Emerge Media Awards 2017 | Judges
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Judges

Written Word

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    Sarah Moore: Editorial Director, Star Metro Media

    Sarah Moore oversees editorial special sections and all commercial content for Star Metro Media. She leads a team of content creators who strategize and produce content for print and digital properties, including the Toronto Star, thestar.com, Star Touch, Metro News and metronews.ca. Sarah’s background is in the magazine industry, where she has put her stamp on some of Canada’s top brands, including Today’s Parent and More. She has guided many of the country’s top writers to produce engaging and award-winning stories. She has served as a member of the judging committee for the National Magazine Award Foundation.

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Jill Buchner: Health Editor, Best Health Magazine

Jill Buchner is the special projects editor at Canadian Living magazine and the managing editor and awards coordinator for the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. With seven years in the magazine industry, she has worked on the health and living sections at Canadian Living, interviewed many Canadian celebrities and served as the copy editor for Homemakers magazine. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from Western University and was the recipient of a 2015 Canadian Online Publishing Award.

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Brett Walther: Online Editor, Reader’s Digest Canada

Brett Walther is the Web Editor at Reader’s Digest Canada, and a familiar face across the country as a regular guest on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show. Before joining Reader’s Digest, Brett served as both Home & Garden Director and Senior Health Editor at Canadian Living, and Features Editor at Style at Home. Despite having countless nominations under his belt, he is the self-confessed “Susan Lucci of the National Magazine Awards.”

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Peter Carter: Editor in Chief, The Fine Line

Peter Carter has written for Canada’s largest–Chatelaine, Toronto Star–as well as smallest–Manitoulin Expositor, Catholic New Times–publications. When he was editor of the Manitoulin Expositor, it was the first weekly paper to win the prestigious Governor General Roland Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism. The citation was for a series Peter penned about a community uniting to battle depression and addiction. While he developed his journalism skills at Carleton University followed by 30 years in the business, Peter says everything he knows he learned growing up the youngest of 10 Carter kids in Sudbury, Ontario, in a family that ran a medium-sized bus business. Life centred around their three-bedroom home, their bus garage, St. Clement’s parish and school. As a columnist at Chatelaine, his award-winning monthly “Family Room” column was a reader favourite. Peter’s “Pete’s Blog and Grille” was named Canada’s top business blog in 2014. “And,” he says, “it’s all about my family!” Peter and his wife Helena live in Toronto and have twin 25-year-old daughters, a 24-year-old-son and a new grandson Mateus Remy.

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Tina Anson Mine: Freelance Writer, Editor and Media Consultant

Tina Anson Mine is a freelance writer, editor and media consultant. She began her career at Canadian Living Magazine and spent 15 years there in a variety of roles, including copy chief, managing editor and executive editor of food and cookbooks. Since 2015, she has run a successful writing and editing business that focuses mainly on food and lifestyle. In that time, she has worked on everything from a chile pepper cookbook to a vegan beauty handbook to an advertorial on men’s golf accessories.

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Miriam Osborne: Managing Editor, Special Features, Star Metro Media

Miriam is the Managing Editor of Content at Star Metro Media. I’ve worked in various editing roles magazines, books and the last five years has been in newspaper, first in the Life and Entertainment at Metro News and now in custom content for the Toronto Star and Metro.

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Sunny Freeman: Resource Editor, National Post

Sunny Freeman covers the resources beat — mining, forestry and marijuana for the Financial Post. Sunny was previously a business reporter at The Toronto Star, The Huffington Post Canada and The Canadian Press. She has followed developments in the budding marijuana industry since 2013 first through a series at Huffington Post called “Joint Venture” and now in her current role as one of Canada’s only dedicated marijuana sector reporters.

Austen Gilliland: Editor, doctorsNS Magazine

Austen Gilliland has been working for newspapers and magazines since 2005. A graduate of the University of King’s College one-year post-graduate journalism program, she began her career at Halifax’s weekly independent newspaper, The Coast. She then moved on to work as a copy editor and section editor at Canadian Living magazine; as a copy editor at Homemakers, Flare and Canadian Business magazines; and as a copy editor for Robert Rose Publishing. She is an occasional contributor to Metro and the Toronto Star. In addition to journalism, she has worked with non-profit organizations such as the MaRS Discovery District, ORION and the Toronto Foundation. Ms. Gilliland has taught magazine journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber and Centennial College. She is currently the editor-in-chief of doctorsNS, the monthly magazine for members of Doctors Nova Scotia.

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Anne Bokma: Freelance Writer and Editor

A full-time freelance writer, Anne has been a journalist for more than 25 years and has written for most of Canada’s major magazines and newspapers. Her work has been recognized with awards from both the American and Canadian Church Press, the Canadian Business Press, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, The Canadian Association of Journalists and the North American Travel Journalists Association. Anne spent much of her journalism career at Rogers Media in Toronto before launching her own freelance writing and editing business in 2003. She’s been pounding her key board ever since.

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Michele Harris: Editor in Chief and Executive Director, Headwaters Tourism

With a passion for business development and community building, Michele is known for using innovation, leadership & outside-the-box thinking to leverage success. Her extensive marketing and media career includes work with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in both television and radio production management, and owning an award-winning boutique marketing agency with specialization in regional development, hospitality, and tourism marketing. As Executive Director of Headwaters Tourism, she works extensively within the regional, municipal & provincial political framework to leverage activities and integrate strategies into creative and innovative partnerships. Under her leadership, Headwaters Tourism has been recognized with numerous awards from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario/Ontario Tourism and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada for marketing, innovation, and regional economic development. Michele serves on the boards of several provincial and municipal tourism and economic development organizations, has been a professor and serves on the Academic Advisory Committee at Humber College’s School of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism, and is a seasoned speaker on tourism and regional community development.

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Jessica Ross: Multi Platform Content Director, TVA Publications

Jessica Ross is Multiplatform Content Director at TVA Group, responsible for driving the success of digital magazines, special issues and books. Jess has worked in a variety of management and editorial roles, including as Executive Editor and Acting Editor in Chief ofHomemakers magazine; managing editor at Canadian Home Workshop and Associate Editor and Web Editor of IE:Money magazine. Jess enjoys volunteering for Magazines Canada and teaching Magazine Packaging at Ryerson University.

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Penny Caldwell: Vice President, Cottage Life Media; Publisher, Cottage Life Magazine

Penny Caldwell is Publisher of the award-winning Cottage Life magazine. She has worked in the magazine industry for more than 35 years and was editor-in-chief of Cottage Life for 15 years before taking on the publisher’s role in 2015. During that time, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors named Penny Editor of the Year four times. Under her direction, the magazine received Magazine of the Year recognition from both the National Magazine Awards and the International Regional Magaine Associaton. When she is not at Cottage Life, Penny enjoys off-grid cottage life on an island in Georgian Bay with her husband, two adult children, and a golden retriever.

Audio Storytelling (Radio)

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Robert Fisher: Former CBC Journalist, Political Analyst

Robert Fisher is an award-winning journalist carrying perspectives that are based on in-depth knowledge of provincial, national, and international politics. Mr. Fisher started his career at the age of 18 with a diploma in Journalism from Algonquin College and received a Master of Journalism from Carlton University. He has covered every major Ontario political story at the municipal, provincial, and national levels for CBC Television’s, The National, CBC TV Toronto, Global Television, and CBC Radio. At the CBC, he was the network’s afternoon news anchor and is now heard on Toronto’s Here and Now as well as CBC’s stations in Windsor, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. He has taught journalism law and ethics at Centennial College as well as radio and television news writing, and productions at Ryerson University. In 2014, Mr. Fisher received an Honourary Diploma in Applied Arts and Technology from Loyalist College.

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Fil Martino: Reporter, 680 News

Fil Martino joined the 680 News team in 2011. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts and from Seneca College with a Radio and Television Arts Diploma before beginning her career in journalism as a junior reporter with The Regional News in Richmond Hill. She worked as a reporter/anchor for First Local News on Rogers TV before moving to radio in 2011. She has received media awards for her coverage of crime stories and police programs from the OPP and York Regional Police. Fil enjoys volunteering her time to help local charities including Stouffville-based CBM and she also volunteers for York Regional Police.

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Ayesha Barmania: Founder of Peterborough Independent Podcasters

Ayesha Barmania is a long-time lover of audio storytelling and an emerging audio artist. Having started in campus radio experimenting with stories and sounds, they are now an associate producer with CBC Radio, where they prepare interviews and produce audio documentaries. In their spare time, Ayesha runs Peterborough Independent Podcasters, an organization that helps anyone who asks make a podcast. It’s on this network that they produce Sounds Like Life, an audio art podcast about the sounds that make you stop and just listen.

Videography (TV)

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Randy Risling: Photojournalist, the Toronto Star

Randy Risling is an award-winning Toronto Star videographer and photographer. Repeatedly, Randy’s work has been recognized at the national and international levels for his rare ability to combine stunning cinematography with solid storytelling. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, his work with the Star has taken him everywhere from Turkey and Somalia to Jamaica and China.

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    John Crampton: Creative Director, BlueMoon Productions

    The founder and creative director of BlueMoon Productions, John Crampton has been involved in nearly every level of production since graduating from the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. He has been an editor, a cameraman, director and producer, working on projects all over the world for most major television networks in North America. He has worked on programs like SCTV, the Olympics with CTV, drama, comedy and variety programming for NBC, CBS, and HBO. An early adopter of the burgeoning Internet, John in 1994 started BlueMoon Productions, a new media production company to specialize in a wider variety of content creation that went beyond broadcasting. From commercials to online marketing, BlueMoon continues to be a busy content boutique and John continues to be the innovator of lightbulb moments.

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Ryan Da Silva: Senior Producer, Corus Entertainment

Ryan is an award-winning senior producer, a successful director, a fantastic father, and not that terrible of a husband (so he’s been told). He has 16 years’ experience in creative services, marketing, and content creation. But, above all, he says he loves to tell a story. “I strive to produce creative that is authentic, compelling, and unexpected. I endeavour to leave my audience with some lasting insight – that “aha” moment. To this day, I still get giddy about crafting the perfect tag line, finding that moment in a cut, or getting an unexpected performance from the talent.”

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Takara Small: Videographer, Online Editor, Metro News Canada

Takara Small is a Toronto-based tech and multimedia journalist. Her work has appeared in Forbes magazine, the Toronto Star, Metro News Canada, Motherboard, Toronto Life magazine, was a contributing editor for Fortune magazine and more. In addition to her writing she is also a public speaker and produced a weekly tech show called “Tech With Takara” on YouTube.

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Mollie Rolfe: Freelance Producer and Production Manager

Mollie Rolfe has worked in both Toronto and Vancouver’s film industries for more than a decade. After taking some time to travel, and complete a year of studies at Concordia University, she graduated at the top of her class from the Film and Broadcasting program at Centennial College in Toronto. During her career, Mollie has fulfilled many different roles in this industry—mostly focused on production, but also in other crew-related positions. As a freelance producer and production manager, Mollie works primarily in music videos and commercials and continues to solidify herself a place in Toronto’s well-established production industry. While Mollie’s focus has been in film production, she remains enthusiastic about the television and journalism aspects of her educational roots. She is very excited to once again participate as a judge for the EMAs and to continue to gain insight into the emerging talent that Canada has to offer.

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    Kieran Sells: Broadcast Producer, Global News Toronto

    Kieran Sells is a respected award winning TV Producer who currently produces lifestyle and entertainment segments for Global’s “The Morning Show.” Beginning his career in New York City, Kieran has worked on several hit talk shows including “LIVE! With Regis and Kelly” and “The Tyra Banks Show” where his team earned a Daytime Emmy Award. In 2008, he traded coasts, moving to Los Angeles to work on several reality shows. Since launching “The Morning Show” almost five years ago, Kieran has produced a number of high profile celebrity interviews including sit-downs with Taylor Swift, John Travolta, Amy Poehler, Daniel Radcliffe, Regis Philbin and Jason Sudeikis.

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Natalie Quinlan: Reporter, CTV London

After graduating with a degree in Media Studies and diploma in Communications from the University of Guelph-Humber, Natalie went on to earn a post-graduate certificate from Fanshawe College’s Broadcast Journalism – Television News program. Originally from Brantford, Natalie began her career in journalism at a radio station almost 4,000 km away from home in Peace River, Alberta. After 6 months as a news anchor for the AM610 newsroom, Natalie was hired as the evening news anchor and newsroom supervisor for CJDC-TV in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Her efforts caught the attention of CTV Saskatoon’s news director, where she was then hired as the anchor of Prince Albert’s News at Noon and co-producer of their CTV Morning Live Show. Following a year stint in the prairies, Natalie was offered a position closer to home in London, Ontario. Today, Natalie works as a full-time reporter/camera person for CTV London where she covers a variety of stories and fills in for weather every once in a while. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys visiting family and friends, volunteering with the Fanshawe Mentorship Program, and recreationally kickboxing.

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Gordon Burkell: Founder, AOTG Network

Gordon Burkell is an editor with 15 years of experience in Documentaries and television commercials. He is the founder of the internationally recognized Aotg.com, a site with the goal of sharing and organizing information for film editors. The site includes Aotg.tv, The Cutting Room Podcast and mobile apps for film editors. Gordon currently hosts panels, events around the world and lectures part-time at Ryerson University.

Public Relations

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    Adriana Lurz: Vice President, Strategic Objectives

    Adriana Lurz is a 12 year member of the Strategic Objectives team and has led many of the agency’s ground-breaking food, hospitality, social issues and cause-marketing PR programs. She is a PR strategist and integral to providing outstanding client service and innovative solutions to build brands as well as gain media attention and public support for important issues. Adriana’s commitment to creativity and innovation has fueled programs ranging from M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day, to A&W Ingredients Guarantee, to women’s issues, environmental and social justice campaigns for The Body Shop. As a crisis management leader at Strategic Objectives, Adriana provides senior counsel to clients on managing the most difficult issues.

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Vanessa Andres: Account Director, Holmes PR

Vanessa’s breadth of experience, innovative and vibrant ideas, deep relationships with media, and track record of exceeding expectations, have allowed her to develop and execute numerous media relations campaigns on a national and regional level.Her ability to come up with an incisive idea that will invariably convince a journalist to offer media attention to a client has benefitted the likes of Cirque du Soleil, AMC Networks, the JUNO Awards, the AGO, Just For Laughs, Cavalia, Fan Expo Canada and Food Network Canada, to name a few. Vanessa has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies and a Diploma in Public Relations from the University of Guelph-Humber.

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Shannon Law: Senior Account Supervisor, MSLGROUP

As a senior leader in public relations, Shannon Law started her career in-house at beauty giant, Estee Lauder, working on their Ojon and Origins brands. Shortly after, Shannon made the switch to agency working on Procter & Gamble brands at Citizen Relations. Championing CSR programs as well as celebrity spokesperson-led campaigns, Shannon stood out as a leader in both crisis and issues management as well as high-level media training. After three-plus years at CR, Shannon joined the team at Faulhaber Communications where, with a keen eye for opportunity, she climbed the ranks and became the agency lead for new business development. Shannon helped grow the small team of eight into a strong team of twenty plus and was instrumental in the acquisition of clients under new business sectors, such as pharmaceutical, real estate, CPG, and food and beverage. Now, as a senior leader at Agency of the Year, MSLGROUP Canada, Shannon returns to leading top P&G beauty brands and continually adds value in business development and agency best practices.

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Adam Sanders: Social PR Director, Strategic Objectives

A public affairs and communications professional, Adam is Social PR Director at Strategic Objectives where he helps to manage creative strategy development, social/digital strategy and a number of client account – from Kellogg Canada to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. As part of his work with the agency, Adam led “The Great #PringlesDIPbate” program which was recognized by CPRS Toronto as Digital Campaign of the Year. Adam began his career as a communications officer for a number of Ontario Liberal Party MPPs at Queens Park before moving to the role of Communications Manager with the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores. In this capacity, Adam sat the joint government-industry working group, and chaired the communications sub-committee, that led the introduction of pharmacist-administered flu shots in the province.

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Digital Account Coordinator, Mosaic

From sports PR to digital advertising, Aaron Rabinovits has gathered a wide variety of experience in the media world all before the age of 25. Aaron’s interest in media communications began after the eighth grade when he finally realized his dream of becoming an NBA player had slowly dwindled away. Throughout high school, Aaron was set on becoming an official broadcaster for the Toronto Raptors and began working with the Raptors communications department, NBA TV Canada and hosting his own online radio show by the age of 16. After his first year at the University of Guelph-Humber, Aaron began volunteering with the Toronto Argonauts as a blog writer, and within the first two months was given an internship with their communications team. From there, his interests shifted over to Public Relations and he stopped caring (as much) about how he looked on camera. That internship ended up lasting throughout his university career. After graduation, Aaron wanted to test the agency market and try to move away from the corporate side.

Photography

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Paul Chmielowiec: Principal, PaulC Photography

Paul Chmielowiec is a commercial photographer based in Toronto. He shoots buildings tall and small, jumbo hamburgers, diamond rings, ice-cold beers, leafy gardens, cashmere sweaters – and on occasion, donkeys. His clients include Admiral Road Designs, Canadian Institute of Floral Design, Canadian Living, Chef Richard Andino/Dyne Restaurant, Corbis Images, Covet Garden, Dean Davidson Design, Fuel Advertising, Getty Images, Goldcon Project Management, Hudson’s Bay Company, Humber College, Jacqueline Glass & Associates, L.A. Inc., Matsu Jewellery, Reno & Decor, Sears Canada, Style at Home and Transcontinental Media. His work has been recognized by Applied Arts, Design Edge Canada, and NUARs.

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Donna Griffith: Principal, Donna Griffith Photography

Donna Griffith is a professional freelance photographer with 23 years experience producing creative food and drink, lifestyle and décor images for an established client list. Her business is built upon her ability to respond effectively to client needs; often within tight timeframes and budgets. She enjoys a solid reputation within the industry, with proven credentials and an aptitude for customer service.

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Nick Wong: Freelance Photographer

Nick Wong is a full-time freelance photographer based out of Toronto. Carrying a Bachelors of Design from the Alberta College of Art and Design, he moved to Ontario in 2009. The foundation of his work relies on the strong belief that everyone and everything has a story to tell, and those stories form the unique characters and scenes the viewer can connect with. Over the years, Nick has brought his style of telling stories through imagery into editorial and advertising outlets, including for clients such as The Guardian, RedBull Magazine, TD Bank, Lululemon, The Heart & Stroke Foundation and Pride Toronto.

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Rita Godlevskis: Art Director, Online Producer, PhotoEd Magazine

Rita Godlevskis has more than 10 years of experience in creative media work in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. She has worked across multiple platforms with a diverse range of projects in her portfolio in editorial,creative production and marketing contexts.Professional assignments of note include photo editing for magazines such as Toronto Life, Australian Women’s Weekly, Canadian House&Home and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Festival Daily. Rita Godlevskis has been the Art Director on PhotoEd Magazine for the past 16 years. Work coordinating commercial entertainment projects include: The Merlin Entertainment Group (London), Madman Entertainment and SKY Television (Auckland). Rita has a Masters in Creative Media from RMIT University Melbourne, Australia, specialising in photography, and has exhibited her work in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

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Robyn York: Head of Communications, Gallery 44 / Photo Book Publisher, Anchorless Press

Robyn York is a photographer, designer and book artist whose work explores collecting, memory loss, and impermanence of place. She runs Anchorless Press, an independent creative publishing project that works with artists to publish photo-based artists’ books, and founded Portage Publishing in response to the need for transparency and support for self-publishers. Robyn is the Head of Communications and Development at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and is currently on maternity leave.

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Raina Kirn: Owner and Photographer, RW Photographic, Raina+Wilson

Raina Kirn is a commercial photographer and director. Originally from Vancouver, Raina studied photography in Montreal before calling Toronto home. Currently working in a commercial partnership as one-half of the Raina+Wilson team, Raina shoots for editorial and advertising clients such as Adidas, Dove, ESPN and Toronto Life. Her work has been published in Flash Forward, American Photography, Communication Arts and PDN Awards Annuals. Raina received her first camera from her grandmother at the age of eight, a Kodak Pocket Instamatic, and a subscription to National Geographic followed shortly thereafter. Raina has been obsessed with photos and the power of imagery ever since.

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Jon Blacker: Explore Photographer, Filmmaker and Author

As a Toronto-based freelance photographer and filmmaker, Jon Blacker has over 25 years’ experience working with editorial, commercial and corporate clients in Canada, the United States and overseas. Among others, Jon has worked with Major League Baseball Photos, The Canadian Press, Reuters, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, FINA, The International Paralympic Committee, National Post, The Globe and Mail, Fender Musical Instruments, The Sporting News, Roadrunner Records Canada and directly with a wide range of bands. Jon is also the author of Musical Ink, a book of black and white infrared portraits of musicians and their tattoos. Musical Ink was released through Schiffer Publishing in 2013.

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Alain-Pierre (AP) Hovasse: News and Photojournalism Consultant, AP Hovasse Consulting

While currently retired from the news business, AP is still very active in photography through Instagram and his company, AP Hovasse Consulting. Working backwards in time, AP was the Director of Photography for QMI for two years when it was the biggest newspaper chain in Canada. As the Supervisor of Photo Operations at VANOC, AP covered city venues and supervised the planning operations leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics for two years, and worked as Manager of Photo Operations at Cypress Ski Venue during the games. Prior to this, AP worked as the Director of Photography at Montreal’s La Presse for five years, earning 32 Gold medals from the International Newspaper Awards. As an Assistant Photo Editor at National Post for nearly five years, he helped in co-creating the photo department for the launch of the paper. AP has also worked for several years overseas, including five years as the Supervising Photo Editor at the Associated Press in London England covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East, one year as a Freelance Photographer in Paris France, three years as the Chief Photographer for the EPA/AFP in Moscow where he created and launched the bureau during the fall of the Soviet Union, and five years as the Photographer and Photo Editor at Reuters Photo in Brussels. Before heading over seas, AP started off his career as a Freelance Photographer at UPI/UPC in Vancouver.

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    Taku Kumabe: Art Director and Photographer

    Taku Kumabe is a freelance photographer and art director in the magazine industry. As a photographer, he captures perfect moments at various events and festivals throughout the city. His ability to photograph essential moments and breathtaking landscapes has won him many accolades from his peers and clients, enabling him to partner with brands such as Mazda Canada, Visa Canada, and LG Canada. As an art director for a philanthropic-based magazine, his layouts are simple yet modern and grace the pages alongside prestigious brands such as Cartier, Fendi Casa, Rolex, and others. For more information, visit his personal website at www.smaku.com, or follow him on Instagram, @smaku.

Multimedia Production

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Richard Carmichael: Director of Digital Strategy, K-9 Strategy and Design

Early Adopter. Explorer. Activist. Creativity, a sense for adventure and entrepreneurship come together in a rare left and right brain collaboration that helps Richard address a myriad of business, marketing and communications challenges at work on any given day. As an avid thinker, daydreamer, and art and power of the story enthusiast, Richard enjoys building and rallying communities of like-minded individuals towards a common goal. Formerly Creative Director and Director of Social Innovation at Aveda Canada, Richard enjoys blending cutting edge technologies with award-winning creative and the art of the story. He loves collaborating with bright, talented and enthusiastic people who do great things to advance worthy causes on behalf of world-class brands, while being respectful of the earth and the people who live on it. As Director of Digital at K-9 Strategy + Design, Richard is the digital brain-trust and executional team leader who employs expertise, business intelligence and creative energy in meaningful and productive ways on behalf of K-9 and its awesome roster of clients. Notable work: Launched ClubMonaco.com into the earliest realm of e-commerce back in 1998. Won a Social GOOD Award for his work surrounding Clean Water Initiatives for Earth Month with Aveda, and brought #Design into the Classroom for school kids in Toronto via the DX for their Designers in the Classroom workshop series.

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Vance Carmel: Digital Media Manager, The Brand Factory

Vance Carmel is currently the Director of the Social and Digital Team at The Brand Factory. Beginning as an account manager, Vance has grown to lead the digital team with more than ten years of experience under his belt. Today he credits his creative passion to helping drive brands forward on the digital landscape, as the reason for his success. Vance studied at York University, earning an Honours BA in Marketing. He also holds a Culinary Arts Diploma from George Brown College. His love for cooking is only another outlet for him to express his creativity.

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    Shawn Rocca: Picture and Animation Editor, 9 Story Media Group

    Shawn Rocca is a digital media professional with expertise in film editing and video production. He started his career editing trailers for broadcasters such as Newsworld International, Alliance Atlantis and Shaw Media. During his tenure in the broadcast world, he earned several Promax and Telly awards for his mastery of editorial, sound design and motion graphics. Eager to learn more, he made the jump into team leadership where he led the creative video department at Toronto International Film Festival Inc (TIFF). He was hired by TIFF to expand their interactive department into video production, and created promotions for their festivals and exhibitions. He presently resides in the world of children’s animation at 9 Story Media Group where he is currently editing a new series for Nickelodeon Jr. slated for a 2018 premiere date. His experience in broadcast, management, creative direction and animation demonstrates his perfect hybrid of leadership, skills and most importantly, results. Please visit shawnrocca.com for more information.

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Larissa Walker: Senior Manager, Online Engagement and Social Media, Harlequin Enterprises

Larissa is a digital marketing and social media professional with over 10 years of experience in the entertainment, publishing and retail industries. Currently, Larissa serves as the Senior Manager, Online Engagement and Social Media at Harlequin Enterprises (a division of HarperCollins Publishers). Before joining Harlequin, Larissa was the Social Media Team Lead at Canadian Tire, as well as the Marketing Services Manager at Ticketmaster Canada. Larissa loves 80s music, the Golden Girls and David Bowie. She lives in Toronto with her partner, and LeVar Burton and Fizzgig (collectively “the cats”).

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Eric Leamen: Product Owner – ECM, DHX Media

Eric Leamen is the Product Owner for Enterprise Content Management and former Product Specialist for Websites at DHX Media. Eric co-hosts Pivot, a podcast about technology, media and pop culture, as well as So Purse, a podcast about life and all-things awesome. Prior to joining DHX Media, Eric worked as a journalist covering technology for online publications including CE: The Magazine, MobileSyrup, BetaKit, and more. Eric graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber’s Media Studies program in 2014, where he led the team that built the award-winning Emerge Magazine 2014 website.

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    Sara Farnell: Creative Media Consultant, La Presse

    Sara Farnell is a creative strategist. She has spent the past seven years working in the digital media industry developing creative concepts and media plans for clients in every category. Sara holds a BA in Communications from Brock University, and is currently working towards a certificate in Digital Media Skills at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD).

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Barbara Bailie: Director, Application Solutions, DHX Media

Barbara is a digital and interactive veteran who, over the years, has been one of the driving forces behind numerous innovative and multi-award winning digital productions. She created Astral Media’s first website, family.ca, in May 1997 which quickly grew to become one of Canada’s top kids’ websites. She also streamed the first full-length episode of a Canadian live action series online in 2006, and launched ground breaking cross-platform projects such as Regenesis Extended Reality Game, The Next Step Interactive and The Gaming Show Game. She is currently the Director, Application Solutions for DHX Media Ltd. where she is responsible for all enterprise-level applications, support teams, and consumer-facing technologies such as websites and mobile applications. Formerly, Barbara was the Director, Interactive for DHX Media and DHX TV where she was in charge of digital platforms, games and mobile applications. Prior to this role, she served as Director, Digital for Astral Television Networks, overseeing the digital strategy and production for nine networks, including The Movie Network and HBO Canada.

Design: Print Magazine Cover or Spread Design

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Michael Erb: Senior Art Director, TC Media

Michael has worked for over twenty years in the magazine and publication industry as designer, art director and creative director, developing a love for art directing food photography along the way. Always keen to work with talented people, Michael knows that whole is most often greater than the sum of its parts.

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Rose Pereira: Art Director, Royal Ontario Museum

Rose has worked in print design for magazines, books and marketing for the last 13 years for titles such as Chatelaine and Homemakers, along with Sarah Richardson’s two best selling books through Simon & Schuster. She is currently with the Royal Ontario Museum publications where she designs their quarterly magazine, annual reports, and research and exhibition books.

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Chris Bond: Creative Director, Digital Editions at TVA Publications

Chris Bond is the Creative Director, Digital Editions for TVA Publications. With more than 18 years experience in multiplatform editorial art direction and design, Chris oversees TVA’s monthly digital editions, including Canadian Living, Style at Home, The Hockey News and ELLE Canada. He is responsible for the overall look, feel and interactivity of all enhanced editions of these publications. Chris also consults with both the print and digital teams of these brands, and a variety of French-language editions on many other initiatives.

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Jason Recker: President and Creative Director, Carve Brand + Design

As a graphic designer with more than 25 years of experience, Jason opened the doors to Carve Brand + Design, his own boutique graphic design firm, in 2004 in London, ON. The small but mighty award winning design studio specializes in brand design and development with a wide range of clientele. Jason became a Registered Graphic Designer in 1998, and continues to learn and grow as a design professional.

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Stephanie White: Creative Director, Steph Refreshed Design

Stephanie White is an experienced Art Director specializing in launching, redesigning, and rebranding multi-platform publications. Select accomplishments include the rebranding and redesign of Canadian Living print and digital magazine, founding Art Director of Zoomer magazine, and worked on JCPenney’s custom magazine. She has also worked with numerous other publications including Flare, Home & Country, and Gardening Life. Stephanie is currently working as a consulting Creative Director with several companies to freshen up their visual brand initiatives. Her broad experience ranges from photo/video shoot art direction, on-set styling, layout and graphic design. Clients include Bravado Designs!, COTY, LCBO, National Geographic Kids, RBC, Real Style and DINE magazines, The Shopping Channel, Winners and Zoomer Media.

Design: Online News or Magazine

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Todd Feaver: Senior Product Owner – Websites, Application Solutions, DHX Media

As a graduate of Sheridan College’s New Media Design post-graduate program, Todd has worked in the digital space for over ten years. Leveraging key Canadian entertainment brands, including Degrassi and TIFF Kids, while elevating renowned international partners Disney, HBO and BBC in the marketplace, Todd has helped to create award-winning digital experiences for both children and adults alike.

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    Jesse Gibb: Art Director, Carve Brand + Design

    Jesse signed on as Art Director at the small but mighty Carve Brand + Design in London, ON in 2012 after a fruitful stint running a solo design practice. Here, Jesse has been an integral player in the development of brand identities for a diverse range of amazing clients. Whether it’s a hot dog cart or a growing credit union, he relishes the challenge that comes with learning the specifics of a client’s business, assessing and addressing their needs, and the buzz that always comes with finding the right design solution. Jesse also sits on the R.G.D. Board of Directors and is chair of the R.G.D. Programs Committee.