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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Niagara College Board of Governors elects new chair, vice chair; welcomes new members

Niagara College is pleased to officially announce the election of the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors, as well as six new Board members.

On September 1, Mishka Balsom, CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), began her term as Chair, and Caroline Mann, former Vice-President of Finance for Haver & Boecker Canada (W.S. Tyler) was re-elected for a second term as Vice-Chair.

The pair will lead the College’s committed group of volunteer Governors through the 2022-23 academic year.

“I am honoured to lead the Board as Chair this year and to continue to support the college’s strategic direction and vision of enriching lives and fulfilling dreams alongside such talented leaders, faculty, staff and students,” said Balsom, who has already taken part in several College events and activities since the start of the Fall Term.

In her role with the GNCC, Balsom develops and implements initiatives designed to strengthen the business climate and economic prosperity in Niagara. Under her leadership, the GNCC launched a number of new programs and collaborative partnerships throughout Niagara, Ontario and New York State. Before joining the GNCC, she successfully held senior management positions in Canadian media and owned her own communications company.

Mann has been on the Board since 2017 and is a retired finance and operations executive. This is her second term as Vice-Chair. Mann previously led the Finance and Information Technology departments at Haver & Boecker Canada and an international team for best practices in budgeting, financial reporting, and analysis. Beginning her career in public accounting, Mann passionately enjoyed being a key decision maker with the ability to develop and implement solutions. She holds a CPA designation and an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University.

“I look forward to continuing the important work of the Board as we embark on another trailblazing year, guided by the College’s visionary strategic plan,” said Mann. “Together, with the remarkable students, faculty and staff at Niagara College, we will continue to support growth and innovation in our community.”

Balsom succeeds Wendy Wing, a six-year Governor who served as Chair from September 2021 to August 2022.

“We were fortunate to have Wendy’s experience and expertise for the past six years, and we’re grateful for her service and dedication to our college and its students,” said President Sean Kennedy. “We are excited to have Mishka serving as Chair this year, alongside our highly accomplished Governors who dedicate remarkable time and expertise to guide Niagara College and support our continued success.”

New Board Member appointments

On behalf of the Board, Chair Balsom is excited to welcome six new Governors, each bringing unique experience and expertise to the table.

Rashmi Biswas (appointed) is a co-owner of Lake and Associates Canada Inc., a performance consulting firm specializing in leadership development, team effectiveness, and process facilitation. She has been appointed to the Board for a three-year term. Working with private and public sector clients, Rashmi has delivered services in North America, South America, Asia and the Middle East. Her prior experience includes corporate and academic roles in the UK, USA, and Canada. In a volunteer capacity, Rashmi serves as a Board member for the Niagara Community Foundation, and she is a co-founder of the Gender Equity Task Force Niagara. Rashmi holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK.

Rob Nicholson (appointed) joins the Board of Governors as an Order in Council appointment by the Provincial Government in 2022-23. He is a former Member of Parliament, having served as the MP for the riding of Niagara Falls for nearly 25 years. At the federal level, Nicholson served in many high-profile roles, including Minister of National Defense, Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. Nicholson also operated his own law practice and served in municipal politics as an elected member of the Niagara Catholic School Board and the Region of Niagara Council.

Hafsah Shaikh (Administrative Staff Representative) has served the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office (SRRO) for the past decade, currently as the Associate Director of the SRRO where she leads a team of skilled administrative specialists that conduct investigations under the College’s Student Code of Conduct. Hafsah is passionate about policy development and led the process for the creation and implementation of the College’s Student Code of Conduct and Sexual Violence Policy, which she oversees. With a deep commitment to student advocacy, social responsibility, and civic engagement within our local community, Shaikh was appointed as a citizen member on Niagara Region’s first ever Women’s Advisory Committee in 2020 and serves on the Board of Directors at Women’s Place. Born in Pune, India and raised in Dubai, U.A.E, she immigrated to Niagara in 2000. She holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child and Youth Studies from Brock University.

Nick Farnell (Academic Staff Representative) is a faculty member in the School of Business and Management and program coordinator of the Business Analytics post-graduate program. Over the last 13 years, Farnell has taught data-focused courses on business, technology, and media. Nick has held a number of management and support roles within post-secondary institutions in Ontario. With an interest in strategy and technology, Farnell earned an undergraduate degree in applied technology, a post-graduate certificate in interactive multimedia, and an MBA with a focus on technology and innovation.

Kate Hagen (Support Staff Representative) has worked for more than a decade in various student-facing roles at NC, supporting countless students in achieving their educational and career dreams. Most recently, Hagen’s role as NC’s Co-op Career Consultant has enabled her to continue supporting the College’s mission of preparing work-ready graduates. Hagen is a proud NC alumna of the Business Administration-Marketing program. Demonstrating her commitment to lifelong learning, she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Integrative Management from Niagara University, as well as a Certificate in Career and Academic Advising from the University of Calgary. She is keen to bring her student-centric approach to her role at the Board.

Dipal Patel (Student Representative) is a student in the Autism and Behavioral Science program and is a graduate of Niagara College’s Exercise Science for Health and Performance program. She has been a motivated and engaged student during her studies, serving as Niagara College Student Administrative Council (NCSAC) Director of Justice and Fitness, along with contributing to the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Taskforce and Sexual Violence Taskforce. Patel attended the 2021 Student Union Development Summit and the 2022 World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Conference in Spain, where she learned thoughtful ways to give back and represent the student community.

For the full membership of Niagara College’s Board of Governors, and more information, visit:

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture, and esthetics. For more information visit

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