Sonia Poulin - Executive Director
Sonia joined JES in October 2017 and brings more than two decades of leadership experience leading increasingly complex operations within the legal sector.
She has enjoyed a successful career in the areas of law reform, legal information & research, legal education and technology. She held a number of progressively responsible positions in private law firms, academia and government in five different provinces and in both legal traditions. Prior to joining JES, Sonia was on the senior leadership team of Resolution and Court Administration Services of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General where she was responsible for the vision, leadership, direction and management of legal information, research and education services to the judiciary, prosecutors, practicing bar and the public in Alberta. Committed to access to justice and human rights, both in Canada and internationally, Sonia has contributed to numerous boards and committees in various capacities at regional, national and international levels. As a self-starter, she co-founded a public legal information and education organization, and has developed and led various international development projects and initiatives for the justice sector, most recently in Eastern Europe and Africa.
A multi-lingual, Sonia has a BA in Linguistics and French Studies (second language teaching concentration) (Concordia), a Master of Information Studies degree (McGill), a Master of Business Administration (Strathclyde) and is currently completing a Law degree (London).
Philip Jakob- International Program Director
As International Program Director, Philip leads the JES International Program team, overseeing the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of JES’ international projects. Prior to leading the entire international team, Philip managed the Guatemala Institutional Justice Strengthening (GIJS) Project in Guatemala. Before working with JES, Philip managed government modernization projects in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. He has also led several program evaluations. Philip is an economist with over 15 years of experience in the implementation and evaluation of innovative projects across sectors. He holds two post-graduate degrees, one in International Development Economics from the University of San Francisco and the other in International Program Management with a particular focus on Latin America from Capilano University. He fluently speaks English, Spanish, and German.
Mary Rider - Assistant Director, International Operations
Mary Rider is the Assistant Director, International Operations at JES working closely with the JES International Program Teams and the Finance Department. She provides operations oversight for all international projects, and supports the International Program Director and Executive Director. Mary came to JES from Fauna & Flora International where she worked as Projects Manager for the Americas & Caribbean team on environmental and governance projects with a focus on Central America. Mary completed her MA Hons in History at the University of Edinburgh with a dissertation in International Relations and came to BC to complete a Post Graduate Diploma at Sauder School of Business. She is fluent in Spanish and is working on her French.
Juan Pablo Cu -Business Manager, Guatemala Office
Juan Cu beings a wealth of business management experience to his role of business manager for JES International. He has over 7 years of experience in Finance, Accounting and Business Administration, and over 4 years of experience as a financial consultant in the Public Health Sector. He has strong skills in the areas of training, cost allocation and review of M&E indicators for Expenditure Analysis in Central America and Caribbean regions gained while the Finance Coordinator and Program Specialist for Rumph & Associates, P.C. Prior to joining JES, his assignment with PepsiCo saw him participating in process re-engineering initiatives. The balance of his experience has been gained from sectors ranging from drilling operations to agriculture to education.
Gabriela Ayala- Translator
Gabriela Ayala is the Interpreter and Translator for JES International Project. She has a BA in Linguistic Sciences with a specialization in Translation and Interpretation and has worked for several international organizations over the years. She has years of experience in translating complex legal and technological documents. Gabriela is fluent in English, Spanish, has a working proficiency in Portuguese and is currently learning Russian!
Marilú Pérez - Administrative and Finance Assistant
Marilú is the Administrative and Finance Assistant who provides finance and operations assistance and supports the Business Manager with general office administration. She is also responsible for logistical planning of events and trips by the Guatemala office staff. Marilú studied Business Administration and is currently enrolled in a Master Program in Human Resources.
Natalia Balyasnikova - Education Specialist
As the Education Specialist, Natalia Balyasnikova develops and oversees all of the international curricula and training programs in Central America and Guyana.
Prior to joining JES, Natalia has worked in a variety of settings ranging from formal education providers to community-based outreach centres. Natalia’s experience is in curricula development, standardization and evaluation of learning outcomes, intercultural communication, and general adult education, including distance and e-learning methodologies. As a researcher, Natalia is interested in theories of adult learning, sustaining lifelong learning, and community engaged work.
Natalia has a PhD in Methods of Teaching from the Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Peterburg, Russia and a PhD in Adult Education/Teaching of English as an Additional Language from the University of British Columbia. She is fluent in Russian, English, and Spanish, and has competency in several other languages.
Fernando Torres - International Curriculum Officer
As the JES International Curriculum Officer, Fernando Torres coordinates and contributes to course content development and course quality control across all international projects.
In Perú, Fernando worked as a human rights lawyer and an assistant professor in the Constitutional field in Peruvian universities. His interest in the resolution of social conflicts led him to take professional development courses at the Inter-American Court of Justice in Costa Rica and the Unión de Juristas in Cuba. Before becoming a Commissioner at the Peruvian Ombudsman Office he worked as a legal advisor for the Peruvian Parliament and the Peruvian National Elections Office. In Canada, he has worked with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, dealing with refugee claims and worked in the Native Court office in Vancouver.
Fernando has a law degree and an MA in Human Rights from Pontificia Catholic University in Peru. He has a certificate in Aboriginal Leadership from the Justice Institute of B.C. and a certificate in Immigration Laws and Procedures from the University of British Columbia.
Northern Triangle and Panama Team
Arturo Matute - Project Director, Northern Triangle and Panama
Arturo Matute oversees JES’s Northern Triangle and Panama projects. He has 14 years of experience managing international development projects in support of justice and security institutions in Central America. He has worked for the United Nations Development Programme, the Research Triangle Institute the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) among other institutions. He was also Guatemala Analyst for the International Crisis Group and Director of the Master’s program on development studies at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala where he has taught since 2004. He holds an MA in Development and Anthropology from the London School of Economics and a post-graduate diploma in research of local economic development from FLACSO - Costa Rica.
Erick Toledo - Senior Project Officer, Northern Triangle Project
Erick joined JES in 2010 as Project Officer for Special Methods of Investigation. He is currently Senior Project Officer for JES' Strengthening Criminal Investigations and Evidence Sharing in the Northern Triangle project, implementing training programs for senior officials and technical-operational public servants at the national and international levels. He has coordinated and developed several international seminars and helped create protocols for inter-institutional action and operational units specializing in regional networks for information sharing. Erick previously worked for several years as homicide investigator and investigation coordinator at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Guatemala implementing special methods of investigation in different operating units of that institution as well as with the police forces of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama.
Ligia del Valle - Project Officer, Northern Triangle Project
Ligia is a lawyer from Rafael Landívar University. She is returning to Guatemala after successfully completing an LLM degree, specializing in International Human Rights, at Notre Dame University. She previously worked for the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption in the public health sector, as an environmental law consultant in the USAID Justice and Security Program in Guatemala, and she represented victims before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Carlos Alberto Moran Agustín - Panama Country Representative & Project Coordinator
Carlos is the Panama Country Representative & Project Coordinator for JES' Strengthening Anti-Crime Capacity in Panama in the Context of the Transition to the Adversarial Legal System (SPA). Previous to joining JES, Carlos worked for 10 years for the Criminal Investigations Bureau in the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Guatemala. His experience in the justice sector has given Carlos has a keen understanding of the problems affecting the region, making him well equipped to work with our partner institutions in Panama.
Gloria Avilés - Project Director, Justice for Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence
Gloria Avilés is a political scientist from Stockholm University who specializes in gender issues and development, and women´s rights. She has worked as bilateral associate expert at Women´s National Ministry as well as independent consultant for the United Nations (UN Women, UNICEF), regional bodies such as The Central American Integration System's (SICA) governmental institutions, as well as national and international NGOs such as Oxfam Quebec, CARE, Plan International, ActionAid, and Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT). Ms. Avilés has developed public and institutional policies and strategies, training materials (tool boxes, manuals, guides, posters, and pamphlets), and facilitated specialized training (certificate courses, webinars, and workshops). She participated in the establishment of the Gender Unit within the Honduras Judiciary, and coordinated the Inter-institutional Commission on Femicide and trained police, prosecutors, judges and key actors of civil society.
Alex Oseguera - Project Officer, Honduras
Alex is a systems engineer who has developed software and informatics tools, database administration and statistic data analysis with strengths focused on the areas of human rights, criminalistics and criminology, citizen security, mediation and conciliation of community conflicts, gender, youth and public policy evaluation through quantitative and qualitative methodologies. He has worked in partnership with several international cooperation agencies and government institutions in the implementation of local security programs, violence prevention, peace culture and democracy, supporting the strengthening of capacities of civil society and public officials. He holds a BA in Engineering and an MBA.
Gabriela Bú Villalta - Project Officer, Honduras
Gabriela is the Project Officer for JES' Justice for Victims of Gender-Based Violence in Honduras project. Prior to this project, she worked in capacity building of the justice sector for the Northern Triangle project. Before joining JES, Gabriela worked several years at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Honduras in the Department of External Liaisons. As a Project Officer there, she coordinated the implementation of capacity strengthening projects funded by international organizations or partner countries. Gabriela has a BA in International Business.
Fernando Reyes - Project Coordinator, Honduras
Fernando has a vast knowledge and experience in gender-based violence, sexual violence, sexual reproductive health and rights, among others. Previous work experience includes head of communication and health promotion for survivors of violence and sexual violence for Médecins Sin Frontières (MSF) in Honduras, and a communications consultant for the Center for Reproductive Rights in Honduras, Project Coordinator for the political collective LGTBI Movement of Diversity in Resistance (MDR). Director and Producer of various audiovisuals on thematic LGTBI as "in My Heels" (2010) and "Tegucigalpa and its Frenzy" (2012), the photographic project Santisimxs. Writer of various socio-political articles, especially about transgender women, violence, and public health. Mr. Reyes holds an MA in Public Health, with an orientation in sexual and reproductive health, violence and strategic communications.
Jesica Tábora - Procurement Officer, Accounting Assistant, Honduras
Jesica is Procurement Officer and Accounting Assistant for the Honduras office. Prior to working with JES, she was the general administrator of the Federation of Private Organizations for the Development of Honduras (FOPRIDEH). She has also collaborated in gender projects at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) and with the energy sector at the Honduran National Energy Company (ENEE). As the administrative and logistical project officer, she plans, coordinates, programs, organizes, and monitors the administrative, financial, legal, and executive tasks of the office and its human resources management. Jesica holds a BA in Business Administration and an MA in Social and Economic Research Methodologies.
Alice Romero - Interpreter/translator
Alice is the interpreter and translator for the Honduras project. Prior to joining JES, she contributed to the Jose Cecilio del Valle Academy (attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras) with the translations of online content and legal paperwork in 2015, and was an elementary teacher before working at the Academy. She has a BA in Foreign Languages and is pursuing an MA in Project Management at the Central American Technological University (UNITEC).
Guatemala Team, Institutional Justice Strengthening Project (CIJS)
Sebastian Robinson - Project Director, GIJS Guatemala
Sebastian Robinson oversees the implementation of the Guatemala Institutional Justice Strengthening (GIJS) Project in Guatemala. Prior to joining JES, he worked with JES as the governance specialist for the Digital Case Management and Performance Evaluation projects in Guatemala. Sebastian has consulted with many public, private, and non-profit organizations, specializing in technological solutions, governance strategies, and budgets for IT solutions. Most of these projects have been in Mexico and Central America.
Sebastien holds a BA in Systems and Industrial Engineering and an MSc in International Planning. He is fluent in Spanish and English.
Jorge Quiñonez - Project Deputy Manager, GIJS Guatemala
Jorge is the Project Deputy Manager for the Guatemalan Institutional Justice Strengthening Project (GIJS) project. He is a lawyer by training and has been working with JES since 2010 on projects related to Criminal Analysis and Investigations, Crime Scene Examination, Major Case Management, and Oral Trials Trainings in Guatemala and Honduras. Prior to that, Jorge was a consultant for the United Nations Development Program in a project to strengthen Guatemala’s judicial system.
Oscar Godoy - Project Officer, GIJS Guatemala
Oscar Godoy is a specialist in pedagogy with extensive experience in adult education, especially among vulnerable victim groups in Guatemala.
Kessler Blanco- Project Officer, GIJS Guatemala
Kessler Blanco is the Project Coordinator for JES’ Guatemala Institutional Justice Strengthening (GIJS) Sweden project. Before joining the JES team, she worked for the Superintendence of Tax Administration (SAT) and at the National Institute of Forensic Sciences in Guatemala for more than eight years, occupying a variety of positions among which included: Head of International Cooperation, General Secretary and Secretary of the Board of Directors, which was made up of representatives from institutions from the justice sector and by the presidents of the professional associations of Lawyers and Notaries, Chemists and Pharmacists. Kessler is an Attorney and Notary Public and has a Masters Notary Law.
Katherine Noack - Project Coordinator, CIJS Guatemala
Katherine is the Project Officer for the Institutional Justice Strengthening Project in Guatemala, having recently transferred from the Tech Platform project. Prior to working at JES, Katherine gained over five years of experience with several international organizations including Mercy Corps, Care, Save the Children and several USAID projects in Guatemala. Katherine completed a BA in International Affairs and a Project Management for Development certification. She recently completed her Law degree.
María Eugenia Carrera - Project Officer, GIJS Guatemala
María Eugenia is a Project Officer for the GIJS project. A Sociologist with international post-graduate studies in human rights, María Eugenia has worked for over 13 years in the non-profit sector and has been an advisor to the Attorney General’s Office of Guatemala in the use of diverse investigation means for cases of grave human rights violations. She has also worked as a consultant to promote human rights in the private sector to improve access to justice for vulnerable populations.
Erick Pineda - Project Officer, GIJS Guatemala
Erick is a Project Officer for the GIJS project in Guatemala. Erick is a lawyer and notary with over 10 years of experience in justice sector institutions, with specialized knowledge of applied forensic sciences for criminal investigations. He also has extensive knowledge of procurement and contracting processes within the public sector in Guatemala.
Felipe Juarez - Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, GIJS Guatemala
Felipe is a Psychologist with diverse experience in projects related to human rights, transitional justice and victim services in Guatemala. Since 2017, he has worked as a Project Officer in JES. Currently, Felipe leads monitoring and evaluation for the GIJS project, supporting the collection and analysis of data, the presentation of results and the generation of information on the performance of project activities.
Pablo Mazariegos - Project Coordinator, GIJS Guatemala
Pablo is a Coordinator for the GIJS project, responsible for the execution of technological platform components within the Attorney General’s office. He is an Industrial Engineer, with an international certification in quality control as a Kaizzen™ Manager. Pablo has over 12 years of work experience with specialized focus in continuous improvement process engineering across sectors, including Guatemala’s National Institute for Forensic Sciences (INACIF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
Guatemala Team, Building a Technological Platform to Support Victim Services
Charlotte Haynes - Project Director, Technological Platforms, Guatemala
Charlotte is the project director for the Building a Technological Platform to Support Victim Services project in Guatemala. She has been living and working in Guatemala since 2015 as part of her doctoral research on teaching difficult histories. Through her previous work with the organization Instituto Internacional de Aprendizaje para la Reconciliación Social (IIARS), which offers teacher professional development programs, she developed programs for educators and youth in Guatemala on issues related to violence, justice, and human rights. She has also developed educational programs in South Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. Charlotte’s background in program design, monitoring and evaluation, and human rights education are invaluable for the Tech Platform program.
Charlotte received a BA in International Relations from Brown University and holds graduate degrees from Stanford University and Teachers College, Columbia University in Education and International Education Development. She is currently gaining a PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University in Social Studies Education.
Carlos Chex - Project Officer, Technological Platforms, Guatemala
Carlos Chex is Mayan Kaqchikel, from San Juan Comalapa village, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Prior to his role with JES, he was a legal and social science specialist in Protection to Human Rights Systems for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC.
Carlos has participated as Indigenous deputy on several international forums, such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAE). He has been Counselor in different Indigenous organizations in Guatemala and an independent consultant in international agencies: PNUD and the Independent Evaluation Office of New York; HELVETAS Switzerland; German Development Bank (KFW); the World Intellectual Property Organization (OMPI) in Geneva; and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) in Guatemala.
He also worked as Counselor and Officer of Programs in the Royal Norwegian Consulate in Guatemala (2012-2016). Additionally, he was Counselor of these governmental institutions: Guatemalan Indigenous Development Fund (FODIGUA 2011); Presidential Commission against Discrimination and Racism to Indigenous Peoples (COSIDRA 2016); and, the Ombudsman for Indigenous Women (DEMI 2019).
Sara Castellanos - Project Officer, Technological Platforms, Guatemala
Sara Castellanos is responsible for the monitoring and evaluation component of the Technological Platform Project. She has 10 years of experience in education, political incidence, gender violence, and in national and international social programs. She previously worked for Wings Association in Guatemala as national coordinator of the Political Incidence Program where she managed incidence, training, and participation processes with women from rural areas, focusing on gender violence, leadership, and citizen participation to influence public policies. Sara has a BA on Communication Sciences and Clinical Psychology in Family Counseling.
Azucena Cajas- Project Coordinator, Technological Platforms, Guatemala
Azucena has been a part of the JES team since 2012. In her capacity as an Auxiliary Project Officer, she provided assistance to the Northern Triangle project in the areas of administration, logistics, translation, interpretation, finance, graphic design, and monitoring and reporting. In 2017, she became the Project Coordinator for the Technological Platforms project, incorporating her experience across the organization and providing insight to the rural communications requirements. Azucena has a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Advertising, and considerable experience in communications for non-profit and municipal organizations. She is also a lecturer at the Mesoamerican University of Quetzaltenango where she teaches courses in advertising and communications.
Guyana Team, Strengthening Criminal Justice System in Guyana
Evelyn Neaman - Project Director, Strengthening the Criminal Justice System, Guyana
Evelyn Neaman is the Project Director for the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System in Guyana project. For 24 years, Evelyn managed more than 100 Canadian and international innovative justice programs for JES and served as the first JES International Program Manager from 2009-2015. Evelyn has developed and managed justice reform projects in China, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Montenegro. She also served as a technical advisor to Agriteam Canada’s JUDGE project in Vietnam from 2010-2012 where she helped design community based public legal education programs. Evelyn has co-produced/directed four documentary films on international justice reform. In September 2015, JES awarded her the "Louise Arbour Award for International Justice" for her longstanding career and commitment towards building effective justice systems. Evelyn is now an independent consultant to JES.
Galina Sergeeva - Project Manager, Strengthening the Criminal Justice System, Guyana
Galina Sergeeva joined JES as the Guyana Project Coordinator in November 2016. She currently works as the Project Manager, responsible for the program development and delivery, monitoring and evaluation, financial and day to day management of the project. Prior to joining JES worked in proposal development and grants management in non-profit organizations in Russia and Ethiopia. Galina holds an MA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.
Rolinda Kirton, LLB - Country Representative, Guyana
Rolinda is the JES Country Representative for the Strengthening the Guyanese Criminal Justice in Guyana project. Prior to joining JES, she held many positions with international impact. Ms. Kirton served as a consultant with UNDP in the UN Social Cohesion and Peacebuilding Program in 2004 and later with UNICEF in 2005 as a Psychosocial Consultant. She served for three years as Project Manager for the Canadian Association of General Surgeons in the Guyana Diabetes Care Project and in 2013, Ms. Kirton joined the CIDA staff as a temporary Development Officer to oversee regional projects in the area of sustainable economic growth. Ms. Kirton holds a Degree in Law and a Diploma in Technology. She is a trained Facilitator and High Court Mediator and has considerable experience designing and delivering management development training. She is also a certified Master Practitioner in the field of Neuro-Dynamics through the Netherlands Training Institute.
Stacia Rose - Project Officer, Guyana
Stacia Rose is the Guyana Project Assistant. She joined JES in November 2016. Prior to joining JES, Stacia worked at the Georgetown-based Project Support Unit, which provided support services for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD) programmes in Guyana. Among her diverse skill-set, she is experienced in payroll and record keeping, events coordination, office procedures and customer relations. Stacia studied sciences (Mathematics and Biology) and English.