Board of Directors 2015 | 2016
Douglas Knight (Chair) is president of St. Joseph Media, a publisher of a number of Canada’s leading magazines and web properties, including Toronto Life and Quill & Quire. A 30-year media veteran, he is the former publisher and CEO of both The Financial Post andToronto Sun. Douglas returned to Toronto from New York, where he served as founding chairman and CEO of ImpreMedia, LLC, the largest Spanish language newspaper company in the United States. He is chair of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation and served on the boards of public and private companies and numerous organizations in Canada and the United States.
Denise Chong is best known for her family memoir, The Concubine’s Children, a Globe and Mail best seller for 93 weeks. She followed that with The Girl in the Picture about the Vietnam War’s most famous casualty; Egg on Mao: A Story of Love, Hope and Defiance, which pivots on a young bus mechanic’s act of defiance, which branded him a counterrevolutionary, of throwing paint at the portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 democracy protests; and, in an exploration of the immigrant experience of looking in the rear view mirror while travelling toward an uncertain future, Lives of the Family, intimate stories of early Chinese who ended up in small town Canada. Recognized for writing books “that raise our social consciousness,” Denise was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013
Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, public speaker, emcee, and writer, and the President of Catherine Clark Communications Inc. She was recently named as one of Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Through her work in television and radio, Catherine has interviewed Canada’s most influential people to reveal the personal, human side of public life. She also hosted and co-produced The Residences, a television documentary series offering an unprecedented look behind the scenes at the homes of Canada’s leaders at Rideau Hall and 24 Sussex Drive. Catherine is the Giving Back columnist for Ottawa at Home Magazine, has written for the Toronto Star and The Ottawa Citizen, and been published in The Globe and Mail, Canadian Living and Magazine FORCES. Catherine is a member of the national board of CARE Canada and sits on the organizing committee of the Politics and the Pen Gala benefitting The Writers’ Trust.
Kari Cullen (Vice Chair) worked as the Special Advisor to the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Arts Centre. As the Producer and Executive Director of the NAC’s inaugural Atlantic Scene festival in 2003, Kari created a model for a festival that continues to be one of the most successful ever produced by the Centre. She has also Executive Produced the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala from 2004-present. Kari began her career with Andersen Consulting in France and Toronto before joining TVOntario as their in-house Strategic Planner. In 1996 she moved to London, England where she was a partner in the Emmy Award winning film and television production company Double Exposure. She holds an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business and a Journalism Degree from Carleton University. Kari lives in Montreal with her husband William Bonnell and their three children.
Gillian Deacon is an award-winning broadcaster and current host of Here and Now, Toronto's afternoon show covering arts, music, and news of the day on CBC Radio One. Her most recent book is the memoir, Naked Imperfection. She is also the author of the national bestsellers There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Everyday Bodycare and How to Avoid Them and Green For Life, and has been a columnist with Chatelaine magazine. On television, Gill was host of The Gill Deacon Show, @discovery.ca on Discovery Channel Canada and Discoveries This Week for Discovery Science Channel in the United States. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their three sons.
Janet Eger joined Indigo, Canada’s largest book retailer, in 2007 and is the Vice President of Public Affairs. Prior to joining Indigo, Janet spent six years at Holt Renfrew, where she oversaw Advertising and Public Relations, and five years at Canadian Pacific/Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, where she gained global communications experience while supporting 40 hotels in six countries. She has also worked in broadcast media. Born and raised in Calgary, Janet is an avid skier, traveller, and book lover, and since 2014 has served as a director on the board of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.
Allen Garson joined Dentons' Toronto office as a Partner in 2014 from another major Canadian firm. A graduate of Osgoode Hall, his practice is focused primarily on corporate finance transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, and public and private equity and debt financings. As a member of the Corporate Practice group, Allen has represented and worked closely with major companies in energy, biotechnology and life sciences, financial services and banking, as well as with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
Alex Graham (Vice Chair) has more than 28 years' experience in investment banking. He lived in London, England and New York, NY for most of those years and relocated to Canada in 2006. He currently heads Communications, Media & Technology Investment Banking for RBC Capital Markets in Toronto. Alex began his investment career with Salomon Brothers and subsequently held senior positions with Alex. Brown; Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; Citigroup; and Morgan Stanley. Prior to becoming an investment banker, Alex worked for the Rt. Hon. John N. Turner, former Prime Minister of Canada (1984-1985). Alex is a graduate of University of Toronto (BA) and Ivey, UWO (MBA). He lives in Toronto with his wife and 3 bookworm daughters.
Sharon Haward-Laird was Sharon was appointed Senior Vice President and Head, North American Treasury and Payment Solutions at BMO Financial Group in June 2016. Sharon is accountable for defining and executing the strategy for BMO Financial Group’s North American Treasury & Payment Solutions business, including Treasury Management and Corporate Cards. Sharon joined BMO Financial Group in 2000 and went on to serve in a number of roles within the Legal Group, including Vice-President, Deputy General Counsel, BMO Capital Markets & Assistant Corporate Secretary. In May 2012, Sharon was appointed Head of Investor Relations and in November 2014, she was appointed Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications, Government and Investor Relations. Prior to joining BMO, Sharon was a litigator with Torys LLP, an international law firm, and obtained her LLB from the University of Toronto.
Kate Hilton is the bestselling author of The Hole in the Middle, a comic novel. Before turning to fiction, Kate worked in law, higher education, public relations, fundraising and publishing. She is a seasoned major gift fundraiser, with a particular focus on capital campaigns. In addition, Kate has significant experience in public sector management, including strategic planning, crisis management and communications. Kate is a lawyer, and holds a J.D. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University. She lives in Toronto with her two sons.
Patrick Kennedy is a principal at The Earnscliffe Strategy Group. Patrick has over a decade of experience in and around federal politics and policy, having served as a policy analyst in the civil service, as Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and in government relations roles for the Canadian Bankers Association, and CIBC. Patrick obtained his B.A. (Hons) in Political Studies from Queen’s University, and his MSc in Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In Ottawa, Patrick sits on the Board of Directors of the Government Relations Institute of Canada, and is active in fundraising for the National Arts Centre as Vice-Chair of its Gala Committee, and for the Writers’ Trust’s annual Politics and the Pen gala dinner.
David Lehberg is the founder, President, and CEO of Knightstone Capital Management. Providing vision and leadership, he is integrally involved in all facets of Knightstone’s business including: commercial real estate acquisition, identifying and structuring opportunities, deal structuring, development of professional and strategic alliances, executive management, asset management, and investor relations. Under his watchful guidance, Knightstone has quickly emerged as a leader in the field of real estate development and investment and has gained a reputation for quality assets and consistent results. David is happily married with three children and remains committed to community service. In addition to sitting on the Writers’ Trust Board of Directors, he was the 2007/2008 Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Awareness at Canadian Blood Services, the 2009 Corporate Chair for Blood Donation for Toronto, and is the 2012/2014 'For All Canadians' public Cord Blood Bank Campaign’s National Co Chair at Canadian Blood Services.
Ana Lopes is a Toronto-based social innovator and entrepreneur who has led numerous not-for-profit transformations. She has worked for 25 years in senior positions in both the private and public sector and is current Director of the Tapscott Group – a privately held business strategy-consulting firm. The immediate past chair of the CAMH Foundation, Ana is also the former chair of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and a former director of many organizations including the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation and Women’s College Hospital Foundation. A leader and mentor in the Portuguese-Canadian community, Ana was awarded the country’s Order of Merit by the President of Portugal in 2014. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011.
Steve Maich is the Senior Vice President of Publishing at Rogers Communications. He was appointed as the editor of Canadian Business in July 2009 and was previously a business columnist at Maclean's magazine. In 2011 he was founding Editor and Publisher of Sportsnet, Canada's first magazine dedicated to long-form sports storytelling. In 2006 he co-authored the book The Ego Boom, with Lianne George. He obtained a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King's College in 1998. Prior to joining Maclean's, Maich worked for the National Post, Bloomberg News and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.
Brad Martin is the president and chief executive officer of Penguin Random House Canada. Before his current position, Brad served as President and CEO of Random House of Canada, where he led the company to record success and oversaw the organic growth of its Canadian publishing program. Brad began his publishing career in 1981 at McClelland & Stewart as a sales representative. He moved to Penguin Books Canada in 1984 where he held a variety of sales and marketing positions and was appointed President in 1996. Brad joined Bantam Doubleday Dell as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing in 1998. When the company merged with Random House of Canada, he oversaw the integration of the sales and marketing teams. He was named President and CEO of Random House of Canada in 2007. On July 1, 2013, the merger of Penguin and Random House was completed, and Brad was appointed President and CEO of Penguin Random House Canada. Brad is a Past President of the Canadian Publishers' Council and is a member of the board of Ludia, Inc., a Fremantle company based in Montreal. He was educated at McGill University and the University of Toronto.
Hratch Panossian (Treasurer) is currently Senior Vice President, Balance Sheet Strategy & Resource Management at CIBC. He holds a joint Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering at Stanford University, and a B.Eng from McGill University. Prior to joining CIBC he was in Strategy and Corporate Development at TD Bank Financial Group. His career started in management consulting with Oliver Wyman’s global Financial Services division, where he advised senior executives from leading Canadian, US, and international financial institutions on issues related to strategy, corporate finance, and risk management across retail and corporate banking, capital markets, asset management, and insurance businesses.
Neve Peric (Secretary) is a consultant to a handful of arts and cultural organizations on issues related to strategic planning, communications, and outreach. She has served as Board President of Ontario’s only independent playwright development centre, Pat the Dog, since 2011. From 2008 until 2012, she was Vice President of Operations at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, and was responsible for the restructuring of CIGI’s International Board of Governors and the building of its new research campus. Neve has also provided communications support to the Canadian International Council in Toronto and, before joining CIGI, worked as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator at an innovative not-for-profit technology firm delivering online software platforms and services to academic research communities. She is a graduate of the Nick Bollettieri Sports Academy in Florida and the University of Toronto.
Chris Sexton is a Senior Tax Partner in KPMG’s tax practice in Toronto. He joined KPMG in 1986 and has served in a number of leadership positions over his career, including Partner in Charge of the Toronto tax practice and the Partner in Charge of the Telecommunications, Media and Technology tax practice. Chris is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has over 25 years of experience providing tax advisory services to public and private corporate clients and to high net worth families. He is broadly experienced in Canadian taxation matters including income tax and estate planning, corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, tax efficient structures and financial restructuring. Chris has lectured and tutored on various corporate reorganization topics for the Canadian Professional Accountants of Canada.
Hal Wake has been engaged with the literary community in Canada for more than 30 years. He has conducted on-stage interviews with Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Rohinton Mistry, and Michael Chabon, amongst many others. In the mid 1980s he was the book producer for CBC Radio’s Morningside with Peter Gzowski. His last position at CBC Radio was as host of the Vancouver morning program, The Early Edition. He has hosted or moderated hundreds of literary events at Festivals in Vancouver, Victoria, Sechelt, New York, London (UK), Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney. His reviews have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Georgia Straight, and the Vancouver Sun. He is an honorary member of The Writers' Union of Canada and is currently the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Writers Fest.