- Deborah is a designer, an inventor, and an entrepreneur. Her work is guided by the belief that meaningful innovation requires a deep understanding of the people who will use what she creates and the changing world that surrounds them. Prior to launching her design and branding firm, Adler Design, she partnered with Target to develop the ClearRx prescription packaging system. Since then, she’s taken on challenges that range from tackling the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections to re-imagining baby bottles as playful objects that connect with children. In 2017 Adler teamed up with CVS to design ScriptPath, which now makes it easier for millions of patients to take their medication. Always at the core of her work is the understanding that design can make a positive difference in people’s lives. She believes that empathy is the most important ingredient in great design and that a change in behavior is the most important outcome.
- Sonja has a passion for telling stories. It was no surprise she studied Journalism and built her marcom career on writing and sharing stories in both the public and private sectors. She joined the City of Mississauga in 1998, becoming the Manager of Corporate Communications in 1999. In 2015, she moved into her current role of Manager, Culture Services where she continues to tell Mississauga’s unique stories while also enhancing quality of life for residents. Sonja held similar positions at: Pafco – a Division of Allstate Insurance in Toronto; the Learning Experience in Los Angeles, California; the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. She started her story-telling career as a freelance reporter filing stories for various publications including the Toronto Star. She received her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism from Ryerson Polytechnic University and was accredited by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in 2007. She has won several industry awards; she is most proud of the IABC Gold Quill she received for her work on the City of Mississauga’s Communications Master Plan.
- Julian is the designer and entrepreneur behind the motion design studio ON THE CHASE!. Just under ten years young, OTC! has won international awards and collaborated with diverse clients ranging from retailer Shoppers Drug Mart and consulting giant Deloitte, to video game maker Ubisoft and charity WWF Canada. His videos have garnered millions of views and he has been profiled in design magazines as a rising young talent. A proud member of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD), Julian is a past-VP on the RGD Board of Directors and an avid speaker and design advocate. He is a graduate of the York/Sheridan Design Degree program, a world traveller and, most recently, a proud and terrified father.
- Valerie is an internationally-recognized social innovator who works with organizations around the world to identify, build and launch breakout products and services. She was Chief Product Officer for Samsung and has held executive leadership positions at IDEO, frog and Pentagram. She founded the international consultancy, Necessary Projects, and the global creative coalition, the Designers Accord, which is the largest multi-disciplinary group of designers, business leaders and educators working together on social impact. Valerie currently advises Fortune 500s, startups and NGOs in health, education and technology on their product and innovation strategies. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. She was named “Guru you should know” by Fortune, a “Hero of the Environment” by TIME, “Master of Design” by Fast Company and one of the “World's Most Influential Designers” by Businessweek. Valerie received her BA in English Literature and Psychology from Swarthmore College and holds an MED in Cultural Theory and Design from Yale.
- Andy is a partner at Isometric Studio, a visual identity and graphic design consultancy based in New York City. Andy studied sociology at Princeton University, where he was awarded the Pyne Honor Prize, the university’s highest general undergraduate distinction. He studied graphic design at RISD, where he received his MFA as a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. Andy started his career at Pentagram, where he worked on the rebranding of Bausch + Lomb with partner Paula Scher. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal College of Art, he conducted ethnographic research on aging, sexuality, and social stigma. Andy is a contributor to Design Observer, Design Taxi, and Open Manifesto. He has spoken at international conferences including Design Indaba, the London Design Festival, the XVIII International AIDS Conference, RGD DesignThinkers, and the University of Chicago Medical Conference.
- Wade is creative lead inside Google’s Brand Studio helping to guide some of the next great experiences from Google, building tools to inspire others, and helping to unify the Google Brand. Wade works with a transdisciplinary team in brand design, marketing, and cross-product initiatives. Previously an executive creative director and VP of Product Innovation at R/GA working on the Nike+ ecosystem of products. Wade also helped brands such as Converse, Fossil, Louis Vuitton, Samsung, Toyota, Walmart, and Zagat. Before heading west, he helped launch the R/GA Techstars Connected Devices Accelerator working closely with the startups; Alvio, Grove Labs, and Hammerhead. Wade was also a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York and helped build the interactive department from two instructors to over 30. He taught classes in design thinking and digital media to honors students in the undergraduate, Graphic Design and Advertising department. A native of Ontario, Canada, Wade studied Design and Advertising from Conestoga College before earning his B.F.A. in Graphic Design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He currently resides in San Francisco, California.
- John works in various disciplines including print, interactive, broadcast, exhibition and experiential graphic design. Trained in graphic and interior design, he views system, program, story, service and experience as integral to his interdisciplinary approach to design. Early in his career, while working in New York, he worked on developing software to help people plan for retirement, rethinking the Census 2000 and American Community Survey questionnaires for the US Bureau of the Census and developing a multi-modal signage program for the City of Seattle transportation network. Since that time, John has taught in Washington, Winnipeg and Halifax. He has served as Director of Design for the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art and Design, and worked for Parks Canada.
- Anne joined MEC as Chief Marketing Officer in January 2013 and is responsible for marketing, communications, community investment and brand engagement strategies. Anne supports the ongoing evolution of the iconic MEC brand, extending MEC's unique retail offering to a growing number of members and inspiring Canadians to lead active lifestyles outside. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing communications, starting at Harlequin Enterprises, where she became passionate about direct to consumer marketing and e-commerce. Anne joined INTRAWEST to develop their customer relationship marketing capabilities across North America, and then moved to Singapore, where she worked with Interbrand, as the Director of Brand Strategy for South East Asia. Following her years overseas, Anne is now treasuring her time at home in Vancouver, and is introducing her two daughters to outdoor fun in the nearby parks, mountains, and ocean.
Ian was born and raised in Western Canada. He studied Economics at the University of British Columbia then advertising and design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, prior to founding Rethink in 1999. Rethink was recently awarded Silver for Canadian Design Agency of the Year by Strategy. At Rethink, Ian directs a wide range of projects encompassing design, interactive, installation, advertising and social. Ian has been ranked by Strategy as the number one art director and the number one creative director in Canada numerous times.
- Will is a Principal and Co-Founder of Clear Space, where he leads the strategic vision and creative direction for the firm. For more than 20 years, he has shaped the identities and communications for some of Canada’s most notable organizations, garnering several awards along the way. After graduating from OCA (before the D) Will worked for a variety of studios including a stint with Burton Kramer, Bhandari & Plater, and Ove Design before starting his own firm. Will is known for helping brands make a lasting impact through informed, creative clarity. At Clear Space, Will collaborates with open-minded non-profits, start-ups, and businesses in various sectors to creatively express their brand image. Will is also a frequent participant in the design community – speaking, providing mentorship, judging awards shows, and sitting on panels at local design schools.
- Katie is a native Vancouverite who flew East to earn her design degree at NSCADU in Halifax, where she found an evolving love for typography, lettering and branding. She has lived in New York, studied art history in Europe, and travelled Australia, US and Japan. Notable experience include Condé Naste, W Magazine, The Vancouver Canucks, Aveda, Hangar18, Imagine1day, Rogers Publishing, Subplot Design, Lululemon, Good Inc, Woodlot, Telus and Saje Natural Wellness with a couple of awards under her belt. She’s a curious individual, with a hyperfocused attitude, and will forever be young at heart. When she’s not designing you can find her wandering the woods, hiding in quiet spaces or walking with her head in the clouds, daydreaming up new ideas.
Amanda is the owner and creative director at Maslany Creative, a design consultancy based in Victoria. With a career spanning 20+ years and a passion for typography, publication design and branding, Amanda has earned a reputation for creating distinctive brands, an outstanding sense of typography and sharp eye for detail. Amanda has worked in design studios, agencies and currently as the principal at Maslany Creative, working with recognizable brands across Canada, including corporations, public service departments, leading schools and universities, arts and cultural organizations and highly visible non-profits. As a member of the GDC, Amanda has participated as National Corporate Secretary, South Saskatchewan Representative, Interim Vancouver Island Representative and Design Cares volunteer. Amanda is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary.
- Kim is the owner and creative director of KIMBO Design. Her creative expertise guides the development of innovative branding campaigns and visual identities, for clients like the Governments of British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Kim is frequently recognized for her design and business achievements, including for Best Website/UX Design at the BIV Western Canada Marketing Awards for work with Move Up Prince George campaign. KIMBO Design ranked #1 on Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Design Agencies, and #71 on the PROFIT 500 list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Kim also supports art and design in her community, as a board member on CASV, and through sponsorship of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver Mural Festival.
- Jenny is a trend seeker and creative thinker who has a knack for delivering the maximum impact out of a shoestring budget. She has worked in the charitable sector for over 25 years, leading the branding, public relations and marketing efforts at the Toronto Botanical Garden since 2002. Jenny tweets like a bird and creates buzz in the media, inspiring Torontonians to make a greater connection with nature. Her recent work has focused on building visually compelling stories for the gardens while forging strategic partnerships and creating fun, engaging events for public. Jenny is a graduate of the Fine Arts program at the University of Guelph.
- A freelance designer/illustration with over 15 years under her belt, Cai’s work has been used in various in national campaigns including work for HotDocs, Second Cup, Nordstrom, Loblaws, Brickworks Ciderhouse and handful of microbreweries. Most recently she joined forces to partner in her new start-up, Toque Ltd – a branding and publishing studio which creates Toque Magazine – a regional lookbook focussing on Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Hamilton region.
- Simone is an Art Director/Graphic Designer who has spent most of her life as a working creative. From owning her own makeshift art studio at the age of 15 to her adult 20-year career as an ad agency art director to now senior in-house designer. Aside from her children doing good creative work that sells is the reason why she gets out of bed in the morning. She has worked for the likes of Ogilvy One and Maclaren Macann to name a few and on accounts as varied as IBM to Harlequin. Simone puts a level of passion; creativity and enthusiasm into her work that will either drive you crazy or you’ll love her for it. She has been recognized by the CMA’s, IABC and RGD.
At Studio123, Nico guides the creative process and works to deliver high quality creative that achieves results. He lives and breathes entrepreneurship, having started his first design agency at 20. He is a recipient of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Northern Ontario Business and is also a co-recipient of a Legacy Award from the Canadian Regional Design Awards (Redgees). He is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at Cambrian College and is proudly bilingual. His engagement in the national design community is demonstrated by his position on the Programs Committee for RGD and his involvement in the creation of the Sudbury Design Society.
Lauren partners with cultural institutions to create a broad range of materials with a focus on publication design. She does more than simply move boxes around on a page—she is passionate about creating work that has longevity, extending the life and expanding the reach of a text, event or exhibition by creating highly tactile and tangible objects. Lauren’s portfolio includes projects for the Aga Khan Museum, ACTRA National, the Art Gallery of Ontario and RBC Royal Bank of Canada. Her work is recognized for its excellence through various awards, including from The Advertising and Design Club of Canada, the Alcuin Society, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and Applied Arts. A graduate of OCAD and Parsons The New School for Design, Lauren cultivates the next generation of designers as a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Design Strategy and Graphic Design Programs at George Brown College’s School of Design.