Meet Our Judges

Co-chairs

Sabrina Babooram
Head of Strategy
Media One Creative

Sabrina is a true hybrid, working both client and agency side as a business and strategy leader. 


On the client side, she has built and transformed marketing teams.


On the agency side, Sabrina has led strategic planning and client relationships for global brands across a wide variety of categories at Digital Cement and BBDO/Proximity.


Most recently the Head of Strategy at NFA, and Co-GM of the agency Citizen Relations, Sabrina enjoyed working on a variety of brands including Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Spin Master, SickKids, IKEA, PepsiCo Foods, and Procter & Gamble.

Valya Kruk
Chief Strategy Officer
Tank

As Chief Strategy Officer of TANK Worldwide, Valya developed the ultra-collaborative ThinkTANK planning process that has fueled exponential growth and success for clients and their brands. With over fifteen years of proven client partnerships across industries and continents, the finely honed process elevates Creative Intelligence and fosters agile, cross-functional alignment to build better businesses, brands, and teams. Today TANK is recognized as one of WPP’s fastest growing agencies, and Valya oversees planning teams across time zones.

 

Recognized for the accuracy of her insights, Valya has accumulated significant experience in all areas of communications and across categories. Her specialties include innovation and creativity in business, marketing strategy, consumer-centric planning, digital marketing and loyalty programs. An MBA in marketing and degrees in Psychology and Communications are the foundation of Valya’s unique perspective with which she has developed award-winning strategies client-side, agency-side, and as a consultant. Her philosophy has allowed her to work closely with clients’ C-Suite leadership to define the future of their companies beyond pure brand think. 

Jury

Ishma Alexander-Huet
VP Client Advice & Management, Head of Learning & Culture
Initiative

Ishma is a seasoned media veteran, bringing 18 years of experience to her position at Initiative. An expert in consumer culture and motivations, Ishma’s talent is buoyed by the awards she’s received, such as a Silver AToMiC award for Wendy’s and a Bronze Media Innovation Award for RBC. Ishma holds a Creative Advertising Certificate, with a focus in media, from Centennial College. Outside the office, she spends time with her family, and donates her time with a Steel Band Organization and local Autism Awareness Activities.

Wes Brown
Vice President, Brand Marketing
Loblaw Companies

Wes Brown began his career with Loblaw over ten years ago and has held progressively senior roles in a variety of brand, communication, and marketing functional areas. His current responsibilities include managing the integration of control and national brand content in all national, seasonal, strategic, and experiential customer programs.

Mangala Dsa
CMO
Aegis Brand

Mangala D’Sa is a senior marketing executive with over 15 years of experience that is a passionate leader with proven ability to deliver results and inspire people. Mangala combines strategic thinking, tech curiosity,  and bold creativity to build sustainable businesses that can transform brands in revenue, profit, and share. Mangala was  the Head of Marketing & Strategy at Quaker Foods – PepsiCo after a very successful career as VP Marketing at Post Foods. Mangala moved in to retail space doing some consulting work for Indigo Books and Music and Mangala is currently the Vice President of Marketing, Category & Digital Experience at Aegis Brands where she landed over a year ago after completing her MBA in Digital Transformation.

Sarah Henderson
CSO
BBDO Canada

Sarah is recognized as a strategic, creative and integrated thinker with over 25 years of experience building brands and engaging consumers in a range of roles: account management, client marketing, and strategic planning. She has worked across many categories, including beverage alcohol, financial services, automotive, telco, healthcare, CPG and retail, and at many award winning agencies including DDB, Ammirati Puris, john st., Grip Limited and now BBDO. Sarah believes that less is more, so that’s the end of this bio!

Peter Ignazi
Global Chief Creative Officer
Cossette

Peter is one of the most successful creative directors in Canada. Under his leadership, Cossette was named Canadian "Agency of the Year" by Strategy Magazine in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He brought the same honour to BBDO in 2011. In both cases, firsts for the agencies.  In 2018 and 2019 he was the number one creative director in Canada on the Strategy Magazine Creative Report Card.  As well, in 2018, he was #2 on MarComm’s “Magnificence List” of global advertising creatives.

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Peter has a B.Sc. in Chemistry from McMaster University as well as an MBA from McGill University. After failed attempts at being a research chemist and an account executive, Peter finally found that he could somehow earn a living as a copywriter. He has been gainfully employed as a copywriter and Creative Director in Toronto and New York for such agencies as TAXI, McCann, and Downtown Partners DDB.

In 2015, Peter brought his skills to Cossette where he runs a variety of blue chip accounts, including McDonald's, General Mills and SickKids. In 2018, Cossette was awarded Canada’s first and only Cannes Effectiveness Lion.

Active in the industry and his community, Peter is on the Strategic Committee of the Canadian Marketing Association as well as on the board of Heritage Toronto.

Michelle Lee
Freelance Strategist, Principal

Michelle is a seasoned marketing strategy leader. She has worked  in three global markets including New York, Sydney and Toronto at multinationals including Ogilvy & Saatchi and boutique/independent shops such as Rethink where she is a Group Strategy Director on the Scotiabank and Kraft businesses. Michelle brings a unique combination of brand & comms strategy, innovation, research, effectiveness and PR through time spent at ?WhatIf! Innovation, Naked and Edelman, among others.

Michael Letsche
VP Marketing, TD Wealth, Personal Saving and Investing
TD Wealth

Laura Rowan
Chief Strategy Officer
Anomaly Inc

Laura is Managing Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Anomaly Toronto and a eight-year Anomaly vet originally from the New York office. At Anomaly, Laura oversees strategic thinking to create effective solutions that impact both business and culture. Laura’s category experience is diverse, and she approaches business and brand problems with a total strategy mindset to ensure brands are benefiting from innovation, communication, and digital strategy. She enjoys a difficult challenge and restoring icons back to their rightful positions in culture. Her beliefs are simple: a problem well-stated is a problem half-solved; everything is media; and always do work you’re proud to tell your parents about. 

Laura’s most notable work is strategic leadership across award-winning work for the

Hershey Company, Panera and many years leading Budweiser Global business as well as several Super Bowl victories in the U.S. Laura’s strategic thinking on Jolly Rancher transformed a declining category and business with a modern marketing approach, resulting in a Gold Effie for effectiveness. Most recently, Laura was part of the team that launched Bud Light’s first feature length documentary Underplayed spotlighting the inequalities in the music industry for women. The film was selected by Tribeca Film Festival and premiered at Tiff. 

Before joining Anomaly, Laura was a Global Strategy Director at Grey working across an extensive P&G portfolio globally, which included making Febreze P&G’s fastest-growing billion-dollar brand. Her work has been recognized by Cannes, One Show, Effies, Jay Chiat, Emmys, and the Clios. 

Laura went to undergrad at Penn State and is a big college football fan. She holds a master’s degree in Communication from Boston University, with a focus on research and comms theory. She has also spent time studying and working in London. When she can, she instructs at Miami Ad School. Laura is a self-proclaimed Pennsylvania-bred New Yorker, with an Australian wife who is now enjoying motherhood with her 8- week old daughter Willa.

Jessica Savage
CEO
North Strategic Inc

With over 20 years of experience, Jessica specializes in corporate strategy, C- suite thought leadership, and crisis communications. She has acted as a trusted advisor for some of the most recognizable brands in North America, including Samsung (Canada and USA), Cadillac Fairview, and Metrolinx to help build (and rebuild) positive brand sentiment and trust with consumers and key stakeholders. Over the past few years Jessica has helped traditional Brands navigate and adapt activities through the emerging FinTech and Data Privacy space.

Heather Segal
Executive Strategy Director
Zulu Alpha Kilo

Heather has always been curious about what makes people do what they do and has been digging into consumer behaviour for almost 20 years as an account lead, qualitative market researcher and strategic planner for brands across North America. Heather’s strategic work has inspired business transformational communications that has been internationally recognized at creative and effectiveness awards, including the Effies and Cannes.

Trinh Tham
CMO
Harry Rosen

Trinh is the Chief Marketing Officer for Harry Rosen, Canada’s most iconic luxury menswear retailer, where she oversees marketing and e-Commerce for a portfolio of banners including Harry Rosen, Ermenegildo Zegna and The Outlet by Harry Rosen.  She is responsible for reinventing how Harry Rosen connects with clients and drives business growth through its brand strategies, integrated marketing, product marketing, insights & analytics, loyalty program, digital innovation, PR, store marketing and e-Commerce experience.

 

Throughout her career Trinh has led the growth of some of Canada’s most admired brand portfolios across variousindustriesPrior to joining Harry Rosen, she held various roles at Sobeys Inc. including Interim Senior Vice President of Marketingwhere she lelarge-scale business & digital transformation and the development of brand, loyalty, promo and partnership strategies for all banner and private label brands. As VP Integrated Marketing at Tim Hortons, she led the brand through Canada 150 with a special edition of Roll Up the Rimand the go-to-market of numerous product innovations including the latte categoryAs Head of Marketing for Entertainment Brands at Bell Media, she launched CraveTV, digital products and popular TV series and sporting events.  She served in senior marketing and merchandising roles at Loblaw Companies Limited where she launched PC Black Labelrepositioned PC, PC Blue Menu & PC Organics, led multi-cultural marketing and managed a $2B P&L for Grocery & General Merchandise

 

Trinh contributes to the marketing community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Women & Sport.

Online

Nitin Bagga
COO and Chief Strategy Officer
Barrett and Welsh

An multi-award winning engineer of strategic excellence and planning boffin, Nitin has 15+ years of experience in marketing, advertising and strategy. A strategic doer. An explorer of consumer behaviour. A driver of change. As the Head of Strategy at BarrettandWelsh, he leads brand and communications strategy, campaign planning and analytics. Ranked as top 200 planners in Canada by Strategy Magazine. Jury Member for the 2020 Canadian Marketing Awards. Guest speaker at University of Toronto, and St. Lawrence College. A founding member of the Multicultural Marketing Alliance Canada; Board member at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Volunteer at POCAM (People of Colour in Advertising and Marketing). He earned his degree in engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and, after a stint absorbing the marketing ethos that enriches Cincinnati air, did his MBA at Rotman School of Management. Despite many years of strategy consulting, leading teams and consensus-building, Nitin hates to lose an argument – but routinely concedes defeat to his 14-year-old daughter.

Maura Cowan
Marketing Director
Kellogg Canada Inc

Maura Cowan is a marketing and communications leader with Canadian and US experience at Kellogg's, Unilever and SAB Miller, recognized for building and transforming businesses through impactful communications, creative digital marketing strategies, insight driven innovation and talent management. Maura has consistently delivered results on a range of business challenges; leading turnaround brands, growing brands in declining categories, nurturing start up brands and driving purpose driven brands to double digit growth.

Julian Franklin
President
Franklin Management Group

Julian Franklin is a Canadian Marketing Hall of Fame member, and business leader with 20+ years client and agency experience in consumer-packaged goods and sports industries. His expertise includes strategic planning, communications, and marketing. His career is distinguished by marketing leadership roles in Canada and the U.S. where he perennially achieved successful business results. Julian has worked for industry leading organizations Toronto Blue Jays, Weston Foods, and Kraft Heinz, where he was North American lead for Kraft Hockeyville. As Managing Director for Geometry Global, he was responsible for leading high-performance teams and creating retail marketing programs for Unilever, GSK, Tim Horton’s and Danone.
Currently he is President, Franklin Management Group Inc. (FMG), a strategic planning, sponsorship and activation consultancy for blue chip clients Danone, Clorox, Kids Help Phone, Kruger, Amazon, Lerners Law Group, and Dairy Farmers of Ontario. Julian’s corporate governance experience is extensive, currently sitting as President, University of Ottawa Alumni Council(Toronto Chapter), and Board of Director/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair - Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada. He is also a Founding Member of POCAM(People of Colour in Advertising & Marketing), an association that advocates the inclusion and advancement of Black, Indigenous, & People of Colour(BIPOC) within Marketing.

Taposhi Gandhi
MAC Brand Manager, Vice President Canada
MAC Cosmetics

Taposhi is a brand trailblazer who has enthusiastically lead M·A·C Cosmetics Canada, part of Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), for the past eight years. Ever since her career with M·A·C began in 2000, she has excelled at various roles within the company, from Sales Administration to Finance to Information Technology to Brand Management. This learning-and-growth journey—spanning over 20 years—has enabled her unique mix of experience to drive unparalleled brand performance through strategy development and operationalization.

When she’s not overseeing all things M·A·C, Taposhi can be found hitting the snowboarding trail or tennis courts with her family, that is, when she’s not finding balance on the yoga mat or through meditation.

Moxie Garrett
Senior Digital Strategist

With 20 years of experience, Moxie is a digital industry veteran who thrives at the helm of complex business problems that require multi-disciplinary solutions. She has led innovative agency teams and has a deep understanding of the strategies, technologies and organizational competencies required to ensure success. Her client relationships have spanned across numerous categories and include CIBC, MolsonCoors, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda, General Mills, Canadian Tire, Go RVing Canada, University of New Brunswick, and Plan International Canada. She has been an integral part of large-multinational agencies (SapientNitro, Juniper Park/TBWA) and Canadian indie shops (58Ninety, motumb2b). She was most recently VP, Head of Digital Experience at doug&partners and is now an independent consultant. She has a solid track record of strengthening and transforming businesses in the digital landscape and possesses a rare ability to both put together the big picture thinking and also roll up her sleeves to get things done.

Umar Ghumman
VP Strategy and Experience
Wunderman Thompson

Umar is an award-winning marketing strategist. He specializes in using digital first thinking to help organizations transform and grow. Umar has partnered with brands like Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, UNICEF, Adidas, Canada Post and TD helping with strategy, digital products and communications. He has spent 15 years working at startups, brands and specialized marketing agencies. He currently co-leads strategy at Wunderman Thompson Canada. He is actively part of the marketing community as a judge, mentor and lead Strategist for Miami Ad School. He holds an MBA in Marketing, a B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics and continuing education from University of Toronto.

Andrea Isbester
CSO
Publicis

As the CSO at Publicis, Andrea brings over twenty years of experience on both the agency and
client side of the business, dedicated entirely to strategic planning. Her passion is for the creative and ensuring the work, works.
She is the definition of collaborative, inspiring all to get to the heart of the business challenge,
masterfully facilitating planning sessions, writing impactful brand strategies and crafting briefs
designed to unleash the power of creativity. She draws from a breadth of client experience and
expertise including Visa, P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, Tim Hortons and more recently the national launch of SkipTheDishes in 2018.
Andrea holds a business degree from the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University and
is active on a number of boards including Parkinson Canada, Ontario Brain Institute and Loran
Scholars Foundation.

Sarah Ivey
CEO Founder
Agents of Necessity

Sarah Ivey is CEO and Founder of Agents of Necessity, a global communications strategy agency specializing in insight, communication planning and team training. Sarah leads the agency in developing strategic product, thought leadership, and business development, leading projects like multi-country B2B studies, revitalizing “good bones” brands, and leading global strategic training programs. Agents of Necessity unites Sarah’s two key passions: great insight work and mentoring the next generation of thinkers.

Having spent over twenty-five years on the agency side, Sarah was most recently Global Chief Strategy Officer for Initiative. Her strategic work spans nearly all categories, countless brands, 50+ countries, and many top advertisers. She’s been fortunate to work on some of the most transformative accounts, from Amazon, Unilever, HSBC, Johnson and Johnson, Hyundai Kia and Mars, to name a very few.

Sarah is an active columnist, writer, and awards judge, having been honored to judge Cannes Young Lions competitions, Festival of Media Global, the North American Effies, and most recently Canada’s Media Agency of the Year 2019.

Jennifer Justin
Director, Advertising
Canada Post Corporation

With extensive agency and client-side leadership across a range of categories, and a love for building iconic and challenger brands, Jennifer is recognized as a strategic, creative and innovative champion helping brands transform and engage audiences today and tomorrow.

Her curious and competitive nature has helped build emotional capital for a diverse range of brands such as Canada Post, Walmart, McDonald’s, Goodyear/Fountain Tire, HomeSense and Vincor.

She believes that the magical balance for marketing effectiveness with B2B and B2C audiences is best achieved when you maintain brand integrity and truth while removing the fluff; and sometimes that means tackling challenges and misperceptions head-on.

Anne-Marie Leclair
Partner, VP Innovation
lg2

Anne-Marie is a woman of few words, but many observations. From an early age, she was intrigued by the notion of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. As a teenager in Montreal, her insatiable curiosity and desire to explore new horizons led her to France to study fine arts and marketing. After graduating, she worked in marketing communications around the world, venturing as far as Australia, before returning home in 1997. In Montreal, she first worked at Cossette for eight years, then five years as National Vice-President of Strategy at Taxi Canada before joining the lg2 team in 2010.
Over the decades, two things have never changed in Anne-Marie’s life: her love of cognitive science and her desire to understand how behaviour shapes our view of the world. This lifelong pursuit, combined with her passion for brands and her business acumen, has made her the go-to professional in Canada for developing brand missions and brand image strategies. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to initiate innovation at lg2, where her work ethic and drive to do things differently have resulted in unique products, services and solutions with the potential to generate new growth vectors in highly competitive markets. Direct, efficient and inspiring, Anne-Marie is a sought-after strategic partner with clients and peers alike. Her strategic work has benefitted many organizations, including Reitmans Group, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, Ultima Foods, Agropur, Molson Coors, Le Massif de Charlevoix, Groupe Germain, Hydro-Québec, Telus, Bell, Yellow Pages, Tembec, Bombardier Inc., MINI,
Loto-Québec, Nintendo, Johnson & Johnson, Dermtek Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi, Prével, McKesson and many more. And Anne-Marie’s rapid product innovation continues to attract new clients with urgent business challenges.
Anne-Marie taught marketing communication for 10 years in the specialized graduate diploma program (DESS) at HEC Montréal and at the Université de Sherbrooke and served as an entrepreneur mentor at École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce. She serves on the board of directors of the Fondation de l’Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, on the communications committee of Centraide du Grand Montréal and has co-chaired a working group by the Ministère de l’économie innovation et exportation, the Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux and the Ministère des finances to promote the life sciences industry in Quebec and afar. Recently, she was invited to lead the Indice F committee at Inno-Centre, a major player
in Quebec’s economic development, to help women leading burgeoning SMEs gain access to the Québec Inc. ecosystem. She is also on the board of directors of Lab École and BMTC Inc.
Her accolades and her insight into consumer behaviour and the evolution of markets, brands and trends have also earned her spots as a national panelist, speaker and columnist for many media outlets.

Robert Newell
SVP Brand Strategy
PS&Co

Rob has worked across the board in the agency strategy world from his education and training as an account planner in London, then to media and comms planning at PHD and OMD, back to account planning at DDB and finally brand strategy at Karacters Design Group, Twice (a DDB brand consultancy) and now PS&Co. in Vancouver. Rob’s focus is on using a dialogue driven approach to solve big brand challenges for organisations with multiple stakeholders. The majority of his work with the Brand Design team at PS&CO. is guiding organisations and brands through the often daunting and difficult rebranding process.

Tara Powadiuk
Head of Marketing and Public Relations
VOLVO CARS OF CANADA LTD

Tara Powadiuk is the head of marketing and public relations for Volvo Cars in Canada. With over 20 years of international experience, Tara is skilled in her ability to develop impactful, meaningful marketing initiatives that build brand love and drive business results.

She is a relentless advocate of the Volvo Cars values and leads with the mission of inspiring Canadians to choose Volvo as a company that gives you the ‘Freedom to Move’ in a personal, sustainable, and safe way.  Prior to her time at Volvo, Tara spent 14 years at Microsoft, where she led many successful marketing initiatives; from Xbox and Surface, to Cloud Computing and Office365 across Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Canada.

Before joining Microsoft, Tara encouraged growing Asia Pacific companies to choose the United Kingdom as the ideal location to open a European headquarters.  Tara started her career developing insightful marketing campaigns for consumer brands like Walt Disney and Procter & Gamble while working at top agencies like Leo Burnett and MacLaren McCann.   When she isn’t working, Tara’s focus is her two kids, both of whom recently ‘assisted’ with a complete ‘to the studs’ home renovation.

Sarah Thompson
Chief Strategy Officer
Theo

Sarah Thompson is the CSO of Theo, an integrated agency to support Rogers. Her marketing background is in creative, technology and media across industries while working at Mindshare, Cossette, Corus and Wunderman Thompson (mirium). She is a advocate for local news,  and diversity and community media in Canada. She teaches from time to time at schools in Canada. In 2020, she was named the Media Leader of the Year by the CMDC. Above all, she prides herself on supporting talent entering the industry. 

Megan Towers
Chief Strategy Officer
john st.

Megan has honed her strategic skills on both the client and agency sides for over 25 years and has worked on almost every category you can think of. Having spent time at Leo Burnett and Labatt Brewing Company, she joined john st. 13 years ago to help build the Strategy team into one of the country’s best. Megan’s unique combination of passion, business savvy and creative thinking allow her to build brands and shepherd them in this accelerated age. She has two daughters, a husband and a dog, but still hasn’t lost her inner adrenaline junkie.

Deanna Wampler
Content and Social Media Specialist
Indigenous Tourism BC

Whether at the helm of strategic digital initiatives at Indigenous Tourism British Columbia (ITBC) or supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs in her 1:1 social media strategy consulting practice, Deanna brings her animated personality and cellular passion for the world of digital, and for building meaningful connections to everything she does. Deanna has a depth of experience in business operations and strategy, and a knack for making the world of social media accessible (and enjoyable!), Deanna supports clients to max­i­mize their business's online pres­ence and impact, helping them grow their brand awareness and dri­ve sales. Of mixed Haida and European heritage, she leads the charge in digital storytelling at ITBC about the province’s rich Indigenous past and present, creating a future of empowered Indigenous economies and informed tourists who feel more connected to the roots of the province as they experience it through travel.




Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.