ICA Leadership Team

Jean McRae
Chief Executive Officer, B.A., C.P.Ed, M.B.A.

I serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) and have been working in the immigrant and refugee services sector since 1982, inclusive of three years working with refugees in Central America and in this capacity since 1998.

In my role at ICA, I led the teams that mounted two very popular local arts festivals, ICA Folkfest and Luminara, and was the local lead in Operation Syria in partnership with Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which brought government and privately sponsored Syrian refugees to our community.

I am sector Co-Chair for Pathways to Prosperity, past-president of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA) and represent AMSSA on the National Settlement Council (NSC), the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA).

My experience includes co-chairing the Western Region Working Group and serving on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Council for Refugees, the University of Victoria’s Institute for Community University Engagement Council, as co-chair of the National Working Group on the Attraction and Retention of Immigrants and Refugees to Smaller Communities, and the Advisory Council for Royal Roads University’s School of Communication and Culture.

Winnie Lee
Director of Operations

As the Director of Operations at ICA, I am responsible for the operations of all newcomer client services, program budgeting as well as managing contractual agreements with Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada and providing managerial support to senior staff.

I have had the pleasure of working at ICA since 1997 and my role has varied from frontline work with clients and volunteers, to program design and implementation of services. My family’s personal immigration experience is what attracted me to work in this field more than 20 years ago. My parents did not have the opportunity to benefit from settlement services, LINC classes, or employment support. It is important to me to help ensure all immigrants and refugees arriving to Canada can take full advantage of available services they are entitled to and have the best possible support.

Myung Lee
Acting Director of Impact and Innovation

Having the role of Acting Director at ICA, my responsibility is leading the Community Engagement, Impact, and Innovation team. I oversee community development, communication, fundraising and community engagement which includes the Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership (GVLIP) program, and Arts & Equity related programs.

I joined ICA in the middle of July 2021. Prior to this role, I worked at various nonprofit and for-profit organizations in areas of PR/Communications and marketing, community engagement, program management, and board governance for more than 20 years.

As a first-generation immigrant, my experiences have helped me embrace challenges as learning opportunities and tackle issues critically and creatively.

While working at ICA, I would love to see more mutual exchange between immigrants and non-immigrants through the programs and opportunities that ICA runs and cultivates every day. I believe that empathy and understanding help create a better society for all.

Elie Kozma
Immigrant & Refugee Services Manager

As the Immigrant and Refugee Services Manager at ICA I oversee all settlement services programs including our Settlement Workers in Schools program that serves School Districts 61, 62 and 63.

Growing up in Canada as a son of a forcibly displaced family has shaped who I am today. I am a first generation Lebanese Canadian, and I thrive in environments working with diverse people. I have witnessed a lot of misunderstanding around cultural differences and colonization of indigenous people lands in Canada. This is part of the reason why I am at ICA, contributing to a holistic shift in our communities through ICA’s programming and services that help combat systemic inequalities. My education is as a social scientist with a focus on human/cultural geography and city planning in conjunction with public administration. I joined ICA in 2012 as the Employment Services Coordinator. I also worked with ICA’s Folkfest production team and moved into management for the RAP program in 2016, eventually managing settlement and the SWIS programs.

Elaine van Niekerk
Administration/HR Manager

As the Administration and HR Manager at ICA, my role is to work in partnership with the leadership team to develop HR strategies while administering best practices that align with ICA’s values, mission, and vision. I also serve as Administration Manager, overseeing ICA office operations to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

My career at ICA started in 2013 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant, and since that time, my areas of expertise have expanded to include  accreditation consultation, office management, labour relations, organizational development, workforce engagement, compliance management, health and safety, and policy development. ICA is committed to cultural diversity and as such, it is very rewarding to employ and work with culturally diverse individuals from all over the world, as I myself immigrated to Canada from South Africa in 1997.

Todd Kitzler
Language Services Manager

As the Language Services Manager at ICA, my role is to plan, implement and oversee the language training component of the settlement services programming at ICA.

I started teaching EAL overseas in 1986 and have been working at ICA since 1993. During my time with ICA, I have worked as a LINC Instructor, Head Language Instructor and Language Services Manager. After I started teaching English at ICA, I quickly realized that helping newcomers adjust to living in Canada is very important work. ICA teaches newcomers the practical language tools needed, as well as information about local people, cultures, government and employment to help them and their families thrive in Victoria.

Ai Sakamoto
Employment Services Manager

As the Employment Services Manager at ICA, my role is to oversee all of our employment support workshops and programs including the WorkBC contract, Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants and the Game Changer youth skills and employment program.

Like many other newcomers, I had a many challenges working through the settlement process when I immigrated from Japan to Canada in 2006. ICA supported me with Settlement Services and gave me help and guidance with how to improve my English language skills and navigate effectively through the job search market when I faced difficulties finding employment here, in spite of having over 10 years of work experience–including a degree from Hiroshima University–there was no recognition of my credentials. As a former client, I know first-hand that ICA provides a much needed service for immigrants and refugees in Victoria and that is why I truly enjoy my role helping clients integrate into society through our services.

Quinton Gordon
Manager – Strategic Engagement

As the Manager of Strategic Engagement at ICA, my role is to develop, implement and oversee ICA’s communications strategies across all departments, including our client and community services.

My background includes working internationally in Costa Rica, New Zealand and the UK, for more than 25 years, helping tell the stories and share the impact of organizations in social, cultural and environmental sectors. Joining ICA’s leadership team in 2018 offered me the opportunity to focus my efforts on ICA’s mission–to support newcomers in Greater Victoria, while working alongside the community to address issues of racism and build a strong community that celebrates our diversity and provides the opportunity for us all to thrive–means I spend each day working towards values that I believe in.

Paulina Grainger
Manager of Arts, Equity and Community Engagement

As the Manager of Arts and Community Engagement at ICA, my role is to develop and implement community based programs that support greater cultural competencies through anti-racism training programs like Tools for Equity as well as other community and arts engagement programs focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.

I joined ICA in 2012 and as a Black, immigrant woman of colour, with a deep connection to community and broad knowledge of the many systemic barriers faced by refugees and newcomers to Canada continuously informs my work. I use an innovative approach of art-based practices to explore critical social issues around equity, justice, diversity and inclusion, for which I was honoured to receive the BC Multiculturalism Award in 2016. My background includes experience as a community organizer, activist, arts administrator, actor, general manager of PUENTE Theatre, storyteller and TV and radio producer for International Advertising Agencies in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Sabine Lehr
PSR Manager

As the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager at ICA, my role is to implement ICA’s Sponsorship Agreement with the Government of Canada that began in 2015 and coordinate the sponsorship groups that support refugees coming to Greater Victoria under the PSR program.

I joined ICA’s leadership team in 2012 and have held various positions , including Settlement Manager, until I was offered the opportunity to lead the refugee sponsorship program – a cause that I am passionate about.  My experience welcoming immigrants and refugees to Greater Victoria and the resettlement of refugees through citizen sponsorship at the local, national, and–at times–international levels. I am honoured to work alongside amazing people in our community to bring some of the world’s most vulnerable people to safety. Seeing resettled refugees in Victoria not just survive, but thrive, and give back to their new community has been a deeply humbling experience.

Aly Essa
RAP Manager

As the Resettlement Assistance Manager at ICA, my role is to oversee the Government Assisted Refugee Resettlement program providing services to the individuals and families arriving in Greater Victoria under a one year refugee sponsorship with the Canadian government. My team and I work to help find housing, medical support and employment.

My career at ICA started as an educator, running workshops and trainings covering a range of topics. After transitioning to ICA’s Housing Coordinator, I joined ICA’s leadership team. This role aligned with my passion to integrate newcomers and build diversity in the community I love and grew up in. As a Victorian and a local business owner for more than 25 years, I care deeply about ICA’s values of inclusion, education and partnership.

Alkarim Versi
Finance Manager

As the Finance Manager at ICA, my role is to provide specialized support to ensure the financial health of ICA. I bring more than 16 years of broad experience in the international, not-for-profit sector in areas of program and financial management, strategic planning, board governance advisory, training and facilitation, and key stakeholder dialogue.

With diverse work experiences in over 20 countries in Africa, Europe and Canada, I am excited to join the ICA leadership team. I believe in the organization’s mission, its inclusive and rights-based approach to building a strong community, as well as its strong advocacy in anti-racism, multiculturalism, diversity awareness and human rights. This work resonates deeply with my sense of passion and drive.

Community Partnership Network (CPN)

The Community Partnership Network (CPN) is a group of more than 300 local agencies, businesses, and institutions committed to building diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities in Greater Victoria.

Immigrant Welcome Centre

From housing and education to employment services, ICA’s Settlement Services team can help newcomers navigate and connect with important resources and support.

Board Bios

ICA board members bring a wealth of diverse skills, experience and community leadership to the governance of the organization. Each is personally committed to the work of building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community that supports newcomer immigrants and refugees throughout the Capital Region.