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OUR TEAM

Background

The VFTP™ Canada NPO is the result of a number of years of work and study with Veterans, by Veterans and experts in the field of education and training to determine the career, education, and training approach best suited to help Veterans effectively transition to civilian life. From this work, it was learned that Veterans have unique career, education, and training needs grouped into three areas: social; environmental; and, support.

To address these needs, the VFTP™ Canada NPO was born.

 

Mission 

The mission of the VFTP™ Canada NPO is to create a Veteran friendly career and learning environment that provides the flexibility and support that Veteran students look for and need in order for them to succeed following their service to Canada. 

 

Vision

To create a flexible and supportive Veteran friendly career and learning environment that will enable Veterans to find meaningful and gainful employment following their service to Canada.

 

Principles 

The principles that guided the establishment and guide the conduct of the VFTP are:

  • Veteran Centric - the Veteran is at the centre of all decisions.

  • Compassionate - the Veteran is treated with compassion and respect.

  • Support - the Veteran is provided with the necessary support services to succeed while at the College and in the program.

  • Partnerships - the College works with all partners to help the Veteran succeed.

 

Meet Our Current Board Of Directors

 rima

 Rima Aristocrat, B.M.A., M.Ed 

Founding Director & Chair

VFTP™ Canada NPO

As a business woman, philanthropist, mentor, and author, Rima Aristocrat has been bridging the skills gap between education and industry for more than 35 years. Since 1989, Rima Aristocrat has been President and CEO of Willis College, a 151-year old Canadian Career College, enabling adults to transition into careers in business, healthcare and technology.

Ms. Aristocrat is the founder of the Canadian Association of Immigrant Professionals, founder of TeKnoWave Inc., Canada’s First National Aboriginal IT Training Initiative, and founder of the Veteran Friendly Transition Program (VFTP) initiative, enabling seamless transition for Canada’s Veterans. She has established numerous scholarships including women in technology and A Soldiers Hero scholarship for military spouses. She has established Canada’s first and only multivendor Cybersecurity Academy and implemented the first inter-provincial partnership between a university and a private career college. She is the only Canadian represented on Microsoft’s Education Advisory Council. She is an appointed Member on the National Association of Career Colleges. She has received numerous local, national and international recognitions for her contribution to education.

 

Walter

Lt.-Gen (Ret’d) Walter Semianiw
National Director
VFTP™ Canada NPO

Lieutenant General (Ret'd) Walter Semianiw began his military service with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s). He then joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and for the next 32 years served in various command and staff appointments at home and abroad, including service at the Privy Council Office of Canada. His last overseas mission was in Afghanistan in 2005, where he commanded the Canadian Mission. He ended his military service as the Commander of Canada Command, responsible for the military defense and security of North America, including search and rescue. His final two years in uniform were spent at the Department of Veterans Affairs where he served as the Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy, Communications and Commemoration. He has served on the Board of the Kaiser Foundation for Mental Health. He also volunteers at the Perley Rideau Veterans Hospital in Ottawa.

 

Robert

Robert Dupuis

National Director

VFTP™ Canada NPO

Robert Dupuis spent over 30 years in the Ontario Public Service in Toronto and Ottawa until his retirement in January, 2015. Most recently, Robert was the Director of the Eastern Region for the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.  Robert’s career focused primarily on employment and training policy and programs. He has significant experience in strategic planning, organizational change, funding policy, and program implementation.

 

 

Denis Sicotte

National Director

VFTP™ Canada NPO 

Mr. Sicotte is the founder of Sicotte Guilbault LLP, a law firm with offices in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.   Having previously been licensed as a Chartered Accountant, Denis provides strategic and legal advice to business owners and organizations.  He is involved with and supportive of many creative programs and special projects which promote accessibility to legal services.  His efforts are now focused on using his legal skills and experience to help those in need while making a difference in Canada.

 

 

Jim Lowther

National Director

VFTP™ Canada NPO

Jim Lowther is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who was medically released in 2005 after a 15 year career. During his career he deployed to Bosnia and served onboard the HMCS Halifax as a member of the Boarding Party during Op Apollo. Jim was diagnosed with PTSD in 2002 but continued to serve until physical injuries from an accident while on duty resulted in his medical release. Jim has been very open about his struggles with PTSD in an effort to provide support to others living with PTSD as well. Jim credits his guitar with helping him deal with the struggles of PTSD and his belief that music could help others prompted him to launch the Guitars for Vets Canada program early in 2015. In July 2015, Jim was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation.

 

  

Carolyn

PO2 (Ret’d) Caroline Matthews, CD
Executive Director
VFTP™ Canada NPO

Petty Officer 2nd class (Ret’d) Caroline Matthews spent her military service as a Communicator Researcher. During her 25 years of service, she served at 770 Communication Research Squadron Gander, NL, CFS Alert,​NWT, CFS Leitrim,​ Ontario, and​ Trinity HQ,​ Halifax, NS.

​She and her family were also fortunate to spend three years on an out of country posting to Oahu, Hawaii working with the United States Navy. Caroline served on Her Majesty’s Canada ships Iroquois and Athabaskan. She completed a tour of duty ​with the Canadian Heron Unmanned Air Vehicle detachment in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

​She has been happily married to Petty Officer 1st class Christopher Estabrooks for 20 years and together they have raised two children: Meaghan and Marshal.