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 [email protected] and indicate the name of the staff member in the subject line.

OTTAWA HEADQUARTERS

icon-logo
Steve Tipman, Executive Director
Contact

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 25 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 is a former 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.

icon-logo
Mohamed Elmi, Director for Finance and Administration
Contact

Mohamed Elmi joined TFO Canada as Director for Finance and Administration in September 2020. He has oversight responsibility for the financial management of the organization and as a trusted business partner to program teams, supports the organization in fulfilling its mission.

Prior to joining TFO Canada, Mohamed was the Regional Finance Director for Africa region with Relief International, based in Nairobi, Kenya providing direct finance oversight of Africa country offices. Before that, he was with ActionAid Secretariat based in Johannesburg supporting European member countries. Mohamed also worked with Care Canada HQ office in Ottawa for over a decade and held Director of Contract Management unit before moving on to international assignments. Mohamed is a Certified Professional Accountant with a Certified General Accounting designation and holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

icon-logo
Zakiullah (Zaki) Munshi, Program Director – Asia
Contact

Zaki Munshi joined TFO Canada in March 2014 as Project Manager for Asia & Middle East.  Since July 2019, Zaki has assumed the responsibility of Program Director-Asia. 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 in Asia and Middle East. 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 in Asia and Middle East.

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.

icon-logo
Marysabel Gonzalez, Program Director, Latin America and the Caribbean / Trade Support Services
Contact

Marysabel Gonzalez has over twenty years of experience working in international trade, she joined TFO Canada in 2008 and has advanced in her career, taking on new responsibilities and challenged within the organization. As Program Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, she leads the implementation of different programs in the region and as Program Director for Trade Support Services, Marysabel is responsible for developing and leading the execution of TFO Canada’s Canadian market trade information services.

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, in the Economic and Commercial section of 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 from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and a master’s in international Trade from Carleton University.

icon-logo
Kristin Marinacci, Program Director, Africa
Contact

Kristin Marinacci joined TFO Canada as the Program Director for Africa in September 2021. Kristin is responsible for providing leadership in the implementation of a multi-region program aimed at increasing the number of women exporters from developing countries involved in international trade. She also provides strategic oversight to the Ottawa-based team who work hand in hand with trade support institutions in Africa to facilitate more inclusive economic growth.

Kristin has a background in urban planning and has more than 25 years of project/program management experience in the international development field in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Kristin brings practical experience to the team in institution strengthening having worked with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for over 20 years. Areas of expertise include local governance, organizational effectiveness, multi-stakeholder engagement/public participation, good governance, strategic planning, performance measurement, and capacity building.

icon-logo
Danielle Mulligan, Office Manager
Contact

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.

icon-logo
Patrick Ntunga Mico, Project Manager, Africa
Contact

Patrick N. Mico is responsible for the design, day-to-day implementation and monitoring of projects within Africa region.

Patrick has extensive experience in women’s economic empowerment, project management, gender audit and gender mainstreaming from different countries in Africa and in Canada as well. This includes working as a Program Manager at Best Legacy Foundation. He also worked on different projects related to women’s economic empowerment and rights in collaboration with different development partners such as PROMUNDO, the Rwanda Gender Monitoring Office, the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion of Rwanda (MIGEPROF), UN Women, UNFPA, Sida, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and East African Community (EAC) .

Patrick speaks four languages including French and English. He has different degrees and international certificates including, but not limited to,  a  Masters in Social Studies, gender and development, a specialisation in gender, Statistics (Stockholm 2018) certificate of specialisation in gender auditing (ILO 2010), a Certificate of gender mainstreaming in project management (Japan 2006) and a Certificate in gender mainstreaming from the Canadian International Development Agency.

icon-logo
Mahmud Hossain, Project Manager, Asia
Contact

Mahmud Hossain brings over 15 years of progressive professional experience in international development. He has strong project management, research and analytical skills. Mahmud expertise’s are in international development, particularly in the areas of Market system development, Value chain, and livelihood development, climate resilience, private sector engagement.  He has project management experience in Asia: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tibetan Autonomous Region (China); East Africa: Tanzania; and Canada. Mahmud has managed large complex programs funded by USAID, DANIDA, SIDA, Irish-AID, SDC, UKAID/DFID and Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Mahmud has expertise in project design, implementation, value chain development, market-based project portfolio, M4P in East Africa Region and Asia.  He has an MBA from East West University in Bangladesh along with professional certifications as Chartered Professional Marketer (CPM) from Asia Pacific Marketing Federation and member of Chartered Institute of Marketing Management Ontario (CIMMO). He has also trained from CBI (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands-2008 & 2009) on “Export Promotion from Developing Countries to EU” in Rotterdam. And Making Market Works for the Poor (M4P) from Glasgow by Spring Field Center in 2005. Mahmud is fluent in English, Bengali, Hindi and Swahili.

Mahmud is coordinating projects for Jordan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand and Cambodia as a Project Manager of TFO Canada since January 2020.

icon-logo
Olivier MusafiriProject Manager, Africa
Contact

Olivier Musafiri is the Project Manager for Africa. In his role, he is responsible for the design, implementation, monitoring and reporting for trade-related activities in the region.
Olivier has solid project management experience from different countries in Africa and Canada. This includes working as a Program Manager for UN Women’s regional program where he coordinated bilateral projects between UN Women and the governments of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC on cross border trade, agriculture and value chain initiatives. Recently he has worked as Gender Advisor with Vets without Borders Canada for its programme in Kenya and in South Sudan with the Canadian Midwives Association as a Field Operations Officer.
Olivier has outstanding experience in gender mainstreaming and capacity building, results based monitoring and evaluation with a number of different donors including Global Affairs, USAID, UN agencies, Norway and NEPAD.
Olivier speaks over 5 languages including French and English and holds different degrees for business including “Disruptive Strategy” Executive Education from Harvard Business School.
In his spare time, you will find Olivier having fun with his three young kids playing music and outdoor activities.

icon-logo
Janin Mendoza, Project Manager-Latin America and the Caribbean
Contact

Janin Mendoza joined TFO Canada as the Project Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean in March 2022. Janin is responsible for the design, implementation, and monitoring of projects within LAC region.

Janin has more than 10 years of project/program management experience at international, governmental, and pro-profit organizations. She had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects promoting sustainable development, capacity development, and climate change resilience. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, stakeholder analysis, capacity building, project management, public policies, result based management and monitoring and evaluation.

Janin holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, a master’s in Environmental Management from Simon Bolivar University and a Project Management Diploma and Management Certificate from University of Winnipeg.

icon-logo
Carlos E. Umaña, Communications and Trade Support Services Manager
Contact

Carlos E. Umaña is the Communications and Trade Support Services Manager. He is responsible for creating communications strategies and materials, conducting research on the Canadian market and updating trade related information and services on the internal and external communications channels.

Prior to joining TFO Canada, Carlos worked as a career diplomat at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Canada, where he recognized the relevance of TFO Canada for SMEs in developing countries. He also was a trade negotiator and advisor with the Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, where he participated in multiple Market Access negotiations on trade in goods. Carlos has extensive research experience in international trade and public policy. This includes working in projects with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and at the think tank Academia de Centroamerica. The documents generated by these projects became a reference in the discussion of public policies in Costa Rica.

Carlos speaks English, French and Spanish. He holds undergraduate and MSc degrees in Economics from the University of Costa Rica, and a LLM in International Economic Law and Policy from the University of Barcelona.

icon-logo
Fatima Zahra Idrissi, Project Officer-Asia
Contact

Fatima Zahra is the Project Officer for Asia. She supports the Director and Program Manager in delivering workshops and seminars to partners and stakeholders in Asia. She is responsible for supporting program logistics, data collection, conducting research and overall program support.
Prior to joining TFO Canada, Fatima-Zahra lived and worked in Morocco. She brings with her 12 years of experience (data analysis, portfolio risk management and credit risk management in financial sector) which includes 02+ years experience in project management. Fatima-Zahra holds a State Engineering Diploma (Masters) from National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics in Morocco. In addition to English, she is fluent in Arabic and French. Fatima-Zahra plans to immerse herself in this new position and to acquire the skills and knowledge to successfully get her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in order to make the team as efficient as possible.

icon-logo
Hery Ramiarison, Project Officer-Africa
Contact

Hery is the Project Officer for Africa. Hery supports the Director and Program Managers in delivering workshops and seminars to partners and stakeholders in Africa. He is responsible for supporting program logistics, data collection, conducting research and overall program support.
Prior to joining TFO Canada, Hery pursued a Doctoral degree in Commerce at Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. He is passionate about regional integration, international trade, and economic development. Since obtaining his B.A in Economics from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar, Hery has been active in the field of international development through his work at government institutions including the Economic Development Board of Madagascar and the Secrétariat Technique Permanent pour la Coordination des Aides.

icon-logo
Theo Ward, Systems Specialist, Trade Information Services
Contact

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)

.

icon-logo
Brenda Garcia, Project Officer-Latin America and the Caribbean

Contact

Brenda is the Project Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean. She supports the Program Manager and Program Director in delivering workshops and seminars to partners and stakeholders in Latin America and is responsible for program logistics, data collection, conducting research and overall program support. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Brenda pursued a master’s degree in international development at Sciences Po Paris, through which she specialized in project management and diplomacy. She was trained in project design, implementation and negotiation for humanitarian and development projects. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from McGill University in Montreal. Brenda has experience working with NGOs, international organizations as well as with the private sector. She namely worked for Equitas International Center for Human Rights in Montreal, as well as for the International Economic Forum of the Americas, both in Montreal and in Paris.

icon-logo
Baharnesh Mesfin Teshome, Project Officer-Communications and Trade Support Services
Contact

Baharnesh joined TFO Canada as a Communications and Trade Support Services Project Officer in August 2022. She is responsible for providing support in creating communication materials, conducting research on the Canadian market and the dissemination of trade related information and services on internal and external communication channels.

She is a Certified International Trade Professional CITP®|FIBP® and is passionate about supporting small and medium size businesses access and navigate new markets through extensive research, outreach, analysis, and advocacy. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Baharnesh served at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Ethiopia, as a National Advisor on Investment and Technology Promotion under the Investment and Technology Promotion Office of Korea. She holds an LLB, Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Keele University, and an LLM, Master’s degree in International Trade Law from Newcastle University, in the United Kingdom.

.

icon-logo
Waleed Bajai, Project Accountant
Contact

Waleed Bajai joined TFO Canada as Project Accountant in April 2022. He has responsibility for accounts payable/receivables activities and for country-based financial expense tracking, including local partners’ financial reports. He also supports the project management team in day-to-day financial transactions for the projects of the organization. Prior to joining TFO Canada, Waleed was Senior Finance Officer for Oxfam Novib country office, based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Responsible for providing support to the country office and local partners on finance and donor compliance at the field level, he was also a safeguarding focal point and an investigation team member. Before that, he worked as an Accountant and HR Focal Point with Welthungerhilfe (WHH) providing financial support to the program team and local partners on the field. Waleed also worked with International Manufacturing Organization (IMO) as Finance Assistant responsible for daily financial transactions and bookkeeping. Waleed holds Master’s degree specialized in financial management at the Indian School of Business Management and Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Administration from Amir Sher Institute of Higher Education AFG

REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES

icon-logo
Susan Baka, Regional Representative, Ontario
Contact

Susan Baka is TFO Canada’s Ontario representative based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  Susan is an international trade specialist 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. Susan is the President of Bay Communications and Marketing Inc. and has directed the launch of multiple business publications, services and Web sites in the fields of trade, women in business, diversity, law, human resources, workplace health and safety, tourism, and public policy. She is considered one of Canada’s top authorities on entrepreneurship and small business and trade, especially for women. She writes and speaks regularly on these topics in Canada and internationally. She also conducts market research and distributor and partner searches for companies looking to do business in Canada.  An active leader in trade organizations and initiatives locally, nationally, and internationally, Susan was one of the founders of the first Canadian chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade in Toronto (www.owit-toronto.ca), serves as VP International, and was part of its International Board (www.owit.org) for many years. She has spearheaded countless initiatives and trade missions to Australia, Mexico and the U.S and proactively mentored the start-up of chapters in Mexico and Australia.  Susan was appointed a member of the Canadian Minister of International Trade’s Small & Medium Enterprise Advisory Board, 2008-2011, and regularly represents women exporters in government consultations. She has been honoured with several international awards, including from WBE Canada and The International Alliance of Women (TIAW).

icon-logo
Jacques Nadeau, Regional Representative, Quebec
Contact

Mr. Nadeau (Master in International Management Sciences) is President of Consultation Nadeau International Inc. (CNI), a private-owned Company, founded in 1985, based in Quebec, Canada. He dedicated his whole career to international development, working closely with the private sector, social enterprises and public organizations in several developing and emerging countries. Mr. Nadeau has and is still acting both as an international management consultant and trader focusing his work mainly on furniture, lighting, fashion and home décor sectors. He also operated a trading house in food processing. Mr. Nadeau works closely with TFO Canada (Trade Facilitation Office) since 2012. He was recently appointed TFO Canada Regional Representative – Greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

icon-logo
Allison Boulton, Regional Representative, British Columbia
Contact

Allison is a seasoned trade professional with deep experience in the export of processed Canadian agrifoods with a focus on Asia. Her role as the Vancouver based TFO Regional Representative for British Columbia has her working across sectors to promote trade, and increase the knowledge of exporters and Trade Support Institutions around the globe.

By way of background, Allison grew up on a mixed farm in rural Manitoba and headed west to obtain a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Victoria. She spent a decade in Canada’s wine industry, building a thriving boutique Canadian winery with exports to over 20 countries. Allison relocated to China and the Middle East to earn her MBA and work as the China Director of Marketing and Trade Sales in the beverage industry.  Upon returning to Canada, she worked as an International Trade Advisor with Small Business BC and started her own firm assisting entrepreneurs grow globally.

In conjunction with the provincial and federal governments, Allison was part of the team that developed B.C.’s Export Navigator program, an ongoing economic development initiative to grow B.C. exports. She led a team of Export Advisors advising on export issues and assisting hundreds of SMEs across the province.  Throughout her career, Allison has shared her extensive knowledge in cross-border trade, international sales and cross-cultural communications with audiences around the world, and continues to contribute to supporting SMEs as a writer, mentor and speaker.