Meet the Program Advisory Committees

Project Management

Lilian Abu-Halaga   

Lilian is a senior leader with over 20 years of experience in Project Management.  Lilian recently left the full time world to return to her consulting roots. She’s working with her current client Interac to help transform their PMO.  Prior to this, she was the Director of Enterprise Project Management at Meridian Credit Union with a team of ten project and program managers working on the organization’s largest strategic initiatives.  Before joining Meridian, her experience at other financial institutions included Senior Project Manager in the Project Management Office at HSBC Finance Corporation and Program Director in the Office of the Chief Data Officer, Integrated Data & Analytics Program at Toronto Dominion Bank Financial Group. Lilian works passionately to bring strategy to life and supports executive teams to execute initiatives beyond tactical project management to organizational transformation and change.  She has a proven history of leading, coaching, developing and mentoring project management teams to focus on delivering business benefits and believes that is what project management should be all about. Outside of work, Lilian’s volunteer efforts include mentoring new professional Canadians to find a job through the Toronto Regional Immigration Education Counsel (TRIEC).  She also provides leadership to community engagement corporate committees to help others find their volunteering passion.  Lilian is a member of the Project Management Institute and is PMP certified.  In addition, she holds a Change Manager Certificate from Prosci, a Risk Manager Certificate from the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies & Global Risk Management Institute, and a Scrum Master Certificate from the Scrum Alliance.


Marylka Empey


Marylka is a Fellow Certified Management Consultant with a proven ability to develop and implement strategic business solutions to drive organizational effectiveness, productivity, and profitability. As an advisor to CEOs and Boards, Marylka has successfully implemented transformational projects across organizations to secure an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain an engaged and high performing workforce. Marylka has more than 15 years of experience serving on various boards, at the local, provincial, and national levels, in various leadership roles, including Board Chair. She also has taught business courses at the University and College level. In 2019, CMC Ontario awarded Marylka the Fellow Certified Management Consultant (FCMC) to recognize her service to clients, the community, and the Association. Marylka earned an MBA in Organization Behaviour and Industrial Relations from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from McGill University. Marylka also earned a Certificate in Digital Transformation: Leading People, Data & Technology from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkley Executive Education.


Nathalie Drouin


Nathalie Drouin is the Executive Director at KHEOPS, an International Research Consortium on the Governance of Large Infrastructure Projects, the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, a full professor at the Department of Management, École des Sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal (ESG UQAM), Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia and Associate Researcher at École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP), Canada. She teaches initiation and strategic management of projects in the Graduate Project Management Programs at ESG UQAM. Her research has been funded by various research councils. The result of her work has been published in major academic journals and presented at several international conferences. She is looking at organizational project management, leadership issues and megaprojects. She is a former member of the PMI Insight Academic Group. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Logistics and Transportation Metropolitan Cluster of Montreal (CARGO M) and an Audit Committee Member of Parks Canada Agency Audit Committee, Government of Canada. With Ralf Müller and Shankar Sankaran, she has won the 2019 Walt Lipke Project Governance and Control Excellence Award for the following paper: Müller, R., Sankaran, S., Drouin, N. (2019) A Model of Organizational Project Management and its Validation Project and Program Symposium Vol.2 Edition 1. 17 October p.5-20, as well as the 2019 International Project Management Association IPMA Research Award for the research work: Müller, R., Drouin, N., Sankaran, S. (2018) Balancing Person-Centric and Team-Centric Leadership in Projects. White Paper, Project Management Institute May.  


Rich Batchelor


Rich is the President & Chief Change Agent of Capillary Consulting. He has been successfully delivering change for over 25 years. He has consulted, coached and educated with organizations across all parts of the globe focusing on change enablement, leadership, organizational development and strategy alignment. He is passionate in developing change capacity for future generations and is engaged with a number of progressive higher education institutions as an educator and advisor. He is a founding member of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) and was founding president of the Toronto Chapter for 6 years. He has also founded the Toronto Change Days conference, based on the highly successful Berlin Change Days, a hands-on weekend of fun learning about change unlike any other change conference in North America! He has a Masters in change management and is certified in Project Management, Process improvement, Facilitation, HR, Coaching, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is also a Certified Lego® Serious Play® Facilitator & Workshop Designer, Certified in facilitating organizations through uncertainty and complexity and an accredited emotional culture deck “elephant rider”!

Ahmed Kareem

A graduate of Civil Engineering with over two decades of construction, project and program management, Ahmed aims to be a practical, and highly organized project & risk management professional. Well experienced in managing complex infrastructure and capital private and public, including institutional (health care, government), commercial (high-rise), residential (condo development/ fit-out), and transportation (airport) sectors.

As a Senior Project Manager and the Central Region Team Lead with Colliers Project Leaders, Ahmed believes in teamwork and self-improvement through utilizing one’s knowledge and resources for continuous improvement and betterment. After earning his MBA and MIT executive certificate in leadership and management, Ahmed looks for opportunities to share his accumulated know-how and experiences with others that may benefit from his journey.

Regulatory Affairs

Deborah Pinchev

Deborah is a Quality/Regulatory Affairs Manager at StarFish Medical, Canada’s largest medical device development company. Deborah has 5 years of Regulatory and Quality experience with a focus on the medical device industry. Prior to joining StarFish, she was a Laboratory Manager for a cell biology research lab at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Deborah earned her B.Sc. in Biochemistry at the University of Guelph, her M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, and has a graduate certificate in Regulatory Affairs at Humber College.


Eva Nalian

Eva currently serves as a Senior Manager of Regulatory Affairs at PerkinElmer, Inc. an American global corporation focused in the business area of diagnostics, where she creates and implements the company’s regulatory strategy for newborn screening and maternal health products by performing regulatory submissions in the US, Canada and internationally. She has a successful track record in developing global regulatory strategies and securing regulatory approvals for high risk products on a global scale. Eva has participated in Quality audits throughout her career, has developed and implemented Quality Systems for start-ups and managed clinical studies required for 510(K) submissions in the US and Canada.  Eva has worked with start-ups and mid-size medical device and IVD companies in Israel, California and Canada. Eva has an engineering degree in Biotechnology and Food Engineering from the Technion, Israel, as well as a Regulatory Affairs Certification through the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.


Maham Ansari

Maham currently serves as a Director of Regulatory Affairs at Synaptive Medical, a Toronto-based medical device manufacturer specializing in imaging diagnostic applications and surgical robotics in neurosurgery, where she built the regulatory department from scratch and played a large role in expanding the company’s international footprint. She has a successful track record in developing global regulatory strategies and securing regulatory approvals for high risk products on a global scale. Maham has also hosted numerous Quality audits throughout her career, has developed and implemented Quality Systems from scratch, and led companies through successful FDA and Notified Body inspections.  Her experience primarily spans within the medical device and in vitro diagnostic space in Canada and Europe, where she has worked for a mix of start-ups and larger organizations like QIAGEN, Nanogen and Mapi. Maham has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Bioscience Regulatory Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University.  She also maintains a Regulatory Affairs Certification through the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.


Tracy Meffen

Tracy is a Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance professional with more than twenty-five years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. She is currently responsible for Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Genevant Sciences developing RNA-based therapies in multiple therapeutic areas. Tracy was previously responsible for regulatory and quality activities for Arbutus Biopharma developing a cure for chronic Hepatitis B, and prior to that for Lungpacer Medical, a start-up medical device organization developing a novel technology for use in critical care medicine. Tracy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, a Master’s degree in Regulatory Affairs from Northeastern University, and three Regulatory Affairs Certificates (EU, US, and Canada) from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.


Deborah Hayek

Senior Advisor, Global Innovation Lab

Deborah is an accomplished intrapreneur and entrepreneur, with experience leading corporate innovation teams and projects, as well as founding and coaching startups. She excels at exploring new concepts, inspiring ideation, planning the impossible, and achieving fantastical results.  She thrives on solving puzzles and building relationships. Her passion for emerging technology, sustainability, and cultures transcends her work.

Her professional background includes managing teams, innovative projects, and overseeing company operations. She is currently a Senior Product Owner at Manulife’s Global Innovation Lab (LoFT), where she leads innovation projects across multiple business units, supported by a team of HCD experts and engineers. Previously, she established Foundry within Desjardins’ Open Innovation department, headed the future-focused Research and Development team, and managed operations at Desjardins’ Innovation Lab. With an academic background in corporate innovation, community economic development, and anthropology, she is at home with fellow academics, creators, innovators, and everything in between.

Sumair Sayani

Sumair is a seasoned executive who has held leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies across several markets over his 20-year professional career. In 2020, he decided to venture into the world of entrepreneurship and founded a number of start-ups. His most ambitious recent project is called Up until 2019, he led a global think tank that was based out of New York. He was on the Executive Committee and co-led the Consumer Dynamics Institute, jointly operated by Nielsen and The Conference Board. He has led several global projects for strategic clients including big data / AI. While in Dubai, Sumair led regional markets as Managing Director, as well as established a new business practice across 13 markets and developed a high-performing diversified team to deliver commercial success. Before moving to the general management, Sumair led those markets as the CFO. Sumair has travelled to more than 40 countries across 5 continents for work and is described as someone with an innovative mindset always seeking new ways to drive profitable growth and build new partnerships. He is currently living in Canada with his wife and 2 children. He is an avid 10k runner and enjoys playing Tennis. He is also a certified Tennis coach encouraging young Canadians to live healthier lives.


Gurbir Perhar PhD

Vice President of Data Technology at Compass Digital Labs

Gurbir is a seasoned machine learning professional, with a proven leadership record and over 10 years of experience. He’s currently Vice President of Data Technology at Compass Digital Labs, where he grew a data practice from the ground up (consisting of Data Science, Machine Learning Engineering, Data Engineering, Business Intelligence, and Decision Science). His previous work was in the online gambling space, where he developed real-time breaking news algorithms and real-time NBA wagering machine learning models. Gurbir’s Ph.D. and PostDoc work focused on modelling the impacts of polyunsaturated fatty acids on trophic transfer efficiencies in freshwater planktonic food webs. Starting with fundamental mechanistic models, his work culminated in a cybernetics approach. During this time, he also did consulting work for the governments of Canada, the USA, South Africa, and China on environmental and ecological model building.


Winston Li

Founder of Arima

Winston is the founder of Arima, a Toronto-based startup that specializes in developing privacy-preserving synthetic datasets to help companies make their data less siloed and more powerful. Prior to starting Arima, Winston was the Director of Data Science at PwC Canada and Director of Marketing Science at Omnicom Media Group. Winston lectures for Northeastern University Toronto and sits on the Program Advisory Committee for MS Analytics. As an active machine learning practitioner, Winston’s research interests include Anomaly Detection and Copula Models. Winston is the co-author of PyOD, a comprehensive and scalable Python toolkit for detecting outlying objects in multivariate data.


Ning Kost

Senior Vice President, Consumer Intelligence and Data Analytics, NeilsenIQ

Ning has 18 years of experience in the tech industry, delivering automation solutions for operational efficiency; predictive analytics in price and promo, assortment and merchandising; commercial data APIs and data visualization tools for product location, consumer purchase behavior, omnishopper and ecom sales measurements.

A firm believer in lifelong learning, Ning understands that careers are not static and is passionate about helping her team seek opportunities to develop and grow their technical skills in big data, modelling, AI/ML, cloud computing that are increasingly in demand; and also soft skills such as collaboration, creativity, intellectual curiosity and adaptability. Ning supported many co-op students and capstone projects from various universities in Canada, many of which led to full time employment at Nielsen and NielsenIQ over the years. Ning holds a Computer Science and Mathematics degree from University of Waterloo, and trained at MIT Sloan School of Management on Digital Business Transformation.


Bryan Li

Founder of Cyber Tech & Risk and Cyber Career Center

Bryan has 20+ years of experience in the areas of enterprise solutions, information security, program management, software development, and IT consulting. His leadership and management experience include Head of Business Systems, Director of Product Development & Innovation, and Director of Program Management with multiple industry-leading companies.

Bryan is dedicated to addressing the growing concerns about cybersecurity via training, career development, and collaboration. Bryan is the founder of Cyber Tech & Risk (, which is a platform for people who care about technology, risk, and security to get fresh ideas, learn the latest skills, and expand business/professional networks. Cyber-Tech & Risk organizes monthly industry events, People in Cyber Conference, and Cybersecurity Higher Education Contest. Bryan is the founder of Cyber Career Centre (, which offers experiential learning, interactive hiring, and career events.

Bryan has delivered many cybersecurity seminars at the organizations such as RBC, CIBC, CPA Ontario, Ontario Centres of Excellence, EC-Council, ORION, University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, York University Schulich School of Business, Lambton College, ventureLAB, Acces Employment, City of Markham, Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference, CIFI Security Summit, CI Regulatory and Compliance Conference, CI Privacy and Data Security Conference, etc.

Bryan holds CISSP, CCSP, CEI, CEH, CND, CBP, PMP, CBAP, and several other professional certifications

Ghayda Nassar


Founder of Liberty Cybersecurity & Privacy Awareness and Consulting

Ghayda has 18+ years of experience in the financial services industry, leading multi-million dollars programs and global cross-functional teams. Specialized in domains of: Cybersecurity, Identity, and Access Management, Privacy and Data Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Wealth & Asset Management, Core Banking, IT Operations, and Support.

Ghayda held progressively senior leadership roles in major financial institutions and banks in Canada. Such as Sr. Director of Identity Access Management Programs at RBC, Director of Wealth Technology at TD, and Director of Governance, Risk, & Compliance Systems Delivery at Manulife. Ghayda runs a consulting business related to Cyber and Privacy Awareness, Laws and Regulations. She is also a prof. for Cybersecurity courses in top colleges in Canada. Ghayda has her Executive MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Rotman School of Management, the University of Toronto with a concentration in Innovation Management and Corporate Entrepreneurship from Bocconi School of Management, Italy. She also has a Master’s in Law (LLM) in Innovation, Law and Technology from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.  And a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems.

She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds a Six Sigma Certificate.

Ghayda is actively engaged in speaking events, passionate about growing leaders, and volunteers some of her time for coaching and mentoring young professionals and new immigrants.

Ghayda believes that success does not come to us, we go to it. Nothing is impossible for a willing mind and heart! ~Ghayda

Imran Ahmad

Partner, Head of Technology & Innovation, Co-Chair Data Protection, Privacy & Cybersecurity

Imran Ahmad is the Canadian head of our technology and innovation industry group and the Canadian co-head of our data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity practice. He is based in our Toronto and Montreal offices and is recognized as a leading cybersecurity lawyer by several legal directories.

Imran advises clients across all industries on a wide array of technology-related matters, including outsourcing, cloud computing, SaaS, strategic alliances, technology development, system procurement, and implementation, technology licensing and transfer, distribution, open-source software, and electronic commerce. As part of his cybersecurity practice, Imran works very closely with clients to develop and implement practical strategies related to cyber threats and data breaches. He advises on legal risk assessments, compliance, due diligence, and risk allocation advice, security, and data breach incident preparedness and response.

In addition, Imran often acts as “breach counsel” in the event of a cybersecurity incident, such as a data or privacy breach, and has extensive experience in managing complex security incidents and cross-border breaches. He also provides representation in the event of an investigation, an enforcement action, or litigation. Imran is the author of Canada’s first legal incident preparation and response handbook titled Cybersecurity in Canada: A Guide to Best Practices, Planning, and Management (LexisNexis, August 2017). In his private law practice, he advises clients on compliance with all Canadian federal and provincial privacy and data management laws.

He has a particular focus on cross-border data transfer issues and enterprise-wide governance programs related to privacy and information governance. Imran is the former chair of the Privacy and Access to Information Section of the Ontario Bar Association. Imran is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, where he teaches cybersecurity and privacy law.

Jonathan Kim

Dr. Jonathan Kim has a wealth of experience in industry-sponsored applied research, post-secondary teaching and learning, and industry-guided curriculum and degree program development.

Jonathan graduated from the University of Toronto where he received his B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science, M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.

From 1990 to 1998, Jonathan taught in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Victoria, as an Assistant Professor and later as an Associate Professor with tenure, establishing an award-winning reputation for both teaching and research excellence. From 1999 to 2009, he was a senior research associate with the Centre for Applied Power Electronics (CAPE) at the University of Toronto, fully devoted to industry-sponsored research and development projects. From 2010 to 2015, he was an adjunct professor at Yanbian University of Science and Technology, Yanji City, Jilin, China, developing curriculum and teaching summer courses.

Since 2011, Jonathan has worked in the Ontario college system as a full-time Professor in Electrical Engineering and has held leadership roles in applied research, capstone projects, curriculum development, industry engagement. At Sheridan College, he has served as program coordinator and led a team of faculty members in degree program development for B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering. He is passionate about student success and has made significant contributions to the quality and success of students’ learning through capstone projects and curriculum development.

In November 2018, he took the position of Associate Dean at Humber College, and he is enjoying the role very much. He has led the development and successfully launched a post-graduate program in Cloud Computing and a new degree program for B.Eng. in Information Systems Engineering.

Jonathan is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Ontario.

Information Systems

Brian Orr

Senior Director, Engineering at Sony Interactive Entertainment

Brian is a software engineering professional with over 25 years of industry experience as an engineering leader, programmer and UX designer. He is a Computer Engineering graduate from the University of Waterloo (1998), is the co-founder of Sony’s Waterloo office, and is a former entrepreneur.

Brian is currently Sr. Director, Engineering at Sony Interactive Entertainment, where he leads an engineering organization focused on delivering industry-leading monetization solutions for PlayStation. His leadership was integral to the PlayStation 5 launch in 2020, and he continues to manage teams working globally to deliver new experiences to millions of PlayStation users.

Prior to his role at PlayStation, Brian lead an engineering organization focused on delivering new software solutions for the professional division of Sony Electronics. During his 6-year tenure in this role, he oversaw the development of advanced solutions for modern video production and collaborated with business and engineering teams in North America, Japan, Europe and India to bolster innovation and research towards new opportunities in education, sports, law enforcement and agriculture.

Brian lives in Waterloo, Ontario with his family, and enjoys performing, writing, and recording music.

Sheri Ferko

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ferko Liblik Incorporated

Sheri Ferko is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Ferko Liblik Incorporated (FLI) a Toronto-based technology services company providing business consulting and technology solutions for enterprises of all sizes.

Sheri has over 20 years of business & technology expertise and holds a degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Sheri’s strengths revolve around her ability to transform business challenges into opportunities. She is a highly skilled solutions architect who delivers innovative, value-add systems to her clients. She has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies across multiple industries on initiatives ranging from enterprise CRM and ERP installations to innovative and market-leading custom build and data solutions.

Sheri is also the COO of a leading-edge research and development firm Qiiu Systems Inc. Qiiu Systems partners with leaders across various industries to bring unique business and consumer products to market including String Masters, Artist Access, and Stratotask Vantage.



Melissa Popovski

Director, Business Development for Bio-Innovations, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Melissa received her PhD from the University of Alberta studying the effects of tPA on Blood Brain Breakdown following ischemic stroke. She joined Life Technologies in June 2012 as an Account Manager for the Northeast region. Melissa has since represented Thermo Fisher Scientific Biosciences Division as a Cell Biology Technical Specialist and more recently, Director of Business Development for Bio-Innovations.


Dr. Mojgan Rezvani, PhD, MSc, MSc (Edu), BSc (Spec. Hon)

Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durham College

Dr. Rezvani has an extensive education, training, and research experience in some of the world’s most renowned universities and hospitals in USA and Canada, such as University of Toronto, Harvard Medical School, Duke University, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, University Health Network, and Sick Children’s Hospital. Through some of her training and career, she has been able to acquire numerous Merits, Awards, Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants based on her excellent knowledge, communication skills, teaching ability, and research aptitude. Furthermore, she has had a long career as an educator complemented with a formal master’s degree in adolescence education. Mojgan has over 20 years of experience in healthcare and biomedical sciences industry.

Currently, Dr. Rezvani is serving as the Executive Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences at Durham College and previously she has held several academic and leadership positions as Associate Dean, Director and Program Coordinator.

Priya Vinod

Regulator Group Director at Hoffman LaRoche

Priya is an accomplished senior regulatory professional with over 25 years of international experience in leading and managing regulatory strategies for new product development and lifecycle management.  She is currently working as Regulatory Group Director at Hoffman La Roche, leading teams providing CMC support for registration and maintenance of their products globally.  She is also the Site Head for Pharma Technical Regulatory team based out of the Roche Canada campus. Prior to that for Apotex Inc, she managed their global international regulatory affairs teams supporting over 70 countries and was a part of their Site Leadership team. Priya holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, a Master’s degree in Regulatory Affairs from Northeastern University., and a post graduate diploma in International Business.

Ankita Patel

Graduate Student Ambassador – MS Information Systems

Ankita is pursuing MS Information Systems at Northeastern University-Toronto. She is also a Graduate Student Ambassador for the College of Engineering at Northeastern University. She has a MS Life Science degree from Ahmedabad University, India and BS in Biochemistry from Gujarat University, India. She has worked as a Research Assistant at Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Immunohematology, helping establish an advanced centre for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders in India. Ankita has carried out her graduate thesis research at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.