Meet our Team

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Dr. Krista Holmes

Associate Vice President

As Associate Vice President, Research & Innovation at George Brown College, Dr. Krista Holmes is accountable for the leadership, operational excellence and strategic oversight of the college’s research and innovation programs. She is passionate in her commitment to advancing research and innovation through academic, industry and community partnerships and collaboration.

Krista has over fifteen years of experience working in the postsecondary education sector in a broad range of positions including administrator, faculty member, support staff and consultant. She has built her career as an educator and innovation leader around developing, delivering, managing, and evaluating programming using evidence-driven principles of continuous quality improvement. Before joining George Brown, Krista was Associate Dean of Research & Innovation at Humber College, held a variety of positions at Seneca College including faculty member in the School of English and Liberal Studies, and worked with numerous community organizations including Pathways to Education Canada and the YWCA of Greater Toronto. Krista is committed to working within an anti-oppression framework in support of equity deserving groups.

With extensive expertise in research ethics, Krista has spent many years actively engaged in policy and advocacy initiatives to establish and maintain high quality and standards for the governance and administration of research ethics provincially, nationally and internationally. She currently serves as a member of the Research Ethics Board at Michael Garron Hospital.

Krista holds a Doctorate in Leadership, Adult and Higher Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Carleton University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Global Development Studies from Queen’s University.

Richard Derham, Senior Business Development Officer, Research and Innovation
Richard Derham

Senior Business Development Manager

Richard is a creative leader who is passionate about education and has spent most of his career helping barriered populations gain more equitable access to employment. As the Senior Business Development Manager, he leverages new and existing relationships to grow high-impact Research & Innovation programs. Before coming to the college, Richard’s most recent role was with Opportunity For All Youth, a not-for-profit national coalition of Canada’s leading companies working together with community employment agencies and governments to connect youth with meaningful employment. Before working at O4AY, Richard was the Founder and President of TurnAround Couriers, a social purpose business in Toronto focussed on helping youth successfully enter the workforce. Richard worked as a commercial lawyer in England and France for six years before receiving his MBA from INSEAD (France) in 1999. He is a licensed lawyer in Ontario and is bilingual in English and French.


Yuchen Sun, Senior Program Manager, Research and Innovation
Yuchen Sun

Senior Program Manager

Yuchen Sun oversees the operations and growth of the GBC research programs. Since starting with the Office of Research and Innovation in 2013, Yuchen has established a track record of delivering successful applied research projects and programs in the Building Information Modeling, Building Science, and Mechanical Engineering fields. In addition, she provides expert support to industry partners and research staff, whether they are engaging in initial project scoping conversations, applying for funding, or executing a funded research project. Yuchen is a certified Project Management Professional and a MA Candidate in Education from the University of Central Michigan.

Areas of Expertise: Program Management; Project Management; Risk Management; Process Improvement; Grant Development & Administration

Dr. Eva Aboagye, Program Manager, Social Innovation
Dr. Eva Aboagye

SENIOR Program Manager

Within the Office of Research and Innovation, Eva currently provides leadership to the program management team and also guidance on and management of research methods and budgets for researchers applying to or holding external research or social innovation grants. From 2015 to 2022, she was responsible for providing guidance in the development of proposals and management of projects funded externally under the Community and College Social Innovation Fund as well as for the internally funded Ignite projects. She has over twenty years of management experience in the postsecondary sector, seventeen of which focused on strategic planning, research and teaching in the Ontario College system. Eva has published a number of academic articles on equity, diversity and inclusion, including from 2011 to 2014, co- founding and co-editing the Journal of Global Citizenship and Equity Education . In 2021, she co-edited a book "Global Citizenship Education: Challenges and Successes". Previously, she held several positions at Centennial College including Senior Researcher at the Institute for Global Citizenship and Equity, Director of Policies Pathways and Grants, and Manager of Strategic Institutional Planning. Eva has a PhD and an M Ed in Higher Education from the University of Toronto and a BA and Graduate Diploma in population studies from the University of Ghana.

Areas of Expertise: Research management, Strategic planning, research proposal development, process improvement, equity diversity and inclusion


Dan Reilly, Senior Manager, FIRSt
Dan Reilly

Director, FIRSt

As the Director of FIRSt, Dan oversees all operations and client service delivery for GBC's Technology Access Centre. Since he began working at GBC in 2010, his leadership, strategic thinking skills, and commitment to process improvement have made him integral to the effective planning and execution of countless research programs and projects. Previously, Dan managed projects and events of all kinds, from statistical studies for the federal government to small-town music festivals. Dan graduated from George Brown College with an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration and is a past recipient of GBC's Project Management Award of Distinction. He now teaches in the School of Management, training the next generation of project managers. Outside of work, Dan has completed the GBC Beer Specialist and Professional Cheesemonger programs, and can often be found at the Rogers Centre cheering on the Blue Jays.

Areas of Expertise: project management; strategic thinking; process improvement; team leadership

Rosalina Declaro, Operations and Budget Manager, Research and Innovation
Rosalina Declaro

Manager, Research Budget, Reporting & Asset Management

Rosalina has more than ten years of experience in office administration, finance, accounting, and bookkeeping. She is a CPA from the Philippines, holds a B.Sc in Commerce, with a focus on accounting, from the University of Santo Tomas, and completed a Certificate in Computer Programming and Systems Analysis and Design from CICC-Japan. Since 2012, she has been the Budget and Operations Manager for the Office of Research and Innovation, where she oversees all departmental and research project budgets. Before joining the research and innovation team, Rosalina was a Controller at Traction Heavy Duty Truck Parts and a Managing Director at Rouge Hill Informatics.

Ryan Billinger

Senior manager, mitacs

Ryan Billinger is a Professor and Principal Investigator working within George Brown College’s Product Development Exchange (PDx), an interdisciplinary design, prototyping and assessment facility for industry experimental development of new products through iterative and rapid prototyping. Ryan Billinger has been a Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology – Design in George Brown College’s (GBC) Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies since 2017. As a George Brown College graduate (2015), Mr. Billinger has been working on various research projects since 2013, when he was first employed by the Research and Innovation Department. In addition to Graduating from George Brown College, he competed his third-year capstone project at the University of Toronto, where he teamed up with two University of Toronto students to design and manufacture a fully function four-stroke engine. The engine was later used in an ultra fuel-efficient vehicle which competed at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Houston, Texas winning First Place (3421 MPG).

Jillian Butler, Knowledge Transfer Coordinator, Research and Innovation
Jillian Butler

Knowledge Transfer Coordinator

As Knowledge Transfer Coordinator, Jillian oversees all ongoing outreach for the ORI, including divisional messaging, media production, press releases, funding proposals and marketing materials. Her career to date has explored a diverse range of media, spanning traditional outlets like print, advertising and publishing as well as emerging sectors like film, design, digital and social media. Jillian received an M.A. in Media Studies from York University in 2012, a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from Memorial University, and a certificate in Graphic Design at George Brown College.

Areas of Expertise: graphic design; strategic communications; media production; creative problem solving; storytelling

Lorenza Carandang
Lorenza Carandang

Finance and Admin Coordinator, FIRST

Lorenza brings extensive experience in administration and managing operations to her position as Finance and Admin Coordinator at FIRSt. Her diverse skill set ranges from client management to financial and wealth management to investor and shareholder communications and budgeting. Before joining FIRSt, she worked at Kingsdale Shareholder Services and AIG Philippines. Her considerable history of office management ensures that streamlined operations and an efficient infrastructure support our partners and projects. Lorenza has a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.

Areas of Expertise: Operations management and control; Financial management and budgeting; Administration and office management

Daniel Caunter, Manager, Industry Liaison and Business Development, Research and Innovation
Daniel Caunter

Manager, Industry LiaIson and Business Development

Daniel brings over eight years of scope development and project management experience to George Brown, where he assists industry partners in smart building and fashion technology with all phases of scoping and project development in preparation for implementation. He is passionate about applying his business and project-related expertise to foster collaborative partnerships and support effective project planning and delivery. Before joining George Brown, Daniel worked with green and tech firms on projects in solar PV construction, energy efficiency programs, consumer packaged goods waste recycling, and customized software deployments. Daniel holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business (York University), a Graduate Diploma in Business and Environment (York University), and a BCOMM (Concordia University). He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Areas of Expertise: Scope Development; Project Management; Collaborative Partnerships; Sustainable Business

Nuvi Dhaliwal, project manager, FIRSt
Nuvi Dhaliwal

Program Manager, IDx

Nuvi has been managing projects and grants within the Healthcare and Food and Beverage Industry for 7+ years. Before joining George Brown, Nuvi managed medical research grants for the Physicians’ Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation and worked for the Greenbelt Fund, supporting and promoting increased demand for and access to local food in Ontario. Nuvi uses project management skills heavily to meet business objectives while upholding exceptional customer service to run the best operations possible and continuously engage in projects. Nuvi has a BA from University of Guelph. She continues to nurture her passion for food and beverage by taking classes in George Brown’s Wine, Culinary and Baking Arts program.

Areas of Expertise: Project management; Grant management in healthcare, agriculture, agri-food, and product development; Relationship management

Ana Cristina Gigli, Program Manager, Fashion Exchange
Ana Cristina Gigli

Program Manager, Fashion Exchange

Ana possesses a wealth of experience in risk management, project management, and data modelling and analysis, which she applies at the Fashion Exchange to track project progress and manage the project team to ensure successful delivery. Ana came to the research and innovation team from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, where she performed data analysis to optimize fundraising efforts. Ana has also served as an Enterprise Risk Consultant at Santander Bank in São Paulo, Brazil. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and an MBA from the University of São Paulo and graduated from the George Brown Project Management Postgraduate program.

Areas of Expertise: Project management; Data analytics; Risk management; CRM expertise

Alexandra Hernandez

Program Manager, INTERnal Programs

Alexandra M. Hernandez is a psychology-trained researcher with 16 years of experience, including over 8-year record of providing research facilitation and management services to diverse interprofessional teams, in fast-paced research settings. She is driven by managing opportunities to expand research capacity and impacts through collaboration and innovation. She has facilitated all stages of research in academic, healthcare, and public health settings. Alexandra’s most recent role was as a Research Facilitator & Coordinator, Research and Ethics Services with Public Health Ontario from 2019 where she provided research administration expertise to PHO scientists through all phases of grants and funding process, facilitating third-party funded research. Prior to that she was Research Coordinator, Research and Academics Department for the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences where she facilitated the expansion of applied research in key areas, through engagement and mentorship of diverse internal and external stakeholders to build research capacity. She managed day-to-day research support and evaluation activities for the full-life cycle of projects and facilitated research collaboration and project execution. She also provided consultation during development of research and strategic initiatives. Alexandra has facilitated many research projects in social innovation, including examining the use of tablets to enhance social engagement in dementia care, using adaptive interaction for communicating with individuals with advanced Parkinson’s, examining the experience of loneliness in persons with cognitive decline on a psychogeriatric unit, and reducing the use of restraints and seclusion in mental health care. She looks forward to working with staff at George Brown to advance social innovation research. Alexandra holds a PhD in Psychology specializing in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience.

Erin Jones, Information Architect, Research and Innovation
Erin Jones

Information Architect

An expert in information management, Erin oversees the department’s information structures, ensuring that staff and stakeholders can easily store and use project-related data and information. In this capacity, she supervises data collection and reporting and is responsible for designing and maintaining an IAGO custom project information database. Erin brings deep expertise in applied research, digital design, and information sciences to her work at George Brown College. She has a Masters of Information Studies, specializing in usability and human-computer interaction, from the University of Toronto. In addition, she has 12 years of experience designing and executing research studies focused on online learning and nine years of project management experience.

Areas of Expertise: Usability, and Human-Computer Interaction Information Management and Database Design; Interactive and User-Centred Design; Project Management; Research Study; Design and Execution

Michelle Kienitz-Henderson
Michelle Kienitz-Henderson

Manager, Industry Liaison & Business Development

Currently on parental leave

Michelle brings a value-chain approach to FIRSt, where she has supported hundreds of food entrepreneurs throughout the product development process. Her academic and professional careers have focused on primary agriculture, agri-food, and agri-technology, and she even occasionally assists on her parents’ cash crop farm. With a BA in Social Development (University of Waterloo) and a MA in Political Science and International Development (University of Guelph), Michelle uses her interdisciplinary background to bring creative and holistic solutions to clients and partnerships. Michelle enjoys eating food as much as she enjoys working in the industry and is deeply committed to growing the food value chain in Ontario and Canada and increasing opportunities for Canadian food and agri-food companies.

Areas of Expertise: Food systems; Food Entrepreneurship; Relationship Management


Arbab Khan, Program Manager, Product Development Exchange
Arbab Khan

Program Manager

Arbab draws from his extensive project management and business development experience and his practical experience in the construction industry to provide expertise and guidance to partners seeking solutions to mechanical engineering and construction sector research and innovation challenges. Skilled in managing projects in the fields of advanced prototyping, robotics information technology, building automation, IoT, and software development, Arbab has helped multiple clients execute projects and achieve success in developing innovative processes and products. His background working for numerous organizations is complimented by his master’s degree in Project Management (NICMAR), his post-graduate certificates in Construction Management (Fanshawe College, President’s Honor Roll) and Building Information Modelling (George Brown College, Dean’s List), and his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering (Jamia Millia Islamia University).

Alexis Lau, Research Resource Coordinator, Research and Innovation
Alexis Lau

Research Resource Coordinator

As Research Resource Coordinator, Alexis manages the onboarding of research staff and project personnel. Throughout her career in business and human resources, Alexis has been committed to improving staff experiences and institutional effectiveness by streamlining processes, increasing efficiency and applying her person-focused soft skills. A lifelong learner, she graduated with Honours from the diploma program in Human Resources at George Brown College and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Law and Business from Ryerson University. In addition, Alexis has taken a variety of continuing education courses – from industrial sewing to wine tasting – at George Brown.

Areas of Expertise: Human Resources; Risk and Compliance; Project Management


Baaba Lewis, Administrative Assistant, Research and Innovation
Baaba Lewis

Administrative Assistant

Baaba has over ten years of experience providing administrative support in and around the educational sector and has considerable familiarity with the college infrastructure. Since 2008, she has supported all research and innovation activities, helping streamline applied research across the college. As the front line of Research and Innovation, Baaba is essential to managing its relationships with external and internal clients and stakeholders, as well as the coordination of meetings, events, workshops, and training. In 2005, Baaba graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Also a community-minded volunteer extraordinaire, Baaba was a George Brown College’s United Way Cabinet Member from 2010 to 2012 and has served as a volunteer at convocation ceremonies.

Areas of Expertise: Event Coordination; customer service focus; research ethics; administration; volunteer extraordinaire

Tolu Olutunfese

Lead Food Scientist 

Tolu Olutunfese brings over 15 years of experience in food product development, regulatory affairs and technical services to the FIRSt team. She has worked in and around food science for the span of her career, first in Food Quality Assurance, deepening into a specialization in Food Research, Product Development and Commercialization. She has previously held technical positions at Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd, NSF International, TDL Group and Cargill Foods, where she helped to bring new products to market while meeting standards in Food Safety and Quality Assurance. Tolu has recently completed a post-grad certificate in Regulatory Affairs at Humber College and received her Bachelors in Food Engineering from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. Tolu looks forward to making positive impacts within the FIRSt team and the food industry at large. 

Areas of Expertise: Food Product Development, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Management 


Andrea Orazi


Andrea Orazi joins FIRSt as an experienced founder and agri-food industry professional with diverse and in-depth knowledge of the CPG, agriculture and global food supply chains. In 2015, she founded The Chufa Co, a dairy alternative company and grew the company through national listings with UNFI, Metro, Loblaws and Sobeys. She continues to work in the tigernut space as a partner in Negup Chufa, an agri-food startup that empowers women smallholder farmers in Ghana. She has worked as a consultant for CPG and agri-food companies and was previously a documentary producer and researcher at the BBC. Andrea brings a deep understanding of business startups, communications, marketing,  supply chain, research and development, global manufacturing and the CPG space. She has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Guelph.


  • Business Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Food & Agriculture


Staff member Walid Surve
Walid Surve

Research Partnership Coordinator

Walid Surve offers a creative, solution-oriented, and goal-driven professional with proven 5 years of business development and key accounts management experience, handling a wide range of projects into business expansion, client acquisition, brand servicing, franchise expansion, and Key accounts, across different industries like Consumer Products, Retail, F&B, Education, Healthcare, IT, E-commerce and Manufacturing.

Areas of Expertise: Business development, Key Account management, Project management


Syeda Munzareen Rahman
Syeda Munzareen Rahman

Research Project Officer, FIRSt

Syeda Munzareen Rahman joins the college from her previous role as Research Project Coordinator at the Hospital for Sick Children. Syeda has extensive experience in project coordination and management in supporting cross functional projects/initiatives in both research hospital and academic institutions, including grant management, research ethics, contracts management, onboarding staff and students. Syeda has an MBA and received the Research Administration Certification in 2021. She has served as a member of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) since 2020. 


Candace Rambert, Lab Operations Manager, FIRSt
Candace Rambert

Lab Operations Manager

From learning family recipes to working in hotels around the world, Candace’s passion for food has been her driving force. With over 16 years of culinary and foodservice experience, she has proven recipe and product development skills. Candace values building strong client relationships at FIRSt and has a proven track record of meeting the demands of FIRSt’s diverse and dynamic clients, who are often at the cutting edge of the foodservice and the consumer package goods industry. By collaborating with food scientists and culinary students at FIRSt, she applies her culinary and sensory science experience to meet the needs of FIRSt’s diverse clients to produce best-selling products. Her product roaster includes ready-to-drink beverages, sauces, healthy snacks and nutrition-focused recipes which help in the recovery of certain medical conditions. Since starting her career at FIRSt, she has seen first-hand how innovation pushes the boundaries when developing unique products and how food brings people together. Candace holds a BA from the University of Windsor and is an alumnus of both the George Brown College (GBC) Culinary Management and Italian postgraduate programs. Candace is a member of the Research Chef Association and is a past recipient of the prestigious Ontario Hostelry Institute’s ‘Top 30 Under 30’ award.


Caroline Rebello
Caroline Rebello 

Food Science Technologist, FIRSt  

Victoria Trang, Finance and Administrative Assistant, Research and Innovation
Victoria Trang

Finance and Administrative Assistant

As Finance and Administrative Assistant, Research & Innovation at George Brown College, Victoria supports the Program Managers Team and works alongside the Manager, Research Budget, Reporting & Asset Management through financial and operational aspects of the office such as managing account receivables and account payables, purchase orders requests, and generating financial reports. With over 11 years of being part of the GBC community and Research Innovation Office she is passionate about giving 100% to the team and the organization and is driven to help the team excel in the Research environment.

Before joining George Brown, College Victoria was a Project Analyst and Administrative Assistant at Catmedis Healthcare Inc., supervised and trained junior project analysts, performed market research, and served as a key liaison between software developers and clients. She is a graduate of George Brown College’s School of Management, where she obtained a diploma in Business.

Areas of Expertise: Microsoft Office; Millenium - FAST (Financial Administration Support Tool); Concur Solutions; Chrome River; Communication; Organization; Critical Thinking; Attention to detail

Morgan Kierinkiewicz, Business Development Manager, DCSE
Morgan Watts


Since 2013, Morgan has been managing projects focused on Digital Design, Healthcare, Food & Beverage, and Green Technology with the Office of Research and Innovation. Her current role is managing the Innovation Exchange within the School of Design. Here, she uses insights gained from these diverse industries to promote and support the exchange and its clients in achieving product dreams, improving the access and adoption of state-of-the-art technology, and supporting community relationships. In addition, with expertise in strategic planning, grant management, and innovative thinking, she provides tailored solutions and practical support throughout all stages of a project’s life cycle. Morgan is a graduate of George Brown’s Business Administration Program, where she specialized in project management, and came to this role with seven years of project management experience spanning the sports entertainment, healthcare, and hospitality sectors.

Areas of Expertise: Project Management; Strategic Planning; Grant Management; Innovative Thinking