Our Team

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

(B.Ed, M.Ed.)

I established Altered Minds Inc. as a non-profit company in 2005. It was a way to bring my diverse experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, language assessor, program developer, global nomad, and lover of cultures and languages together under one roof.

I chose the name “Altered Minds” because learning is a transformative process. When we travel or meet people from around the world and listen to their stories, we change. We become more open-minded, more caring and respectful.

Someone asked me recently, “What inspires you about your work?” My staff inspires me. Every day, when we share lunch or I hear laughter coming from one of the classrooms, I see how much my employees care about each other and about the participants in our programs.

JacquelineJacqueline 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.

   Jena Mae    Deferia-Vasquez, LEE Program Coordinator

(Certificate in Teaching ESL, Bachelors of Arts Major in Linguistics, Diploma in Teaching)

Just a little background of myself. In 2005, right after I graduated from the University I was fortunate to get a teaching position in an international school in the Philippines. I enjoyed the job so much, this was where my passion in teaching grow. Four years after, I was offered a job to teach English to High School in Thailand. This experience definitely shaped my career as a teacher.

I came to Canada in November, 2014. In 2016 after I got my Certificate in Teaching ESL from the University of Winnipeg I got employed in two institutions. Presently, I work as an ESL Instructor in the evening and as the Program Coordinator at Altered Minds, Living English for Employment during the day. I am an immigrant myself that’s why I am passionate about helping newcomers. Integrating to a new country is no joke, hardship and challenges are real. Thankfully, there are organizations such as Altered Minds that welcome and support newcomers through their programs.

I have been working with newcomers since 2016. Working at Altered Minds didn’t only provide me an opportunity to grow my career but it also helped me realize the essential matters of life like caring and serving others. This may sound like a cliché but this what keeps me motivated every single day I go to work. Thanks to all the wonderful people at Altered Minds, particularly to every newcomer/student I met.

My favorite lines: Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous or friendly…lead the way! -Maraboli

Linda Eibner,

LEE Curriculum Coordinator

My name is Linda Eibner.  I am currently working in the LEE Summer 2020 program at Altered Minds.  I have worked in several university and college preparatory programs, university credit programs, and technician language training and teacher training for the petrochemical industry.

 

 

 

 

Merehaw Zerie,

LEE and C4L Computer Skills Instructor

“I first started working with Altered minds Inc. as an interpreter back in 2015. I speak English, Tigrigna, and Arabic. In 2017 I became a certified Interpreter (English-Arabic-English). I loved my job because I saw the benefits it provided for newcomers. Throughout my time with Altered minds Inc. I have held several other positions. I have worked as an Educational Assistant with Living English for Employment (LEE) and now as a computer skills instructor with Computers for Life (C4L).

Currently, I am working towards a Computer Science degree at the University of Winnipeg; however, I am always humbled whenever I discover that I don’t know the answer to a student’s question. It drives me to grow and learn, for my own sake and for the sake of my students. I am proud to be a member of a team with a mission to support and empower others to overcome and improve.”

 

Martin portrait from Kirby

Martin Blumrich, Cultural Communications & Soft Skills Facilitator

(MA, M.Div.)

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.

 

Parmdeep Kaur Saini, Administrative Assistant

(B.A, B.Ed.)

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.

 

 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.

 

Milagros Dacwag,
Intake Counsellor

(BSW, RSW)

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.

 

Yulia Savchuk,
Job Search Strategies Facilitator

(MA, CTESL)

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”.

 

 
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