Spring 2020 Mentors

Thank you to Chris Armstrong, Dominic Ayre, Julie Barge, Mooren Bofill, Amanda Boltë, Stefan Canuel, Ian Chalmers, Ross Chandler, Ray Cheah, Amit Choudhury, Mélissa Deschênes, Greg Dubeau, Ali DuHart, Vanessa Eckstein, Sasha Goldstein, Yurko Gutsulyak, Will Hum, Sandy Kedey, Irina Khvalova, James Kuo, Edmund Li, Norm Lourenco, Meg Lynch, Angelo Morano, David Nuff, Sarah Prouse, Barry Quinn, Chad Roberts, Rami Schandall, Kyle Schruder, Mike Scott, Colin Turner, Christina Whitfield, Lauren Wickware, and Michael J. Young!


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




“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

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. Chris leads creative at Operative Brand Consulting in Toronto.

"As a Mentor, I want to act as a guide to help you shape the course of your career. That guidance comes from over 25 years of experience, with highs and lows, wins and losses, tears and laughter and a passion for the craft and business of graphic design that only gets brighter with every year."

Dominic Ayre RGD, Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley

Dominic has worked in Toronto as a designer for more than 25 years. At Hambly & Woolley, Dominic focuses on high-level strategic initiatives with clients such as the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, York U, RGD, OCAD U, CIFAR and Quadrangle Architects. Currently, on faculty at OCAD U, Dom is an enthusiastic mentor to new designers and is well known within the design community for his expertise in typography, web platforms, design trends and popular culture.

“As your mentor, I will share my experiences from both boutique and corporate environments to provide guidance on how to build a design strategy and present concepts with confidence. I can advise on how to receive feedback and help to recommend changes that will allow you to keep your clients happy while maintaining integrity in your work." 

Julie Barge RGD, Manger Visual Design at Canada Life Insurance Company

Julie earned a BA in Visual Arts from the University of Western Ontario which she coupled with a Post Graduate Certificate in Graphic Design from Humber College. She began her career in Toronto at brand design studios and transitioned to in-house at an established Canadian furniture design company. She currently leads an award-winning Visual Design team in Digital Customer Experience at Canada Life Insurance Company in London (ON).

"Can Design save the world? Can Design make things better? Can Design make life easier? As your mentor, we'll talk about the potential for what Design can do."

Mooren Bofill RGD, Executive Director of Design at john st.

Mo has spent the last five years building the design offering from the ground up at john st. (Bell, Home Hardware, Sleep Country, Winners, Shoppers, President’s Choice, Tangerine and Koodo to name a few); by building an award-winning portfolio and leading a diverse team of multi-disciplinary design thinkers. Born in the Philippines, and growing up in Toronto, she brings a diverse point of view that mixes her passion for design, creativity and business strategy to Canadian design. She is a relentless optimist; be kind, do good work, have fun, travel often and eat more fries. 


"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), Tim Hortons, A&W and Jolly Jumper, producing packaging, branding, print, photography and new media.

“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, create effective design with type and elevate your design by being stylish without compromising readability and legibility.”

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

Stefan is an Ottawa-based multi-faceted designer with more than 20 years experience in the design and creative industry, including on high-profile exhibition design and print. He works to forge profound links between organizations and their audiences through clear, creative, effective and well-managed designs and strategies. His work has been recognized by ADCC, AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers, Alcuin Society, Applied Arts, Communication Arts, Graphis and The Society of Typographic Arts, among others.

"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 well-being of others."

Ian Chalmers RGD, Founder at Pivot Design Group

Design is a central part of my life. My recent professional focus has been in the healthcare vertical, bringing a people-centric design focus to the work Pivot creates for researchers, scientists, clinicians and institutions. I am also the founder of DesignMeets, a 10-year in the making event forum to bring the design conversation to the community and an active board member for Pencils for Kids, a charity that provides programs for girls in a small community in Nigér.

"As your mentor, I will help you refine your creative development process from start to finish. I will also help you navigate the industry by leveraging all of the promotional strengths you didn't realize you had at your disposal."

Ross Chandler Affiliate Member, Founder & Creative Director of Becoming Design Office 

Ross worked at Hambly & Woolley (Toronto) and Subplot Design (Vancouver) before opening his own design shop. Working out of Victoria, his studio has clients that are not-for-profits, universities, cooperatives, architects, beer & spirit companies and industrial and environmental companies. One of his heroes, Milton Glaser once said that as designers we have access to people's minds. This notion is a constant reminder that we have a great opportunity and responsibility to create positive change in the world through design.

“As your mentor, I can provide guidance on developing your personal brand. I will challenge your comfort zone and help foster your professional development in the design field. Sharing my perspective, I can offer insights for a successful and 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

With over 20 years in the field, Ray brings his award-winning creative strategies and brand stewardship to a wide range of industries from education, research, healthcare, to consumer tech industry. He is currently providing 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 a mentor, I try to help mentees discover their own creative strengths and weaknesses. Together we exchange ideas and brainstorm from some of our past experiences and our individual struggles so that we can create an outline to map out a short and long term plan.” 

Amit Choudhury RGD, Design Director at Grand Orbit Inc.

A diverse career spanning over a decade, Amit’s experience ranges between working for Ad Agencies, Design Studios and In-House leadership roles. He was responsible and accountable for the creation of numerous Corporate Identity Systems, Brand Guidelines, Marketing Collaterals, Package Design, Advertising, Promotional Campaigns, Retail Branding, Social Media Branding, Mobile App Visual Design, and UI Design. He has a solid understanding of both B2B and B2C markets and works in collaboration to help support a company’s Brand Visual, Messaging, and Business Goals. His objective is to provide a result-driven compelling design solution while ensuring the design and the brand work together across key Digital & Physical Touchpoints. He is also passionate about Typography, Photography and Painting. As a certified UX designer, he is currently focused on gaining further knowledge in UX Design methodologies and tools.


"Whether it's starting your own business, client relations or anything to do with the creative process, I'll coach you along the way and add my geeky sense of humour to it all. Along with being a business owner, I also take an active role in design, illustration and photography at our studio and love to share my experience and thought process. Je suis aussi disponible en Francais."

Mélissa Deschênes RGD, Co-founder and Partner at Design de Plume
Melissa works on design and illustration projects while providing creative direction and inspiration for the entire studio. Design de Plume is an Aboriginally-owned, Sudbury-based, independent graphic design firm run by passionate, forward thinking designers. Their diverse background covers a range of sectors including mining, educational, medical, retail, not-for-profit and finance.

“As your mentor, I can help you optimize your freelance business operations from good to great and/or help transition your occupation from an in-studio designer to become a self-employed designer and business owner.”

Greg Dubeau RGD, Freelance Graphic Designer
Greg has lived and worked across Canada from coast to coast. He runs a small multi-disciplinary design studio in Halifax, where he collaborates with agencies, organizations and entrepreneurs to make their businesses look and work a little bit better than they did yesterday.

“Being new to the workforce can be challenging. As your mentor, I can help you perfect your resume to stand out from the crowd. I can also help navigate job interviews, or adjust to being new to a team. We can look for opportunities to improve your skills and find your design style.”

Ali DuHart RGD, Senior Graphic Designer at Benefit Cosmetics

Since graduating from the York / Sheridan Bachelor of Design in 2009, Ali has gained experience in companies such as Loblaw, Umbra and Benefit Cosmetics. She has experience in print communications, packaging and most recently visual merchandising and influencer marketing in the beauty industry.

"My aim is to share an open space where we can engage in meaningful conversations about design and design thinking in a way that is relevant and expansive in order to affect change.”

Vanessa Eckstein RGD, Founder and Creative Director at blok design

Known for her passion for taking on initiatives that blend cultural awareness, humanity and a love of art to advance society and business alike, Vanessa’s experiences living and working in Buenos Aires, LA, New York, Mexico City, Berlin and Toronto have given Blok a unique international perspective that has been recognized and awarded around the world. Most recently, Vanessa served as Graphic Design Jury President for the D&AD, design judge at Cannes Lions and Applied Arts and Co-Chair of the Marketing Awards.

"As your mentor, I’ll share insight into my experience taking an atypical path through a design career. I can be most helpful to freelancers and independents, designers trying to break into new industries or areas, and anyone struggling to find their “fit" in a world that places a premium on traditional pedigrees.”

Sasha Goldstein RGD, Founder at Eame

Sasha is a digital product designer and entrepreneur in Vancouver whose decade-long “design" career has landed him jobs involving such varied responsibilities as web developing, copywriting, marketing, brand-building, advertising and strategy. He’s worked as a Senior Designer in agencies, Fortune 100 companies and small start-ups alike, and in 2019 launched a small fully-remote design studio, Eame. Sasha taught himself graphic design while studying liberal arts in Ontario.

"You are on the way to design distinction, but there are too many questions and doubts? You try to link design and business, but the numerous obstacles and roadblocks have you feeling frustrated? Let's overcome this together and find the solution that fits your style the best. As your mentor, I am ready to share my knowledge and guide you to new levels. Don't settle for mediocrity, aspire to greatness!"

Yurko Gutsulyak RGD, Designer & Art Director at Gutsulyak.Studio.

Yurko has 19 years of design experience on the international level, the last 15 running an independent studio. His expertise is in identity design, corporate and consumer branding, packaging design as well as typography and object design. Yurko's work has received numerous awards, including Epica, Red Dot, Dieline, Graphis and Communication Arts. Clients include Kimberly-Clark, Oasis, AB InBev, SAB Miller and Henkell Freixenet.

“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’ll discuss the following topics: inspiration, creative and critical thinking, collaboration, client and project management, business and administration, fun and play and frankly anything that might help you be a better creative."

Will Hum RGD, Co-Founder at Clear Space

Will is a graduate of OCAD who cut his teeth at the office of Canadian design icon Burton Kramer. He 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 share advice and experience succeeding in the ever-changing field of advertising and communications. As a business owner, creative director and professor, I can provide insight into getting that gig, and the realities of where you can take your career, at whatever juncture you are at, and the strategies to help develop you, the brand.”

Sandy Kedey, AOCA, RGD, Professor, Faculty of Design, Advertising OCAD University & President SLK Communications Inc.

Sandy is tenured, Professor, previous Chair of the Advertising Program and senior creative marketing director with over 29 years experience teaching and practising communications, advertising and design. Sandy was many years with top international ad agencies, creating award-winning integrated campaigns, before forming her own company. She has amassed dozens of awards internationally and nationally, including Cannes.

“As your mentor, I will share my insights into the production and business sides of design to help you produce the most inspired creative for every design situation.”

Irina Khvalova RGD, Founder at Colourphill

Before founding Colourphill in Toronto in 1998, Irina worked as a senior designer at uhlig.ca and at AON Hewitt, a leading human resources consulting firm. These experiences 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’s personal passion is food and packaging design. She is an Advisory Board Member for Canadian Women in Food – a social enterprise connecting women in the foodservice industry.

“As your Mentor, I will share my years of design experience from New York City and Toronto as a senior designer, art-and-design director at large museum in-house design departments, graphic design studios and freelance positions. I will offer comprehensive design perspectives to assist future design stars with a custom course for your own pathway.”

James Kuo RGD, Design Director at Design Platform

James teaches design production, digital design, experiential graphic design, graphic design, print-and-digital design media and typography at the University of Guelph-Humber. James is also a graphic design practitioner with experience in corporate visual identity, design management, design production, digital and visual communications, graphic design, photography, typography and user interface design.

"As your Mentor, I will share my knowledge of way-finding, environmental graphic design and exhibit design, and my passion for accessibility. I will offer assistance to help young designers to see design as a unique tool to tell a story."

Edmund Li RGD, Associate at Entro

Edmund has over 20 years of experience designing interpretive and way-finding signage, exhibits, donor recognition and interactive media for public environments around the world. With his architectural mindset and graphic design background, Edmund’s work often features a high level of integration between 2D and 3D elements, transforming linear messages into environmental statements — inspiring users to engage in meaningful ways. 


"As your Mentor, I will share my knowledge and experience to assist you in articulating your creative process. I have a wide range of practice areas, from magazines to branding, and as a studio owner & creative director, and I am happy to share my experiences to help you choose an area of design to focus on."

Norm Lourenco RGD, Creative Director and Founder at Truth and Dare

Norm is Creative Director and founder of Truth and Dare. He is a Registered Graphic Designer with more than 25 years of experience building brands and overseeing strategy for both private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He also has extensive experience directing, strategizing and designing publications in print and digital executions for multi-title publishers to independent publishing clients, Norm is truly a “publication expert.”


"As your mentor, I will share my experience working as a designer in both studio and in-house settings. I can provide insight into the industry from a brand strategy and development perspective, and help you explore and identify your career goals as a designer."

Meg Lynch RGD, Design Director at Forge Media + Design 

For over a decade, Meg has applied her creative insights and enthusiasm working with clients spanning coast to coast and beyond. She has honed her skills in building brand identities, crafting strategies and conceiving innovative digital solutions focused on providing meaningful and engaging experiences for all. Meg graduated with Honours from Humber College, receiving an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design.

"As your mentor, I will share my design experience and insights to help you navigate your career and achieve your potential. By acting as a sounding board and guide I hope to help with your challenges and inspire your creativity."

Angelo Morano RGD, Creative Director at Morano Graphic Design

Angelo is an award-winning designer based in Toronto. With over 20 years of experience, Angelo focuses on visual strategy and brand identity. Angelo’s design approach starts with a solid understanding of his client’s business objectives. His commitment to bringing passion, discipline and a modern design sensibility to his brand identity projects has earned him the full trust of his clients.

“If the design industry feels like a labyrinth to you right now, I can help you carve out a path. We will discuss your ambitions, plot your course, hone your skills and develop your voice.”

David Nuff RGD, Designer & Principal at Nuff

David runs an independent design practice working across brand identity, digital products and public art. He has worked at agencies, tech start-ups, and video game studios before setting up shop. His clients include global multinational corporations and one-person operations. Without a formal design education, he had the fortune of great mentorship, something he is eager to pay forward.

"As your mentor, I will help you figure out how to get your foot in the door. We will chat about how bringing the right attitude and confidence to the table can get you started in the creative career you’re dreaming of. You’ll be ready to take your awesome self and channel your enthusiasm to take on anything!"

Sarah Prouse RGD, VP, Creative Possibilities at Fusion Design Group

Sarah has worked as a designer for over 15 years for a small firm in Markham. Over the years, she’s worn almost all of the hats — involved in both the business operations and design-side of running a small studio. She’s always part of the hiring process, and is able to offer guidance as to what employers are looking for in new designers.

"As your mentor, I can show you how to make your work more focused and at the same time expansive enough to show clients you can build modern brands and campaigns. I have done thousands of presentations to people of all positions and in every imaginable setting, so I can share tactics for successful meetings and presentations.”
Barry Quinn RGD, Founder, Chief Creative at Quake

Barry has been fortunate to have worked at and been a partner at some of Canada’s most creative agencies and studios including Grip Limited, Spencer Francey Peters and Bhandari Plater. He co-founded Juniper Park, helping it grow to 140 people and then merging it with TBWA. He later became the first Chief Creative Officer for DDB North America, working out of Chicago. Most recently he launched his own agency, Quake, in Toronto. His work has been recognized by Cannes, The Effies, Communication Arts, Clios, London International, Marketing, One Show, New York Festival, Applied Arts and others.

"As your mentor, I will help you develop and showcase your personal design point of view and share how to build a sustainable studio practice by attracting and developing relationships with clients that align with your unique viewpoint."

Chad Roberts Affiliate Member, Creative Director at Chad Roberts Design

For the last 10 years, Chad has run his own design studio in Toronto. Leading a team of 5 designers, Chad works with a diverse range of creative clients, with a focus on boutique food and hospitality. The studio's branding and packaging work includes Balzac's Coffee Roasters, la Palma, Rockwell Razors, Constantine, Heritage Bee Co, Viaggio, the Preservatory and Kitten and the Bear. Before developing his practice in Toronto, Chad spent several years in New York as an art director for BBDO and designer with Louise Fili Ltd, creating iconic brand identities for many gourmet food companies.


"As your Mentor, I will share insights gleaned from running a small business while sustaining creative practices. What structures and tactics will help your creative heart thrive? What kinds of work or networks of support will free you to grow into your full potential as a designer, and build upon your strengths? Whether you aim to work as a solopreneur or in a team, these questions are ongoing, and great to keep exploring."

Rami Schandall RGD, Principal Designer at Visual Creative

Rami works with diverse clients — institutional, corporate and nonprofit organizations, small businesses, artists and professionals — to illuminate their communications with clean, unique and functional design. As a multi-disciplinary artist and writer, Rami draws on her work across media for both solutions and inspiration, building a flexible and sustainable practice over nearly 20 years.

"As your Mentor, I will share my understanding of the importance of story-telling in design. I will help you to talk about yourself, your work and your process in ways that are engaging and compelling. I can help you craft your portfolio, prepare for job interviews or get into the nitty-gritty of editorial and print design."

Kyle Schruder RGD, Director of Design at Coactuate

Kyle leads the design practice at a strategic consultancy focused on supporting healthcare leaders to navigate complex change. He has over a decade of editorial design experience and has made the transition from agency work to leading design in-house at strategic consultancies. 

“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, Principal, Mike Scott Brand & Design

Mike Scott is an independent, multi-disciplinary designer based in London, Ontario with 15 years experience. With a focus on brand, print and digital design, he has worked with a variety of brands including Canada Life, Columbia Sportswear and major hospital and educational institutions in Ontario.

“As your mentor, I am happy to share professional insights and help you to understand how to build the career you have in mind or indeed discover unimagined opportunities.”

Colin Turner RGD, Designer, The National Lottery Community Fund

Colin has been uncovering diverse design opportunities for over 20 years. He has managed and developed a wide range of creative projects across print and digital. He cut his teeth in consumer package design on brands like High Liner and Schneiders, and went on to support marketing and advertising campaigns for Bayer and Pepsi before moving in-house at The Packaging Association of Canada. Colin has been living and working in London England for 10 years and has recently helped to launch the rebrand of a charitable branch of The National Lottery there.


“The design field offers endless possibilities. As your mentor, I can help you navigate your options to find the right career fit in the private or public sector and plan your professional goals for the future.”

Christina Whitfield RGD, Assistant Manager, Design & Wayfinding at the TTC

From developing national brand campaigns for international clients such as Unilever to redesigning the visual identity of the fastest growing municipality in Canada, Christina's 10-year career has not been dull. She currently manages a talented team of designers at the Toronto Transit Commission dedicated to keeping Toronto moving.


“As your Mentor, I will share my experience transitioning from arts administrator to graphic designer and lessons learned from launching my own freelance business and I will help you find your unique niche in order to land the job you want.”

Lauren Wickware RGD, Art Director at Lauren Wickware Design

As a one woman design studio in Hamilton, Lauren partners with artists and cultural institutions to create a broad range of materials with a focus on publication design. Lauren’s work has been recognized by ADCC, AIGA, the Alcuin Society, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, RGD and Applied Arts. A graduate of OCAD and Parsons School of Design, Lauren cultivates the next generation of designers as a Professor in the Interdisciplinary Design Strategy and Graphic Design programs at George Brown College, as well as the Communication Studies and Multimedia program at McMaster U. Lauren is a founding member of Collective Form, a community of commercial artists that builds a robust community for emerging and long-standing visual communications professionals.

“As your Mentor, I will help you navigate the world of in-house design, and provide a practical approach to branding and working collaboratively with outside agencies. I will share insights and resources for designing with a lens of accessibility and inclusiveness. I will work with you to develop goals and help you grow to being the designer you want to be.”

Michael J. Young RGD, Graphic Designer at the Government of Ontario

Since graduating from OCAD, Michael has worked at small agencies, as a freelancer and as an in-house designer. For the past 10 years, he has been with the Government of Ontario where he now works at Cabinet Office, developing and overseeing branding and marketing campaigns for the province in a small but mighty team of creatives.