Our Team

Mohamed Bagha

Managing Director

Mohamed was asked to lead the Saint John Newcomers Centre in October of 2013. He brings a wealth of professional experience and proven leadership from his previous roles in economic development and management, including building an immigrant-serving agency from the get-go. Mohamed has experienced himself what being a newcomer is like and he is grateful for leading a cause that makes it easier for newcomers and immigrants to thrive and succeed in Saint John. He has a Master of Interdisciplinary Degree focusing on Economic Development from the University of New Brunswick. His works have been adopted for implementation by various municipal governments in the region, and he has been commissioned to do consulting work in Economic Development across Southern New Brunswick.


Samah El Maghlawy

Coordinator for Syrian project

Samah is an Egyptian Canadian international expert in marketing and communications. She also has experience in consumer behaviour, entrepreneurship, and market research. After completing her MBA at UNB Saint John, Samah has developed a passion for teaching. For the past three years, she has been teaching part-time at the UNB's faculty of business. Samah is an advocate of active learning, and of making knowledge relevant to the real world. The topic of her MBA research was Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Intentions and Motivations. Samah is keen to pursue further studies to help newcomers in Saint John.

Since she had moved to Saint John with her husband and two children, Samah has been an active volunteer in the community. She believes that newcomers bring unique experiences and significant value to the city.


Lina Gharbiya

Coordinator for Syrian project

Lina Gharbiya moved to Saint John from Halifax in 1994 to enroll for her studies at the University of New Brunswick. She has been involved with the newcomers for the past twenty years, guiding them through and helping them settle in. Lina studied Data Analysis with a minor in Business at the UNBSJ, and worked in taxes as a Quality Controller for over ten years. She teaches Arabic at the UNB’s Leisure Learning courses for adults. For the past fifteen years, Lina volunteered at various schools, community centres and hospitals. She has four wonderful children, the older two are in UNBF and UNBSJ and the other two keep her busy all the time with their non-stop activities.

Lina believes that working at the Newcomers Centre is the perfect way to develop her passion for helping, guiding and supporting newcomers. She also believes the Centre's workshops, sessions and events to be the best platform for newcomers to make connections in the Greater Saint John area.


Cong Shen

Office Administrator

Cong Shen is originally from China. He graduated from UNBSJ Business Administration program in 2015 with a major in Accounting, and joined the Newcomers Centre team in 2016. Cong is very happy to be helping the newcomers to Saint John. Having a similar background and experience, he can understand the Centre's clients better and thus provide better service to them. Cong is the first point of contact for many newcomers who visit the Saint John Newcomers Centre for the first time. He is responsible for making sure the office is organised and runs smoothly. Cong provides general front line, administrative, technical and clerical support. He maintains an efficient financial accounting system, including payroll, budgeting, account payables and account receivables. He does the bookkeeping and manages many other administrative tasks on-site as well as off-site.


William Tarr

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project Officer

William is the go-to person at the Newcomers Centre for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot project. He provides support to designated employers, helping them settle their newly hired foreign skilled staff coming to Saint John and developing settlement plans for employees that are already in Canada.

William moved to Saint John in the summer of 2011 to join his family, and today he is very proud to call Saint John his home. Himself a newcomer, William brings to our team a wealth of experience not only from his successful settlement in Saint John, but also from working within the settlement sector for the past three years. He is very passionate about making Saint John an inclusive community welcoming people from all around the world and from all walks of life.

Apart from helping newcomers to get a good start in their new community, William enjoys speaking on issues pertaining to immigration, refugees and cultural competency. William holds a joint M.Sc. degree in Regional Development Planning & Management from the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany) and the University of Philippine Diliman (Philippines).


Guy Verna

Event Coordinator & Volunteer Engagement Officer

Guy is originally from Haiti. He moved to Montreal in 1976 to study there, and then moved to Saint John with his son in 2011 to start a new chapter of life yet again. Guy joined the Saint John Newcomers Centre team first in 2012, and later – following a brief departure – again in 2016. He leads the organisation of our many events, and coordinates our francophone volunteers. Guy is the driving force behind our francophone summer camps, Coup de Pouce programme (help with the school homework) and various sports activities for newcomer kids. Guy is passionate about sports in general, and soccer in particular – he is a certified soccer coach, referee instructor and a former national referee.


Emmanuelle Wingfield

Francophone Settlement Agent

Emmanuelle was born and grew up in France, in Flanders - a region north of Paris, at the Belgian border. After obtaining a Master’s degree from the Lille School of Chemistry, Emmanuelle went to Southampton University in the UK to work on her doctorate. She then spent a year in Japan, working in the field of Applied Material Sciences for Matsushita and Yuasa corporations. After receiving her PhD, Emmanuelle joined the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris where she worked with Alcatel developing technologies for energy devices. Later, Emmanuelle returned to Lille and worked as a Science Teacher at High and Middle schools.

Emmanuelle’s husband is a founder of Bicom Systems - a company producing communication solutions, with offices in France, Bosnia, the UK and the USA. Three years ago they opened an office in Saint John. After visiting the city, Emmanuelle fell in love with the place, and in summer 2017 she moved here with her husband and two kids.


Vаlеntіn Воіnіtskі

Communications Specialist

Valentin started as Communications Specialist with the Newcomers Centre in July 2017. A recent newcomer to Saint John, he has over 20 years of successful marketing, communications and reputation management experience in the international environment. Valentin's professional background includes marketing agencies, non-profits and businesses across a number of segments: IT & telecom, consumer goods, beverages. He has a Master’s degree in Humanities and a professional certification by the British Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

Saint John Newcomers Centre: 165 Union Street, tel. +1.506.642.4242, email welcome@sjnewcomers.ca. Find us on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our newsletter. Check out our events.