Strategic panel

Rob Assimakopoulos
SVP marketing and commercial assets, Canadian Football League, Toronto

Rob is responsible for defining brand positioning, creating and executing new marketing initiatives, as well as driving sustained growth across the League’s licensing business partnerships sales and broadcast/digital media assets. Before he joined the CFL as VP marketing in 2007, he worked at Ford Canada as a financial analyst, led marketing strategy and innovation for the global fabric care business at P&G Canada and spearheaded the Canadian brand relaunch at Molson as VP marketing innovation in 2004.

Sloan Dinning
Former director, brand and marketing communications, Vancity, Vancouver

Sloan spent the first 12 years of his career at some of Canada’s leading advertising agencies in both above and below the line communication disciplines, working on brands across the country in a variety of industries. In 2004, Sloan joined Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union, where he oversaw brand management and marketing communications. He left Vancity in September to relocate to Sydney, Australia.

Genevieve Dion
Director, communications and public affairs, Bombardier Transportation North America, Saint-Bruno, Que.

Genevieve joined Bombardier Transportation in 2006, where she developed a communication campaign about the environmental benefits of trains and Bombardier rail solutions, theclimateisrightfortrains.com. Genevieve has close to 20 years of experience in corporate communications, public relations, public affairs and marketing communications, and has worked for Louis Garneau Sports, Saputo and Bombardier’s recreational product sector (BRP).

Tony Matta
VP marketing, Frito-Lay Canada,
Mississauga, Ont.

During his 11 years in marketing at both Frito-Lay Canada and previously at Procter & Gamble, Tony has managed some of Canada's most prominent consumer brands, including Doritos, Tostitos, Fritos, Tide, Downy and Cascade. Tony has held several marketing leadership positions in the consumer packaged goods industry, both in Canada and abroad, most recently returning from the U.K. where he led the Walkers business for PepsiCo International.

John Owens
Head of marketing, ING Direct USA, Wilmington, DE.

John joined ING Direct in 2001, and has held various marketing and sales positions before entering his current role as head of marketing two years ago. His prior work experience included a stint in sales with Coca-Cola’s Fountain division, and marketing roles with Johnson & Johnson, Mattel, and Vlasic Foods International where he worked on brands such as Pepcid AC, Motrin, Matchbox Toys and Vlasic Pickles. He and his wife live in Villanova, PA with their three children.

Catherine Riggins
Director, marketing communications, sponsorships and brand, Canada Post, Ottawa

Since joining Canada Post seven years ago, Catherine has grown her team profile from managing advertising and promotions to include responsibility for brand development and strategy, marketing PR and sponsorship leveraging. Currently she is focused on delivering both business results and employee engagement via the corporation’s Olympic sponsorship. Her background includes several years with Corel Corporation, and time as an account director at TK, a small Ottawa advertising agency.

Creative panel

Patrick Doyle
Creative director, Trigger, Calgary

Patrick headed west to join Trigger in Calgary in 2005. Prior to that he spent 16 years in Toronto, working as a freelance writer and on staff at Leo Burnett, Chiat/Day, Taxi and Cossette. Some of the well-known brands Patrick has worked on include Bell, Powerade, Hallmark, Trimark and VISA. His work has received recognition at Cannes, D&AD, the One Show and from his mom.

Donna McCarthy
Creative director, Dory Advertising, St. John’s

After having worked at Taxi, FCB, Y&R and other Toronto agencies, Donna launched Dory Advertising in St. John’s in 2002, and the Halifax office of Dory in 2007. Donna has been named top female copywriter in Canada four times, and has also ranked as one of Canada’s Top Creative Directors. She has won hundreds of awards including One Show Pencils, Cannes Lions and Marketing Golds. She has been a judge at Cannes, New York Festival, The Clios, London International and Marketing.

Zak Mroueh
Founder/president, Zulu Alpha Kilo, Toronto

It all started with a short lived three-week career in the mailroom. From there, Zak went on to become an award-winning writer at SMW, Chiat/Day, McCann UK, BBDO, followed by a successful nine-year stretch as a partner and Chief Creative honcho at Taxi. Over the past decade, he has been ranked by Creativity magazine as one of the top ten CDs worldwide, helped lead the way to a record four consecutive strategy Agency of the Year titles and been named Creative Director of the Year three times. In July 2008, he officially opened the doors to his own agency.

Gaëtan Namouric
Creative VP, Bleublancrouge, Montreal

Gaëtan has been CVP at Bleublancrouge since 2004, where he also worked as a copywriter till 2005. Previously he was copywriter at Taxi Montreal, web strategist at Himalaya, and copywriter and media planner at Eurasset France. His clients have included Burger King, Wal-Mart, Pfizer, SAQ, Toyota and the Quebec government. He has been recognized with awards from Communication Arts, Applied Arts, Marketing Awards, PCM, Cannes, the One Show and a Gold Cassie for Viagra. He has served on awards juries including Créa, Marketing, Canada Cam, PCM and now strategy’s Agency of the Year.

Sunil Sehkar
VP managing director, DraftFCB, Toronto

At DraftFCB for almost 10 years now, Sunil runs a number of businesses including TD Bank Financial Group and Canada Post. A chance summer employment opportunity at a mid-sized boutique agency was the beginning of Sunil’s love and passion for advertising. After a couple of stints at TK and TK multinational agencies in Canada, he lived and worked in Vietnam, selling Coca Cola (at an agency, not a roadside stall) to the locals just as the U.S. trade embargo was being lifted.

Martin Shewchuk
EVP/ECD, JWT, Toronto

As an art director, copywriter, creative director and commercial director, Martin has won at every Canadian and international show, and his work has appeared in both Shots and Archive. His work as a creative director has been recognized at CA and The One Show and he has won multiple Lions at Cannes – including the first gold film Lion won by a Canadian-born director. As ECD at both JWT (for the past TK years) and Leo Burnett, he led those agencies into the Strategy Agency of the Year top five 4.5 times.