Winter 2019 Mentors

Thank you to Michael Akuamoah-Boateng, Starla Benson, Amanda Colvin, Scott Ferguson, Maurissa Grano, Athena Hermann, Emerald Lee, Edmund Li, Nanistya Martohardjono, Cole Nicks, Jason Recker, Laura Stein and Victor Szeto!


If you have any questions about the program or you would like to be a mentor, email .




“As your Mentor, I will share my experiences in design story-telling and help you build your personal brand (refining your portfolio digitally and in print) to either start your own studio or collaborate in a creative agency.”

Michael Akuamoah-Boateng RGD
Michael is a Creative Director with a passion for narrative design story-telling and helping entrepreneurs build their businesses. He has a great understanding of the role of smart ideas in successful marketing and branding through print and web design. His Toronto-based creative studio, Boathaus Studio, serves clients in entertainment, fashion, retail, health and financial services.


"As your Mentor, I will offer insights on making the shift from a primarily print focused world into a digital role. I can also share perspectives as a designer who has experience working in a small studio and in-house at a large insurance company."

Starla Benson RGD

Starla’s ties with RGD began in her college days when she was awarded an RGD Student Award. She is currently a Senior Digital Designer on the award-winning Digital Customer Experience team at Great-West Life in London. She works with and learns from a multidisciplinary team to create excellent customer experiences for multiple brands.


"As your mentor, I will offer insights into design business ownership, client care and balancing the creative and practical aspects of the work."
Amanda Colvin RGD

Amanda was educated in the 4-year joint Bachelor of Design program at York University and Sheridan College. After working for five years in boutique studio settings, she launched Melontree Studios. Over the last 11 years, she specialized in work for non-profit and charitable organizations. Her clients have include Kids Help Phone, Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Environmental Defence Canada, Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Women's Foundation, and Parkinson Society.

"As your mentor, I would help you refine your creative problem-solving abilities so that you may apply them to all aspects of your career. Let’s consider the role of creativity in leadership, in inspiring personal projects, and in finding authenticity in your work. Most importantly let’s look at the simple steps we can follow to allow our creative engines to run at peak performance."

Scott Ferguson RGD
Scott is an award-winning Senior Motion Designer at Bell Media. With 20 years of design experience in broadcasting, Scott has developed and produced motion graphics for conventional and specialty television productions, live events, promotions, automation and virtual reality.



"As your Mentor, I am eager to share my years of experience in an agency setting and as an in-house graphic designer. I will share my knowledge in how to successfully work with clients and build relationships that are focused on providing creative solutions and work that both client and designer can be proud of."

Maurissa Grano RGD

Maurissa began her career in graphic design by opening her own design firm over 25 years ago. She now works as an in-house Graphic Designer / Creative Services Lead for the City of Greater Sudbury.




"As your Mentor, I can help advise you on how to more carefully integrate the UX process into your design process, help guide a career transition into UX and share my experience about how to be successful designing in the new realm of digital products and interfaces."
Athena Hermann RGD

A principled and creative leader whose biggest passion is finding solutions to client problems, Athena strives to fully integrate graphic design with the UX process. Her long and winding journey from the US to Canada has given her a unique combination of design skills and broad industry experience. 


"As your mentor, I would teach you the art of design juggling. The big ideas matter, but that extra layer of precision can take your designs to new heights. Together, we can push your limits in big and small ways, and unearth your talents as a designer. We'll work together on improving workflow, process, design thinking and hopefully realizing some of your passion projects!"

Emerald Lee RGD

As an Art Director at Gravity Inc. in Toronto, Emerald takes pride in supporting many not-for-profit clients, as well as government ministries and corporations. Her work in the print and digital space has been recognized in Applied ArtsCommunication Arts, RGD's SoGood Awards and Rockport Publications. Wearing many different hats in a tight-knit boutique studio, she is involved in every part of the client experience – from the tiniest production details to leading complex large-scale campaigns.


"As a Mentor, I will share my knowledge of way-finding, environmental graphic design, and exhibit design, and my passion in accessibility. I will offer assistance to help young designers to see design as a unique tool to tell a story."
Edmund Li RGD

Edmund has over 20 years of experience designing interpretive and way-finding signage, exhibits, donor recognition, and interactive media for public environments around the world. With his architectural mindset and graphic design background, Edmund’s work often features a high level of integration between 2D and 3D elements, transforming linear messages into environmental statements — inspiring users to engage in meaningful ways. Creating design programs that are accessible to visitors of all ages, ability and demography is an important aspect of Edmund’s design philosophy. Prior to Ento, Edmund held senior design roles at Reich+Petch Design International and Forge Media + Design. Edmund has contributed to publications on accessibility and design leadership, and is an active member of the RGD and SEGD communities.

“As a mentor, I will share insights on design: the process, the business, the clients. You’ll have an opportunity to sit in on photo shoots; discuss project strategies; and receive input on your portfolio to ensure it is curated to express your best self.”

Nanistya Martohardjono RGD

Nanistya is a design consultant who specializes in creative team leadership and art direction with a strategic focus. With more than two decades of experience as a creative resource for the design industry, she has comprehensive knowledge of branding and its creative process. Nanistya has held positions as Executive Creative Director at Watt International; Design Director at Taxi; Creative Director at Spencer Francey Peters and Design Director at Michael Peters Design (Toronto), where she gained invaluable experience creating design solutions and offering strategic direction for numerous clients. She is currently partnered with Haft2 as Creative Director.


"As your Mentor, I will help you navigate both studio and in-house life, especially for non-profit and retail clients. I can offer advice on how to thrive in the in-house environment, help you develop a stronger understanding of production and build up a portfolio for the future."
Cole Nicks RGD

Cole is the graphic designer for BC Children's Hospital Foundation in Vancouver. For over a decade he has worked for both small studios and in-house departments, focusing on the non-profit sector. His clients have included Rogers Video, Sport Mart, Coast Mental Health, Rocky Mountaineer, and BC Children's Hospital.



"As your Mentor, I will offer guidance on becoming a better designer from my experience specializing in branding and logo design. I would also be well suited to mentor those considering stepping out on their own as freelance designers and teach them things only learned from real-world experience (getting clients, pricing, presentation)."
Jason Recker RGD

Jason is an award-winning graphic designer who has run Carve brand + design since 2004 and has almost 30 years of experience in all aspects of the creative industry. Jason also runs the London Creative Network, and recently started The Profitable Creative, an online resource that helps freelance designers become better, and more profitable, at running their business.


"As your mentor, I would share my knowledge and understanding of visual identity systems including research process, concept work and development and storytelling."
Laura Stein RGD

Laura is Creative Director at Sid Lee, a global multi-disciplinary creative agency, where she focuses on design in all aspects of creative output, including visual identity. Previously, she was Creative Director at Bruce Mau Design. Her clients have included MaRS, Maple Leaf Foods, Sonos, Asics, and Harvard University. Her work has been featured in Fast CompanyCommunication Arts, It’s Nice That and Creative Review.


"As your mentor, I will share my insights working with small teams and freelancers in small agency and in-house settings. As someone who has always been curious about lots of aspects of design as opposed to creating a niche skill, I can help you harness your inquisitive nature and work with you to set goals, organize and activate. "

Victor Szeto RGD

For 14 years, Victor has worked in a variety of media, with a focus on print, but self-proclaimed generalist in lots of different things. He's currently the Creative Director at Green Living Enterprises where he’s involved with events, cause-marketing and campaigns for clients such as TD Bank, University of Toronto and Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth.