Advisory Board

My East Coast Experience is proud to unveil the members of our Advisory Board for the 2022 Most Inspiring Immigrants in Atlantic Canada, presented by RBC. The Board will oversee the selection of the annual event’s honourees, ensuring the initiative’s high standards continue to be met. If you would like to nominate someone for recognition, please visit our nominations page.

Pernille Fischer Boulter

Founder, Kisserup International Trade Roots Canada Inc

Chair of the Advisory Board

As the founder of Kisserup International Trade Roots Canada Inc., Kisserup Europe and Kisserup Arctic, Pernille has a proven track record of over 25 years of international business experience.

She provides advisory services, project management, trade training and consulting services to International Financial Institutions, public and private sector organizations worldwide.

Several of her projects have been showcased as Best Practices on SME Development in ACP by European Union funded Donors. She has worked on projects in over 90 countries, on 6 continents and in 25 sectors. She is frequently retained as a keynote speaker on international trade, investment and entrepreneurship by both private and public sector and she is an internationally recognised Subject Matter Expert on SME development and UN SDGs.

Pernille is a Certified International Trade Professional, CITP by the Forum for International Trade Training in Ottawa, Canada, holds a Certificate in Leadership and Innovation from INSEAD, France, she is a Certified facilitator in the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method, holds a Certificate in Project Management from Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia, Canada and Master of Business from the Copenhagen School of Business.

In 2019 she was appointed to the Halifax International Airport Authority Board of Directors.

In 2018 and in 2021 she was elected to the Canadian International Association of Development Professionals.

In 2018 she was appointed a Member of the Atlantic Growth Advisory Board.

In 2014 she was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada by Women of Influence®.

From 2006 – 2018 she has been nominated for the Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur Awards each consecutive year.

In 2007, she was awarded the Women of Excellence Award in the category of education and public affairs by the Canadian Progress Club.

From 2002 – 2007, she served as the appointed the Nova Scotia representative on the Federal SME Advisory Board to the Federal Minister of International Trade in Ottawa, Canada.

She volunteers her services as an international Mentor to The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia Canada (ISANS) and the Centre for Women in Business (CWB). She authored a book, “Tales of an Immigrant Entrepreneur: One Woman’s Story” published in 2017.

Vinita Savani

President, Atlantic Canada Region, RBC

Vinita Savani is responsible for ensuring best in class performance and delivery of RBC’s advice, products and services to more than 800,000 personal and business clients in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

Since joining RBC in 1997, Vinita has held a wide range of diverse roles in Branch Sales, Finance, Procurement, Canadian Banking Strategy, Group Risk Management, Home Equity Finance, and Personal Savings and Investments. Prior to assuming her current role in 2021, she was Vice President, Retail Delivery Model and Advisor Role Strategy, where she led the development and implementation of the retail distribution model which included leader and advisor role strategy, practice management, skills and capability development, performance management and incentives, as well as sales conduct and controls.

Vinita holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and is a CFA charter holder.

A believer in giving back to community, Vinita has been involved in numerous volunteer activities. She has been involved with the Epilepsy York Region board for 16 years, as a member and as Chair. She currently sits on the boards of the QEII Foundation and the Halifax Partnership.

Vinita, her husband and two sons live in Halifax.

Tara Wickwire

VP, Strategy, Outcast Foods

With more than 20 years of global branding experience, Tara creates exceptional moments for people, products, places and spaces.

As VP of Strategy at Outcast Foods, she is leading this premier sustainability brand’s story in its efforts to reduce global food waste by upcycling unwanted produce to create nutritional ingredients.

Prior to Outcast she was Associate Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy at NATIONAL Public Relations, where she specialized in brand and media strategy, event marketing and executive profile building and communications. She focused on executives in helping them define their personal brand, share their vision with a broader audience and bring a human story to their business. Tara is passionate about encouraging leaders to think more critically about their values, vision and voice while establishing them as industry experts and influencers in their own right.

Tara has also led PR strategy for some of the world’s most recognized brands including Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy. She served as the company’s spokesperson for Canada, addressing issues ranging from trends, design and marketing to sourcing and leadership transition.

She is a champion for Nova Scotia and highly engaged with the community, as a founder of both the Art of City Building conference and Doors Open Halifax and is a board member for Atlantic Tennis Centre, the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and Propel. She is also Communications Chair for Brigadoon, a member of the Communications Committee for Tennis Nova Scotia, a volunteer with Marblehead Ocean Yacht Race and an interviewer with the Loran Scholars Foundation. She is certified by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and is a frequent guest presenter on the topic of personal brand building. She is a Canadian Progress Club ‘Women of Excellence’ Award Winner in Communications. You can follow her at @tarawickwire

Mohammad Ali Raza

Partner, Cox & Palmer

Mohammad Ali moved to Canada to reunite with his family in 2014. He has more than 15 years of experience of undertaking general corporate commercial advisory and transactional and regulatory work, both in private practice and in-house in a number of jurisdictions in Asia, Middle-east and Europe. His practice is focused on supporting businesses in a wide variety of sectors. His clients include SMEs, as well as, large scale businesses seeking advice and assistance on various aspects of business law. In addition to his work commitments, Mohammad Ali is heavily involved in community work and is a strong proponent of volunteerism – a trait which is a core value of the Canadian society he calls home now. Mohammad Ali joined the Feed Nova Scotia board in 2019 which he currently Vice-Chairs. In addition to his work with Feed Nova Scotia, he is also the founding member and current Vice-President & Director of the Pakistani Canadian Association of Nova Scotia. In his spare time, Mohammad Ali enjoys playing and watching sports (including, cricket), camping and nurturing a recently discovered affinity towards carpentry.

Joyce Carter

President & CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA)

Joyce Carter is President and Chief Executive Officer of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA). Joyce joined HIAA in 1999, and since then she has been integral in HIAA’s growth and development, becoming Chief Financial Officer in 2006, Chief Strategy Officer in 2008, and President & CEO in 2014.

Ms. Carter is a board member of the Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board and the ACI North America Board of Directors , and is Chair of the Canadian Airports Council, the first woman to hold that role. She currently serves as Board Member and past President of the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Canadian Airports Association.

Ms. Carter has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University and is a graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious designation of Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA). She obtained the Institute of Corporate Directors ICD.D designation in 2015. She was named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO’s by Atlantic Business Magazine from 2017-2020, and was named 2019 Business Leader of the Year by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

Faten Alshazly

Principal & Chief Creative Officer, WeUsThem

Faten is the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of WeUsThem, a full service ad agency with a client roster that includes Telus, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the Canadian Space Agency, Government of Canada, The Kempinski Group, Kaplan International, Cambridge University and the Sinai Health System to name a few.

Faten was named Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN, twice. This year, Faten was named Atlantic Canada’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business, and a 1 of 5 honourees nationally, for her work in the community and in leaderships roles by Women Get On Board. She was also named Executive of the Year and most recently Entrepreneur of the Year in Canada. Faten has also been named 1 of 5 Women of Inspiration, a Woman of Influence, a Woman of Excellence and a Diva of Color, to be celebrated in the UK later this year.

In addition to numerous awards for her agency, Faten is also representing Canada this year at the Gerety Awards.

As part of her work in the community, Faten currently serves on the boards of Efficiency One, as Vice Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and has been on the boards of the Mental Health Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society and a Governor in Council at NSCAD University.

Chika Chiekwe

Lawyer, Cox & Palmer

Chika Chiekwe was born and raised in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, after her parents immigrated to Nova Scotia from Nigeria.

Chika is a lawyer at Cox & Palmer in Halifax. She has a corporate commercial practice focusing primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and securities. Chika also assists her clients with their wills and estates and real property transactions.

Chika is active in the community serving on the boards of YWCA Halifax, Hope Blooms, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (Nova Scotia Chapter) and Maritime Women’s Basketball Association. She also sits on Basketball Nova Scotia’s Governance Committee and Nova Scotia Golf Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Robert Summerby-Murray

President and Vice-Chancellor, Saint Mary’s University

A respected academic, educator and administrator, Robert Summerby-Murray was appointed Saint Mary’s University’s 34th President in July 2015. Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Dr. Summerby-Murray holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto, is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and holds an associate’s diploma in pipe organ performance from Trinity College of Music, London. Before joining Saint Mary’s, Dr. Summerby-Murray served as the Dean of Social Sciences at Mount Allison University (2003-2010) and as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University (2010-2015).

Dr. Summerby-Murray serves a vibrant, diverse community of more than 7,500 faculty, students and staff and is an enthusiastic champion of Saint Mary’s University. He spearheaded the development of the university’s 2017-2022 strategic plan and currently leads initiatives to build on Saint Mary’s strengths of entrepreneurship and innovation, accessibility, community engagement, research achievement, philanthropy and global connectedness. In 2018, he was named one of Atlantic Business Magazine’s ‘Top 50 CEOs’ and in 2020 was renewed as Saint Mary’s president for a second five-year term.

Dr. Summerby-Murray is active on the boards of Universities Canada, the Association of Atlantic Universities, the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents, Atlantic University Sports, and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Presidents’ Cohort Group on ‘Universities and Social Infrastructure’. In the past year, he has focused on initiatives to support veteran-friendly campuses and to prevent racism on campus through participation in national initiatives such as the BlackNorth Initiative education committee and the Scarborough National Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Inclusion. He has just completed a two-year term as board chair of the Canadian Bureau of International Education and remains committed to international education and the global nature of the academy.

Rany Ibrahim

Director of Economic Devlopment and Trade, Government of Nova Scotia

Rany Ibrahim is a business strategy professional, communicator, writer, analyst, business workforce consultant, tech startup founder, and part-time university faculty. He also serves on various academic and professional boards. Rany is a member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, is among Atlantic Canada’s 50 most inspiring entrepreneurial leaders under 40, is a Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards winner, and was recognized by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for his contributions and community involvement. He is passionate about immigration, human rights, freedoms, and democracy.