Chris McNelly | Board Profile

Chris is an executive professional with over 25 years of leadership experience in the corporate, public, and not-for-profit sectors. For the past six years, Chris has volunteered countless hours on the CCIS Board of Directors, where he currently serves as the Chair.

CCIS, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Calgary, Taylor Pronchuk, Chris McNelly

Chris first learned about CCIS when our Chief Executive Officer, Fariborz Birjandian approached him for advice on human resources. Recognizing his expertise in strategic planning, financial accounting, HR, IT, policy development, and board governance, Fariborz invited him to join the Board of Directors. Inspired by the commitment, dedication, and passion of the CCIS team in helping immigrants and refugees successfully settle and integrate in our communities, Chris agreed to come onboard.


After becoming involved, Chris learned that the process to settle in Canada for refugees can be very challenging and stressful.


“Many refugees have experienced much hardship and loss in their lives. It takes time for them to heal and feel like they can become a part of our society. It is essential that we provide the necessary resources to empower immigrants and refugees and provide opportunities where they can reach their full potential.”


One of Chris’s most memorable experiences was serving lunch to Syrian refugees at our Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre with his wife and two young boys.


“My boys played with some of the refugee children, and even though they could not understand each other, they had a human connection. This was a very special moment for me to see the smiles on the faces of the refugee children who have experienced so much sadness when forced to flee their homes.”


Chris encourages all community members to be compassionate and display empathy for new immigrants.


“We must be open-minded to embrace other cultures and learn about their lives and the journey that led them to Canada. We must be patient and devote ourselves to becoming humanitarians, for the betterment of our society.

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