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Home > About TFO Canada > Our Team

About TFO Canada

Our Team

TFO Canada delivers its trade information, advice and contact services through a team of Canadian-based project professionals and a network of over 40 Associates from around the globe: experts in a wide range of trade-related activities, including sector-specialists for the Canadian import market, trade trainers, and product development and marketing advisors.

TFO Canada’s staff members (listed below) are located at our Ottawa headquarters and in regional offices in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. To contact a staff member by e-mail, please address it to info@tfocanada.ca and indicate the name of the staff member in the subject line.


Steve Tipman, Executive Director
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 31

Steve Tipman is the Executive Director of TFO Canada and leads the organization in fulfilling its mission of improving lives through international trade.  Leading the successful execution of TFO Canada’s strategic and business plans, Steve is responsible for overall administration, strategic management, and reporting to the Board of Directors. With over 20 years of experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Steve has spent much of his career working in the areas of international trade and development. He spent eight years working at Livingston International, a trade services company focused on customs brokerage and compliance. He also served as a Vice President with CARE Canada and President and CEO of Volunteer Canada.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals. Steve holds an International Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of Ottawa and is fluently bilingual in both French and English.

Mary Heather White, Program Director
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 28

Mary Heather White joined TFO Canada as the Program Director responsible for projects funded by Global Affairs Canada. Mary Heather leads TFO Canada’s Geographic and Trade Information Services teams with an aim to improve trade between small and medium exporters from developing countries and Canadian buyers. Mary Heather also oversees the TFO Canada – Tim Hortons Coffee Partnership Project, being implemented in Guatemala and Honduras, which aims to improve the lives of thousands of households in specific coffee growing regions in these countries.
Mary Heather brings more than 20 years of management experience in the development sector where she contributed to skills development and sustainable and inclusive livelihoods for women, men and youth. She has worked with numerous leading non-profits and in the higher education sector both in Canada and overseas and created synergies by building multi-stakeholder alliances and being a gender equality champion. Mary Heather has lived in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. She holds an MA in International Development from Norman Patterson School of International Affairs, Ottawa.

Mursalin Chowdhury, Finance Director
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 25

Mursalin Chowdhury as the Finance Director is responsible for financial management of the organization that includes financial systems, accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, and providing support to the Executive Director for organizational and business development. He oversees the overall accounting functions including tracking and reporting of activities against the financial objectives, and providing support to the project management team. Mursalin is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). He brings over 17 years of experience in the field of Finance and Accounting for both profit and non-profit sector.
He obtained a great deal of experience in International Development having worked for organizations like CARE, OXFAM and Transparency International Bangladesh Chapter, where he was their Director of Finance and Administration. Prior to joining TFO Canada, he worked with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) for four years. Mursalin holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and a Master of Commerce (MCom) in Accounting from the University of Dhaka, as well as a diploma in Professional Accounting and graduate certificate in Organizational Quality Management from the Algonquin College of Ottawa. He is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, Canada.

Zakiullah (Zaki) Munshi, Director, Program Development and Partnerships 
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 21

Zaki Munshi joined TFO Canada in March 2014 as Project Manager Asia and Middle East.  Since March 2017 Zaki has assumed the responsibility of Director, Program Development & Partnerships. Working closely with TFO Canada’s roster of associates (trade specialists) and project management staff, he oversees planning, implementation and ongoing communications with donors/partners for TFO Canada’s projects/programs. Zaki also works with TFO Canada’s Executive Director in developing/managing strategic partnerships and new project/program development opportunities with Canadian and international NGOs, think-tanks and business/networking associations, public/private sector donors/funders and other international country-based and multi-lateral development organizations.

Prior to joining TFO Canada, Zaki worked as a Project Manager in International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group managing advisory projects in the areas of Corporate Governance, Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) banking, Financial Infrastructure and Micro-finance. He has lived and worked in a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Pacific Islands.  Zaki is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from University of Texas at Austin, USA and an MBA in Finance from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Amandine Gakima, Project Manager, Africa and the Caribbean
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 22

Amandine Gakima is the Project Manager for Africa and the Caribbean. As such, she is responsible for the management of trade-related development and trade promotion projects between these regions and Canada, for the benefit of SME exporters. Amandine has extensive professional experience in international trade and private sector development. Prior to joining TFO, she worked as a Business Information Officer and a Content Coordinator with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Before this, she was involved in trade-related capacity building projects with the International Trade Centre and the Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation in Switzerland. Amandine Holds a B.Sc. in International Business Administration from the United States International University in Kenya, a MA in International Trade Relations from the International University in Geneva in Switzerland and a graduate Certificate in International Trade and Development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development studies in Switzerland.

Clarecia Christie CITP©|FIBP©, Project Manager and Team Lead, Trade Information Services
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 26

Clarecia Christie is an international trade specialist working with TFO Canada as its Project Manager and Team Lead, Trade Information Services. Managing a team of three she is responsible for the delivery of TFO Canada’s comprehensive Canadian market trade information services, website and database for market access, business contacts and learning opportunities for benefit of developing country exporters and trade support institutions, and Canadian importers. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Clarecia was Policy Advisor to the Minister of Health Promotion for over three years, where she worked on the poverty reduction, active transportation, smoking-cessation and sports and recreation policy files. Clarecia, who holds the designation of Certified International Trade Professional, has extensive experience in export market development having led dozens of projects in market research and trade show planning, facilitated trade training seminars and provided targeted market entry and communication strategies for exporters. Clarecia’s trade expertise developed over 15 years are in several different sectors, such as gift, craft, specialty foods, fashion, health and wellness, and agro-processing. In addition, Clarecia has worked on development projects for a number of international organizations, including the Emerging Markets Group Limited and the Inter-America Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture. Clarecia holds a Masters in International Business Management and an Honour’s Bachelor in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing of Services from the Maastricht School of Management.

Marysabel Gonzalez, Project Manager, Latin America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 30

Marysabel Gonzalez joined TFO Canada in 2008 and has over fifteen years of experience working in international trade. As Project Manager for Latin America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Marysabel is responsible for trade development projects including training and market familiarization, technical assistance to exporters, trade missions and seminars on the Canadian market. She also maintains relationships with trade support institutions and Ottawa-based trade representatives for developing countries. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Marysabel worked as a business development manager in the high tech sector at Invest Ottawa. She has also worked as a diplomat, serving as Economic Counsellor for the Embassy of Venezuela in Canada, where she became very familiar with TFO Canada and its services. Marysabel holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and a  Masters in International Trade from Carleton University.

Marta Recinos, Project Manager, Asia and the Middle East
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 14

Marta Recinos is the Project Manager for Asia and the Middle East. In this role, she is responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of trade-related technical assistance and capacity building projects and activities within this region. Marta is an international trade and development professional with over 10 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining TFO Canada, she worked as Trade and Investment Specialist for Chemonics International Inc. in the implementation of the USAID SME Development Program in El Salvador. Before this, she worked for the Ministry of Economy as Competitive Intelligence Analyst and for El Salvador’s Export Promotion Agency as a Market Information Advisor. Marta holds a Master Degree in International Commerce from the University of Kentucky, USA; and a Bachelor Degree in International Relations from Universidad de El Salvador.

Karishma Zaman, Project Manager
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 27

Karishma Zaman has more than 7 years of experience in results based project management, planning, and budgeting. Prior to joining TFO Canada she worked as a Program Manager for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) overseeing a GBP 100 million portfolio of asset transfer and technical assistance projects in Bangladesh. Before this, she worked for Christian Aid UK, developing and managing bilateral and multilateral donor funded development projects in South Asia. She has also worked as a research consultant in various scoping studies for international agencies and has managed diversified grants and co-financing partnerships including with UN organizations, the World Bank, the European Union, Governments of Australia, Bangladesh and Sweden and various local and international NGOs. Karishma holds a Masters Degree (MSc) from the London School of Economics & Political Science on Public Management & Governance; and a Bachelors Degree (BBA) in Finance from the University of Dhaka.

Danielle Mulligan, Office Manager
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 23

Danielle Mulligan has been with TFO Canada since 1986! As Office Manager, she is responsible for office affairs and dealing with local suppliers. Danielle maintains TFO Canada’s online database of Canadian importers and developing country exporters and keeps them informed by sending regular e-publications. Danielle also maintains the records for the TFO Canada Associate roster and supports accounting procedures including invoicing and payments, travel claims, and commitment files. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Danielle worked for two Ottawa-based private insurance companies as a Group Claim Processor for medical and dental benefits.

Jeffery-John Becker, Accounting Administrator
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 29

Jeffery-John Becker joined TFO Canada in March 2017 as the Accounting Administrator, where he is responsible for carrying out the day-to-day Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable duties. Jeffery also assists with financial reporting and financial management of on-going projects and activities.

Prior to joining TFO, Jeffery lived in Australia for two years where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree at Griffith University; he also holds a college diploma in Business Administration Accounting from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario. Jeffery's accounting career started at Minto Group in the field of property management  and more recently worked with 20VIC Management. Jeffery plans to  pursue his full CPA accounting designation.

Alina Acosta-Romay, Project Officer, Trade Information Services
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 24

Alina Acosta-Romay joined TFO Canada as the Project Officer, Trade Information Services (TIS) in February 2017. In her role on the TIS team Alina's main responsibilities are research and communication of the organizations trade information publications and services. She keeps the website's trade information up to date, manages social media accounts and facilitates webinars, and promotes upcoming trade events, organized by TFO Canada and its stakeholders, to the organization’s clients. Alina also updates the market information papers for publication on the website.
Prior to joining TFO Canada Alina held different roles at the Korean Embassy in Canada, Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa based Think Tank, and Kinder Morgan Canada. Alina was previously an entrepreneur of a wholesaler of fresh cut flowers located in Calgary, Alberta.
Alina holds two Bachelors of Arts degrees, an Honors degree in Economics and another degree in International Relations. Currently Alina is pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Economics at the University of Ottawa. She is fluent in Spanish, English and French.

Pierre-Nicolas Legault, Project Officer
Ph: (613) 233-3925 ext. 20

Pierre-Nicolas Legault is Project Officer at TFO Canada, where his main responsibilities are to provide logistics and research activities along with other tasks that supports ongoing projects and trade missions led by the regional project managers. Prior to joining the organization officially, Pierre-Nicolas was a volunteer with the organization, where he helped with research for the Trade Information Services (TIS) team. He officially joined TFO Canada as Project Officer in April 2017.
Pierre-Nicolas holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences with honours in Human Rights and Conflict Studies from the University of Ottawa. During his final year of his University program Pierre-Nicolas took a keen interest in the field of international development. This interest led him to complete an internship in Central Vietnam with the Association for the Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) in the Winter of 2016. Pierre-Nicolas plans to pursue a Master’s degree in international development in the Fall of 2018.

Theo Ward, Systems Specialist, Trade Information Services
Ph: (519) 681-1121

Theo Ward is the Systems Specialist for TFO Canada’s Trade Information Services. He is responsible for developing online trade information services, providing support and maintenance to the team, and guiding future online service delivery. Theo has worked with TFO Canada as a project consultant since 2003. Under TFO Canada's Program for Building African Capacity for Trade (PACT), Theo supported training and trade information development for program partners in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. He has also worked on export marketing and trade information projects in Bangladesh, the Caribbean, and in Geneva for the United Nations International Trade Centre. More recently, Theo has been involved in a three-year project in Indonesia sponsored by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD). He was responsible for defining and implementing I.T.-based export marketing and training activities for a range of economic development clients in Jakarta and in Sulawesi province at all levels of government. Theo studied Theatre and Literature at George Brown College and Computer Science at Brock University, and also co-authored the introductory textbook, "The Global Business Environment" for the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT).




Alma Farias, Regional Representative, Ontario
Ph: 905-827-5646

Alma Farias is TFO Canada’s Ontario representative based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  Alma is an expert on international business development and her role is to establish and maintain relations with local Canadian importers and trade representatives of TFO Canada’s client countries in order to promote market linkages between developing country exporters and the Canadian marketplace. Alma has extensive experience in assisting companies and organizations in Canada and abroad with business development across a wide range of sectors, including food, garment, consumer products, automotive parts, manufacturing components and telecommunications, among others. Alma has developed a strong network of international and Canadian suppliers, government and associations, and has coordinated high-level delegations, conferences and trade missions to Canada from Latin America, Asia and Africa. Alma has been recently appointed as member of the International Development Program Advisory Committee at Centennial College In Toronto. In 2015 Alma received the OWIT-International Woman of the Year Award, and in 2014, the JoAnna Townsend Excellence Award for Leadership in International Trade; the award is bestowed by OWIT-Toronto Chapter. Also, in 2015 Alma was honored with the national Ohtli Award by the Mexican government for her contributions toward the successes of the Mexican community within Canada and her work on international trade. Alma is an active volunteer in numerous business associations, serves on the Board of Directors for OWIT, and has previously served as Vice President of the Canadian Council for the Americas and the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.  She was co-founder of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Monterrey, Mexico. Alma is a Chartered Accountant and holds certificates of specialization in Industrial Costing and Human Resources Management.

Marc Germain, Regional Representative, Quebec
Ph: 514-397-0113

Marc is TFO Canada's Representative in Quebec. His role is to establish and maintain links with local importers and trade representatives accredited to Quebec in order to promote exports from TFO Canada's client countries. Marc has been active in business and export development for close to 25 years, working mostly as a consultant with TFO Canada and specializing in export promotion in Canada from developing countries. With extensive experience in dealing with both exporters in developing countries and the Canadian import community, Marc has done market research for a wide range of consumer products. He has experience in industries spanning food, clothing, fashion accessories, jewellery, home décor and giftware, furniture and alcoholic beverages, to name a few. Marc has also given numerous presentations in the Canadian market and taught at Concordia's John Molson School of Business in Business Communications. Marc holds an MBA from Queen's University and a Bachelor's degree from York University's Glendon College in Toronto. He is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

Marcus Ewert-Johns, Regional Representative, British Columbia

Marcus Ewert-Johns is TFO Canada’s Representative in British Columbia. Marcus role is to build relationships between importers and local trade representatives to support the growth of developing economies through trade. Marcus is active in the business community through his role as the President the BC Alliance for Manufacturing, an organization that has unified several associations into one coalition with the goals of strengthening the competitiveness of the province’s manufacturing sector. Marcus is also a seasoned international trade professional having held number of important senior level positions in government, the private and not-for profit sectors. Most recently he was the Vice-President International with Stork Craft Manufacturing Ltd and a Divisional Vice-President with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.  Marcus previously served as an Assistant Deputy Minister and Executive Director in the BC government’s economic development and international trade ministries building the province’s trade promotion, investment attraction and international marketing programs. Before moving to British Columbia Marcus was a diplomat with Global Affairs Canada where he lived in places like Ottawa, Seoul and Sydney. Marcus is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and an avid traveller having visited, worked or lived in more than 100 countries. 


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