NMAF Announces New Strategic Initiatives & Board Members

[This post has been updated.]
The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce a number of important changes and new initiatives as we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards and an exciting new year for the Digital Publishing Awards.

At its AGM and meeting of August 30th, the NMAF Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan that will ensure the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards continue their important role in recognizing and celebrating Canadian creators.

These changes are designed to maintain and advance the NMAF’s 40-year status as the gold standard of creative excellence and the pinnacle of professional achievement for award recipients. Specific initiatives include:

  • Refining the categories of the National Magazine Awards to a more focused number of awards;
  • A reformatted awards event to facilitate more conversation and networking;
  • Introducing a more rigorous definition and criteria of the Magazine of the Year award;
  • Expanding the Digital Publishing Awards;
  • A more streamlined judging process for assessing English and French submissions in the same category;
  • Enhancing the national footprint of the awards through more regional events and closer collaboration with regional institutions outside of Ontario;
  • Being more inclusive of the diversity in Canadian magazine and digital publishing;
  • In a first for any Canadian publishing awards, raising the profile of Canadian creators on the international stage, by:
    • recognizing the excellence of Canadian contributors to international media, and
    • introducing judges from the international magazine community.

The NMAF invites all members of the Canadian magazine industry—whether you regularly participate in the awards or not—to join us in this process, whether volunteering to serve on the board, committees or working groups; volunteering as a judge; or simply providing your input on how the NMAF can best serve Canada’s magazine and digital creators. Get in touch with us at staff@magazine-awards.com.

The NMAF is pleased to announce that Nino Di Cara has been elected Board President for a two-year term effective August 30. Mr. Di Cara is the Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Bookmark (formerly Spafax), and previously held senior titles at Rogers Communications and TC Media.

Mr. Di Cara has been elected with a broad mandate to spearhead new strategic initiatives for the NMAF, as well as to engage and work collaboratively with the Foundation’s stakeholders—creators, publishers, judges, partners, sponsors and more—to build on the NMAF’s core mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators.

To help achieve this exciting agenda for 2017 and beyond, the NMAF is pleased to announce the first wave of new additions to its board:

JoAnne Caza is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Canada executive team. She heads up the Communications and Public Relations department which is responsible for several of the marketing activities at Mercedes-Benz Canada. She is the company’s spokesperson and the PR aspect of her job includes day-to-day media relations on a corporate front as well for all of Mercedes-Benz’ brands.

Derek Finkle is the founder of Canadian Writers Group which represents independent Canadian writers, and which aligned with Parcel, a brand strategy and communications design firm, in 2016. He is the former editor of Toro magazine, contributing editor of Saturday Night, and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. He is the author of the book No Claim to Mercy, an examination of the troubling Robert Baltovich murder case. No Claim to Mercy won the Crime Writers’ Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction and was named a Notable Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail.

Tom Gierasimczuk is an award-winning journalist and media executive with a proven record of developing effective multi-platform, editorially driven marketing strategies that engage audiences and infuse brand communication with purpose and utility. Tom has built media properties for clients ranging from WestJet Airlines to Microsoft while working in senior leadership roles with Canada’s largest media and communications companies including Rogers Media, Transcontinental, Canada Wide Media and Yellow Pages, where he was Publisher and GM of Vancouver magazine and Western Living.

Peter McNeill is the National Director of KPMG Enterprise and a marketing executive with over twenty years of experience providing leadership and strategy to both start-ups and major Fortune 500 brands. He specializes in Global Brand Building and Management, Marketing Programs, Partnerships & Alliances, Marketing Strategy, People Management, Public Relations, Digital Media, Business Development. He has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of York Region.

Raf Katigbak is Creative Lead at Virtue, the agency arm of VICE. He started at VICE as a columnist in the magazine in 2004, eventually becoming the Canadian editor of the publication, and then Senior Editor of the ‪VICE.com website. Over the years, he’s produced engaging, multi-platform content including documentaries, photo essays, and field reports, and written stories for a variety of publications and companies including The Montreal Mirror, En Route, and ALDO.

Dan McPhee is Head of Media Platforms at Google Canada. He is a trailblazing sales and marketing strategy thought leader, specializing in helping organizations capture market share while improving their bottom line. Combining deep business knowledge with a complete understanding of today’s consumer, Dan transforms business units into profitable market leaders that know how to win, and win the moments that matter.

Erin Millar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Discourse Media. She is an author, public speaker, magazine writer, and former president of Canadian University Press. She has reported from 15 countries around the world and her work has been translated into 34 languages. She teaches journalism at Quest University.

Our new electives join an existing NMAF Board of Directors that includes:

  • Liana Bell, CA, CPA, Partner, Clark-Henning LLP (Treasurer)
  • Joyce Byrne, Publisher, Avenue Magazine (Past President)
  • Julie Cailliau, Editor-in-Chief, Les Affaires
  • Christopher Frey, Toronto Correspondent, Monocle
  • Curtis Gillespie, Editor, Eighteen Bridges
  • David Hayes, Freelance Journalist
  • Judith Pereira, Senior Editor, Report on Business
  • Marnie Peters, Associate Vice-President, Public Relations, Royal Ontario Museum
  • Paul Roelofs, Creative Director & Publication Designer, Vancouver Magazine & Western Living
  • Terry Sellwood, former President, Cottage Life Media (Executive-At-Large)
  • Melony Ward, Publisher, Canada’s History & Kayak
  • Lisa Whittington-Hill, Publisher, THIS Magazine

We are humbled by the fact that, according to feedback from our stakeholder surveys, Canadian magazine publishers and creators continue hold the NMAF brand in the highest regard as a not-for-profit, charitable organization that facilitates trustworthy, inclusive and transparent awards programs that reflect the strength and breadth of magazine and digital publishing across Canada.

We encourage all Canadian publishers, editors, art directors, staff and contributors to join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards.

The NMAF will provide regular updates this fall regarding strategic initiatives and changes to its awards programs.

NMAF names 4 new members to its Board of Directors

The National Magazine Awards Foundation announced today the election of four new members to its board of directors for 2015-2016.


3b4ea8dJessica Ross is the Content Director, Multiplatform Editions, Books & Special Issues, at TVA Publications–publishers of ELLE Canada, ELLE Québec, Canadian Living and many other titles–and former Tablet Publishing Manager at TC Media. She previously held editorial positions at Homemakers and Canadian Home Workshop, and is treasurer of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.


Nino di Cara is Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Spafax Canada, publishers of enRoute magazine, Sparksheet and other titles. Previously he was Executive Director of Content Solutions at Rogers Media and Director of Custom Publishing at TC Media.


Marnie Peters is the Associate Vice-President, Public Relations & Publications, at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as a Brand Management Fundamentals instructor at the University of Toronto. Previously, Marnie spent nearly 15 years at Rogers Communications working in marketing and brand development for several publications.


Judith Pereira is the Managing Editor of Report on Business magazine at the Globe and Mail, where she has been a member of the team since 2005, during which time the magazine has won 50 National Magazine Awards. Previously she served as Communications Officer for the Interim Commissioner of Nunavut.


“The NMAF proudly welcomes Judith, Marnie, Nino and Jessica to its Board of Directors as we prepare for another exciting year supporting and recognizing achievement by Canadian magazine creators,” said Joyce Byrne, President of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The NMAF is a bilingual, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian magazines through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

This year’s National Magazine Awards Call for Entries will be announced on December 1.

The NMAF is proud to present Winners’ Circle, a special event for nominees and winners, on November 25.

NMAF elects 3 new members to its Board of Directors

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its board of directors for the 2014-2015 term. [ Français ]

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NMAF welcomes three new directors for 2013-2014

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is pleased to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors for 2013-2014.

Theresa Ebden is the director of media and analyst relations (Canada) at Accenture and a former journalist with The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Business News Network and others.

Steve Maich is the senior vice-president of publishing at Rogers Media, prior to which he was the founding editor-in-chief and publisher of Sportsnet, and group publisher of Rogers consumer business magazines.

Dominique Ritter is the managing editor of Reader’s Digest, former editor-in-chief of various titles at Spafax Canada and a freelance writer and editor.

“On behalf of the NMAF I am pleased to welcome Theresa Ebden, Dominique Ritter and Steve Maich to our board of directors for 2013-2014.The volunteer members of the NMAF board support the mission of Foundation to recognize and promote excellence in Canadian magazine content. The board serves as guides in fulfilling our mandate to support a vibrant Canadian magazine industry. On behalf of my fellow members of the board, I’m grateful for their important service to our industry and I am pleased to have these three new members join us for an exciting year ahead.”
Douglas Thomson, president of the NMAF

The NMAF would also like to thank its outgoing directors for 2013: Sarah Moore, managing editor at Star Content Studios, and Robert Goyette, vice-president and editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest.

NMAF President Douglas Thomson co-leads CSME event

Douglas Thomson

Tomorrow (Oct 24) the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors presents a luncheon event titled “Learning From Each Other” featuring editors from B2B and consumer magazines who will share their tips on magazine publishing and the wisdom they’ve accumulated throughout their careers. The participants include:

  • Douglas Thomson: President of National Magazine Awards Board of Directors and Editor of Canadian Home Workshop, a consumer title currently celebrating its 35th anniversary.
  • Peter Carter: Editor of Today’s Trucking and winner of the 2011 CSME Editor’s Choice Award for best trade magazine editor.
  • William Morassutti: Creative director of Star Content Studios, Torstar’s new custom content arm, and former editor-in-chief and founding member of Toro magazine.

The event is being held at Peridot, 81 Bloor St E (right at Yonge/Bloor subway station) in Toronto from 12-2pm on Wednesday, Oct 24. Buy tickets online at CSME; discounts for members and for buying in advance.

Related post: NMAF welcomes new President and other members to its Board of Directors

NMAF welcomes new President and other members to its Board of Directors

Douglas Thomson

The Board of Directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation has formally approved its board executive and new directors for 2012-2013, as well as the date and venue for the 36th annual National Magazine Awards gala.

Douglas Thomson, editor of Canadian Home Workshop, has been elected the new President of the NMAF Board of Directors for a two-year term. Douglas replaces Arjun Basu, editorial director of Spafax, who served as president from 2010-2012 and will remain on the board.

To his fellow directors, Douglas Thomson noted:

“Like the Canadian magazine industry itself, the NMAF has responded to the changing media landscape with an extra push of creativity, energy and innovation. And as evidenced by the nearly 2000 entries and 200 participating magazines in the awards last year, it’s an exciting time for magazines and its an exciting time for the NMAF. I’m eager to be a part of that continued spirited evolution.”

Joyce Byrne, associate publisher of Venture Publishing, has been elected the new Vice-President of the NMAF Board of Directors.

Brian Morgan, art director of The Walrus, has been elected the new Secretary of the Board of Directors.

Also newly elected to serve on the NMAF Board of Directors is Matthew Fox, executive editor & digital media strategist at St. Joseph Media.

The NMAF would also like to honour its outgoing board members and thank them for their service to the Canadian magazine industry:

Patrick Walsh, editor of Outdoor Canada and Past President of the NMAF, who served 11 years on the Board of Directors.

Susan Zuzinjak, president of Smitten Creative Boutique and former Secretary of the NMAF, who served 9 years on the Board of Directors.

Carolyn Warren, regional manager of cultural programming and new integrated content at CBC Montreal, who served 2 years on the Board of Directors.

For a complete list of the NMAF Board of Directors please visit magazine-awards.com.

The 36th annual National Magazine Awards

The NMAF Board of Directors has also approved the event date and venue for the 2013 National Magazine Awards gala. Next year’s event will be Friday, June 7, 2013 at The Carlu in Toronto. Further details and ticket information will be posted in the spring.

Submissions for the 36th annual National Magazine Awards will be accepted starting December 1. Updated submissions information (categories, guidelines, etc) will be posted to the NMAF website in mid-November. Sign up for our bilingual newsletter or follow the Magazine Awards blog to stay up to date on announcements.

A Message from Arjun Basu, President of the NMAF

Tomorrow we gather to celebrate excellence in Canadian magazine publishing at the 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards. [Version française ci-dessous]

There are more magazines being published today than there were a year ago. More print. More digital. More everything. Every stat out there tells us that people are reading more. And that includes magazines.

The industry has been running from something, change perhaps, for the last few years, all the while running toward something as well, you could call it the future, and we’ve been doing it without thinking. There has been fear. Surely. And the flip side of fear is opportunity.

We’ve played with the shiny new toys and tried to figure out what they do. And how they change us. The scramble has been something to behold. Maybe, in a decade or so, we can all sit back and laugh.

But you know what? The delivery system doesn’t matter. Because everyone soon gets bored of that shiny new thing and then returns to demanding things that are pretty old-fashioned: Quality. Relevance. Our readers want the same thing they’ve always wanted. They might want it presented differently, but they want something that speaks to them. That entertains them. That tells them something they didn’t know. Magazines have always been about discovery. And that is truer now than ever before.

We are in an age of quality. I really believe that. We have the toys and now instead of just getting our product on the toys “just because,” we’re putting it there because that’s where it belongs. Because it makes sense. Because it’s the best way to reach our readers. Not because we “have to” be there. I believe those days are over. Thankfully.

This year’s nominations come from across the country and from across platforms. We see blogs competing against print publications. A digital slideshow competing against a more traditional photo essay. How we consume our media isn’t really important anymore. That we consume it—that’s the important thing. And we’re consuming media—Canadian media—more than ever before.

The National Magazine Awards are for you. For us. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a job well done. I hope you enjoy the show.

Arjun Basu
President, National Magazine Awards Foundation

Mot du président

On compte aujourd’hui davantage de magazines publiés que ce n’était le cas il y a un an. Da­vantage de magazines imprimés. Davantage de magazines numériques. Davantage de tout. Toutes les statistiques confirment que la lecture est de plus en plus populaire. Et les magazines n’échappent pas à la tendance.

Depuis quelques années, l’industrie a agi à la fois en résistance à quelque chose, le change­ment peut-être, et a foncé dans quelque chose d’autre, qu’on pourrait appeler l’avenir, et nous l’avons fait sans trop y réfléchir. Il y a eu de l’appréhension. Sûrement.

Mais derrière l’appréhension se profilait une occasion. Nous avons étrenné de tout nouveaux jouets et tenté d’en mesurer le potentiel. Nous avons aussi tenté de discerner de quelle façon ces jouets nous changent. Il faut reconnaître que nous nous sommes sentis bousculés. Dans une dizaine d’années, avec le recul, peut-être nous remémorerons-nous cette période d’incertitudes le sourire aux lèvres.

Mais vous savez quoi? Le système de diffusion n’a pas de véritable importance. Parce qu’un jour ou l’autre, nous nous lasserons tous de ces nouveaux jouets et retournerons à des valeurs anciennes : la qualité; la pertinence.

Nos lecteurs continuent de rechercher ce qu’ils ont toujours recherché. Peut-être souhaitent-ils que cela leur soit présenté différemment, mais ils recherchent un contenu qui leur parle. Qui les divertit. Qui leur révèle quelque chose qu’ils ne savaient pas. La découverte a toujours été la raison d’être des magazines. Et cela vaut aujourd’hui plus que jamais.

Nous vivons une époque marquée au sceau de la qualité. Je le crois sincèrement. Nous avons nos jouets et, aujourd’hui, plutôt que de simplement diffuser nos productions sur ces jouets, «parce qu’il le faut bien», nous le faisons parce que c’est là qu’ils doivent aller. Parce que cela va de soi. Parce que c’est la meilleure façon de rejoindre nos lecteurs. Non pas parce que nous « devons » être là. Ces jours sont, selon moi, derrière nous. Et c’est bien ainsi.

Les nominations de cette année viennent de partout au pays et de diverses plates-formes. Nous voyons des blogues en compétition avec des publications imprimées. Un diaporama numérique concurrencer un reportage photo plus traditionnel. Notre mode de consommation des médias n’a plus l’importance qu’il avait. L’important, c’est que nous les consommions. Et la consommation des médias, des médias canadiens, est plus importante que jamais.

Cet événement vous est dédié. Nous est dédié. Il n’y a rien de mal à célébrer le travail bien fait. Bon spectacle !

Arjun Basu
Président, Fondation nationale des prix du magazine canadien

CSME event will help you represent your brand

The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors is hosting a luncheon event on Friday April 27 called “Ready for your Up Close” (How to Prep for Interviews and Represent Your Brand), featuring NMAF board member and the president of the PR agency Smitten Creative, Susan Zuzinjak, as well as Chantal Guertin, editor-at-large of The Kit.

The event is at Peridot, 81 Bloor Street East in Toronto.

Cost is $22 for CSME members and $37 for non-members. Lunch is included.

{Tip o’ the hat: Canadian Magazines}

MagNet conference registration opens; features many NMA winners

The registration process for MagNet–the annual conference of the Canadian magazine industry–has just opened, and while the early-bird deadline is still a long way off (May 4), there is no time like the present to begin perusing the list of panels, sessions and speakers.

Among the 112 panellists lined up to participate in the 60+ sessions and events are National Magazine Award winners including Matthew Blackett (publisher and creative director at Spacing), David Hayes (freelance journalist and NMAF board member), Domenic Macri (art director of Report on Business), Matthew McKinnon (online editor of The Walrus), Craig Silverman (freelance writer and editorial director of OpenFile), Lisa Whittington-Hill (NMAF board member and publisher of This), and the most recent recipient of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement D.B. Scott (president of Impresa Communications, Ltd).

NMAF President Arjun Basu, Editorial Director of Spafax Canada, and NMAF Vice-President Douglas Thompson, Editor of Canadian Home Workshop, will also be hosting sessions.

MagNet takes place June 5-8 at the Courtyard Marriott in Toronto, part of Magazines Week in Canada that also includes the 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, June 7 at The Carlu.

NMAF welcomes new Treasurer and Secretary to its board of directors

The NMAF is pleased to welcome Liana Bell, a partner with the accounting firm Clarke Henning, as its new treasurer on the board of directors for 2011-2012.

Liana replaces Margaret Albanese, corporate comptroller at St. Joseph Communications, who is retiring this year after serving eight years on the board of directors. The NMAF board, committees and staff are grateful to Margaret for her years of service to the foundation and the Canadian magazine industry.

Meanwhile, Susan Zuzinjak, founder and president of smitten creative boutique, who has served on the board of directors since 2003, has been named secretary of the NMAF board for 2011-2012.

NMA director wins gold at ADCC

Congratulations are in order to recently elected NMAF board member Brian Morgan, by day the Creative Director at The Walrus, who took home the gold prize in the Magazine Covers category at the Advertising and Design Club of Canada (ADCC) awards yesterday. The captivating (and uniquely hued) April 2011 cover of the magazine was the favourite of the judges. Brian also won a National Magazine Award in 2009 in the Best Single Issue category.

Way to go, Brian!

NMAF welcomes 4 new members to its Board of Directors

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to welcome four new members of its Board of Directors for 2011-2012:

Gary Campbell is the Executive Producer of TorontoLife.com, the digital portal of the award-winning Toronto Life magazine. In 2010 he was nominated for two National Magazine Awards for Digital Design and Digital Magazine of the Year.

David Hayes is a National Magazine Award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in Report on Business, Toronto Life, The Walrus, Chatelaine, Saturday Night and other publications, and he also teaches advanced magazine writing at Ryerson University’s Continuing Education program.

Sarah Moore is Managing Editor at More magazine, where she was nominated for a National Magazine award in 2009, and was formerly Senior Editor and Managing Editor at Today’s Parent.

Brian Morgan is Creative Director of The Walrus and formerly worked as Editorial Designer at Saturday Night and Deputy Art Director at Maclean’s. A three-time National Magazine Awards nominee, he won Gold in 2009 in the Best Single Issue category.

New members are nominated and approved by the NMAF Board of Directors for two-year, renewable terms.