Dan Dagg - Board Chair
Dan is the CEO of H2 Accelerator, one of Vancouver Island’s largest marketing-communications firms and the Past Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, and the chair of VIEA’s Island Good Committee. A graduate of UBC, Dan is also a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner, a certified facilitator of the Pacific Institutes Investment in Excellence program and holds the ICD.D with the Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada. H2 has won dozens of international creative and marketing awards over the years -- working with local, regional, and national brands to accelerate growth through strategic thinking and advanced technology.
Bill Whitehead - Managing Director
Bill has 40+ years progressive experience in the advertising and marketing communications industry and has led Whitehead Agency Group for over two decades. His focus is branding, strategic planning, and creative development. Bill has a rich educational background in health sciences earned at McMaster University and University of Toronto and extensive experience working with a worldwide portfolio of clients in healthcare, medical tourism, and related fields. In addition, Bill is Past President of the Society of Ontario Advertising Agencies (SOAA), and a regular guest speaker and contributing writer on marketing, technology, and a range of brand communications topics that relate to healthcare. Bill has a particular interest and focus on the application of AI to healthcare; and building brands that help people live healthier, happier lives.
With a 27-year tenure as the President and Owner of Brooks Creative House, Claudia has always been a trail blazer, being one of few women to own and operate an agency in North America. Her dedication to ensuring that Brooks is positioned to evolve with the changing demands in the market has been proven on numerous occasions, not the least of which has been the continued partnership with one of Canada’s largest advertisers for some 25+ years. Having built a team that is extremely talented and highly efficient, together they have assisted the Province of Ontario generate billions of dollars for healthcare and education initiatives that enhancing the lives of Ontario residents. Claudia has and always will be deeply passionate about the environment in which she conducts business. Be it as past President of the Big Sisters/Big Brothers Association, a member of the Lottery Task Force, her work with the local Indigenous community or empowering young women to start new businesses, her support to the community has never wavered and has been recognized by other Senior Community Leaders. Claudia lives by the mantra that it “takes a village to raise a child” and it is this belief and ideology that maintains her passion both for the agency world and society at large.
Jean-Francois Larouche - Director
Jean-François gives time a great value, because it gives him the chance to push his limits. It is with this philosophy that the advertiser nurtures, at the Institute of Political Studies of Paris and at Laval University, is accomplished through the key positions of an advertising agency. From creation to strategy, to the presidency of his own company, demonstrating exceptional leadership within agencies in Chicago, Toronto and Quebec, he applies his knowledge to the benefit of people who surround.
Garnet McElree - Chief Creative Officer & Partner at LMNO
Garnet is an award-winning entrepreneur, brand strategist and creative director who has worked with some of North America’s most recognized brands. He has helped lead them through significant growth and change over the last 20 years. He is driven by the connection between culture, marketing and communications, and believes the most critical role we have is to help consumers, businesses and brands engage in unexpected and meaningful conversations. Garnet holds a degree in Visual Communications Design from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, as well as a degree in Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan.
Jenny Smith - Director, Conference Chair
With 25 years in the advertising and marketing business, Jenny is no stranger to creating internationally recognized, award-winning advertising. She is Atlantic Canada’s most decorated creative person, winning literally hundreds of gold and platinum national and international awards and accolades over the course of her career. She’s the owner and President of Ray - an independent agency based in St. John’s, launched in 2013. Jenny has judged every regional and national award show in Canada (sometimes more than once). And has had the good fortune to judge Cannes, D&AD, and LIA. She serves on several boards including Ever Green Recycling, Artistic Fraud Theatre, Opera on the Avalon, and the Genesis Client Success Committee for start-ups in NL. She lives in St. John’s with her husband, two teens, and Nacho the cat.
Mary-Ellen Willard - Director, Executive Creative Director and Partner of adHOME Creative
Mary-Ellen is Executive Creative Director and Partner of adHOME Creative, an award-winning advertising and digital marketing agency focused on building brands for national and international clients. As the driving force behind the “big idea”, she has led her team to many prestigious honours for superb creative from around the globe. Mary-Ellen is a business graduate from Western University and has worked in sales, marketing and brand development for over 25 years. She is also a long-standing member and speaker for the Women In Communication & Technology Organization. Her passion for giving back to the community has been the catalyst behind adHOME’s Blue Door Initiative donating thousands of dollars and services to local charities.