Young International Freight Forwarder Award Winners (Biographies)

Young International Freight Forwarder Award Winners (biographies)

Rachael van Harmelen – 2019 Winner

Rachael van Harmelen graduated from the University of Toronto in 2009 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. She worked as a Senior Associate in Sales at Standard Life for 4 years developing a solid background in the insurance industry. She moved to Paris, France to learn French and work for a startup company, where she developed her interest in the supply chain industry. She came back to Toronto to complete her FITT diploma at Seneca College, which led to her inside sales role at Panalpina. After 1.5 years, she’s moved on to Business Unit Sales Manager, which is her current position. She specialized in the Trans-Pacific trade lane.

Following her win in the Canadian round of the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year competition, Rachael has advanced to the Americas Regional competition and is currently working on her second dissertation.

Kendyl Baptiste – 2018 Winner

Kendyl Baptiste has been working in the transportation industry for over 10 years. Her first experience was a summer student job at Shipco Transport Canada (Toronto), a neutral NVOCC.  She grew more interested in understanding the shipment process, and was afforded the opportunity to work as a full-time ocean import customer service representative at Shipco after obtaining a bachelor of Physical and Health Education at the University of Toronto. In 2014, Kendyl was offered a position to join the ocean import team at Bolloré Logistics Toronto (at the time known as SDV Logistics). Working as a freight forwarder she was able to increase her knowledge in ocean imports. After one year of service, she was promoted to join the customer service team and worked closely with the company’s key accounts, sales and management team. This new role allowed her to expand her knowledge base and skills by taking on ocean quoting, and learning air freight handling and quoting. Kendyl went on to obtain the CIFFA Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding, and received two awards for the highest marks. In October 2017, she was promoted to interim Customer Service Team Lead covering her supervisor’s maternity leave. Due to an influx of new business and re-structuring within the branch, in April 2018 Kendyl was promoted to Ocean Import Supervisor. This new role has brought on new challenges, and opportunity to grow professionally as a leader. Kendyl hopes to gain more experience in exports and project cargo.

Following her win in the Americas Regional competition of the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award, Kendyl represented Canada at the 2018 FIATA World Congress in New Delhi, India.

Bradley Davis- 2017 Winner

Bradley Davis started working in the freight forwarding industry following his studies of electrical and computer engineering and completion of the CIFFA Advanced Certificate in Freight Forwarding.  He worked at Panalpina for over three years where he held the position of strategic business development manager.  According to his superior, Bradley “consistently strives to further develop his operational knowledge on the full spectrum of logistics services.  He consistently and effectively manages cross-functional interfaces and takes effective actions to solve problems”.  Bradley developed and implemented supply chain strategies for multinational clients with the consumer retail and high-tech markets.  His innovative and insightful approach developed into new relationships which became some of Panalpina’s most strategic accounts.  Bradley is currently working at Kuehne+Nagel International AG.

Following his win in the Americas Regional competition of the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award, Bradley was invited to represent Canada at the 2017 FIATA World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Based on his dissertation, he won the competition and received the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award.

Evgeny Kapustin- 2016 Winner

Evgeny Kapustin started his career in freight forwarding in 2012, after graduating from Seneca College of Applied Arts with International Transportation and Customs Diploma.  To further his education he has completed the CIFFA Certificate and Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding as well as air and ocean dangerous goods certificates.

His first position was a trans-border logistics coordinator at Transportation Services where he liaised with new and existing clients, vendors and third parties, oversaw proper handling of cross-border and domestic rail and truck shipments, created load confirmations, bills of lading, invoices, and carrier performance reports.

In his second position as an air/ocean export coordinator at a.Hartrodt Canada Evgeny’s responsibilities included overseeing air and ocean export operations in all Canadian provinces, project cargo handling, export customs clearance, exploring new routes and service providers to maximize profit and service quality, pricing analysis, key accounts management and liaising with associated offices around the world.

Evgeny is currently working as an air export coordinator at DSV Air & Sea.

Evgeny represented Canada in the international YIFFYA competition at the 2016 FIATA World Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

Kaya Karakaya- 2015 Winner


Kaya Karakaya started his career in logistics in 2009.  His first experience in this field found him on a logistics team responsible for the movement of high-end apparel.  It was in this company that Kaya became familiar with different shipping solutions, both air and land, routing cargo to meet the required deadlines.

After successfully completing the CIFFA Certificate and Advanced Certificate Programs in 2011, Kaya joined Schenker of Canada Limited as a warehouse coordinator.  This allowed him to become proficient in other areas of the business, i.e. customs procedures and warehousing solutions.  As a natural progression Kaya was moved to the Transborder Department where he gained knowledge of shipping requirements under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) where he was later promoted to the Special Commodity Transportation Department.  It was in this department that his familiarity with project cargo began, creating solutions for non-standard ground cargo and negotiating with carriers associated with these types of movements.

Kaya represented Canada in the international YIFFYA competition at the 2015 FIATA World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan.


Douglas Whitlock- 2014 Winner

Douglas YIFFA

Douglas Whitlock was born in Burlington, Ontario.  At a young age he was exposed to the project cargo and oversized trucking industry.  After completing a college diploma program, Douglas joined the trucking industry with hopes of joining the international trade profession.  A few years later, he was delighted to join a small freight forwarder working in ocean imports.  In 2010, Douglas joined the Ocean Import Customer Service department at Panalpina Inc., where he was placed in charge of several VIP accounts. Douglas also holds the CIFFA Certificate and Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding and the FIATA Diploma.

Douglas represented Canada in the international YIFFYA competition at the 2014 FIATA World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.


Kaloyan Petrov- 2013 Winner


Kaloyan Petrov was born and raised in Bulgaria.  After a successful completion of a foreign exchange program in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA he earned his high school diploma there and immigrated to Canada in 2006.

In Canada Kal completed the Business Administration and Management diploma at Sheridan College in Toronto and the CIFFA Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding.  He launched his freight forwarding career at Panalpina Inc. where he currently holds the position of the country business implementation manager, being responsible for the OSC LCL Import Department, managing 6 direct reports.  His responsibilities are to train, monitor and trouble shoot all ACI matters within Panalpina’s global network ensuring they are resolved promptly and efficiently.

His future plans include further developing his career within the ocean freight product, especially systems and processes, pursuing the FIATA Diploma, as well as a Master’s degree in maritime economics.

Kal represented Canada in the international YIFFYA competition at the 2013 FIATA World Congress in Singapore.


Salman Ali – 2012 Winner

Salman Ali emigrated to Canada from Pakistan in 1997.  Since his graduation in 2005 from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree, Salman has worked in the freight forwarding industry.  He has continued to invest in his future by receiving the CIFFA Certificate and Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding and continues his commitment to life-long learning.

Salman’s fascination with supply chain management started early and it was this passion that has led him to his position of Customer Service Representative at ITN Logistics.

Salman was the 2012 Americas YIFFA winner and represented Canada in the international competition at the FIATA World Congress in Los Angeles.


Paramjit Jandu- 2011 Winner

Paramjit Jandu was born in Jandiala, India and immigrated to Canada with his family in October, 1998. He holds an Accounting diploma from Humber College, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University, the CIFFA Certificate in International Freight Forwarding and is currently working on the CIFFA Advanced Certificate in International Freight Forwarding.

Paramjit started his career in the transportation industry as a truck dispatcher while going to school. He made the jump to MELLOHAWK Logistics Inc. in February, 2005 as the Ocean Import/Export Coordinator. He quickly took on more and more responsibility and today he is the Manager of the Ocean Department and Acting General Manager, helping to make MELLOHAWK one of the fastest growing Freight Forwarders in Canada.

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Claudia Ramirez – 2010 Winner

Claudia Ramirez was born in Mexico City, and now has more than a decade of experience in the International Transportation industry.

Beginning her career as an Import and Export coordinator for a major electronics manufacturer in Mexico, after graduating from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico, with a B.A. in International Business.  Claudia was offered to participate in an exchange program in Canada through her university, due to her achievements and qualifications.  Claudia first landed in Canada in 2001 with very limited knowledge of the English language, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals.  She then graduated from Sir Sanford Fleming College, with a Diploma in International Trade.  Claudia’s education also includes the completion of the CIFFA Certificate Program in International Freight Forwarding (with honours), and is currently participating in the CIFFA Advanced Certificate Program in International Freight Forwarding.

The scope of her experience has spanned virtually all aspects of International transportation, including import, export, customs, international moving, project cargo, etc., working in different modes of transportation, in a freight forwarding capacity.  She also obtained some experience as a customs broker working for one of the largest Customs Broker firms in Canada.  Her business experience is well-rounded, due to her involvement in a variety of sectors implicated in international transportation.

Claudia is currently working for DHL Global Forwarding (Canada) Inc., one of the most well positioned Freight Forwarders in Canada, as the Ocean Imports Team Leader in their Toronto Branch.  Her current position has given her the opportunity to expand her experience in team building and enhance her leadership skills.


Claudia Milena Giraldo Sanchez – 2009 Winner

Claudia MelenaClaudia Milena Giraldo Sánchez was born in Colombia where she achieved her Business Administration diploma and Masters in Marketing and Tourism. While in Colombia she had the opportunity to work as a liaison between Colombia and other South American countries in the logistics and export development fields with the private and governmental sectors. At the same time she researched several projects related to Colombian Tourism and food supply chains for some International Aid foundations. She also worked as a Logistics Transport Specialist for a national Freight Forwarder company in Colombia.

Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, Claudia Milena developed her passion for International Business while managing her family coffee business, and founded a coffee farmers cooperative that exported the famous Colombian coffee to several international markets, been in charge of international sales and transportation arrangements. Later she went on to develop new business ventures in the exports of exotic fruits and flowers as well as Colombian emeralds.

Ms. Giraldo Sánchez currently works at MELLOHAWK Logistics, a Canadian Freight Forwarder Company, as an Import and Export Coordinator in charge of shipments to and from South America and Europe and the Humanitarian courier shipments to Cuba. She is thankful for the support of her managers and coworkers during the competition. She is also delighted to accept CIFFA’s Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award for 2009, and is proud to be representing Canada in the International Competition for 2009.

Claudia Milena is a firm believer in giving back to the community, especially to children who are our future. Therefore, along with her family, she helped to create schools for the “Cafeteritos” (small coffee farmers), providing education and access to school in remote zones of the Andean Colombian Mountains to children who help their parents in the collection of the Colombian coffee harvest. She also enjoys volunteering for the food bank, environmental campaigns, and for world peace events. Her lifetime goal is to be working with the United Nations or UNICEF utilizing her professional skills as a freight forwarder in order to help those in need, especially children.

Finally, Claudia Milena attributes the balance and continued learning in her life to her spiritual journey towards God. With strong faith, certitude, and determination she thanks God, her spiritual teacher Bawa, her family, and her friends Sareh and Andrew for bringing light and understanding to her inner path, and for helping her to became a better person and a better professional in this world.


Elvia Liliana Ordaz Huesca – 2008 Winner

Elvia LilianaLiliana was born in Mexico. She started in the Logistics Field when she was 18 years old, and subsequently completed a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Management, and a Master’s degree (with honours) in Logistics and Traffic Transportation at the University of Veracruz, Mexico. She was then invited by the university to teach a few courses on traffic and transportation. In addition, Liliana worked as a freelance consultant for a few private organizations focusing on the export & import of agricultural products between Mexico & Canada.

Liliana immigrated to Canada in 2002, and since then has been working for Ecu Line Canada Inc., first as an International Traffic & Logistics Coordinator and more recently as an Ocean Export Coordinator.

Since coming to Canada, Liliana continued with her education and came in at the top of her class in CIFFA Module I, and is now continuing with CIFFA Module II.

Liliana comments that winning the CIFFA Young Freight Forwarder of the Year contest would not have been possible without support from the team at Ecu Line in making her a better and more professional freight forwarder, and from the ongoing and continued support of her parents. In recognition of the ongoing and continued support of her parents, Liliana has dedicated this award and achievement to them.


Siva Vankineni – 2007 Winner

Siva VankineiMr. Siva Vankineni was born in India, where he achieved his Master’s degree in International Business, and worked for DHL Global Forwarding before coming to Canada in 2004.

With DHL, he worked in Bangalore City as an Inside Sales Agent, then Sales Specialist, and then as a Sales Team Leader. When he left DHL Global, Siva was responsible for generating new business.

In 2006 and 2007, Siva achieved the highest marks in CIFFA Module I and Module II, for Central Region, and holds the CIFFA IMO DG Certification.

Siva is currently with Logistics Plus Canada, as Director. His preliminary functions includes start up activities such as recruitment, training, developing carrier relationship and identifying niche markets in Canada. Immediate responsibilities also includes National account management of an MNC and establishing the freight forwarding operation. Siva’s long term responsibility is to make the Canadian entity, a profitable subsidiary of the US based parent company.

Siva aspires to make Freight Forwarding, a truly professional and reliable partnership experience for International Traders. In the long-term Siva wishes to work towards positively enhancing the lives of the underprivileged people in developing countries. Working with the transpiration side of UNICEF or any other international organisation operating in developing countries, and being a contributor for children’s aid societies operating in developing nations is a personal goal of his.

Though he is very excited about winning the CIFFA Young Freight Forwarder of the year award for 2007, Siva says he would feel a real sense of achievement when he manages to bring back the world wide award to Canada in 2007.


Pamela Rooney – 2006 Winner

Pamela RooneyPamela Rooney was born and raised in Montreal. From the very beginning, Pamela has demonstrated her determination and her passion for learning. After receiving two scholarship awards, Pamela obtained her Bachelor of Commerce (major in International Business) from Concordia University with honours. Stemming from her thirst for adventure and her need to constantly challenge herself, Pamela conducted part of her studies in Cambridge, England over a period of five months.

Pamela successfully completed CIFFA Module I and continues to build on her education by working to complete CIFFA Module II. She has also obtained her IMO DG certification.

Pamela has been with Exel Global Logistics for the past 6 years. During this time she has worked in the ocean import, export and consolidation service departments. Pamela currently works as an operations agent in the Project Logistics Department and one of Pamela’s top objectives is to provide excellent customer service for very complex service requests. This includes coordinating with different departments and with management in order to provide Exel’s customers with the best solutions possible.

Pamela also participates in extracurricular activities that have allowed her to further develop her communication and leadership skills. As an internal quality auditor, Pamela conducts interviews and follows through with regular reports on the performance of Exel’s quality management system. Pamela has recently become interested in coordinating social events and fundraisers for various community causes.

Pamela’s career goal is to become a leading consultant in supply chain management.

Pamela is very proud to accept CIFFA’s Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award for 2006. She looks forward to the challenge of competing on behalf of Canada in the Worldwide Competition.


Alicia Chin – 2005 Winner

Alicia ChinAlicia Chin was born in Trinidad. She immigrated to Canada as a teenager and immediately started an Honours Bachelor of Science Program at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario. As a result of her strong, competitive nature, she completed her four-year undergraduate degree in three years.

While in the freight forwarding industry, her independence and diligence, coupled with her thirst for demanding challenges and academic interests, propelled her to obtain CIFFA module One and Two, CSCB and DG certification.

She has a strong sense of compassion and duty towards humanity as a whole and has been volunteering with Telecare Brampton (non profit distress line) for the past five years. She also serves on their Board of Directors. Her wonderful sense of humour and strong faith stand her in good stead in this valuable role in the community.

Her lifetime ultimate goal would be to improve world trade and to be the master link in a chain forged among various third world nations.

Alicia is extremely delighted to be the first employee of Exel Global Logistics in Canada to achieve the CIFFA Young Freight Forwarder of the year award and is also proud to be representing Canada in the Worldwide competition in April 2005.