2024 Judges

Nicola Barnard

Creative Direction Manager at Laura Canada

Montreal, QC

Nicola is a seasoned professional with an extensive background in the retail industry, having dedicated 20 years of her career to this dynamic and ever-evolving field. Throughout her journey, she has honed her skills as a creative manager, spearheading industry-leading creative direction within an in-house design team. With the combined experience of agency projects, freelance work and in-house design for fashion brands, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as the creative brand manager for Laura Canada. Her role encompasses providing overall creative direction for marketing print work, digital assets, social media and campaign photography. 


Dominique Barnes

Senior Art Director of Brand, Crocs

Broomfield, CO, USA

Dominique is an Art Director who uses her creative skills to help entrepreneurs and established brands turn their ideas into tangible brand stories others can see and believe in. For the last seven years, Dominique has been an integral member of the in-house creative team that helped make Crocs cool. She's done her part by concepting, pitching and executing visually disruptive creative marketing campaigns both big and small. Dominique is a lovingly concerned citizen of the world, full of empathy for her fellow humans and our planet. Outside of Crocs, Dominique runs Tote Bag Creative Studio, a branding studio using design to uplift businesses, individuals and causes that make the world a kinder place.


Danielle Coates RGD

Senior Graphic Designer at the National Geographic Society

Washington, DC, USA

Danielle is an exhibition designer with a background in graphic design and visual art. She aims to use art and design as tools to uplift voices and untold stories in cultural spaces. Danielle has an MA in Exhibition Design from the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at The George Washington University and a BFA in Visual Art and Technology from George Mason University. Currently she is a Senior Graphic Designer on the Experiences team at the National Geographic Society. She works on the Base Camp project, developing the exhibit graphic design of the Society's new public space.


Marie-Louise de la Harpe
Creative Director at Spud
Calgary, AB
With over 20 years of experience, ML is an award-winning creative leader with experience in brand, retail, campaign and web. Currently, she serves as the Creative Director for Spud, an online grocery and delivery company, where she provides creative vision with a strategic approach to drive business outcomes. ML was previously the Creative and Brand Identity Manager at FCL (Federated Co-operatives Ltd), a new role where she was foundational in evolving and growing the Co-op brand across Western Canada. She built an award-winning in-house creative team to support several diverse business lines in addition to developing and executing the brand strategy for all Private Label lines and Retail facilities. Innovation and creativity are at the core of everything ML does. Special expertise includes; UX, Brand Identity, Campaign development, Retail Facility: decor, signage and wayfinding, in addition to Store Brand Packaging.
Christine Goucher RGD
Director, Creative Studio, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
A collaborative leader and visionary creative, Christine has devoted her career to the field of graphic design. She is the director of the in-house creative studio at University of Waterloo, where she guides the creative vision for one of Canada’s most innovative universities. Leading, mentoring and inspiring her team, colleagues and clients across the organization, she works to create forward-thinking visual assets, develop award-winning campaigns and maintain the integrity of Waterloo’s global brand. Her passion for lifelong learning led her, over the past year alone, to complete the Yale happiness course, achieve her RGD designation and become a Certified Movement Instructor.
Kevin Hawkins
Head of Design & Research at Amenitiz
Barcelona, Spain
Kevin Hawkins is a Liberian-American Product Design & Research leader based in Barcelona, Spain. With 17+ years of experience in user experience, product design, and data visualization, he leads multidisciplinary teams of designers, researchers, writers and localization specialists to deliver intuitive, accessible and engaging solutions. Before joining Amenitiz, Kevin was a Global UX Director at Glovo, Director of Product Design at BookClub and UX Team Lead at Booking.com, where he's managed and mentored high-performing design teams, launched and scaled innovative product features, and driven Product-Led Growth.


Pamela Hilborn
SVP, Global Head of Design & Digital Product at Scotiabank

Toronto, ON

At Scotiabank, Pamela is charged with implementing proven practices in strategic foresight, product strategy and user experience design to create transformative digital financial experiences for Scotiabank customers. Pamela's career spans over 20 years in the design and product management of digital consumer hardware and software products - this expertise, along with her profound interest in human behaviour and culture, has allowed her to create user-friendly and engaging technology experiences enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. She is a practiced software start-up veteran, having scaled the design and experience team at Kobo Inc. as it grew from a small pilot program into a global, market-leading digital reading company. 


Tara Kerner, CDP
Victoria, BC
GCPE Graphic Communications is an in-house professional design department (within the BC Government) with intimate knowledge of processes, intellectual property, and branding. Tara's responsibilities involve ongoing projects of graphic design support for both GCPE and ministries, as well as managing the BC Visual Identity Brand (BCID) program; brand development and consultation; signage programs; legal support and approvals; advising on industry standards; accessibility projects; and much more. Tara has been working in the profession of graphic design since 2000 and has been working in GCPE Graphic Communications since 2005. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, fishing, foraging, beekeeping, drawing and hanging out with her partner and their three dachshunds.

Neil Laing

VP of Design at Distributive

Kingston, ON

A classically trained designer, who transitioned from the pre-computer era to the digital world in the wild 90s, Neil is an award-winning designer with experience spanning advertising, design, branding, product and experiential design, primarily within the tech industry. Neil has also served as a professor of design and has led marketing, branding, UX/UI and product design teams. He has worked as an advisor, founder, founding employee and contributor to various companies, including multiple AI and tech startups like Rubikloud, Tableau Software, Scalar and Uptime Software. Currently, Neil is a Senior VP and in-house Design leader at Distributive. He also continues to operate Outport Design, collaborating with companies in the Silicon Valley, Vancouver and Toronto.


Jean Leclair RGD

Manager, Creative Services at Indigenous Services Canada 
Gatineau, QC
Jean’s passion for all forms of visual communications, whether traditional or digital, spans several decades. He began his career as a graphic designer in the private sector and made the leap to the public sector 15 years ago. Now he leads a team of graphic designers and multimedia specialists. Jean takes a collaborative approach with his team of creative professionals, believing that sharing his vision and being open to everyone's ideas produces the best creative solutions for clients. His motto: Creativity is having fun with intelligence!

Thomas Markert

Vice President Brand Design at DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

Frankfurt, Germany

Thomas is a seasoned Creative Director with over 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, who has worked for respected brands that include Amazon, Nokia, MTV Networks, Microsoft Zune, Sony Music, U2's Zoo TV, Nickelodeon's Nicktoons Network, Discovery Networks and others. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the creative development process, collaborating effectively with both internal teams and external agencies to deliver meaningful creative solutions. Currently, he oversees the Bundesliga, where he leads a small, dedicated in-house creative team. Together, the team focuses on various facets of brand management, including brand identity, promotional activities, event branding, experiential marketing, digital engagement, brand communication and the development of impactful marketing campaigns. 


Cole Nicks RGD

Senior Designer at BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Vancouver, BC

Cole is an experienced designer and creative lead specializing in the non-profit and retail sectors. With 16+ years of experience, Cole has worked on notable brands such as Rocky Mountaineer, Sport Mart, Coast Mental Health and Rogers Video. For the last eight years, he has held the position of Senior Designer at BC Children's Hospital Foundation, where he driven campaigns, signature events and overall brand direction. Cole has received several awards, including the Magellan Award, Canadian Printing Award and Marketer of the Year. 


Shannon Olliffe

Supervisor, Design Services, for the City of Toronto

Toronto, ON

Shannon has over 30 years of experience in the graphic design field, including over 20 years working in-house. She is the supervisor of a small, but mighty, Creative Services team at the City of Toronto, where she started her career as a graphic designer in 2001. Her love of design started at a very young age, with the magical and foretelling gift of Spirograph. She is a proud Eastender of Toronto, where she lives with her wife, teenage daughter and their dog Daisy.


Ryan Romero

Creative Director at Saje

Vancouver, BC

Ryan specializes in building powerful narratives about people and products that explore our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. His experience is in leading innovative conversion and education driven creative direction, development and execution for brands in the well-being, outdoor and fashion spaces with a focus in design, photography, video, digital and print. Some of his past clients include Adidas, Arc’teryx, lululemon, Herschel and Call It Spring. He is currently the Creative Director at Saje, a natural wellness brand creating 100% natural products for the mind, body and home.
(Photo by Grady Mitchell)
Paul Williams
Director, Creative Services at Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS
One of a generation of designers who used Letraset on a regular basis, Paul’s varied career path has typically involved one or more of his interests in theatre, music, media, photography or design. A freelancer and ‘agency-guy’ for 20+ years, the past six have found Paul as the Director of the in-house creative team at Dalhousie University. Paul was a CGD-certified member and President of the Atlantic Chapter of Graphic Designers of Canada and a Board Member of the Halifax Pavilion Youth Association, a long-standing all-ages music venue. For “fun” he has been slowly teaching himself Japanese and strives for eternal youth playing bass in a rock band called American Eric.
Peter C. Wong
Creative Director at Stantec
Toronto, ON
Peter is a versatile designer and creative leader with two decades of experience spanning digital, UX/UI, product, branding, advertising, packaging and motion. While winning a few awards along the way, he has honed his craft at ad agencies, boutique design studios, multiple SaaS startups, a billion-dollar corporation and a Canadian tech unicorn. His portfolio boasts projects for brands like Microsoft, Honda, Sun Life, Scotiabank, Loblaws and IKEA. Peter’s empathetic approach has also allowed him to build and foster high-performing in-house teams known for delivering excellence. Currently, as Creative Director at Stantec, Peter oversees the entire digital design process, from UX/UI and product design to brand marketing, focusing on Stantec's innovative SaaS product suite encompassing operational technology, financial planning, business insights and beyond.