Summer 2021 Mentors
18/05/21

Thank you to Chris Armstrong, Diana Campbell, Ray Cheah, Amanda Colvin, Erin Craig, Evelyn Csiszar, Shinead D’Souza, Anthony Furia, Athena Hermann, Will Hum, Tejashri Kapure, Gil Martinez, Gordon McLean, Carl Poirier, Brent Roth, Megan Rousseau, Udo Schliemann, Mike Scott, Josh Skinner, Wade Thompson, Pascal Tremblay, Beatrice Winny, Aimee Wood, and Vanessa Wyse!

 

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

 

Mentors

 

“As your mentor, I will share my insight and experience in creating compelling brands for large organizations. I can help you with processes for making strategic design decisions to create distinct and memorable creative expressions.”

Chris Armstrong RGD, Director of Strategic Design at Operative in Toronto, ON

Chris’ approach to design is both creative and analytical. Specializing in the areas of branding and communications design, Chris worked for the global branding agency Interbrand for almost two decades. He has worked with Canadian and international clients such as Xerox, Boston University, State of Oklahoma, UL, Cellebrite, YMCA Canada and RBC. 

 

As your mentor, I will practice radical candour, be present and inclusive--with my commitment to understanding your craft and your passions and supporting your advancement.”

Diana Campbell RGD, Manager of Digital Experience Operations at Alberta Blue Cross in Edmonton, AB

Diana is an experienced usability engineer, human-centred designer, accessibility champion and digital strategist who has dedicated her career to helping bridge the gap between real people and business goals. At Alberta Blue Cross, she has been recognized for her extraordinary commitment to innovation and purpose-driven strategy. 

 

“As your mentor, I can provide guidance on how to develop your personal brand to stand out from the crowd. I will challenge your comfort zone, foster your professional development and offer insight for a fulfilling career in the creative industry. Let’s chat about your professional goals and work on the design fundamentals that will give you that creative edge.” 

Ray Cheah RGD, Creative Director at CIFAR in Toronto, ON

With over 20 years’ experience, Ray brings his award-winning creative strategies and brand stewardship to a wide range of industries from education, healthcare to consumer tech industry. He currently provides brand vision and creative leadership to the in-house design team at CIFAR. Prior to CIFAR, Ray held senior design roles at U of T Faculty of Engineering and Kobo Rakutan. 

 

"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, Creative Director and Owner at Melontree Studios in Virgil, ON

After working for five years in boutique studio settings, Amanda launched her own design agency. She specializes in work for non-profit and charitable organizations. Her clients have included Kids Help Phone, Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Environmental Defence Canada, Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Women's Foundation and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

 

"As your mentor, I will share my development from designer to creative director and how to move through different job titles and responsibilities. I will help you prepare your portfolio for the world of book publishing and help you understand what makes a great cover design and how to work effectively as an in-house creative."

Erin Craig RGD, Creative Director of Trade Publishing at Harlequin in Toronto, ON

At Harlequin, Erin leads a team of 9 creatives. She started her career as a graphic designer working for clients in different areas of corporate communications, fashion and retail until she found her passion as an Art Director in book cover design over 14 years ago. 

 

"As your Mentor, I will share my knowledge and experience of UX/UI design and share insights on how user-first design thinking can be applied to any design project. I will also offer advice on freelancing and provide insights on what it takes to be your own boss and run your own business."

Evelyn Csiszar RGD, Founder & Director of UX Design & Strategy at Collective Experience in Squamish, BC

Evelyn’s lifelong fascination with studying how people think and act has led to a deep passion for UX design. She believes that you can only create successful products and services if you build it around the needs and wants of the people who will use them. This guiding principle applies to everything she does, regardless of the medium. Evelyn's clients have included University of Toronto, BMO, HydroOne, CCRM, Futurpreneur, HEQCO and the Ontario Science Centre.

 

“Your career path is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and it is so important to understand that building a career in design takes time, grit and dedication. As your mentor I will help you set developmental goals and work with you to progress your skills, spark your passions and drive your ambitions. Our discussions will range from time management tactics to the meticulous application of design to big strategic thinking. We will talk about how to listen and distill feedback as well as how to ask clarifying questions. My approach is witty, candid and casual. We'll have a lot of fun and reference several design memes while moving your career forward.”

Shinead D’Souza, Art Director at Clio in Vancouver, BC

With over a decade of experience in both agency environments and in-house, Shinead’s approach to design is equal parts tactical and intuitive. She is driven to help brands connect to their audience through thoughtful design and impactful, relevant messaging. Her most recent endeavour is joining the team at Clio as their in-house Art Director where she successfully launched the company’s brand refresh. Shinead is acutely aware that, as a designer, her influence matters and makes sure her design practices and process always leave a positive impact.

 

"As your mentor, I will share my knowledge and experience starting a freelance practice, offering help with writing proposals, pricing, client relationships, pitching and presenting and other areas related to the business of design."

Anthony Furia RGD, Founder & Principal Designer at Furia in Toronto, ON

Anthony's career has spanned 15 years, three continents and many disciplines within the creative industry. His work has featured in prominent design publications and recognized by national and international design awards.

 

"As your Mentor, I will advise you how to balance UX and visual design, 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, Head of Design at Architech in Toronto, ON

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’ll walk you through the journey and evolution of a brand designer, from junior to senior to owner of your own business (whether you want to be a freelancer or run a design company). We can discuss: inspiration, creative and critical thinking, collaboration, client and project management, business and administration, fun and play, frankly anything that might help you be a better creative."

Will Hum RGD, Co-Founder at Clear Space in Toronto, ON

Will was Design Director at Ove Brand Design for 6 years before co-founding Clear Space in 2004, where he leads the strategic vision and creative direction. With 23+ years of experience, Will has shaped the identities and communications for some of Canada’s most notable organizations. He has an obsession with the HBC brand and counts chopping wood as a favourite hobby.

 

“As your mentor, I will guide you as you carve out your own unique career path. I can help you recognize your core strengths and opportunities for improvement, and together we can develop a plan of action to meet your goals.”

Tejashri Kapure, Creative Director, Design at Art & Science in Toronto, ON

Tejashri (TJ) is an interdisciplinary designer who combines strategic thinking, creativity and craft to design better experiences that help brands connect with their audiences. An accomplished designer with over 17 years of combined education and professional practice, TJ is currently pursuing a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University while working full-time.

 

“As your mentor, I will share what I've learned working for large and small publishers both as an in-house and a freelance editorial designer and Art Director. I will show you how to produce engaging content, and help you look critically at your own work so you can learn from it and elevate it to a higher standard.”

Gil Martinez RGD, Art Director at Newcom Media in Toronto, ON

Gil is an editorial designer with more than two decades of design experience. He has worked for publishers throughout North America and has been an RGD since 2004. In addition to his day job as an art director for financial publications, he teaches Editorial Design at Centennial College and writes about branding and design for the financial industry. He is the author of a book on calligraphy and typography and takes on freelance design projects when time allows.

 

“Everything is designed. There is an interconnectivity between all design fields that fascinates me. As your mentor I’m looking to see and discuss what excites you about design and where you dream of it taking you. I’ll share my experiences and provide fair and honest direction to help position you for continued success no matter where your path takes you.”

Gordon McLean RGD, Creative Director at Quake Marketing Group in Winnipeg, MB

Graphic Design has allowed Gordon to work globally on a breadth of projects ranging from design of identity, branding systems, publications, advertising and promotional materials through to large scale trade fair environments elevating brands across all sectors. With a current focus on the industrial manufacturing and medical sectors, his agency and corporate in-house experience have proven invaluable in his approach to developing customer-centric solutions. 

 

“As your mentor, I will share with you how to be a successful creative mind. Regardless of the experience you might have, the best driver towards success is your passion, your will to learn, the will to help others and the love for what you do. I will help you listen to others and yourself in order to find creative solutions that are meaningful and impactful.”

Carl Poirier RGD, Founder, President & Creative Director at Cayenne Creative in Ottawa, ON

Carl has played a leadership role in the graphic design field since the mid-1990s. He specializes in strategic communications which include brand development, traditional print communication & collateral tools, marketing & advertising campaign development, web architecture, web user experience & interface (UX & UI) design, environmental design, urban visibility & displays and social media strategies. Bilingual in both official languages, Carl he directs all creative and strategic services as the lead senior graphic designer at Cayenne.

 

“As your mentor, I’ll work with you to ensure that who you are as a designer is reflected in the story you are presenting in your portfolio and written communications. I will always be honest with you about your work, and together we will work to present you as the designer that studios will be fighting over.”

Brent Roth RGD, Production Designer at King's College School Wimbledon in London, UK

In the span of my 30 year career in the design industry, I have been fortunate to have worked with both locally as well as internationally in multiple disciplines including consumer packaging, corporate, retail design and marketing and communications. Since graduating from design school to becoming Creative Director, I have always prided myself in leading by example, inspiring others and supporting the next generation of creative professionals.

 

“As your mentor, I will share my insights working as an in-house designer, including how to immerse yourself in a brand and expand beyond brand constraints. I can provide a perspective that will help you understand how strategic thinking will help you achieve your career goals.”

Megan Rousseau RGD, Manager, Brand and Digital Media at Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada in Toronto, ON

Megan has 20 years of experience in design and web, as well as 10 years experience in marketing communications. She has worked mainly in an in-house capacity, leading teams and developing brand and communications strategies for non-governmental organizations. Her design experience ranges from complex book design to video production and editing and everything in between.

 

"As your mentor, I will help you develop your design thinking process, enhance your ability to find the right solutions from a content standpoint and hone the quality of your work."
Udo Schliemann RGD, Principal Creative Director at Entro Communications in Toronto, ON
Udo leads Entro's team of professionals in identity development, corporate communications and branded environments. His unique approach to design problems, fostered by the mentorship of renowned German artist Anton Stankowski, combines artistic and poetic sensibilities to create powerful designs that elevate the everyday experience. A native of Germany, Udo came to Canada and started at Gottschalk+Ash International in 1999. In 2011, Udo joined Entro. Half a year later, Entro merged with G+A.

 

“As your mentor, I will provide guidance and my experience to help move your career forward or get started as an independent designer. I'll help you build your portfolio, overcome struggles in your career and guide you as a designer all while being open and honest.”

Mike Scott RGD, Freelance Designer in London, ON

Mike is an independent designer with 15 years of professional experience with a focus on brand, print and digital design. Throughout his career he has worked with a variety of brands including Canada Life, Columbia Sportswear, and major hospital and educational institutions in Ontario. Mike teaches in the Fanshawe College Graphic Design program.

 

“As your mentor, I’ll share insights into the world of product design, design thinking and accessibility, as well as my passion for ethical design. I can advise you on how to navigate the complex world that is design, as well as how we as designers can continue to push and evolve our craft.”

Josh Skinner RGD, Senior Product Designer at Lever in Toronto, ON

Josh is a senior product designer with nine years of experience in the design industry. He is passionate about equity and accessibility, and continually educates himself on these topics to advocate for inclusive design. He is also an educator and has taught graphic design principles and digital imaging at the post-secondary level for four years.

 

“As your mentor, I'll share my experiences as both an in-house and freelance designer, acting as a sounding board, guidance counsellor and/or cheerleader, as necessary. I'll provide insights from my own relatively young career and assist you in honing your skills, with an eye towards building on your creative ambitions.”

Wade Thompson RGD, Multimedia Designer at TCDSB in Toronto, ON

Wade is multi-faceted designer and illustrator based out of Toronto, with almost a decade of experience in the creative industry. Throughout his career, he has had the pleasure of working on an ever-growing range of projects, including sports brands, stage productions and municipal council initiatives. For the past five years, he has worked for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, creating everything from school logos to social media animations to entire ad campaigns, often as a team of one.

 

"As your mentor, we'll both be learning new things together. From me, you might learn about conscious entrepreneurship, being a freelancer, the creative process, building a successful agency, work/life balance and living a life driven by purpose. As my mentor, I hope to learn about you, what lights you up in the world, where you want to go and what impact or gifts you'd like to bring to life. Looking forward to meeting you!"

Pascal Tremblay, Co-Founder and Strategy Lead at The Good Kind in Kaslo, BC

Since 1999, Pascal has led creative and strategic projects for organizations ranging from Fortune 100 businesses to international rock bands and social change campaigns. He strongly believes in the powers of design and storytelling to plant seeds of positive change into the world. At his agency, Good Kind, he helps courageous entrepreneurs disrupt the status quo and inject more kindness and heart into their products how they do business.

 

“I want to learn what YOUR experience as a new designer has been. Guide me through the issues you face, and I’ll provide insight from my years as a freelancer, business owner and full-time in-house designer (not all at the same time!). Tell me what you need and want from a career in design, and I’ll do my best to provide helpful advice. It’s a crazy, wonderful design journey – let’s take a few steps together!”

Beatrice Winny RGD, Graphic Design Officer at Contact North | Contact Nord in Cambridge, ON

Beatrice has been working in graphic design since 1996. She holds a Master of Arts degree in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art & Design. She has worked as a freelance designer, owned her own graphic design studio, and currently works for Contact North | Contact Nord. An avid yogini and scuba diver, Beatrice is a Registered Yoga Teacher a PADI Master Scuba Diver license.

 

“As your mentor, I can share my many personal and professional experiences with working for small 4-person studios to larger advertising agencies and lastly to working on my own and carving out my own path to happiness in this ever-changing world of design and branding. I will also help to guide you through the creative process in a real-world studio setting and share with you some print production, design and presentation tricks that will fit nicely into your designer toolbox.”

Aimee Wood RGD, Senior Freelance Designer in Toronto, ON

Aimee has worked in the design and advertising industry for almost 20 years. With experience working for small design firms, large advertising agencies and in-house, she has had the opportunity to art direct, design, produce and manage large-scale, multifaceted branding and marketing projects. She now collaborates with other agencies and clients, primarily in the financial and real estate sectors. Aimee is one of the lead designers for American Express Merchant services through BT/A Advertising, where she is responsible for the art direction, design and production of print and online initiatives that include Shop Small®, a Canada-wide marketing initiative specially designed to help support small businesses.

 

“My goal as your mentor is to explore ideas like risk-taking, staying creative and finding inspiration, collaboration and operating in spaces you might not feel you belong. I will share my experiences starting out as an editorial designer in media and then building an independent design studio and the lessons I have learned along the way.”

Vanessa Wyse, Founder and Creative Director of Studio Wyse in Toronto, ON

Vanessa is a native of Sydney, Australia. Studio Wyse creates print and digital editorial visual solutions, branding and strategy for some of the worlds' largest media brands and institutions including University of Toronto, Chatelaine, dailyxtra.com and The Globe and Mail, to name just a few. Previous to launching Studio Wyse, Vanessa was the founding Creative Director of the internationally-recognized city weekly The Grid

 

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