entry Program has been the most rewarding and the best experience of my career. I have travelled to India, Mexico and the United States. I am fluent in English and Hindi and can speak a bit of French.
My favourite lines: “A smile speaks a thousand words in any language.” “If you are depressed you are living in the past; if you are anxious you are living in the future; if you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Martin Blumrich, Cultural Communications & Soft Skills Facilitator
One of my professional highlights was becoming Dean of Students at age 27 at a private post-secondary college. I have over four years’ experience helping newcomers prepare for employment success in Manitoba. I’ve lived in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and have travelled to Germany, Mexico, and Nicaragua. I am the child of refugees, and my parents had nothing when their families were relocated to southern Germany at the end of World War II. My family story is inspirational because it shows what can be achieved through a great plan and hard work.
Corrina Loewen, Instructor,
Curriculum & Teacher Training Coordinator
(Certificate in Teaching ESL, Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics/German, Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Education – EAL Teaching)
Without realizing it, I started my English teaching career as a volunteer in Chang Mai, Thailand many years ago. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to teach once I returned to Canada. I have taught a variety of language classes for newcomers and international students. Aside from teaching, my strengths include curriculum development, training other professionals in the field, and supporting new teachers. “Life as a teacher begins when you realize you’re always a learner”. Thanks to all the wonderful newcomers I’ve met at Entry Program for teaching me so much!
Stephanie Janisse Enns, Instructor
I received my B.A. in International Development Studies from the University of Winnipeg. I have traveled and volunteered all around the world in countries such as: Kenya, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and all across Europe. After volunteering and working with several newcomer agencies in Winnipeg, I realized my dream was to become an EAL teacher. In 2012 I completed the ESL Teacher Certificate Program and began my work. I joined Altered Minds in 2015. I love working with people from different cultural backgrounds and I feel privileged to work with an agency that provides the essential information and tools newcomers need to make Winnipeg their new home!
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind”
Tarek Aziz, Instructor
I got my BA in English Arts and Education in 1998. I have taught English as a second language for 18 years. Working as an EAL teacher was a life-long dream that was fulfilled when I started working for AMI / Entry Program. I lived in Egypt, but I had an opportunity to travel to England in 2006 on a scholarship. I speak English and Arabic. Know your skills, believe in yourself, set your goal and go hunting.
Monica Montalvo, Instructor
I came to Canada from Mexico in April 2013. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education, certification as a translator and interpreter (English-Spanish-English) and in TESL from Canada. I have been teaching children, teenagers and adults for 19 years now. The best experience from working with immigrants is being able to see how our students at Entry Program are not afraid anymore of starting a new life in a new country. Our program provides, not only the information they need to start, but also the confidence to accomplish their dreams. And this is our best reward.
Faith C. Ugwu, Administrative Assistant
(B.A Foreign Languages and Literary Studies – French)
I immigrated to Winnipeg from Nigeria in November, 2016, where I studied Foreign Languages and Literary studies, in my course of study served as the department’s Library Assistant, developing analytical, technological and interpersonal skills. As a linguist with years of experience in HR Administration (Bilingual), Procurement and Client services, I received my Bachelors of Arts at the University of Nigeria and a certification in Interpreting Practice at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. I joined Altered Minds Inc. as an Administrative Assistant in May, 2017 and what I really enjoy about working with the team are our purpose and values. I am an Arts & craft lover and in my free time I love to sew!
Marina Grinko, Instructor, Entry Program Online
Parmdeep Kaur Saini, Administrative Assistant
I grew up in India where I worked as a teacher for 2 years before moving to Spain. I lived in Spain for over 10 years. I worked there as a restaurant assistant manager, cashier and stock clerk. I speak Punjabi, Hindi, Spanish and English. I moved to Canada in 2014 and started working as a cashier and office clerk. In 2017 I joined Altered minds Inc. – it’s like a dream come true. I am a very proud member of this family. I love meeting new people from different backgrounds, with their stories to be told. I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn – I love it.
Rozit Haile, Administrative Assistant
(BSc, Major Psychology)
Like many immigrants, I moved with my family from Sudan in 2014 seeking a better life in Canada. I was born to Eritrean parents and lived my life as a refugee in Sudan. Hence, I speak Tigrigna and Arabic. I am currently studying General Science, majoring in Psychology at the University of Manitoba. I hope to be a Physician one day and work with Doctors without Borders.
My journey at Altered Minds Inc. as an administrative assistant, started in January 2017. I am very lucky that I am a part of this brilliant and friendly organization. I am always super excited to come to work, meet gorgeous people from around the world, do what I believe in the most, which is giving; giving a smile, a warm heart and compassion.
Celia Enns, Instructor
I have a background in Education (B.Ed.) and have taught at the Elementary and Adult levels. After teaching children in the public and private school systems, I worked with adults in basic Literacy for 3 years while living outside Canada. I have lived in Manitoba, Pennsylvania and Kentucky (USA) and travelled to countries in 4 continents: Africa, Europe, South America and North America. I’ve had the privilege to travel across Canada by car and train – east to west.
I have been teaching at Entry Program for 12 years. While at Entry Program, I have taught all levels, Foundations to High Beginner and worked as Teacher-Trainer. I am most grateful for the things I have learned from the people I have met here at Entry Program. People here have taught me about resilience and hope.
One of my passions is reading. A quote from one of my favourite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, reminds me of the importance of living with hope. “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
Harpreet Suri, Administrative Assistant
I am from New Delhi, India and speak English, Punjabi & Hindi. I completed a Professional Diploma of Secretarial Practice at the YMCA in Winnipeg. I travelled many places in the north & south of India, and to Alberta, Canada & Minneapolis, USA. Canada is a country where people of all nations, all languages, all backgrounds, all religions, and all races can make a home and enjoy the quality life.
Albina Bushueva, Coordinator & Instructor
(MA in Translation & Interpretation, Philology, Education & English Language and Literature; PhD in Linguistics)
I was born and grew up in the USSR, a huge country with diverse people and many cultures living together. When I lived in Russia, for 10 years I worked as a university professor and an administrator of the department. I loved my work and my country. When we moved to Canada, I worked as an instructor for the University of Manitoba and volunteered for the Immigrant Centre until I got a one of a kind position with Altered Minds Inc. I coordinate our interpreters: we have several hundreds of wonderful people in our database. I arrange for regular and special presentations with our many partner agencies and various organization in the community. I bring in resources and materials for our programs, and I teach a class.
The best part of my job is meeting people from all over the world and getting rich from their experience. When my young family of three came to Canada several years ago, we did not know a single person here and we had not been to Winnipeg before. Now, we have travelled all over Manitoba, Canada and the USA, we have met many great people and made some good friends. Canada has become our second home. I believe that we should keep on trying and doing our best in all the circumstances, we should trust ourselves and be open to other people’s support.
I am a Registered Social Worker with Manitoba College of Social Workers, and a member of the Canadian Association of Social Workers, Inc. Before coming to Winnipeg, I worked in the Philippines and Singapore as a Social Worker with the different sectors in the community. Prior to joining the SOPA team, I served as a Settlement Worker at the Salvation Army’s Barbara Mitchell Resource (Centre, assisting newcomers in the St. Vital area in Winnipeg. Today, I assist pre-arrival immigrants bound to Manitoba.
Job Search Strategies Facilitator
I am an expert in online teaching and curriculum design with 8 years’ experience in delivering language, settlement and employment-related courses online. I am currently enrolled in the Career and Academic Advising Certificate Program and am working towards a Career Development Practitioner (CDP) designation. Helping people achieve their life and career goals is something that I am very passionate about.
My favourite quote is “When life shuts a door, just open it again. That’s how doors work”.
Jena Mae Deferia, Instructor, Living English Program Coordinator
Breanne Fryza, Instructor, Living English Curriculum Coordinator