Awards Judges

Showcase and Achievement categories are adjudicated by a panel of three industry professionals. Judges do not adjudicate categories in which they had any involvement with the submission (as author, creator, editor, publisher, etc.), nor do they adjudicate entries in which their name appears on the masthead.

Isabel Abdai is a graphic designer and art director, who followed her dream to NYC three years after graduating from ACAD in Calgary. She spent five years as Senior Associate Art Director for Martha Stewart Living magazine, and is currently the Design Director for Woman’s Day magazine at Hearst Corporation.

Ash Adams is a photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Adams’ work has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, ESPN, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, TIME, GEO, Stern, Vogue, and other national and international publications. Adams is a recipient of a National Geographic Society grant for an extensive project in 2018 and 2019, a 2018 VSCO Voices grantee, and was named one of Time’s 51 Instagram photographers to follow in 2016. In 2019, Adams was awarded one of six Sony Alpha Female Creator-in-Residence awards to work on a project in various regions of the United States in 2020 that is still on-going.

Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Advocate Media. He leads an editorial team that includes Unravel Halifax and Port of Halifax magazines, plus four newspapers. He’s published three books and in 2014 was short-listed for the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence from the Editors’ Association of Canada.

Nadine Arseneault, an award-winning art director with over two decades of experience in leading design design projects for Canada’s top brands and magazines. Recognized by the National Magazine Awards, SPD Award, Magnum Opus Award and Communication Arts Award. Recently completed a Master of Design degree from York University and currently principal at Bakersfield Visual Communications Inc. and a graphic design instructor at McKenzie College.

Brian Banks has had a long career in Canadian magazines, both as a full-time editor and freelance writer. His interests and experience are wide-ranging: nature and wildlife; geography and environmental science; cleantech and sustainability; business and corporate governance. Today he aspires to tell meaningful stories that promote deeper engagement with the life around us and document the precarious state of our planet.
Twitter: @BrianBanks
Website: brian.eco

Dmitry Beniaminov is a web guru and technology consultant specializing in digital transformation, technology education and all things web. Dmitry has years of experience with Canadian media companies leading teams and finding solutions. You can find more at pixelstudioz.com and follow Dmitry @beniaminov on Twitter.

Donna Braggins is the Associate Dean, for the Design, Photography and Illustration programs at Sheridan College and has extensive experience in design practice, history and theory. She has previously served as art director of Maclean’s and Canadian Business magazines and president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation. She is also a past secretary of the board of directors of The Advertising and Design Club of Canada and until recently she has served on the Board of the Registered Graphic Designers of Canada. Her work has won widespread recognition, with many national and international awards including the National Magazine Awards Foundation, as well as a Certificate of Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club. She has written on the visual history of Maclean’s magazine, exploring the rise of magazine design in Canada. Her goal, in her writings and in her wider work, is to probe the complicated relationship between commercial success and visual impact.

Rob Csernyik is a journalist and writer currently based in Saint John, New Brunswick. He has written for Barron’s Penta, the Literary Review of Canada, Maisonneuve, The Globe and Mail and Report on Business Magazine. In 2021, his investigative reporting on Nova Scotia’s casinos was awarded gold at the Digital Publishing Awards and the Atlantic Journalism Awards. In his spare time, he edits Great Canadian Longform sharing his passion for longform feature writing via social media and a newsletter.

Brianne Diangelo is a communications professional based in Toronto, Ontario. She is the former Director of Communications and Public Engagement of Magazines Canada, the national association for Canada’s magazine media, where she served magazine publishers and professionals for over a decade. In her time at Magazines Canada, Brianne worked on many multi-year programs and initiatives that directly supported the magazine industry and its creators, ranging from marketing campaigns and paid internships at magazines to national conferences and resources that highlight magazine media success. She is currently volunteering with the National Media Awards Foundation as a project consultant on a new mentorship program for Black, Indigenous and racialized publishing professionals.

Patti Edgar is a journalist and author. Her debut middle grade novel, Anna Analyst, was a Calgary Herald best seller. She has published in periodicals across Canada and in the anthology Waiting (University of Alberta Press). She worked as a multimedia editor at CBC and teaches in Mount Royal University’s journalism department.

Greg Fulmes is a freelance photographer and former picture editor who created images for clients such as the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Times, A&E Biography, The Sporting News, Maclean’s magazine, and more. Greg is currently a documentary portraiture instructor at SAIT in Calgary. In 2014 he created a program where he takes his students to countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, with future plans for Peru, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to create documentaries of the work of NGO’s. He is currently working on a book in Saskatchewan. As well he and his wife, Nicole Dunsdon have just begun a multi-faceted project on humanity with a focus on gender and sexuality.

Aliya Ghare is a Toronto-based artist who majored in Illustration at Ontario College of Art and Design University. She enjoys creating visually rich and poetic imagery that explores social and political issues and human interest subjects. Her illustrative work ranges from children’s picture books to editorial, advertising, surface design and more. She has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators New York, American Illustration, Adobe, the National Magazine Awards, Applied Arts, and 3×3 Magazine.

Ryan Girard has spent over 20 years in the visual arts profession, starting in graphic design but added photography early in his career. He worked as an art director and in-house photographer in the publishing industry for 7 years, and currently is the in-house senior designer and photography lead for a major internationally reaching Alberta-based company. He also does freelance work and practices landscape photography.

Charlotte Gray is the author of eleven non-fiction bestselling books. She also writes regularly for The Globe and Mail and the Wall Street Journal, and for magazines, including Canada’s History, Walrus, and Literary Review of Canada.

Gord is Nłeʔkepmx, a member of the Lytton First Nation, and has earned an MA in English Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Windsor (2020). His first novel, Home Waltz, is now available. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Prairie Fire and FreeFall.

Angela Gzowski is an award-winning northern photographer. Born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Angela earned a BFA in Photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Equally at home doing portraits in her Yellowknife studio as she is bouncing in the back of a snowmobile at -40 in Canada’s Far North, her photojournalism has taken her all across the NWT, Nunavut and Yukon. Her stunning landscapes and evocative people photos have appeared in Canadian Geographic, Readers Digest, Maclean’s, VICE, Maisonneuve, Up Here, MoneySense, Photolife, and The Coast. An accomplished commercial photographer with clients that include Netflix, Parks Canada, Telus, Health Canada, CBC, Verge Communications, Superior Industries, Futurpreneur Canada, and the Government of the Northwest Territories. She’s also photographed well-known figures such as David Suzuki and Justin Trudeau.

Dave Harrison worked in publishing for more than 40 years before he retired in December 2017. He had most recently worked as a magazine editor with Annex Business Media with a pair of national farm publications after previously working in the newspaper field in southwestern Ontario.

Richard Harrison, author of seven volumes, won a Governor-General’s Award for Poetry in 2017 for his book On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood. He is also a two-time winner of an AMPA prize for poetry. Richard’s work has been published worldwide and translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and Farsi. For 25 years, he taught English and Creative Writing at Mount Royal University.

Mikka Jacobsen is a writer from Calgary. Her work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Puritan, Prairie Fire, subTerrain, Canadian Notes & Queries, The Missouri Review, and Lit Hub, among others. Her debut essay collection, Modern Fables, is forthcoming with Freehand Books in Fall 2022.

Arvin Joaquin is an award-winning journalist and editor. His work has appeared in Xtra Magazine, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and more. His work has been recognized by the National Magazine Awards, Digital Publishing Award, Canadian Association of Journalists, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and others.

Stephanie Joe is an Indigenous writer and journalist from Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Yukon. She has a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies from the University of Calgary and a Diploma in Journalism with Honours from SAIT. She’s written for Avenue Magazine, WestJet, Leap, Dementia Connections, Windspeaker and various news organizations. In 2020, Stephanie was awarded silver in Alberta Magazine Publishers Association’s Emerging Writer category for her story Full Circle featured in Avenue Magazine. She enjoys telling stories from within Indigenous communities and is an advocate for reconciliation.

Ellen Kartz has been the Communications and Partnerships Coordinator for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta for the past seven years. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, a BA in English from the U of C, and a professional writing certificate from Mount Royal University. Ellen worked with and for the Edmonton Poetry Festival for many years as a volunteer coordinator, event planner, founding member, and board member. In 2018, she self-produced a stage show and poetry chapbook, both titled The Tenderness of Stone about a trek she made through Nepal’s Khumbu Valley. In 2021, Ellen founded a small poetry chapbook press and launched a quartet of chapbooks by emerging queer Edmonton authors.

Michelle Kelly started her career in publishing in 1998, as the office manager at Cottage Life. Since then, she has held various positions in the editorial department at the magazine until she was named Editor in July 2015 and Vice President, Content, for Blue ant Media in September 2019. She’s sits on the Professional Advisory Committee for Centennial College in Toronto and is a board member for the International Regional Magazines Association. She is also the recipient of several Canadian National Magazine Awards, including Editor Grand Prix in 2021. Outside of work, Michelle volunteers for Ready Set Play, a non-profit group that helps provide youth access to organized sports. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Mitch Kern is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Design at the Alberta University of the Arts whose work has received numerous awards and been featured in 150+ exhibitions and publications in Canada, the U.S. and abroad.

Brad Mackay is an award-winning writer, journalist, and author of The Collected Doug Wright: Canada’s Master Cartoonist Vol. 1. Over the course of his 20-year career he has worked at the National Post and the CBC, and has written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Canada’s History, Toronto Life, among others. In 2004 he co-founded The Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning, for which he now serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors.

Domenic Macri has designed and art directed for Toronto Life, FASHION magazine, Flare, What’s Cooking and GUSTO!, and is best known as art director for The Globe and Mail’s much-lauded Report on Business (ROB) magazine. Over the past decade, Macri has led ROB through several redesigns and earned recognition from the Art Directors Club of Canada and the National Magazine Awards.

Tara McCarthy has worked in print, radio, and new media for over a decade. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where she works at CBC as the traffic, weather and community reporter on Edmonton AM. She’s also a juror for the Polaris Music Prize and the Western Canadian Music Awards. A former Yukoner, Tara was editor of the magazine Yukon, North of Ordinary for 7 years, and worked as a host and producer at CBC Yukon.

Natalie Meisner is a playwright, an award-winning multi-genre author and 5th Poet Laureate of Calgary.  Her work often deploys the power of comedy for social change.  BADDIE ONE SHOE (Frontenac) is a collection of odes to renegade women who fight the powers that be with laughter. LEGISLATING LOVE: THE EVERETT KLIPPERT STORY (University of Calgary Press) illuminates the life of a beloved Calgary bus driver and the last Canadian to be jailed for homosexuality. Her play BOOM BABY won both the Canadian National & the Alberta Playwriting Award. SPEED DATING FOR SPERM DONORS (Playwright’s Canada Press) was a hit at Lunchbox & Neptune. Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family (Fernwood) topped non-fiction lists and her first book for kids My Mommy, My Mama My Brother & Me (Nimbus) is about a two-mom biracial family finding community.  Meisner is a wife and mom to two great boys and a Professor in the Department of English at Mount Royal University where she works in the areas of creative writing, drama and gender/ sexuality studies.   www.nataliemeisner.com

Alanna Mitchell is an award-winning journalist, author and playwright based in Toronto. She turned her book Sea Sick into a one-person play, with the help of theatre artists, and has performed it all around the world.

Liam Mogan is an editorial/advertising photographer and director based out of Toronto, ON. At the age of 24, Liam opened his first studio in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood. Here he focused on establishing his editorial career. After spending nearly a decade as an independent photographer, Liam decided to join the venerable Westside Studio in 2015.

For the past 15 years, he has been photographing features for magazines such as Chatelaine, Cottage Life, Reader’s Digest, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, MacLean’s, New York Times, EnRoute, Canadian Business, Owl, and Country Living.

Over his career, Liam has won numerous awards including Gold in the National Magazine Awards, Irma, SND, and SPD. He has also been featured multiple times in Applied Arts, Communication Arts Magazine, and D&AD.

John Montgomery is an experienced art director + graphic designer. Currently art director for Reader’s Digest Canada and Sélection, he’s previously worked on Canadian Business, MoneySense, Toronto Life, Financial Post Magazine and Taddle Creek magazines, as well as worked with Nelson Education, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, and the Ontario Association of Architects. John has been nominated for several National Magazine Awards—including winning silver for cover of the year—and has won two Canadian Cover awards. John has been a judge for the National Magazine Awards numerous times, and was an editorial category judge for the Society of Illustrators’ 62nd annual. He is a PAC member for Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Illustration program.

Although he studied printmaking at art school, and was then a bookseller out of college, Brian Morgan has worked as a graphic designer and an art director for the past 26 years, 20 of these in editorial design. He has worked for (or on) Maclean’s, Saturday Night, C, Dose, Literary Review of Canada, enRoute, and The Walrus. At the last he was the art director for nine years. He also sat on the executive committee of the National Magazine Awards. Brian lives and works in Montreal and co-art directs Maisonneuve and Precedent with the Toronto photo editor, curator, and producer Rachel Wine.

Robert Newman  is the creative director for This Old House Ventures. He was previously the creative director for Real Simple and Reader’s Digest, and was the design director for Entertainment Weekly, Cottage Living, New York, Details, Vibe, Fortune, and the Village Voice and has consulted for AARP, AAA, TV Guide, and more. He lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City.

Colleen Nicholson is a Toronto-based book and magazine art director with an alarmingly ambitious coffee habit and a penchant for pithy bios.

Jen Osborne is a Canadian photographer whose work has been published and exhibited internationally. Her career started in 2007 with a yearlong work contract at Fabrica’s COLORS Magazine. She now frequently works with Maclean’s Magazine and has graced the pages of Stern, Vice, The Sunday Times, GQ, Mother Jones, Esquire, Vanity Fair Italy and IoDonna to name a few. She has an extensive exhibition record in addition to publishing editorial work and has shown at various venues including: Visa pour l’Image 2016, Aperture Gallery, The Museum de l’Elysée, the Denver Biennial, The Old Church, Arles 2010 and Studio La Citta.

Janice Paskey is an associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University and serves as a board member with the Institute for Investigative Journalism. She enjoys working in partnership with her students to produce their best work. Her academic articles have been published in the Journal of Environmental Law & Practice and the Canadian Journal of Communication. She is the past editor of Avenue magazine (Calgary) and the McGill News alumni magazine (Montreal).

Don Patterson is an award-winning editor and journalist. Fuelled by coffee, Don is currently a Digital Editor at The Canadian Press in Toronto. He spent 14 years in the news industry in southern Alberta, in various editorial positions, among them as Editor at The Okotoks Western Wheel where he led the paper to 23 provincial and national awards. Don holds a Journalism Arts Diploma from SAIT, a bachelor of Political Science from the U of C and he recently completed an MBA at Ryerson University.

Jessica Patterson is an editor and journalist, with 14 years of experience, who has written for more than 50 Canadian and international magazines, newspapers and online media. She has worked on misinformation projects for three years. Previously, she covered the international magazine media industry from 30,000 feet for FIPP and regularly shared insight and best practices from the biggest magazine companies in the world. A graduate of the University of King’s College journalism program and Carleton’s Master of Journalism program, Jessica is a strategy wonk, a photographer, and likes to have her fingers on the pulse of change and innovation in the industry.

Thomas Porostocky the principal at The TOM Agency, a creative agency with a focus on information-rich design and visual storytelling. Previously the art director of I.D. and Seed, his current clients include Wired, Google and National Geographic.

Anicka Quin is the Editorial Director of Western Living and Vancouver magazines. Under her leadership, Western Living has become a regional brand with a national reputation, winning Best Home Design and Décor magazine in Canada in 2017 at the Canadian Magazine Awards and Magazine of the Year at the Editor’s Choice Awards in 2019; Vancouver magazine has also thrived under her tenure, winning Magazine of the Year at the Canadian Editors’ Choice Awards in 2018 and best e-newsletter in 2019. Before joining Western Living and Vanmag, Anicka worked with Alternatives Journal and the alt-weekly id Magazine. She’s also decidedly become a pandemic cliché, and has spent the last year working on a YA novel, which she hopes to finish any day now.

Christina Reynolds is a freelance journalist based in Calgary, in Treaty 7 territory. She’s been the executive editor of ELLE Canada and the editor-in-chief of city magazine CalgaryInc. She has also worked at the Calgary Herald, ROBTV and CTV.

Carlo Ricci is a commercial photographer and director. He specializes in editorial portraiture, motion and advertising. Clients include American Express, Mazda, Johnson & Johnson, Slack, Emirates, Canadian Tourism, Conde Nast, and Mastercard.

Amy Sawchenko is a communications specialist, freelance editor and landscape photographer. Her time as Associate editor of Apple Magazine sparked a love for good storytelling, design and all things creative. She now creates compelling and beautiful content, design, websites and branding. She’s an adventurer with a passion for the outdoors—and when it’s not COVID-19 —documenting her travels through photography.

Graham F. Scott is a Senior Content Designer at Shopify and a former editor at Maclean’sCanadian BusinessPrecedent, and This Magazine.

Colleen Seto, long-time writer and editor, pounds out prose for regional and national publications such as Today’s Parent and The Globe and Mail. She’s currently a branded content editor for SJC Media, publisher of Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Canadian Business and more. She’s the former executive director of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, and is the current president for the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation.

Sam Shelstad is the author of the story collection Cop House (Nightwood Editions). His debut novel, Citizens of Light, will be published in October (Brindle & Glass). He lives in Toronto.

Kim Shiffman is the Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Parent (print and digital) where she’s held progressively senior roles since joining the team in 2015. Prior to Today’s Parent, Shiffman worked on custom content for Rogers Media and online travel-deal publisher Travelzoo, and held senior editorial roles at Profit, the magazine for entrepreneurs, Allergic Living, and Chatelaine. Shiffman once co-owned and edited City Dog, a free quarterly publication for urban dog owners. Shiffman’s byline has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including The Globe & Mail, MoneySense, Canadian Business and Flare. Shiffman is married with two sons, and lives in Toronto.

Stephen Smith is a writer in Toronto, a sometime contributor to The New York TimesCanadian GeographicMcSweeney’s, and Geist. He’s author of the book Puckstruck: Distracted, Delighted and Distressed by Canada’s Hockey Obsession (2014), and steers a blog at puckstruck.com that keeps an eye on hockey history and culture.

Titilope Sonuga is a poet and performer whose work grasps for moments of tenderness and persistent joy at the intersection of blackness and womanhood. She is the author of three award-winning collections of poetry, Down to Earth (2011), Abscess (2014), and This Is How We Disappear (2019) and has composed and released two spoken word albums, Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). Titilope has written three plays, The Six; an intergenerational exploration of womanhood, Naked; a one-woman play and Ada The Country, a musical. She has scripted advertising campaigns for global brands and was an actor on the hit television series Gidi Up, which aired across Africa. Her writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovak. She is the 9th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton.

David Swick teaches writing at the University of King’s College. His journalism includes CBC Radio Ideas programs, dozens of magazine articles and one nonfiction book. In 2016 he co-edited an anthology, The Funniest Pages — International Perspectives on Humor in Journalism.

Janice Van Eck, R.G.D., is a freelance designer specializing in magazine and book design. She is passionate about typography, dynamic photography and visualizing data. Her clients, who range from large corporations to young entrepreneurs, are based in Canada, the United States and the UK. They include Faith Today, OVMA, Westminster Seminary and the University of Guelph.

Leslie Vermeer is a professor of communication studies at MacEwan University in Edmonton and has been writing and editing professionally for 30 years. Alberta’s political economy and Alberta’s publishing history are two of her academic interests.

Chandra Vermeulen is a Calgary-based Graphic / Communication Designer and Sessional Instructor at the Alberta University of the Arts. Chandra’s work has been recognized by Communication Arts, Coupe Magazine and The Mohawk Show.

Lisa Whittington-Hill is the publisher of This Magazine. She also works as a circulation, marketing and fundraising consultant for small magazines and is an instructor in the magazine publishing program at Centennial College in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in The Walrus, Hazlitt and Longreads. She is currently writing a book for Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series on Beauty and the Beat by The Go-Go’s. Girls, Interrupted, her collection of essays on how pop culture is failing women, will be published by Vehicule Press in 2023.

Cait Wills is a strategic communications professional with more than a decade of experience in engaging readers through evocative and entertaining campaigns. Her editorial background has focused on roles in business, agriculture and consumer publications over the last decade and a half.

Achievement Award Judges

* coming soon

Out of Province Judges

* coming soon