Stephanie Deschenes

Stephanie Deschenes is a communications professional with expertise in public relations, marketing, fundraising, advocacy, and leadership.  She is the Executive Director for the Canadian Association of Science Centres, a national organization with 50 member science centres, science museums, planetariums, aquariums and science outreach organizations.  In this role, Ms. Deschenes leads a small team in government advocacy, event organization, and program development. She is currently on a secondment from Science North, where her last position was Senior Manager, Marketing.  Stephanie has a Master’s Degree in Leadership from the University of Guelph. She is a wife and proud mother of two girls that are active ringette players.


Ryan Dodge

As the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) Digital Engagement Coordinator, Ryan Dodge's role is focused on digital content creation, campaign and community management, as well as building capacity within the institution.

Active in the global museum community, he has volunteered with the Canadian Museums Association's Young Canada Works in Heritage Project and sat on the board of ICOM Canada. Currently, he is also a member of the Virtual Museum of Canada, the Museum Computer Network's part-time Digital Content and Community Manager and a consultant with Cultural & Heritage organizations across North America.


Mafoya Dossounmon

Mafoya Dossoumon is a communications professional who specializes in helping non-profits manage their internal and external reputations by influencing and magnifying an organisation’s voice in an accessible, understandable, actionable, timely, relevant, credible and trusted manner. He is a writer whose collection of essays, African Expectations: Musings from where I stand, offers tentative solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our times based on his worldview and life experiences. He made the 2016 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Creative Nonfiction Prize longlist and is currently working on a collection of short stories. Mafoya is a volunteer speaker with Passages Canada when he is not developing communication strategies or writing.


Melissa Durrell

Beginning as an award-winning journalist, Melissa reported the news from Toronto, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Sudbury, and Kitchener-Waterloo for nearly two decades before founding her own startup. Fuelled by great ideas, she has grown Durrell Communications to one of the top communication firms in the region. Melissa has worked with hundreds of startups, entrepreneurs, VCs, and Angels across Canada. She uses insider knowledge to gain local, national and global exposure that tell the amazing stories of her clients and get the word out.


Naomi Grattan

An Ottawa native transplanted to Calgary, Naomi has contributed to museums across Canada and internationally for 16 years. She has been part of four capital projects, including the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and the National Music Centre in Calgary, where she was responsible for leading exhibitions and operations development for a new 160,000 sf facility over five years. She currently works as a cultural sector consultant. 

In 2017, she received her MA (Distinction) in Leadership from Royal Roads University. In partnership with CMA, her thesis focused on developing museum leadership in Canada, linking it to community relevance. She has a BA (Honours) in Rhetoric from the University of Waterloo (and is planning to get to Ethel’s during this conference at least once), and is bilingual.

Mimosa Kabir

Mimosa is an aspiring changemaker and fundraiser with experience in relationship-building, tactical planning and managing events with ROI in mind. She holds a BA honours degree in Global Development Studies and History from Queen's University, and post-graduate certificates from Humber College in Fundraising Management and the University of Leicester in Mass Communications. Mimosa currently works for War Child Canada, and moonlights as a facilitator for the Youth Advocacy Training Institute. Mimosa is also a bookworm, pop culture enthusiast, wannabe globetrotter and sometimes blogger.


Paul Kalbfleisch

Paul Kalbfleisch has spend most of his career in marketing, using his artistic skills to shape corporate brand and social trends.  He spent 10 years building BlackBerry’s global brand. Today his consultancy uses the tools and craft of the arts to create inspiring corporate narratives.  Kalbfleisch has returned to Kitchener and is helping the community with strategies to embrace the arts to improve the region’s social vibrancy and support the innovation economy. 



Ian Macdonald

Ian is a reformed product manager who is passionate about transformative technologies and market forces, and creating remarkable customer experiences that solve real problems. Ian is the Head of Corporate Innovation R&D at Communitech.  He is also the CEO of Paddle before the Wave, an innovation consulting firm that works closely with world leading associations, corporations, and startups. 

Ian has also worked at InFlight Corporation, TD Bank Group, Aeryon Labs, BlackBerry, Hyundai Auto Canada, and Sandvine - with international experience designing and commercializing new solutions, building commercial alliances, developing new markets, and growing companies. 

Craig Norris

Craig Norris has over a decade of broadcasting experience. When it comes to hosting, Craig has worked in a variety of roles and for different networks. Craig was born and raised in the Waterloo Region - lives now in Guelph and is well known in that community. In fact, he has lived in the area since 1975. His knowledge of the region and connection to it runs deep. Before coming to CBC - Craig Norris worked at CTV - starting in 2000, where he was a host on the live current affairs TV program, The Chatroom. While there he interviewed everyone from former Prime Minister Joe Clark to a homeless teen to the cast of The Sopranos. Craig has joined the new CBC Kitchener-Waterloo station as the host of the new local show, The Morning Edition on Radio One 89.1 FM.


Mike Tennant

Mike Tennant is a writer, broadcaster and branding consultant, known nationally as a creator of CBC Radio’s The Age of Persuasion, and co-author of the bestselling The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture. At 14 he worked part-time as a reporter for his hometown paper; by 17 he was writing a weekly column for the Toronto Star. In the four decades since, he’s written extensively for radio, television, print and branded podcasts, most recently Trailblazers, with Walter Isaacson. As an ad copywriter he’s won dozens of national and international awards for clients throughout North America. In between he gives talks and workshops on creative communication. He and his wife Lorrie live in Kitchener.