Planning Committee

Steering Committee & Post-event Team


Gail Strachan Sharlyn Carrington Sara Goldvine Sarah Thomas Terry Flynn Devin Flynn Parm Chohan




Programming Team


Gail Strachan Ashika Theyyil Danica Erickson Lesley Gill Amber Daugherty Davina Ramnarine Talha Wasti Arefeh Ghane Keasha Green Nima Ranawana Alyssa Lai




Platform & Tools Team


Devin Flynn Tamara Vineberg Ellen Paulley Arefeh Ghane




Marketing & Recruitment Team


Sharlyn Carrington Tamara Vineberg Danica Erickson Lesley Gill Amber Daugherty Parm Chohan




Facilitators & Scribes


Sara Goldvine Ashika Theyyil Uma Viswanathan Danica Erickson Lesley Gill Amber Daugherty




Media Team


Sara Goldvine Danica Erickson Talha Wasti Arefeh Ghane Nima Ranawana Sabrina Lavi Nela Gojevic




Budget & Finance Team


Terry Flynn Kiki Cloutier





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Alyssa Lai

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Amber Daugherty

Arefeh Ghane

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Ashika Theyyil

Danica Erickson

Davina Ramnarine

Ellen Paulley

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Gail Strachan

Keasha Green

Lesley Gill

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Nela Gojevic

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Parm Chohan

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Nima Ranawana

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Sara Goldvine

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Sarah Thomas

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Sharlyn Carrington

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Tamara Vineberg

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Terry Flynn

Alyssa Lai 

Alyssa Lai is a cross-sectoral communications professional who's worked in nonprofit, public and private sectors to lead end-to-end communications strategy and planning. Working for a national insurance and financial services organization, Alyssa manages internal communications strategies for the organization's key strategic priorities. As a former Civic Action Diverse City Fellow, she strives to create and make space for new and underrepresented voices to exercise leadership. 

Since arriving to Canada in 2008, Alyssa has worked and volunteered for more than 15 non-profits. She continues to provide strategic counsel as a board member for YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford, Telling Tales and Good Shepherd Centres. Alyssa was awarded Top 40 Under Forty Business Achievement, YWCA Hamilton Woman of Distinction in Public Affairs and McMaster University's Hamilton Community Impact.

 

 

Amber Daugherty

Amber Daugherty is a communications specialist at the Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (C-QuIPS), a partnership between the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children (‘SickKids’) and Women’s College Hospital. She joined C-QuIPS in 2020 after six years providing strategic communications support to frontline staff, management and executives at Unity Health Toronto (St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital and Providence Healthcare). Daugherty studied journalism at Humber College and gained experience at the Globe and Mail and CTV News Channel before transitioning to communications. She received her Bachelor of Professional Arts in Communication Studies from Athabasca University.

Arefeh Ghane

Arefeh Ghane (pronounced Are-ruh-fuh Gain) is a vibrant and dynamic up and coming PR professional currently completing her bachelors in the Humber PR program and is also completing her internship at Edelman Canada in Toronto. With a passion for food, travel, and advocacy, Arefeh enjoys meeting new people, trying new things, and learning new skills. Arefeh is interested in pursuing specialties in crisis, risk and emerging technology.

 

Ashika Theyyil

Ashika Theyyil, MCM is a communications specialist. Her passion for thought leadership and digital innovation led to her research in Excellence in Digital Storytelling. She was a guest speaker at BledCom Public Relations Conference 2020. As a change-maker that values research and collaboration, she is proud to be part of Google's Equity and Inclusion research community and a volunteer mentor for the McMaster National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). 

 

At Rogers Communications, she was awarded Top 10 for Rogers Innovation day pitching a VR concept for SportsNet. Ashika holds a Master of Communications Management from McMaster University and a Media Production degree from the Ryerson RTA School of Media.

 

 

Danica Erickson

 

Danica Erickson is a relative newcomer to the field of communications, lending her experience in the not-for-profit, municipal government an post-secondary education to her current work as a communications generalist with the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta.

Danica has a BA from the University of Alberta Augustana Faculty, a Diploma in public Relations from MacEwan University and a Communications and Social Media Marketing citation from the University of Alberta.

 

Davina Ramnarine

 

Davina Ramnarine is a communications professional with more than a decade of PR agency and in-house experience across Canada, Australia and the UK. Davina has worked on corporate, consumer and employee communications strategies for global brands around the world, and has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in PR throughout her career. Davina holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and a Certificate in Public Relations from Ryerson University. 

 

Devin Flynn

Devin Flynn is a digital communications professional and Communications Assistant for the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management Program. He is a recent graduate of Mohawk College’s Post-Graduate Public Relations Program. Devin also received a diploma in broadcast journalism from Conestoga College and has years of experience in the telecommunications sector. He serves as co-chair of communications for CPRS’ Hamilton chapter. 

 

 

Ellen Paulley

 

Ellen Paulley is a strategic communications professional with a passion for social justice. Her nearly a decade of communications experience has included positions within the public, labour, non-profit, and education sectors. Ellen holds a Master of Arts in Professional Communications from Royal Roads University and a Graphic Communications Certificate (Hons.) from Red River College. A member of the Canadian Public Relations Society in Manitoba, Ellen recently launched Stratosphere Communications, through which she offers strategic communications for change-makers.

 

 

 

Gail Strachan

 

An experienced Executive member of Accenture’s T&O/Human Potential practice, Gail is a culture strategist designing workplaces around talent management and enterprise change. Gail has advised clients in the public and private sector around the workforce of the future, inclusion, equity and equality and behavioural change as it meets technology transformation.

 

Her combined work experience leverages her legal background in corporate law and marketing communications as well as community work in social justice. 

 

Gail has a Masters degree in Communications Management from McMaster University and holds various leadership roles in the communications space in Canada including co-chair of the Antiracism PR planning committee, and as co-Founder & committee chair of The Ubora Network.

 

Keasha Green

 

Keasha Green is an archaeologist who blends her specialization in heritage and the environment with her expertise in strategic communications. She is founder of Cultivate the Land, a blog that follows her experiences in corporate communications, community engagement and education to tell the story of how humans developed the Canadian landscapes we find today, as well as the impact of colonialist legacy on land and territory in present-day Canada. Through her consultancy firm, Elevate, Keasha advises organizations on ways to bridge the gap between heritage and environmental sustainability. Keasha’s adventurous career journey has been refined with over 15 years of experience in a variety of local, provincial, and national museums, art galleries, and government organizations.

Kiki Cloutier

Lesley Gill 

Lesley Gill is a public policy professional and communications expert with over a decade of progressive experience in leadership, communications and project management. She first entered the not-for-profit sector fundraising for national organizations before making the jump to healthcare and public affairs working in municipal government and for a political office. She has successfully developed and executed external and internal campaigns, advising senior executives on the best path forward. Currently, she works at the provincial level of government with the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Lesley holds a Master of Communication Management from McMaster and Syracuse Universities, a BA from McGill University and a post-grad Corporate Communications certificate from Sheridan College. She was recognized for her media relation efforts early on, having won the CPRS Hamilton Pinnacle Award for Merit for Student Project in Media Relations. 

 

 

Nela Gojevic 

 

Nela Gojevic is a multifaceted professional with valuable experience in communications strategy, partnerships, marketing and multi-media creative. As a consultant with the Government of Canada’s Free Agents, Nela has focused on planning and executing high-profile national marketing and advertising campaigns in the diversity, equity and inclusion space. She looks forward to lending her marketing expertise to the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the spring of 2021. 

 

Nela is a graduate of Ryerson University’s competitive School of Radio and Television Arts, where she successfully completed her Bachelor of Arts in Media Production. She is currently completing a certificate program in Business Innovation at the University of Toronto. In her spare time, Nela is an active singer-songwriter and performer in the Toronto area.  

 

 

Parm Chohan

Parm Chohan has over 15 years’ experience as a communications advisor and strategist. He is a graduate of the MCM program and a strong advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Parm is the owner of CQ.M Change Agents which specializes in practical leadership and growth training. Through CQ.M, he teaches entrepreneurs, business professionals and corporate teams how to better connect, influence and lead.

Parm is also a financial educator, teaching families how to be leaders in their personal financial journey, helping them build, grow and protect their wealth. He holds a Masters of Communications Management degree from McMaster University and a post-graduate certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.

 

 

Poornima Ranawana

 

Poornima (Nima) Ranawana is a public relations professional with a background in corporate and financial communications spanning agency, government and private sector. Over the past nine years, Nima has also held volunteer roles at organizations focused on diversity, inclusion and community-building. She holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from York University and a Corporate Communications graduate certificate from Seneca College.

Sara Goldvine

Sara Goldvine, MCM + APR, is Vice President Communications with BC Housing, where she is the executive lead for communications, marketing, community engagement, and public affairs. Sara is a founding member of the steering committee for the National Summit on Anti-Racism in Public Relations and Communications Management. She has a track record of effecting meaningful change in purpose-driven organizations in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, including through leadership roles with Coast Capital Savings, TVO, Toronto Community Housing, CAMH, and the B.C. Legislature.

 

In addition to her Master of Communications Management from McMaster University, 

Sara holds an Accredited in Public Relations (APR) designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society and a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science from the University of British Columbia (Honours). Outside of work, she serves on the Board of Governors for the Business Council of BC and the Board of Directors for the Cedar Cottage Food Network Society, along with volunteering for the CPRS Vancouver chapter. 

 

 

Sarah Thomas

Sarah is an influential Indigenous woman from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation who is paving the way for her people by connecting traditional teachings with the tools gained from her educational journey to advance priorities for the betterment of the future generations. Sarah worked for her own Nation for over a decade where she created a Communications department from the ground up while earning her Bachelor of Communications Degree from Capilano University. She recently earned her MBA with a special focus on Indigenous Business and Leadership from Simon Fraser University. 

 

Sarah holds a number of leadership roles in the community, including on the board of CPRS Vancouver as the Director of Communications, the CPRS National Task force for EDIB, and the MCM National working group for EDIB.  She has an impressive CV spanning multiple organizations, including most recently with the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, where she is connecting Indigenous and western knowledge into her learning and work.

 

 

Sharlyn Carrington

 

Director & Founder of Content Strong Communications, Sharlyn is an award-winning creative communications strategist. She has 12+ years experience in public and private sectors, developing integrated PR and marketing campaigns, engaging key audiences, and advising executives, political leaders and business owners on how to build and maintain their reputations and brands.

 

Her public sector work led her to provide communications advice to over 12 ministers, two premiers, and develop campaigns and protocols for programs that supported underrepresented and vulnerable populations.

 

As both a diversity advocate and speaker, Sharlyn holds a master’s in communications management from McMaster University, and is also the co-founder & committee chair of The Ubora Network.

 

 

 

Talha Wasti

 

Tamara Vineberg

Tamara Vineberg has worked in health care communications for the past 10 years. She is a natural storyteller and loves to plan events. When she is not working as communications coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, she can be found experimenting in her kitchen. Tamara is an active volunteer with InspireHer Society, Drive Happiness, CPRS Edmonton, and Northwest Canada B’nai Brith Youth Organization.

 

Terry Flynn

Dr. Terry Flynn is one of Canada’s leading public relations/communications management researchers. Following a 20-year professional communications consulting career, Terry joined the faculty of McMaster University after completing his Ph.D. studies at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. During his consulting career, he built an international practice specializing in crisis and risk communications and public/community engagement working with such organizations as: the Town of Walkerton Ontario; the U.S. Navy Public Health Agency; NASA; the Vinyl Council of Canada and the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association.

 

He is currently a member of a number of professional and academic organizations including: the Canadian Public Relations Society – and was its elected President in 2009-2010; the Institute for Public Relations (Board of Trustees); and the Arthur W. Page Society (Board of Trustees). In 2015, Dr. Flynn was given the prestigious Philip A. Novikoff Award by the CPRS, for superior contributions to the advancement of the profession in Canada and throughout the world. In 2018, Terry was named the CPRS Diamond Jubilee “Mentor of the Year” award.  An award-winning teacher, Terry’s presentations entertain and engage, and provide participants with meaningful insights and lessons from the frontlines. In July 2019 he was re-appointed as the Director of the McMaster-Syracuse University Master of Communications Management degree program, a position he first held from 2004-2011.

Uma Viswanathan

Uma Viswanathan is an IT Training and Communications Specialist. Her career has included a variety of roles in the Arts, Information Technology, and Higher Education, in both public and private organizations.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, and a Computer Systems Technology Diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. 

Uma Viswanathan