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 and then again in May 2017, Provisional RGDs were invited to participate. The next round will launch in February 2018.
Winter 2018 Mentors will be announced in February
"As your mentor, I will help you think about where you are and where you might want to be in your near and distant future. We will discuss the steps you could take to build your career as a multi-skilled design person. My focus will be on human factors and how you can design for inspiration, usability and the wellbeing of others."
Ian Chalmers RGD
Ian is the founder and Creative Director of Pivot Design Group in Toronto. He sees design as a strategic driver to improve the health and well-being of people, services, and organizations. Over the past eight years, Ian’s philanthropic desire has found him lending his design hands as a Board Member for Pencils for Kids, which provides scholarships, farming programs and sewing programs for girls in a small community in Nigér, Africa.
Ian’s recent focus has been in the healthcare vertical, bringing a people-centred design research focus to the work Pivot creates for researchers, scientists, physicians, institutions.
Ian’s DesignMeets events continue to be an exciting success with over 25 events to date, 2500 attendees, 84 speakers, 15 themes and in 4 cities. The event has tackled Design Thinking as a method to solve wicked problems that exist in HealthCare (#mHealth), Financial Services (#FinTech), and Public Policy to name a few.
“As your mentor, I will share how we achieve Creative Certainty™, with smart, consumer-focused, business-asset “certainty” that is brought to life through inspiring, breakthrough “creativity”."
Matthew Clark RGD
Matthew is an internationally-recognized Creative Director and Designer based in Vancouver, Canada. Founder of Subplot Design Inc., he is also an author, mentor and public speaker known for his opinionated take on branding, design, and the world of marketing and advertising. Matthew’s work, which focuses on retail branding and packaging, has been recognized with over 250 local, national and international awards; has been published in over 75 articles worldwide; and is part of the permanent collections of the Chicago Athenaeum Museum and the Design Exchange. He is also a drawer, painter, and sword-play-dance-party-pantomime dad and husband.
"I have been fortunate to have a career that has given me the opportunity to learn and be involved in all different parts of our business – sometimes these were fantastic experiences… sometimes… not so much. I would like to pass on some the lessons I learned to the next generation so they are able to embrace and appreciate all the good things there are in being a design professional."
John Furneaux RGD
John is the Principal of Projektor Brand Image. For 25 years John has developed brand programs and communications for a wide range of North American organizations – from entrepreneurial start-ups to global leaders. Prior to founding Projektor, John held executive creative leadership positions at a number of Canada’s premier design consultancies including Identica, karacters design group and Ove Brand|Design. John is a Past President of RGD and is an active speaker and contributor in the Canadian design industry.
"As a mentor, I can share my insights on getting your foot in the door when starting off in the industry, as well as direction and critique for illustrative work."
Alisha Giroux RGD
Alisha is currently Art Director with Greenmelon Inc with expertise in illustration, branding and package design. Years of drawing in the margins of school notebooks has paid off, and she’s had her designs published for such clients as the Royal Canadian Mint, Farm Boy, and the Canadian Museum of History. She’s also a published children’s book illustrator, and has published work with two NY Times bestselling authors.
"As a mentor, I would love to share insight about what it means to move through a design career, what the common roadblocks are, and how to circumvent them. I'd also love to help mentees learn how to improve their value to organizations and offer practical advice on designing digital products (anything from wireframing, to concepting, prototyping, working with engineers and managing timelines and expectations)."
Sasha Goldstein RGD
Sasha is a digital product designer in Vancouver, BC, whose eight-year design career also includes up to 12% work in copywriting, marketing, brand-building, advertising and strategy. He currently uses his acute eye for detail, polished aesthetic and diverse background to outsell all the other lemonade vendors on his block. He also works in-house as a Senior Designer for SAXX Underwear.
"Design is the easy part. Convincing clients to buy it is another ball of wax. As your mentor, I will teach you how to refine your creative and develop a compelling pitch that will win over even the toughest critic in the room."
Will Hum RGD
Will is a co-founder of Clear Space, where he leads the firm’s strategic vision and creative direction. For more than 20 years, Will has been developing creative ideas for a wide range of clients including: University of Toronto, Hudson’s Bay Company, Sunnybrook Foundation, Toronto Global, Markham Museum, and Navigator.
“As your mentor, I will share my experience as a solo designer versus working in a team environment, from project leading to building strong client relationships. I’m excited to help you grow through the ups and downs of your own unique creative journey!”
Amanda Khoo RGD
Amanda is a multi-talented graphic designer based in Toronto. With ten years of experience, her expertise includes branding, digital marketing, and web design. She thrives when collaborating with those who share a mutual passion of communicating memorable and meaningful experiences through educational information, environmental awareness, community, and social good."As a Mentor, I will share my knowledge of the consulting side of design and offer young designers best practices and processes to ensure that their creative vision is implemented and successfully applied by their clients."Irina Khvalova RGDBefore founding Colourphill in 1998, Irina worked as a senior designer at uhlig.ca and at AON Hewitt, a leading North American human resources consulting firm. Working in a design studio and a consulting environment gave Irina a unique perspective on the business of design – from both the designer’s and the client’s points of view. Her creative, production and consulting experience helps Colourphill’s clients minimize the business risk associated with implementing creative and design initiatives. Irina is an Associate of the Ontario College of Art and Design. She is also a longtime member of RGD. Irina has been a creative director for clients such as Bank of Montreal, Northland Power Inc., PepsiCo Canada, Eli Lilly Canada, Waddingtons.ca, HP, IBM, Municipal Retirees Organization Ontario, Start Proud and, most recently, Health Quality Ontario (HQO)."As your mentor, I look forward to sharing my experience, passion and perspective on design and the business of design. I will offer insight into finding the right fit creatively, help you identify your goals and navigate through the next steps in the design process to get you there."Megan Oldfield RGDMegan is the founding principal and creative director of Field Design Office and a design educator in Toronto. Partnering with clients in entertainment, arts, hospitality and corporate sectors, she specializes in creative direction and design spanning branding, packaging, film titling, wayfinding and exhibition design–most notably for Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh on The Happy Show in Toronto. Previously, Megan worked as a designer at Bruce Mau Design, Art Director, EMI Music Canada and Design Professor, Art & Art History at University of Toronto / Sheridan, where she continues to teach. Additionally, Megan serves on the RGD Board of Directors; VP, Education Committee, and is a Certification Portfolio Evaluator.“As a mentor, I would share my experience working with small to medium sized private companies, from a local to global perspective. I will underscore the importance of staying focused on personal goals, mindful of a work/life balance. It is valuable to recognize that graphic design is alive and well beyond Big City limits and that fruitful and rewarding opportunities await in rural settings.”Laura Piche RGD
Laura calls North Bay home base, yet her work, and suitcase, have traveled to many points worldwide. Her 30+ year career has been within the private sector, including grass root Mom & Pop Shops to international brands, cartooning, publishing, television and film. Her heart flutters for typography, print graphics, screen printing, teaching and brand strategy. She will always be an advocate for “Working to live… not living to work.”
“As your mentor, I will offer insights on developing and expanding your creative talents, and also strategies for managing fears and anxieties as you move through your career path.”
Alana Ruoso RGD
Alana is a Brand Builder & Creative Strategist with over 20 years of experience in the design industry. She has done both the freelance and full-time thing and, having chose a diverse, non-linear career path, brings a wealth of valuable industry knowledge to the table. She is currently at the City of Mississauga in Creative Services working on a wide range of inspiring, community-driven projects. Alana is also a certified Life & Executive Coach, and is committed to helping creatives step into their untapped potential so they can feel confident in their careers.
"As your mentor, I will share my knowledge and passion for retail design and engagement and advise on career changes in the creative industry (private to corporate and corporate to private) and living a fulfilling creative life"
Robert Smith RGD
Robert is the owner and Creative Director of Ottawa-based Greenmelon Inc. He has worked with clients including DC Comics, Warner Brothers, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Post Corporation, Canadian Museum of History and the Royal Canadian Mint.
"I will inspire my Mentees through my passion for transforming brand strategy into single-focused, compelling creative ideas. I am committed to helping others learn the art and science of design so they can reach well beyond their potential in everything they do."
Dzung Tran RGD
Dzung is a creative catalyst responsible for developing strategic design solutions for clients. His work in brand identity, guidelines, annual report and interactive design has been recognized by The Advertising & Design Club of Toronto, Black Book Best 100 Annual Reports, Applied Arts magazine, and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers. His approach is inspired by the world around him. Deeply attuned to all aspects of popular culture, Dzung believes that brand must be expressed through all touch points, from print and digital to new media. For 11 years, Dzung has brought sophisticated yet modern design approach to all his work for Interbrand.
Dzung’s client experience includes: RBC, FRHI Hotels & Resorts (Fairmont Hotel), Scotiabank International, HBC, KPMG, Termite Corporation, Rogers Communications, Disney, Seattle Children’s, Armstrong, UPS, SNC Lavalin, Visa Canada, and Mad Dogg Athletics.
"As your mentor I will share my passion for corporate design and branding while keeping the business side of projects and planning in mind. I can also provide guidance with some of the skills necessary to succeed once out of school and into the real business of design."
Eileen Ugarkovic RGD
Eileen has over ten years of professional experience in design and is an Art Director at NATIONAL Public Relations. She works on many projects from inception through to final production. She has extensive experience in corporate branding, layout and typography in both print and digital media for clients such as Amazon, Sephora and Ford. Eileen was awarded the international grand prize by Veuve Clicquot and Wallpaper* magazine for her inspired product packaging design of their trademark champagne mailbox.
"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.Amanda Boltë RGD, Creative Director at Cineplex Digital MediaCombining 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 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 CanadaStefan 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 AgencyWith 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 LLPChris 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.
Lynn Ridley RGD, Vice President Creative at Jan Kelley
“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 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.