2022 Board of Directors


Gloria Montano

Gloria Montano

After completing a BSEE in 1978, Gloria began her career in the Silicon Valley where she advanced through high tech positions in design, customer support, technical sales and marketing support, project and program management. She left private industry to join the Institute for Women and Technology (now AnitB.org) as the director of an innovative, design-based experiential learning program. She came to NL in 2006 to earn a Master of Education degree then worked in various roles in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University.

Now post-salary, Gloria continues to seek to broaden discussion on the role women play in the identification, development and distribution of technology-based solutions and she uses her experience and skills for the benefit of non-profit and volunteer organizations. Gloria is a Past President of WISE NL, a national Past President of the Society of Women Engineers in the US, and has served on several boards including the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT).

Jenny Jefferies

Jenny Jefferies
Vice President

Jenny grew up on the South Coast of Labrador and moved to St John’s upon finishing high school. Graduating in 2009 with a Diploma in Marine Engineering Technology and a Bachelor of Maritime Studies, Jenny started her career with a large corporation as a field engineer. Within a couple of years, she found herself in a management operations role and relocated to Texas, Houston.

Ready to begin a family, Jenny returned to Newfoundland and continued to work in the marine industry locally. She has worked in the marine industry for 14 years with service companies in various roles, and recently served as a legal Marine expert representing a litigation case for a large corporation. Her passion really is the marine industry, as she is fascinated with ship repair and design.

Jenny lives in Holyrood, NL. She has two small girls who keep her busy, and the family likes to spend all of their spare time outdoors, enjoying the Newfoundland scenery.

Kerri Smith


Dr. Kerri Smith received her BSc (Honours) in Biology from Memorial University, with a specialization in Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Biochemistry. She then completed MSc and PhD degrees in Medicine in Memorial’s Cancer & Development group, with a focus on the genetic and endocrine factors that contribute to pediatric-onset ovarian cancer. Kerri has worked as a Research Assistant in Memorial’s Discipline of Genetics and Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and as a Research and Development Scientist with Eastern Health’s Public Health and Microbiology Laboratory. Kerri currently works as a Clinical Genomic Scientist at the Centre for Translational Genomics, Eastern Health, where she is involved with the development of clinical genetic tests and the interpretation of genetic variants. Kerri volunteers as a Public Interest Member on the Council of the College of Physiotherapists of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in her personal time enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and hiking with her dog Gin.

Eileen O’Brien
Past President

 Graduated in 1994 from Memorial University with a B. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, Eileen has spent the majority of her career in the oil and gas sector, upstream, downstream and in distribution, in Newfoundland and abroad. Most recently she has been involved in two Major Projects in Newfoundland, as Project Engineering Lead for Wood Group Cahill on the Hebron Project (Topsides) and Quality Manager for SDP GP on the West White Rose Project (CGS).

Eileen most recently was President on the board for WISE NL, as well as appointed to the Service NL Public Safety Appeal Board (2018-2020). Eileen lives in CBS with her family and enjoys training for triathlons and fundraising for charities such as the Sick Kids foundation.

Director – Core Support

Oihane Cereceda

Oihane Cereceda
Director, Communications

 Born and raised in Bilbao, Spain, Oihane moved to St. John’s in 2013 to complete her Ph.D. in Computer Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her background includes Industrial Electronics, Robotics, Automation, Control Systems, and Engineering Education. She is currently working as a Software Designer at Solace Power, a local tech company that provides state-of-the-art wireless power solutions.

Since her teenage years, Oihane has been volunteering in various local and international organizations in Spain and Newfoundland. She has been a WISE NL member since 2016 and was involved with their Graduate Student Society as Director of Event Planning, President, and Past-President during her years in graduate school at MUN. Over her professional career, she was lucky to have encountered very strong women who helped her grow and find her path. She is looking forward to bringing these values and her experiences to WISE NL in hopes to inspire and help young girls/women to find their passion.

She is also an active yoga practitioner, a swimmer, and is currently learning figure skating. In her personal time, she is found on Pinterest looking for new cooking recipes.

Sarah McGuire
Director, Membership

Sarah McGuire first became involved with WISE NL while completing her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering where she held multiple positions within WISE US. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Engineering within the ONAE department while working at Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a Mechanical Project Engineer. Sarah has previously worked at Ontario Power Generation and Aker Solutions where she met the experience requirements to attain Professional Engineer status.


Esraa AbouAmin
Director, Operations

Esraa AbouAmin is an entrepreneur, the principal owner of NISOM NL ISO & Management Mentor Ltd. Canadian management firm located in St John’s, NL. She is a senior consultant and project manager providing management, engineering and business services to companies looking for international recognition. As well as providing ISO certified auditing as registered ISO lead auditor since 2010.

Graduated in 2002 with BSc in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture. She believes in continuous learning. Acquiring two Masters Degrees (MEM Engineering Management, MSc Marine and Naval Engineering) and maintaining Lead Auditor status for the integrated system ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO18001.

With a diverse background of managerial and business development experience in shipyards, industrial organizations, mental health and wellbeing education, non-profit organizations and small/medium industries, plus numerous Awards of Excellence to her credit, Esraa’s infectious enthusiasm for personal and professional excellence has been inspiring individuals and teams for years. She is a Rotary member, an active volunteer with SPCA, Big brother and big sister, SJIWFF and WISE NL board member for 3 years.

Most recently she has started a Nautical Science diploma with MI (MUN). In addition to Working on her ID PhD research on ” Designing a Newfoundland Prototype Social Enterprise Business Model for the Development and Evaluation of a Complex Intervention that Integrates Care for People with Mental Illness who are working in heavy-industry Workplaces.”

She believes in spirituality, loves animals and lives in St John’s with her family of handsome sons “Shahin and Yassin”, and inspired beautiful white husky “Junior”.


Meghan Couves
Director, Records

Born into a supportive family in St. John’s, Newfoundland, my love of science was reinforced from a young age by my father who is an engineer. I completed a degree in mechanical engineering at Memorial University and in my final year was offered a job in Australia. I made the solo journey to Australia where I worked with a mining company which provided me with the opportunity to work and live in a number of locations over a five-year period. During my time there I was fortunate to be able to visit many locations around the world where I developed a deep admiration for culture and diversity.

After making the decision to move back to Newfoundland I travelled to South Africa to volunteer at an animal sanctuary, the beginning of a five month long solo back packing journey through Africa and South America. I am an active individual and believe regular exercise is a crucial element in maintaining my well-being. Currently, I volunteer with Eastern Health at the Miller Centre’s Veteran Pavilion and also thoroughly enjoy being able to assist the SPCA. I am a mentor in the Women in Resource Development Corporation’s Techsploration program but most of all am very excited to be a part of the WISENL team and look forward to what 2021 has in store!

Director – Programs


Valerie Darmonkow
Director, Leadership

Valerie and her husband immigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe three decades ago. Since then, they have been living, working, and parenting their two children (born shortly after arrival) in St. John’s, and have successfully integrated into the local community. Valerie has expertise in the area of health sciences and related research, and is also experienced in the fields of public policy, law and ethics. While adjusting to a new country and a new culture, and advancing her academic credentials, Valerie has stayed committed to volunteer work. She has served on the Health Research Ethics Board and on several advisory and steering committees, representing the Faculty of Medicine (MUN), in addition to her past roles as an Executive on the Board of the NL Multicultural Council Inc., and a Board Director at the Multicultural Women’s Organization of NL.

Valerie is passionate about continuous professional development and is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the improved competencies of leadership that women with careers in the SE- and technology-based sectors can benefit from.


Chenel Waight
Director, Mentorship

Chenel Waight is originally from Belize City, Belize. She moved to St. John’s in 2007 to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and was awarded the Women in Engineering Scholarship during her first year at Memorial University. Post-graduation, she attained her LEED Green Associate, Project Management Professional (PMP), and Professional Engineer (P.Eng) designations. Chenel is currently employed as a Project Manager with Colliers Project Leaders. She has over eight years of project management experience ranging from small office fit-ups to complex multi-million dollar program of works, including the St. John’s International Airport Expansion Project.

Chenel is very passionate about and values diversity, equality, and mentorship. She has been involved with WISE NL’s Mentorship Program for the last five years, initially as a mentor in the program, and has served on the Board as Program Director since 2020. Chenel is also a member of several other professional associations including Professional Engineers and Geoscientists NL (PEGNL), Project Management Institution (PMI), and the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

In her personal time, Chenel enjoys travelling, hiking, Latin ballroom dancing, fencing, cooking and trying new experiences, especially food, music, and places.

Heather Appleby

Heather Appleby
Director, Speaker Series

Heather Appleby graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor’s of Engineering in Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering. After graduation she worked in the marine consulting industry before working on the marine
engineering teams of both the Hebron and West White Rose Projects. She has held numerous volunteer positions with Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL), including a three-year term on the Board of Directors. She is currently the Special Projects Manager at PEGNL. As a former participant of the WISE Student Summer Employment Program, she is excited to join WISE NL’s Board of Directors.

Heather Appleby

Kelsey Howlett
Director, SSEP

Kelsey graduated Memorial University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in political science. She first became involved with WISE NL in the Fall of 2017, when she was hired as the Program Administrator. Though her career aspirations have taken her elsewhere, she is committed to the goals and mission of WISE NL and has thoroughly enjoyed serving as Director of the Student Summer Employment Program on the WISE NL Board; and will continue to do so. Professionally, she is the administrative assistant/transaction coordinator for the Sold by Stokes Real Estate team with Keller Williams Platinum Realty.

She is also an active volunteer with the Goulds Lions Club since 2013. On her personal time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and travelling (whenever that can happen again!).

Director Emeritae


Mona El-Tahan
Director Emerita

Mona El-Tahan is the founding president of WISE NL, leading the development of a provincial chapter of WISE National in 1988. Mona is a professional engineer, businessperson, and successful entrepreneur experienced in leading diverse and highly talented teams of professionals in the offshore and high technology industries. She is recognized nationally and internationally through awards for success in engineering, business and entrepreneurship, and has an extensive network of professional industry and academic contacts throughout the Middle East, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

After obtaining a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Cairo University in Egypt and a Masters in Ocean Engineering from Memorial University. After graduation she worked with Lavalin-Fenco Newfoundland Ltd. as a Project Engineer and Senior Research Engineer/Manager then moved to C-CORE as a Senior Research Engineer/Manager. Mona founded InCoreTec Incorporated, an applied research and development company specializing in offshore and environmental engineering, marine navigational aids, sea ice management, project management and consulting. She stepped away from the company and is now in a consulting role.

Mona’s numerous awards include Canadian Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award (1999), NLOWE Entrepreneur of the Year NL 2000), Sara Kirke Award – Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) (2002), and the Canadian Muslim Contributors to the Business Sector – Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) (2005).

Mona’s own favourite quality is her love of helping others. In 2019, this very quality won her a community service award offered by the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland & Labrador (PEGNL).

Directors at-Large


Jennifer Bessell
Director at-large

Jennifer Bessell is currently the chief executive officer with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs. Jennifer is an accomplished senior leader in the non-profit sector with extensive experience in both professional associations and charitable organizations. She has held executive director roles in both professional legal education and with the Canadian Bar Association as well as executive positions with the Association for New Canadians locally and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada nationally. Jennifer has a demonstrated ability to lead and motivate teams with a people first approach to leadership. She is an experienced executive leader who enjoys both program and finance management. Jennifer is currently the Vice-Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada and volunteers with Junior Achievement of NL.

Jennifer is passionate about lifelong learning and helping others achieve success in their professional endeavours. She considers coaching and mentoring a responsibility of leadership. As such, Jennifer is driven to help women and youth realize their potential and be successful in their journey as entrepreneurs.


Morgan Chafe
Director at-large

Morgan Chafe was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 2020. She received a Bachelor of Commerce (Co-op) from Memorial University in 2016, and her Juris Doctor from the University of New Brunswick in 2019.

Morgan is a vocal activist for BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and women’s’ rights. When she is not practicing law, Morgan is taking care of her goldendoodle, Cooper, or exploring all the beautiful sites (and food) Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer. 


Rachel Coombs
Director at-large

Rachel Coombs is a Civil Engineering student at Memorial University (Class of 2022) and the VP Engineering (Society A) of the WISE Undergraduate Society. She is from Portugal Cove South, a small community on the southern Avalon, and has always been passionate about helping her community through volunteering. Rachel first became involved with WISE when she was a SSEP participant in 2015. Participating in SSEP helped Rachel discover her interest for Civil Engineering, and she started volunteering with WISE to help other women like her reach their goals in their chosen STEM field. She has been volunteering with WISE since 2017, and worked with SSEP in 2018 as a Program Coordinator.

Rachel also volunteers as Youth Representative for the Mistaken Point World Heritage Advisory Council, Class Co-Representative for the MUN Civil Engineering Class of 2022, Spirit Co-Lead for the MUN Concrete Toboggan Team, and Vice President for the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers MUN Student Chapter.

Courtney Harnum
Director at-Large

Courtney Harnum graduated from the Electrical Engineering program at Memorial University in 2019. After graduating, Courtney worked at ExxonMobil in St. John’s, before moving to Newfoundland Power where she currently works as Capital Budget Lead. In this role, she is responsible for the annual filing of the Company’s capital budget application, as well as other regulatory proceedings. Courtney has had extensive involvement with various WISE NL programs, including completion of the SSEP program in 2013 working in the Department of Physics, serving on WISE US Executive during university, and participating in the Mentorship Program, both as a mentor and a mentee.

Monawar Shahwan

Monawar Shahwan
Director at-Large

Monawar Shahwan is a Third year Biochemistry (honors) student at MUN and the VP science of WISEUS. She was bornin Gaza, Palestine and her family immigrated to Newfoundland in 2009. This is her first year on the WISE NL board and she is looking forward to encouraging women and minorities to follow their ambitions in pursuing a career in STEM.

Monawar volunteers with the Canadian blood services, is the community engagement officer of MUN NextGen, and is the treasurer of Jack.org society.

Staff & Contractors

Clare Graves
Program Administrator

My name is Clare Graves and I am the Program Administrator with WISE NL. I am a native Newfoundlander with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Medicine from MUN. I have had a passion for science and learning since my experience with WISE SSEP back in 2007! I am an avid sports fan, music lover, runner and reader! In my spare time I like to spend time with my husband, Wayne, stepdaughter, Addyson and our dog, Mika!