Meet our incredible staff and volunteers.
Mustafa Alio was born in Latakia, Syria and came to Canada in 2007 for his studies. His own experiences of refuge, integration, and inclusion have been the foundation of his work and advocacy. He received his Bachelor degree in Business Administration and completed a post-graduate degree in Marketing Management and Financial Services. Mustafa is the Co-Founder, and currently the Managing Director of Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a Co-Founder and active board member of the Syrian Canadian Foundation, and a member of the Network for Refugee Voices. In addition, he is an advisory committee member on (LERRN) seven-years research Local Engagement Refugee Research Network in (Lebanon, Turkey, Tanzania, and Kenya) about the role of civil society, local actors and refugee-led organizations in promoting protection and creating solutions. Mustafa has contributed a number of articles on refugees’ issues for board and international public audiences. Some of his articles can be read in the New York Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The Apolitical.
Director of Business Development
Bassel is one of the co-founders of Jumpstart: Refugee Talent and oversees the development of projects. Prior to that, Bassel worked in the banking and consulting sectors. In 2016 he decided to take his experience in business development and project management to work on something he is rather very passionate about, entrepreneurship and the empowerment of marginalized groups. Bassel majored in Finance at Ryerson University.
Manager, Program Development
Alizee runs the Welcome Talent Canada mentorship program and manages the Outreach and Engagement team. As Manager of Program Development she is responsible for outreach and stakeholder engagement strategy, monitoring and evaluation, event planning, program development and grant-writing. Concurrently, she also serves on the executive committee for the Canadian Association for Forced Migration and Refugee Studies as the Practitioner and Advocacy Officer and works with the Turkish Ministry of Interior in an advising capacity. Alizee is a published researcher and holds a B.A and M.A with high distinction from the University of Toronto in Diaspora and Transnational Studies and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations where she specialised in asylum policy, transit migration and refugee integration in Turkey. Before joining the Jumpstart team, she spent two and a half years working in Turkey as a subject matter expert (SME) and consultant working for INGOs, think-tanks, academic institutions and government bodies including the Police Academy and the Ministry of Education. She is bilingual in French and English, proficient in Turkish and Spanish and elementary Arabic and Ottoman.
Project Manager, Vancouver
Masa holds a BA in Economics from the University of Damascus; where she specialized in Business Administration and Management. She received her first salary as a Basketball Coach when she was 14 years old, and since then, fell into the passion of earning her own living in life. She was a professional Basketball Player and had a career in journalism in Damascus as a Journalist and Section Editor at the only daily English newspaper in the country. She then switched careers to Digital Marketing when she moved to Dubai in 2013 to later hold the position of Senior Regional Marketing Executive for Middle East & Africa at one of the biggest car renal corporations in the world. She always took on freelance translation & interpretation opportunities as they came along the way, worked in consumer market research when she was still in Syria, and worked in the financial industry after her move to Canada in April 2018.
Away from work, Masa volunteers her time with the Syrian National Committee of United World Colleges, where she's been an active member since 2011. Also, she recently decided to join the Board of Playwrights Theatre Centre in Vancouver for their 2019-20 season.
Operations Analyst Intern
Charlotte is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto, where her areas of study are Peace Conflict and Justice Studies, Environmental Studies, and Political Science. She discovered a drive to help refugees while studying in Paris, where she began volunteering at the Sciences Po Refugee Help Club, distributing material goods to thousands of refugees living in camps on the outskirts of the city.
Charlotte initially set out to update Jumpstart’s website and CRM, but has since began to run the Instagram and LinkedIn platforms, create promotional materials, and aid in planning & promoting events. She hopes to research and analyze involvement in our Welcome Talent Canada program, in order to improve its effectiveness and reach. She loves facilitating the mentorship process and observing long-term connections form, and she hopes to onboard more refugees into Welcome Talent Canada, so as to help as many as possible find meaningful employment in Canada.
Outreach lead Intern
Yazmeen is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Peace, Conflict and Justice, Equity Studies and Cinema Studies. She is passionate about human rights and social justice causes as well as the representation of minority groups and marginalized populations in the mainstream media. Yazmeen created an award winning documentary film called “From Syria to Hope” to explore the lives of three Syrian families who arrived to Canada under refugee status. Each family lives in the Greater Toronto Area and has a unique story. The individuals featured in the film reflect on their hopes and dreams after having no choice but to leave their homes in war-torn Syria. “From Syria To Hope” is intended to be an educational tool to combat discrimination, islamophobia and xenophobia. After volunteering at her local mosque throughout high school to assist in the resettlement of Syrian newcomer families, while witnessing the sensationalized news about “floods of Syrian refugees”, Yazmeen began filming their stories. She is eager to work as the Outreach Lead for Jumpstart, where she hopes to learn more about the trials and experiences of newcomers arriving to Canada as refugees.
Katrina Van Genderen
Refugee Talent Hub Intern
Katrina is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto studying Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies, and Public Policy. She developed an increased interest in the issues facing refugees when studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh, where she looked into the UK’s refugee policy and the refugee dialogue surrounding Brexit debates.
Katrina hopes to investigate the challenges refugees face in securing meaningful employment opportunities in Canada so that we can work to overcome them. She further hopes to increase program-intake so as to help as many newcomers to Canada as possible in securing meaningful employment, and thus easing their transition and ensuring their long-term success.
Outreach & Development Specialist Intern
Armin Safavi has been working at Jumpstart since April 2019, and has been part of the team administering Jumptart’s Welcome Talent Canada Program, helping grow the program and the number of refugee/mentor matches. He has also been a part of running multiple Jumpstart events, including our WeWork Open House in May, our World Refugee Day Event in June, our Business Development Bank of Canada interview workshop in July and our upcoming CIBC interview and networking event in September. Armin is a rising 3rd year student at the University of Toronto studying History, and is currently writing a research proposal on the effectiveness of degree recognition services for refugees. In his spare time, he enjoys stand-up comedy, watching basketball and competing in intervarsity debate tournaments. For Armin, the most fulfilling part of his work with Jumpstart is facilitating meetings between mentors and mentees as it gives him the opportunity to see great relationships develop toward the prospect of meaningful employment for our diverse talent pool.
Our volunteers are an integral part of Jumpstart’s operations. They hold functional roles that are vital to the organization; without them we would not operate smoothly.
Dalia Al Mouaswas
Dalia Al Mouaswas has been volunteering with Jumpstart for 3 years. Dalia works with a group of seven volunteers who are responsible for various Jumpstart initiatives, and is responsible for coordinating the volunteer group's projects, deliverables and regular meetings. She also works in Healthcare Education at University Health Network, the largest network of research and teaching hospitals in Toronto.
Dalia enjoys working with small and dedicated teams and is passionate about making an impact in the community; her work with Jumpstart enables that. She hopes to support Jumpstart as it continues to grow and provide opportunities to larger numbers of refugee talent in Canada.
Syeda has been working with Jumpstart since the past year. She is the Partnership Manager for HackYourFuture, a Jumpstart project that aims to empower refugees with web development skills to help them kickstart their careers in Canada. She has a background in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on software development.
Along with working at Jumpstart, Syeda enjoys coding, learning about new technologies, and watching movies. Her favorite genres of movies are action and comedy. As a technology enthusiast, she finds it very rewarding seeing individuals with no technical background finding success in Canada through coding.
Her long term vision for HackYourFuture Canada is to expand the program nationwide to help more refugees integrate into Canadian society while helping Canadian companies find the talent they seek.
Rabia has been working with Jumpstart since the past year. She is the Education Manager at HackYourFuture, a Jumpstart project that aims to empower refugees with web development skills and help them kickstart their careers in the industry. Along with volunteering at Jumpstart, Rabia is pursuing graduate studies in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. In her spare time, she likes to catch up on watching her favorite tv series that are usually of mystery or comedy genre. For Rabia, the best part of working at Jumpstart is seeing a complete beginner learn web development in a short period of time and be able to showcase their skills to prospective employers. Her goal with the organization is to take HackYourFuture forward, allowing for more student enrollment as well as a larger team of volunteers willing to teach and share their experience.
Hani Bashir joined Jumpstart in August 2017, just after five months of arriving in Canada. His passion to help, support and advocate for human rights led Hani to help refugees in Toronto. Hani met the Jumpstart team at a Refugee Welcome Dinner and immediately decided to be part of the team!
Hani has a Medical Degree, training in Humanitarian Access for Assistance & Protection, and over seven years of experience working in non-profit, national and international organizations focusing on women and child healthcare and community building.
He started in, and is still part of, the data and community outreach volunteer team supporting Jumpstart via welcoming refugees, preparing and sharing their resumes and profiles with the Database Team. He also Co-Founded Immigrants Healthcare Support Network (IHSN) in order to mobilize health care professionals, equip and strengthen communities for better health services and awareness in the GTA and all over Canada. Hani enjoys hiking through Canadian outdoor parks and watching Real Madrid soccer games in his spare time.
Fares Khouri arrived in Canada as an international student in 2008 to pursue his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies. Following his passion to help others and make a change, his main focus after graduating was to promote and support the social and economic integration of several underrepresented communities and newcomers to Canada. Fares has gained valuable experience through his work in the non-for-profit sector with various organizations that focus on employment and settlement services.
Mustafa is an IT engineer with more than 15 years of experience in system administration and ERP software development. He has joined Jumpstart on February 2016, just one month after his arrival in Canada. Implementing his experience in IT, he works with Jumpstart IT talents and manages the relationships with our technology partners. He is a key player in the outreach team since he's established close connections with the newcomers' community. Mustafa is one of the very first success stories of Jumpstart! Through his participation in our workshop series, he set a secured foot at BDC as Business Advisor.
Mid-2019, driven by his ambition to run his own business, Technofy was founded. Technofy is a startup company Mustafa launched with two of his friends. It deals with IT hardware and provides many IT services to SMEs. It aims to provide high-quality IT hardware and services at affordable prices. Experiencing refuge has motivated him to support other refugees in all aspects, and jumpstart is one of many organizations he's been volunteering at. As a passionate volunteer, he wants to help newcomers feel at home. And since integration is an enormous wall all refugees have to face, he co-founded "Syrian Eagles" a Syrian refugee soccer team that was found in 2016. This team was, and still, a space that connects refugees with their new community, creating an environment that helps them adapt with ease. Witnessing the remarkable difference his work has made in many lives, brings him endless joy and inspires him to give more!