Mentorship Program

Fill out an application by April 28, 2017 to be considered as a Mentee with one of our specially-selected Mentors! You will be asked to select your top 2 choices from the list of mentors below.


This program is only open to Provisional RGDs. Student RGDs in their final year of study may sign up for Mentorship Program.


The Structure of the Program
For a period of 9 months, you will have 6 sessions with your Mentor, 1 hour each. Sessions can be held locally or remotely depending on the location of both the Mentor and Mentee.


Designing your Sessions
Once the pairing is finalized, you and your Mentor will start the program! RGD will provide a list of discussion topics for each session, however, it is completely up to you and your Mentor what you cover in each session.


If you are not selected by one of our Mentors below, we will do our best to identify a suitable alternative! In November 2016, Provisional RGDs were invited to apply for one of 12 specially-selected mentors and 21 Provisional RGDs were paired with Mentors.


If you have any questions about the program, email .


Spring 2017 Mentors (a new group of will be announced in the Fall)


"As your Mentor, I will offer insights on conceptual development in advertising, design, presenting and building client relationships."
Natalie Armata RGD, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Giants & Gentlemen

Natalie has achieved business and creative success throughout her career. Her clients have included Wyndham Hotels, Fisherman's Friend, TELUS, Canadian Tire, Sony and Ontario Tourism. She’s won national and international awards and has judged them too. School hasn’t stopped either, with continuing studies at the University of Toronto, VCU Brandcenter and the Schulich School of Business.


“As your mentor, I will offer an intense focus on balance, taste, and typographic details that comes from working with persnickety, concept-based studios on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Mark Neil Balson RGD, Associate Creative Director at Underline Studio

Mark helps create carefully considered brand, marketing and editorial work. Previously Mark was Art Director at the internationally-renowned design firm Atlas in Spain. There, his work focused on the redesign of Elephant magazine and the Phaidon Classics series of artist monographs, both of which received D&AD pencils.


As your mentor, I will share my experience of being a flexible designer and creative leader, advice on finding the creative career that is best suited for your talents (agency or in house) and how to find passion in every creative challenge that you are presented with."
Amanda Boltë RGD, Creative Director at Cineplex Digital Media
Combining her extensive Star Trek knowledge with a passion for design and a natural strength in typography, Amanda approaches her projects with an infectious enthusiasm. From craft beer to kid’s toys to insurance, she has tailored creative solutions for all industries and has led creative teams for clients such as Harley Davidson, Labatt, FCA Canada (Chrysler) and Jolly Jumper, producing packaging, branding, print, photography and new media.

"As your mentor, I’ll act as your design-therapist. I will help you with your decisions, career path and creative fears."
Mark Buchner RGD, Partner & Creative Director at TBD Studio

Mark is a Toronto-based brand specialist. He has been a part of the Mark has been a part of the Toronto design community for over 15 years, with extensive experience in building brands both large and small. Much of his career was divided between two agencies – – Compass360 and Grip, where he Compass360 and Grip, where he helped develop award-winning brands, products and campaigns for  clients including Honda, Labatt, Bell and PaperChef.

“As your mentor, I will share my experience and passion for the arts and design. I will work with you to push and realize your creativity while experimenting with different aspects of design and media. I will also help you learn how to choose appropriate typefaces and create effective design with type.”

Stefan Canuel RGD, Senior Creative Designer at the National Gallery of Canada

Stefan is an Ottawa-based designer with more than 20 years experience in the design and creative industry, including exhibition design and print. He blends innovation with practicality and an unswerving focus on results. He works every day to forge profound links between organizations and their audiences through clear, creative, effective and well-managed designs and strategies.

As your mentor, I will share my experience and perspective on both the creative and business facets of design and provide specific guidance helping you push and develop your creative. I look forward to chats about all things which inspire us."

Yen Chu RGD, Creative Director of Design at J. Walter Thompson Canada

With 20 years of practice in design and direction at some of Canada’s premier branding and design firms including Oxygen, SFP, Parcel, and Clear Space, Yen is best known for producing evocative and impactful work for clients as well as collaborating with younger designers to do the same.


"As your mentor, I will share insights on how to thrive as a multi-disciplinary graphic designer in small to medium-sized markets, as well as how to take steps towards entering larger markets and the digital space."

Greg Dubeau RGD, Creative Lead at Cossette Halifax

Greg is a graphic designer, art director and advertiser. He hails from a small blue-collar town in Northwestern Ontario, but has practised design in Canada from coast to coast. His work is defined by two essential criteria: (1) strong, emotional, sensory connection to his audience; (2) the ability for clients to measure quantitative and qualitative outcomes against creative and business goals.

"As your mentor, I will provide a unique take on working in both agency and in-house positions. I will offer advice on building your portfolio, enhancing your work and navigating the pitfalls of working in the design world."

Steve Garwood RGD, Creative Director and a Founding Partner at Faren Agency

With award-winning experience in all types of design, Steve oversees all design projects at Faren. The agency’s focus is divided between design for the tourism sector, and food/home appliance packaging. Previously, Steve worked  at Pylon Design before moving in-house at the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain then Colliers Canada.


"As your mentor, I will offer advice on how to grow from a junior designer to senior  designer/ art director. I will offer insights on concept development and working with photographers, illustrators and other designers."

Gigi Lau RGD, Art Director at Harlequin

Working at the world's leading publisher for women's fiction over the past 11 years, Gigi has created compelling book covers for bestselling, emerging and debut authors. The books she’s designed have hit the New York Times bestseller list and have been recognized with national and international awards.


"As your mentor, I will share my passion for information design, data visualization and visual storytelling, as well as my experience effectively integrating skills obtained from a first career into a second."

Christopher Moorehead RGD, Director of Information Design at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Chris is a licensed professional engineer and graphic designer specializing in the visualization of complex information streams. His team uses information design, data visualization and structured typography best practices to interpret data, develop focused solutions and communicate key messages on behalf of corporate, institutional and government clients.

“As a designer, your goal should always be to design an elegant solution to solve a problem. As your mentor, I will help you to recognize your best work and confidently explain how it provides value.”

Lynn Ridley RGD, Vice President Creative at Jan Kelley
Lynn has worked in senior creative positions at large multi-national advertising agencies and small independent creative shops. She has a mix of experience in packaged goods, business-to-business, retail and social marketing. Up until recently, she led the creative output of the agency and the effectiveness and productivity of multiple creative teams. She now leads the innovation team within the idea incubator located in the Communitech Hub in Kitchener Waterloo.
  • "As your Mentor, I would share insights in UI and UX design, and offer guidance on making a move to the US for work." 

    Frank Chartrand RGD

    Frank is a UX Designer based in Los Angeles (originally from Sudbury). He’s currently at Headspace, the world’s most popular meditation app. Prior to this, he was at Edenspiekermann, where he helped define the Red Bull TV experience. His awards include Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2013). He has a Masters' Degree from Savannah College of Art & Design.


    "As your Mentor, I would offer insights both from a national and international perspective, while sharing expansive conversations and love for what we do."

    Vanessa Eckstein RGD

    Having lived and worked in Buenos Aires, LA, NYC, Mexico City and Toronto, Vanessa brings a unique international perspective to her work. In 1998, she founded Blok Design, which partners with leading thinkers in the fields of architecture, film, industrial design and contemporary art to produce work for top global brands including Pepsi, Nike, the Miami Art Museum and Unicef among many others.


    “As your Mentor, I would share my knowledge of the digital industry, advice on navigating a creative career path and establishing best practices to follow within the work environment." 

    Alison Garnett RGD

    Alison has a hybrid design-focused background that includes experience across live events, traditional advertising and digital marketing campaigns…even a stint as a mixologist. At SapientNitro Toronto, Alison guides creative teams from concept to execution of finely crafted technology and UX campaigns with strategy at its core for clients such as Porter Airlines, Cadillac Fairview and Holt Renfrew.


    "As your Mentor, I would offer assistance in improving your creative process (research, mind-maps, concept development, etc.); refining, presenting and defending a visual identity; and enhancing the business side of your practice (promotion, proposals, presenting)." 

    Bob Hambly RGD

    Bob is Creative Director of Hambly & Woolley, a multi-disciplinary design firm he co-founded. Over the past 22 years, the firm has received over 350 national and international design awards. His creative mind is always at work at H&W, where clients benefit from his fresh perspective, eye for detail and knack for personal service.


    "As your Mentor, I would share my knowledge (and love) of magazines. I would offer assistance building and refining an editorially-focused portfolio and advice on navigating the publishing industry."

    Nicola Hamilton RGD

    Nicola is Deputy Art Director (and resident magazine nerd) at Chatelaine, Canada's iconic women's media brand. Previously, she was Associate Art Director of the internationally-recognized city weekly The Grid. Her work has been recognized by the D&AD, the Society of Publication Designers (SPD), the Society of News Design (SND) and the Canadian Magazine Awards.


    "As your Mentor, I would offer insights on the industry in Toronto and internationally as well as guidance on how to identify their own personal goals and then find the right kind of opportunity to fulfil them."

    Paddy Harrington RGD

    Paddy is founder of Frontier, a creative exploration company consisting of a magazine, studio and ventures group. An award-winning writer and filmmaker with degrees in literature and architecture, Paddy has spoken at Brown, Harvard and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His clients have included The New York Jets, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and the Holy City of Mecca. Formerly, Paddy was SVP, Design Innovation & Digital Creative Director at Indigo Books and Executive Creative Director at Bruce Mau Design.


    "As your mentor, I would work with you to make your ideas bigger, more visually ownable and able to span different media and the globe."

    Barry Quinn RGD

    Barry Quinn is Chief Creative Officer at Juniper Park\TBWA. He started his career as a designer at boutique design firms, but mid-career recognized there were many where opportunities designers were being left out. That’s when he started creating design practices within ad agencies. The goal was to embed brands with a core idea and give them the visual vocabulary needed to spread and own that idea. He co-founded the firm Juniper Park\TBWA.


    "I would love to share how I got from A to B, the art of putting yourself out there, being seen, navigating the creative process (and clients) and overall how to work with who you are to make those next steps in reaching your goal"

    Cai Sepulis RGD

    Cai is a self-employed lone gun in the world of advertising and design. With a background in philosophy and architecture, Cai is a firecracker of ideas and creativity, specializing in branding, packaging and illustration.  Her youthful whimsical style has caught the attention of numerous big brands and she’s worked along side the agencies/teams behind Second Cup, Nordstrom, HotDocs and numerous breweries to create unique packaging, campaigns and graphics. 


    "If you’re hungry to push your work, think bigger, win awards, break into advertising and/or laugh till your face hurts, then I’m the mentor you’ve been dreaming of!"

    Hans Thiessen RGD

    Hans is Associate Creative Director of Design at Rethink. He throws curveball ideas, sweats the details with OCD impulses and eats a bowl of laughs for breakfast. His work has been recognized with a D&AD Black Pencil and a variety of other metallic pats on the back from Cannes Lions, One Show, ADC, Type Directors Club, Clios, LIA, Graphis, Coupe, ADCC and Communication Arts. His clients include Uber, EA and Nike.


    "As your Mentor, I would share my experience moving from arts administrator to graphic designer to business owner, offer guidance for practicing professionalism and aid in building a strong print-based portfolio."

    Lauren Wickware RGD

    A graduate of OCAD and Parsons The New School for Design, Lauren’s experiences in the visual arts and publishing fields inform her perspective, enabling her to engineer meaningful design concepts that powerfully develop awareness, spark interest and have longevity. Working with clients ranging from individual artists to international corporations, Lauren’s publication designs have been recognized by ADCC, AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers, Alcuin Society, Coupe and the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.