Fall 2017 Mentors
RGD Mentors

Thank you to Ian Chalmers, Matthew Clark, John Furneaux, Alisha Giroux, Sasha Goldstein, Will Hum, Amanda Khoo, Irina Khvalova, Megan Oldfield, Laura Piche, Alana Ruoso, Robert Smith, and Dzung Tran!


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



"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.


“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 RGD
Before 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 RGD
Megan 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 clients have included: RBC, Scotiabank, HBC, KPMG, Rogers Communications, Disney, Seattle Children’s, Armstrong, UPS, Visa and Mad Dogg Athletics.