Our Team

Mohamed Bagha

Managing Director

Mohamed has been leading the Saint John Newcomers Centre as the managing director since October of 2013. He brings a wealth of professional experience and proven leadership from his previous roles in economic development and management. That includes building an immigrant-serving agency from the ground up. 

Mohamed has experienced the realities of being a newcomer in this region. He is very proud to be leading a settlement agency that helps newcomers and immigrants thrive and succeed in Saint John.

He has a Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Economic Development from the University of New Brunswick. Mohamed’s work in economic development has been recognized across Southern New Brunswick and has been implemented by various municipal governments in the region.

Services offered in: Hindi, Swahili, and English

Lina Gharbiya

Anglophone Newcomer Settlement Lead

Lina Gharbiya has worked with newcomers for more than 20 years. She first came to Canada from the Middle East in the early 1990’s, to live in Halifax. She moved to Saint John soon after to attend the University of New Brunswick. Lina studied data analysis and business and then went on to work as a tax analyst for a decade. Always believing in power of community, Lina volunteered her time in the school system, community centres and hospitals. She has four lovely children, with the youngest in high school.

Lina believes working at the Newcomers Centre is a great way to feed her passion for helping newcomers. She feels the Centre’s workshops, training sessions and public events are a great way to help newcomers settle into a new life in the Saint John area.

Services offered in: Arabic and English


Samah El Maghlawy

Newcomer Employment Support Lead

Samah is an Egyptian Canadian and an international expert in marketing and communications. She also has experience in consumer behaviour, soft skills training, entrepreneurship, and market research. After completing her MBA at UNB Saint John, Samah developed a passion for teaching. For the past many 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 moved to Saint John, Samah has been an active volunteer in the community. She believes that newcomers bring unique experiences and significant value to the city.

Services offered in: Arabic and English


Nissrine Niazi

Newcomer Settlement Lead Advisor - Francophone team

Nissrine is originally from Morocco where she completed her first bachelor degree of art in Mohamed V univeristy before going for a new adventure in Brussels Belgium, where she started a second bachelor degree and then masters in didactic studies in the ULB university.  Engaged by her Master's degree teachers, Nissrine was part of several university projects including scientific researches, conferences, literature evenings.. among others. During this active experience, Nissrine developped a taste for multiculturalism and diversity. She came to Canada to join her husband in 2017, Nissrine worked for the Francophone south school district before joining the Saint John Newcomers Centre as the Francophone team Lead, Nissrine is excited about her new journey within the Saint John newcomers Centre : "I am excited and honoured to join the SJNC and be part of the team that has  developed consiousness about newcomers and multiculturalism in the Greater Saint John area" she declares.

 Services offered in: French, English, and Arabic

Edris Bernard

Assistant Settlement Advisor Bilingual

Edris came to Saint John in 2014, after moving to the city from Campbellton, New Brunswick, to be closer to family.  She began volunteering at the Saint John Newcomers Centre in 2019, after being introduced to the organization. She began working at the Centre a few months later.

Always known as a people person, Edris is the first contact at the Centre for newcomer families. She has several roles, such as administering the Volunteer Program and language classes in English and French.  It is a job that fits her outgoing personality.

A life-long learner, Edris knows how important diversity is to the future growth of Saint John and enjoys helping newcomers find the resources they need in the community.

Services offered : in English and French

Doaa Higazy

Anglophone and Allophone Newcomer Settlement Advisor

Doaa Higazy was born in Egypt. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Arts, combining a range of subjects from Arts and Culture to Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Psychology.

Doaa moved to Saint John with her family in September 2017 where her son studied Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. Her daughter and son attend the public school system. The whole family has fallen in love with Saint John, and are very happy to call it home.

Before joining our team, Doaa was active in the community. She volunteered at the YMCA, Prude Inc. and the Saint John Newcomers Centre as well, working as an interpreter and an English language instructor for kids.

Doaa was attracted to working at the Centre, because she loves helping people and believes she can make a positive difference in the lives of newcomers.

Services offered in: Arabic and English


Siham Ouahhabi

Francophone Settlement advisor

Siham is originally from Morocco, where she was born and raised. She studied Computer Science.
She has worked for 15 years as a sales specialist and has a considerable experience in customer service. Siham Moved with her family to Canada in July 2022 for many reasons. One of them, Canada has a diverse multi–cultural population.
As a newcomer, she knows the obstacles and difficulties newcomers must overcome to succeed in their settlement. Siham is pleased to help people, so she joined us as a volunteer to add more value. She officially joined our Team on January 2023 to share her experience and help newcomers to succeed in their settlement.

Services offered in : English, Arabic, and French

Yue Han (Tavia)

Pre-Employment Advisor

When Tavia came to Saint John from China in 2016, she was impressed by the community’s culture of friendliness and tolerance.  Graduating from the UNB Saint John with a MBA, she has learned how to be a critical thinker, analyze problems and have an understanding of human resources management. A previous degree in journalism and broadcasting helped her learn how to become an excellent communicator and create engaging content.

Tavia enjoys meeting people from different backgrounds and enjoys learning from them all. As the pre-employment advisor at the Newcomers Centre.  Tavia knows what kind of challenges newcomers face when moving to a new country. She uses her knowledge and experience to provide suggestions to newcomers that will help them integrate smoothly into the Canadian work environment.

Services offered in: English and Mandarin


Béatrice Vermaut

Newcomer Settlement Advisor in Francophone Schools

Beatrice and her family settled in Saint John in 2017. Originally from France, she studied law and worked in the French education system, creating and evaluating learning programs for handicapped children. She also helped create working groups that studied the academic and social learning of students in French schools.

When Béatrice and her family settled in this city, it fulfilled her husband's dream of living in Canada. It Inevitably led her family to fall in love with Saint John. 

Béatrice went on to working with families in many areas of early childhood education. It also led her to work with educators, the school system, social services, and medical professionals. At the Saint John Newcomers Centre, she uses her experience to help the children of newcomer families flourish in the Francophone school system. 

Services offered in: French


Cecilia Que

Office Administrator

Cecilia Que is originally from China.  That is where she worked for six years as an office administrator for two large companies, one of which was the Sheraton Hotel. She graduated from UNB Saint John with an MBA in 2019.

Cecilia was first introduced to the Saint John Newcomers Centre as a UNB student. She is excited to work for the Centre because she believes its programs can help newcomers develop a sense of belonging in the community and boost immigration to Saint John.

Services offered in : English and Mandarin

Sochi Azuh

Communication Specialist

Sochi Azuh is originally from Lagos, Nigeria.  He has worked as a marketing and communications specialist across various industries including advertising, financial services, and non-profit.

He is a multi-disciplinary storyteller with a wealth of experience in communications and marketing. He is excited to work for the Centre because he believes its programs can help newcomers develop a sense of belonging in the community.

Services offered in : English

Zara Larionova

Anglophone Settlement Advisor

My name is Zara Larionova, and I am a Settlement Advisor at the Saint John Newcomers Centre. I was born in Armenia but grew up and live in Ukraine my whole life, until 6 months ago my family and I moved to Canada. Before that, I worked as a journalist and a video producer for almost 10 years. I can speak 4 languages and currently learning another one, pretty good at singing but never do it in public, I like cooking noodles and always keep my hands busy with knitting. 

Services offered in: English, Ukrainian, Russian & Armenian

Hiba Hachicha

Allophone Newcomer Settlement Advisor

Hiba is originally from Tunisia. She graduated with a Multimedia and Web Technologies degree. She has seven years of sales and marketing experience, as well as customer service. She has moved to Canada since her marriage.

Hiba moved to Saint John with her husband in Jun 2022. After a couple of months of being our dedicated volunteer, she started working at SJNC in August. She enjoys helping new arrivals find their own way and encouraging them to be independent.

Services offered in: Arabic, French, and English

Hanna Tkachenko

Newcomers Settlement Advisor Assistant

Hanna came to Saint John from Ukraine in 2022 with her family. She gets to know the Newcomers Centre through the SJNC's volunteering program. Today, Hanna is a Settlement Advisor Assistant, working directly with Zara to help serve newcomers for their smooth settlement in Greater Saint John communityShe appreciates teamwork and the opportunity to provide the best service possible to newcomers clients. Her secret weapon to remain calm is practicing yoga


Olga Tyshchenko

Pre-employment Advisor

Olga is a Pre-employment advisor for Jump Start 2023 Program. Her role is to help newcomers get connected and establish a professional network in Saint John. She has 17 years of experience in a customer service in General Aviation. Being an experienced traveller, she has visited 58 countries all over the world. Her passion is hiking, mountaineering, travelling and Arts.

She believes that her skills and experiences allow her to provide a reliable support for newcomers with overcoming the challenges of integration into the local job market.

Services offered in: English

Leonardo Gamarano

Pre-employment Profiling Advisor

My name is Leonardo Gamarano, and I am a Pre-Employment Profiling Advisor at Saint John Newcomers Centre. I was born in Brazil and 6 months ago my family and I moved to Canada. I have 12 years of administrative management as well as commercial manager and customer service. .I graduated with a degree in accounting. I like barbecuing, camping, soccer and read.

I was first introduce to Saint John Newcomers Centre as a Client several months before coming to Saint John and I know the great support and service we do here, and now I am able to provide this same service helping newcomers with Pre-Employment services. I enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and enjoy learning from them all.

Services offered in : Portuguese and English


Saint John Newcomers Centre: 75 Prince William Street, Suite 100, 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.