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.

Jordan Abel is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). Abel’s latest project NISHGA (forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in 2021) is a deeply personal and autobiographical book that attempts to address the complications of contemporary Indigenous existence and the often invisible intergenerational impact of residential schools. Abel recently completed a PhD at Simon Fraser University, and is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.

Trevor  J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing. He leads the editorial team for several publications, including East Coast Living and Halifax Magazine. In 2014, he 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.

Peter Bishop has over 20 years of experience in Digital Marketing and Strategy. He works to discover and optimize the numbers that truly matter to his clients. His job is to essentially grease the wheel from touch-point to touch-point along the customer path to purchase. Peter is currently a Partner and Director of Conversion at ZGM (Alberta’s largest independent marketing agency), Past President and board member of Digital Alberta, co-founder of eCommerce Canada, and has his hands in multiple start-ups and products. He consults with the local universities on their digital curriculum, mentors students and is a regular judge and speaker with various organizations including Applied Arts, Adobe, Social West and the Digital Marketing Association.

Kate Black‘s essays have been published in The Globe and Mail, The Puritan, Eighteen Bridges, and Maisonneuve. She won the 2020 National Magazine Award for Best New Writer and was selected as one of Canada’s top emerging voices in non-fiction by the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize.

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.

Penny Caldwell is an experienced magazine writer, editor, and industry consultant. Under her leadership as editor and publisher of Cottage Life from 2000 to 2017, the magazine won hundreds of national and international magazine awards. She is currently manager of Magazines Canada’s National Paid Internship Program and coordinates and hosts the association’s popular monthly webinar series. Penny is a past president of the International Regional Magazine Association, a former director of Canada’s National Magazine Awards Foundation, and has taught in Ryerson University’s Magazine and Web Publishing program in Toronto. In 2016, she received the NMAF’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Phillip Chin is a Canadian editorial and corporate photographer who specializes in photographing people. His passion is shooting wetplate collodion photographs with his 100-year-old 8×10 wooden view camera.

Tierra Connor is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in Edmonton, Alberta. With a passion for mid-century design, vintage ephemera, classic movies and retro kitsch — she combines nostalgic and vibrant colour palettes with rich textures and grains. After years of local agency work, she began her own creative studio focused on illustration and has worked for a diverse range of clients worldwide.

Patti Edgar is a journalist and author. Her debut novel, Anna Analyst, is aimed at middle grade readers. 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.

Max Fawcett is the editor-in-chief of Vancouver Magazine, the former editor of Alberta Oil and an award-winning freelance writer. He still loves Alberta.

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.

Anne Georg is a writer and photographer based in Calgary. She is an avid fan of good writing and a good story.

A native of Saskatchewan, Paul Gessell is a semi-retired journalist who has worked for various news organizations, including Maclean’s, The Canadian Press and The Ottawa Citizen, in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario in a career mainly focused on politics and later visual art. A winner of two National Newspaper Awards, Gessell remains a regular contributor to Galleries West online art magazine. He lives in Chelsea, Que., in a rural area along the Gatineau River.

Charlotte Gray is the author of eleven non-fiction bestselling books. She also writes regularly for The Globe and Mail, 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.

Chris Hampton is a writer based in Hamilton, whose work focuses on arts and culture. His writing has explored unsolved art heists, green museums and the magical world of scale modelling and has been published by outlets including The New York Times, The Walrus, Canadian Art, The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

Liz Harmer is the author of the novel The Amateurs, which was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award in 2019. She is also the winner of a gold National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism. Her fiction was recently anthologized in Best Canadian Stories and shortlisted for the Journey Prize, and her stories, essays, and reviews have been published widely.

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.

Calgarian 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 or is forthcoming in subTerrain, The Fiddlehead, The Puritan, Prairie Fire, Canadian Notes & Queries, and the Missouri Review, among others. She has a PhD in English from the University of Calgary.

Arvin Joaquin is an award-winning journalist and editor based in Vancouver, B.C. He is currently a videojournalist with OMNI News: Filipino. He previously worked as an associate editor at Xtra Magazine, where he wrote the magazine’s Digital Publishing Award-winning newsletter. In 2020, he was named as a finalist for Best Emerging Writer at the National Magazine Awards. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Global News, CTV News, TVO, CBC and others.

Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. She is the Managing Editor for Room Magazine and a co-organizer of the Indigenous Brilliance reading series. Her short story “Bad Cree” won the 2020 Writers’ Trust Journey Prize and her novel of the same name will be released in January 2023 with HarperCollins.

Michelle Kelly started her career in publishing in 1998, as the receptionist 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, Cottage Life in September 2019. She sits on the Professional Advisory Committee for Centennial College in Toronto, and is also the recipient of several Canadian National Magazine Awards and Editors’ Choice Awards from the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. Outside of work, Michelle sits on the board of Ready, Set, Play, a non-profit group that helps provide Toronto youth access to organized sports. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two young children.

Mitch Kern is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication Design at the Alberta University of the Arts. He’s received numerous grants and awards for his commercial, editorial and fine art photography and been featured in 150+ international publications and exhibitions in Canada, the U.S. and abroad.

Robert Lemermeyer has viewed the world through his camera lens and his heart for more than 25 years, recording everything from prisons to palaces in words and pictures, light and colour, pixels and ink. As an applied artist, he collaborates frequently with creative-class businesses to create narratives and brands that resonate with audiences and customers. He shares knowledge passionately, tackles problem-solving with intensity and climbs mountains to recharge.

Erica Lenti is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She is currently the senior editor, politics and identities at Xtra, a Canadian digital magazine covering LGBTQ2S+ politics, health and culture. She was previously the editor of This Magazine and deputy editor of Torontoist. Her work has appeared in The WalrusToronto LifeHazlittThe Globe and Mail and elsewhere.

Naomi K. Lewis is a fiction and non-fiction writer and editor based in Calgary. She was formerly an associate editor at Alberta Views magazine, and her journalism has been nominated for provincial and national magazine awards. She has served as writer in residence at the Calgary Public Library and the University of New Brunswick. She is the author or co-author of several books, and co-edited the anthology Shy, with Rona Altrows. Her 2019 memoir, Tiny Lights For Travellers (University of Alberta Press), won the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction, the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize, the Pinsky Givon Family Prize for Non-Fiction, and the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature (non-fiction).

Cornelia Li is a Chinese born illustrator currently based in Toronto, Canada. She is intrigued by narrative in the daily interaction between people and their surroundings, where she sets out to capture the relationship by visualizing the ideas and emotions into elements in her images. Her work has been recognized by Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, The AOI, 3×3 Illustration, National Magazine Award, and more.

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 served as the Executive Director for 15 years. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, three kids, two cats, and an unreasonable number of books and comics.

Aaron McKenzie Fraser is an editorial & commercial photographer, based in Halifax He specializes in location based environmental portraits with a solid and diverse portfolio of national and international magazine and advertising clients including The Guardian, Reader’s Digest, Nike Bauer, Bloomberg Business, American Craft, and mindful. Aaron’s other interests include gardening, lamps and light fixtures, DJ’ing Country & Western music, ocean waves and beach trash. Find his photo work here:

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 and host of the weekly news podcast, The Loop. 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.

Neal McLennan is the Food & Travel Editor at Western Living Magazine and the Food Editor at Vancouver Magazine. He’s also a frequent contributor to such outlets as Travel + Leisure, EnRoute, Cooking Light, the Globe & Mail and Seattle Magazine writing on topics ranging from first growth Bordeaux to the glass ceilings at corporate law firms.

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.

Evan Osenton is the editor of Alberta Views magazine.

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).

Allison Percival (BA, BEd) is the Assistant Publisher of Calgary’s Child Magazine, Alberta’s only parenting-focused publication. With 15 years of experience in the industry, she is passionate about providing and growing opportunities for grassroots journalism, supporting community-focused editorial and sharing her enthusiasm for authentic, local storytelling in Canadian media.

Mary Pinkoski, 5th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton (2013-2015), is an internationally-recognized poet, arts and museum educator, and doctoral student at the University of Alberta. In 2019, she was Edmonton Public Library Regional Writer in Residence. Mary’s poetry has appeared in multiple anthologies. She was the 2011 Canadian National Spoken Word Champion and the national winner of the 2008 CBC National Poetry Face-off. In 2015, Mary was recognized as an Edmonton Top 40 Under 40 and was awarded a University of Alberta Alumni Horizon Award for her poetry work in the Edmonton community, in particular for facilitating poetry workshops and her creation of the City of Edmonton’s Youth Poet Laureate role. Mary continues to perform across the country and to provide dynamic and engaging workshops for writers of all ages and experiences. Her debut collection of poetry will be published in 2021 with Write Bloody North.

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.

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.

Harley Rustad is a features editor at The Walrus magazine and a faculty editor at the Banff Centre’s Mountain and Wilderness Writing residency. He is the author of Big Lonely Doug: the story of one of Canada’s last great trees and a forthcoming true crime book set in India.

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.

Zander Sherman is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. His feature stories have appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, The Believer and others. In 2018, he won a Canadian Screen Award for his work on a CBC Fifth Estate documentary. In 2019, he hosted a #1 CBC podcast, and won a gold National Magazine Award for his memoir in The Globe & Mail’s Report on Business Magazine. He lives in Muskoka, Ontario, where he is from.

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 that keeps an eye on hockey history and culture.

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.

Kat Tancock is co-founder of custom content agency Tavanberg, whose clients include RBC Ventures, The Beer Store, United Way and M&M Food Market. Previously an instructor of web editorial at Ryerson University and an editor at Canadian Living, Best Health, Reader’s Digest and Food & Drink, she has written on travel, health, food and business for publications including the Globe and Mail, the San Francisco Chronicle, Western Living and Canadian Business.

Martin Tessler is an award-winning Vancouver-based photographer whose clients include Azure magazine, Canadian House and Home, New York Times, Chanel, Bing Thom Architects, Tom Ford and Urban Barn among others.

Emily Urquhart is a journalist with a doctorate in folklore. Her work has appeared in Eighteen Bridges, Longreads, The New Quarterly, The Toronto Star and The Walrus. Her most recent book is The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, my Father and Me.

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, Canada’s leading progressive magazine of politics, ideas and culture. She also works as a circulation and marketing consultant for small magazines and consults in the area of fundraising as part of Magazine Canada’s Travelling Consultants program. She serves on the board of the National Magazine Awards and teaches magazine publishing and marketing at Centennial College.

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.

Michael Wilson has worked in publishing for over 15 years. His work has been recognized by SPD and CRMA. He now runs an independent design studio focusing on branding, packaging, and editorial design.

Achievement Award Judges

* coming soon

Out of Province Judges

* coming soon