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Who We Are

Our Board of Directors provides skills and expertise that are vital to the governance of Global Gathering Place. We are grateful to each board member for their contributions. To apply to join our board, please fill out the online form here.

Lorelei Nickel Board Chair

Lorelei Nickel, Board Chair

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Lorelei is a lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Saskatchewan where she focuses on the area of ethics and strategic decision making. In March of 2017, she and her husband returned to Saskatoon after spending eighteen months working with a humanitarian organization in Southeast Asia.

Prior to completing her MBA with a specialization in leadership from Royal Roads University, Lorelei worked as an Occupational Therapist for seventeen years in the healthcare, corrections, and education sectors. Since 2007, she has fulfilled various corporate roles as well as operating her own leadership consulting and coaching practice where she has worked with a wide variety of clients locally, nationally, and internationally. Lorelei’s journey to date has provided her with the opportunity to inspire and influence leaders of all ages – from the university classroom, to the corporate boardrooms of North America, to the jungle villages of Myanmar. She is honoured and excited to serve on the GGP board.

Alan Anderson, Board Member

Alan Anderson, Board Vice-Chair

During the past several years, Alan has volunteered at Global Gathering Place as a regular participant in the weekly ‘Coffee and Conversation’ sessions, as a personal mentor to clients wishing to improve their writing skills, and as an assistant on various excursions. A retired sociology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, he taught a course on immigration and refugee policy and long chaired the International Studies Program.

His extensive international experience has influenced his longstanding commitment to immigrants and refugees. He continues to be affiliated with the Saskatoon Refugee Coalition, Saskatoon Open Door Society, Amnesty International, and Canadian International Council.

Joanne Khan, Board Secretary

Joanne Khan is the Legal Director of the Saskatoon Rural Office with Legal Aid Saskatchewan located in Saskatoon. She has been with Legal Aid for 12 years and serves clients who need legal assistance with criminal and family law matters. Joanne enjoys working with her clients; many of whom are newcomers to Canada.

Before working at Legal Aid Saskatchewan, Joanne worked with private firms in Saskatoon, and at Saskatchewan Legal Education Society Inc. (SKLESI) to developing legal education seminars. She also represented claimants who attended residential schools in Canada.

Prior to becoming a lawyer Joanne was an elementary teacher. She taught music, special education and kindergarten in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario. In 1994 she moved to Saskatchewan where her parents and siblings lived and went back to school where she got her Arts and Law degrees.

Joanne has previously volunteered with Interval House, and served as a board member with the Elizabeth Fry Society and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, an employee assistance program for lawyers and their families. She has always been interested in newcomers to Canada, particularly since her father and many other relatives came to Canada from Guyana.

Joanne is married to a wonderful professor of pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan and has two awesome adult children, one in Saskatoon and one in Montreal.

Joanne loves to spend time with her family and friends, reading, walking, travelling when she can, and gardening. She is very happy to be on the Board of Directors for Global Gathering Place.

Darlene Cooper, Board Treasurer

Darlene finds herself back to serve on the board of GGP after a two-year hiatus.  She has been working closely with newcomers in her professional role as an Employment Consultant and witnesses the sheer gift and magnitude of the talents, skills and contributions newcomers bring to our city and community.  Darlene believes that the invaluable services and programs GGP provides to facilitate their transition & settlement to our country cannot be overstated.  She looks forward to another term working with an exceptional management team and board to ensure GGP’s vision, mission, and mandate continues its great legacy of settlement in Saskatoon.

Janet Okoko, Board Member

Janet Okoko, Board Member

Janet Mola Okoko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. She came to Canada as a student and obtained her PhD from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Janet trained and worked as a teacher and as an education program officer for both government and non-governmental organizations in Eastern Africa.

Some of her experience includes working with foundations and relief organizations to enhance educational opportunities for minoritized populations, including refugees from war-affected countries. Her commitment to volunteer and scholarly work that supports culturally and linguistically diverse newcomers won her a nomination for the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction: Education in 2017.

Peiwen Kolosnjaji, Board Member

Peiwen was born and raised in China. She came to Saskatoon in 2013 and completed the business accountancy program at Sask Polytech in May 2015. She was a full-time employee and part-time student from May 2015 to September 2019 and earned the Chartered Professional Accountant designation in January 2020. Peiwen has been working for public accounting firm Buckberger Baerg & Partners LLP in Saskatoon for 6+ years. She loves numbers and finds a sense of accomplishment in helping her clients, both corporate and individual, to solve accounting and tax related issues. Outside of work, she loves cooking for family and friends, taking her dog for walks, hiking, biking, reading, and gardening. 

Suresh Kalagnanam, Board Member

Suresh is an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business.  His work at the university has provided the opportunity to collaborate with community organizations, understand issues pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness, and mentor students.  Originally from India, he came to Saskatoon 33 years ago.  Over the years, he has volunteered his time as a treasurer, educator, and mentor; he enjoys interacting with people.

Jordan Sokmeneglu, Board Member

Jordan was born in Saskatchewan and has lived and worked in various cities across the province. She has a diploma in Food and Nutrition Management and is currently working on a Business Certificate from the U of S.  Jordan first became interested in helping newcomers when she met her husband, who is an immigrant to Canada. Since meeting her husband, Jordan has learned about some of the struggles newcomers face and the importance of having community support.  She also works closely with newcomers in her job at Sask Polytech, where she teaches in the Food and Nutrition Management Program. Jordan feels privileged and thrilled to serve on the Board of Global Gathering Place.   

Dennis Vezeau, Board Member

Firstly, Dennis is a proud father of 6-year-old William and spouse to Kimberly. Professionally, Dennis is a CPA with 10 years accounting experience, including not-for-profit assurance and governance best practices. In addition to using his professional skills to help Global Gathering Place, Dennis is excited to meet and learn from his fellow board members.  Dennis believes in Global Gathering Place’s core values of respectfulness, dignity and diversity and looks forward to continuing the success of a very important community organization. 


• Belma Podrug, Executive Director
• Afton Tolley, Program Manager
• Azalea Barrieses, Language Services Manager