About IO

Interactive Ontario is a not-for-profit industry trade association committed to the growth of the Ontario interactive digital media (IDM) industry.

Interactive Ontario fosters growth in the IDM industry in Ontario through government advocacy, events, trade missions, connections to business development opportunities and meaningful partnerships with complementary organizations. IO hosts over 30 events each year, providing knowledge sharing and networking in this quickly evolving industry.

IO represents approximately 330 IDM companies, with a diverse group of members ranging from SMEs (small & medium enterprises) to large international corporations. They produce innovative experiences in a variety of subsectors including video games, eLearning, multiplatform storytelling, mobile apps, augmented and virtual reality, web series and more.

IO was founded in 2001 as the New Media Business Alliance and was renamed in 2007.

Digital Media in Ontario

digital media industry fact 01
digital media industry fact 02
digital media industry fact 03
digital media industry fact 09
digital media industry fact 04
digital media industry fact 05
digital media industry fact 06
digital media industry fact 07
digital media industry fact 08

Board of Directors

Lisa Coulman (1) With more than 25 years of diverse work experience, Lisa has extensive knowledge of issues that companies (small start up to large public) face throughout their lifecycle. She has extensive experience with business issues related to earning revenue, creating value from assets, reporting requirements for costs associated with those assets and obtaining financing. Lisa has worked with many companies including broadcasters, producers, technology, life sciences, retailers, magazine and book publishers, and founders of media companies.
Daniel Dales Daniel Dales is CEO and Executive Producer of Digital Howard. Prior to Digital Howard, he launched Smokebomb Entertainment, the digital media division of Shaftesbury, with responsibility for the development and production of original multiplatform series and companion web experiences for Shaftesbury’s broadcast slate of properties. Since launching Smokebomb Entertainment in January 2008, Dales and the Smokebomb team have produced several convergent online projects for Shaftesbury, including The Listener (CTV); Murdoch Mysteries: Curse of the Lost Pharaohs (Citytv); Overruled! (Family Channel); Baxter (Family Channel) and Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures (TMN, Movie Central). Dales also oversees the development and creation of Smokebomb’s slate of original online series for digital deployment, including Totally Amp’d and State of Syn, two groundbreaking App series that blend episodic scripted content with a suite of interactive games and activities.

Prior to launching Smokebomb, Dales was an award-winning producer of commercials, music videos, documentaries and corporate videos for high profile clients in the advertising and entertainment industries, including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Motorola, BMW, Axe, Subway, Breakthrough Entertainment and Dundee Wealth Management.

jeffrey-elliott-headshot-web Jeffrey Elliott is the CEO of TableRock Media and was previously the Founder and CEO of GlassBOX Television. Jeffrey has over twenty-five years of strategic and creative experience in broadcasting, production, and new-media, including the Emmy-winning Bite TV, the world’s first Interactive and multiplatform television channel.

Throughout his career, Jeffrey has been at the forefront of emerging technologies in broadcasting and new-media. Prior to launching GlassBOX Television, Jeffrey held senior positions with leading Canadian media companies including Senior Vice President Interactive at Alliance Atlantis, where he was charged with creating the broadcaster’s new media strategy. Before that, he was Managing Director at Netstar Communications (then parent company of The Sports Network and Discovery Canada) and Director of Programming at TSN, where he was responsible for the creation of one of the country’s first multiplatform content projects, the highly successful The Legends of Hockey. Jeffrey also led the launch of Discoverychannel.ca and TSN.ca, which revolutionized on-line sports in Canada.

Colin Ferguson As Managing Director of SHG, Colin handles many of the business-related responsibilities. Primarily this involves leading the strategic process and ensuring SHG has the right plan, team and resources for effective implementation. In addition, Colin is Marketing Director and team lead on some gaming projects. Colin also helps manage the social games on a daily basis. He is generally known as AAB (AdminArrBilly), in the SHG community. Colin works out of SHG’s Headquarters in Hamilton, Ontario.

Colin demonstrated impressive entrepreneurial skills at a young age by selling goldfish to classmates at age 9 – and immediately reinvesting his profits into the latest and greatest games of the time.

Venturing abroad early in his career, as Senior Account Director for a major advertising network, Colin led the UK launch of Intel Pentium IV, which awarded him a Silver in the New Media Awards. Additionally, he managed localizations of dozens of high profile Fortune 500 websites, as well as highly profitable multilingual online campaigns for many clients.

Eventually, Colin returned to Ontario and to his entrepreneurial roots to found his own company, Image Barometer, specializing in SEO techniques. He developed one of the world’s first social media tracing systems (before the term “social media” even existed), while simultaneously directing his team to build 1000+ websites that generated 1 million+ views per month, purely from leveraging SEO applications.

In 2008 he co-founded SHG and has not looked back. His passion for video games and entrepreneurial talent helps drive SHG’s success. His mix of real world and academic experience helps keep the real and virtual game economics profitable.

SHG is a joint dream of the founders; Colin has been coding, creating and tweaking games since the age of 5.

Simon Foster Simon is a digital business builder, most recently as co-founder of Fetch Insights, a company that is using mobile messaging platforms to reinvent consumer research. At Blue Ant, where he served as SVP Corporate Development and SVP of Digital Media, Simon created the digital media business from scratch with fast growing revenues from YouTube, Facebook, OTT, and mobile and web publishing, supported by digital media focused offices in LA and London. He built and managed the digital video production, product design and development, and digital sales and operations teams. His digital products won international awards including the “Tabby Award” for best in consumer tablet apps, “Music Magazine of the Year”, and “Travel Magazine of the Year” from the Digital Magazine Awards. In Canada awards include “Best in Mobility” and “Best in Tablet Applications”. Simon identified and led the acquisition of Omnia Media, an LA-based online video company that today generates over 2 billion video views per month.

In his previous position at QuickPlay Media, Simon successfully launched XM Radio on mobile in the United States, as well as the first worldwide podcasting service on BlackBerry featuring ABC News and ESPN. Simon is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Queen’s University, and is the Co-Founder and Board Member of The Framework Foundation/ Timeraiser. He lives in Toronto with his wife and 3 sons.

Jeremy is an accomplished scientist, educator, speaker, educational game designer and entrepreneur. He has founded several education technology companies, led the development of numerous education communication tools and designed revolutionary educational games which have garnered international recognition with awards from the National Science Foundation, Journal of Science and the United Nations.

Jeremy holds a Doctorate in molecular genetics and biotechnology from the University of Guelph. He has been involved extensively in both public and private scientific education programs, consults and designs for global interactive educational initiatives and volunteers with high school students, talking about the importance of a strong background in science and alternative science-based careers. Jeremy is an invited speaker on many aspects of science and education, specifically, on promoting the use of data-driven personalized learning technologies, the efficacy of digital learning tools in formal education settings and the gamification of education.

Outside of Spongelab… Jeremy enjoys not sleeping, his young children, coffee, building blocks, more coffee, red balloons, and the belief that one day he’ll drink less coffee.

Vikas Profile Photo Expertise, passion, and engageability for the electronic entertainment industry are what Vikas Gupta, bases his professional ethos on. He has transferred these tenets to every project he has undertaken, from leading Big Blue Bubble’s strategic endeavors to his advisory and mentorship ventures such as sitting on the Intel Consumer Board of Advisors and the Board of Directors of Interactive Ontario. Vikas previously led TransGaming from a provider of innovative enablement gaming software to its emergence into an interactive media powerhouse that is catalyzing the revolutionary delivery of video games into the connected living room.

Vikas is a member of the prestigious global organization YPO (Young President’s Organization). In addition he is a frequent speaker and lecturer at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Business and Ryerson University’s Business and Technology program. In 2008, Vikas was the recipient of the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Award and has also been featured in a broad range of print and television media. Vikas is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Canada’s premier technological educational institution.

Vikas’ success in the interactive media industry is merited by the time-honored relationships that he invests in with his colleagues and associates who often describe him as charismatic, profound, determined, and humorous. With his unique industry proficiency and inspiring personality, Vikas is an unstoppable force behind the active growth of the digital media industry.

Portrait of Jason Kee from Google, November 21, 2014. jkee@google.com Jason J. Kee is Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel for Google Canada. Working with Google Canada’s policy team in Ottawa, he monitors and analyzes issues and legislation affecting the Internet, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Interactive Digital Media (IDM) industries in Canada, and regularly interacts with both government and partner organizations on matters such as intellectual property policy, e-commerce, content regulation and other government policies and/or legislation affecting the Internet, ICT and IDM sectors.

Prior to joining Google Canada, Jason was the Director of Policy and Legal Affairs for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), the industry association that represents companies in Canada that develop, publish and distribute video and computer games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers and the Internet. Before that, Jason practiced intellectual property, information technology and entertainment law (with an emphasis on Internet, e-commerce, gaming and interactive media-related matters) at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. He also acted as legal and policy counsel to the Canadian Interactive Alliance / Alliance Interactive Canadienne (CIAIC), an alliance of provincial new media associations that represents the interactive digital media industry at a national level. He is the founder and former chair of the interactive media committee of the Canadian IT Law Association (IT.Can). He is also on the Board of the GRAND-NCE, the Graphics, Animation and New Media Network of Centres of Excellence, and several industry advisory committees.

Tanya Lahiri headshot With over 10 years of experience in finance, gained working in financial outsourcing and banking, Tanya’s experience includes project management, portfolio and investment management, budgeting, marketing, business development and most recently commercial banking. After completing her MBA from University of Wales, UK, Tanya started her career in financial outsourcing and project management in Cardiff, leading a team to manage end to end execution of projects with large banks and other financial institutions. After moving to Canada in 2006, Tanya completed a financial management course from George Brown College and started her career at RBC Dominion Securities. Currently, Tanya is a Senior Relationship Manager with RBC’s Media and Entertainment group managing a portfolio of companies in this space – production houses, film and tv, digital media companies, gaming, collectives etc. She is experienced in developing customized banking solutions that are unique to this industry and has a wealth of experience in dealing with tax credit financing – film and tv, SREDs, OIDMTC, OCASE etc along with access to extensive external COI network and connections. In her spare time, Tanya loves painting, reading and watching her favorite team Manchester United play.
Lucie Lalumiere Lucie Lalumière is the founder of Lalumiere Media, a consulting business specializing in interactive digital media (IDM), emerging technologies and immersive experiences (virtual reality, augmented reality).  Lucie and her collaborators offer a broad range of services such as advising clients on strategy, financing and business development, as well as production and operations.  She is also the Executive Producer of Bvrned, a fictional 360 film, at 360 Story Lab.

Her passion for emerging technologies started over 20 years ago, when she worked on groundbreaking multimedia projects at Bell. Later on, she led innovative and award-winning teams in various strategic roles.  Her executive positions include GM French Market (MediaLinx Sympatico), Executive Director New Media (Radio-Canada), VP & GM Interactive, Television (Corus Entertainment), and COO & GM of supersonic MINDS.

Lucie is a tireless advocate for the IDM industry. She is the Vice-Chair of Interactive Ontario, serves on the Board of Haltech, has been on the board of the Bell Fund, and regularly contributes to industry-related advisory committees.
She is the winner of the inaugural WIFT-T Digital Trailblazer Crystal Award (2015), has a B.Sc. in Management Information Systems from Université de Sherbrooke, an MBA from McGill University (completed at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program), and an Award of Achievement in Digital Analytics from UBC/DAA.

More info @ https://ca.linkedin.com/in/lucielalumiere  |  Follow Lucie on Twitter @LucieLalumiere

Andrew Lane Based in Toronto, Andrew is the Director, Digital Solutions at Blue Ant Media. In his previous role, Andrew was the strategic lead on all digital, social, mobile and video content integrations for clients across Weber Shandwick’s Canadian offices while supporting on select US and Global clients.

Andrew is a Member of the Board of Interactive Ontario, the Institute of Communications Agencies Agency of the Future Committee, and of the Canadian Marketing Association’s Mobile Marketing Council. He is also a featured speaker and guest lecturer, having presented at conferences such as nextMEDIA, the International Economic Forum of the Americas, the Globe Series, the Canadian Marketing Association, North by Northeast Interactive and the Liberal Party of Canada, and at institutions such as Centennial College, the OCAD University, York University, Humber College and more.

At the helm of fast-rising Toronto film & television production company and digital studio Mark Media, President & CEO Jason Loftus leads his entrepreneurial and creative team with over ten years’ experience in media management and business development, with roles spanning digital/gaming, television, and print media. Under his leadership, Mark Media aims to combine culture and modern technology to create unique learning & interactive experiences across media platforms. He is also an award-winning engineer, writer and father of two.

In addition to Mark Media titles including: In the Name of Confucius, Confucius was a Foodie, Miaomiao, Shuyan the Kung Fu Princess and more, Jason is also the executive producer of the Peabody Award winning documentary feature Human Harvest, in partnership with Vancouver-based Flying Cloud Productions. Over the last three years he has helped secure over $10M in production financing for new digital and television properties, from live-action and animated TV programs to games and interactive web products.

Peter Miller Peter Miller is a lawyer and engineer with 20 years of broadcast and telecommunications industry experience, in both private practice and senior executive positions. Since 2005, he has acted as an advisor to select clients in both the public and private sectors, specializing in business and policy development, particularly in regards to digital media. His experience includes senior positions with the Vision TV group of companies, CHUM Limited, and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Lydia Sani Lydia Sani has spent over 20 years in the corporate communications industry since graduating from Concordia University’s Communications Faculty. Her early career featured positions at Du Pont in their internal training group and later at Ogilvy & Mather in their communications division. In 1988 Lydia founded Invisions Productions. Since that time she has guided the company to its current position as one of the pre-eminent players in the Canadian communications industry. She started up Redwood e-Learning Systems in 2003 specifically to address the online learning market. With a sole focus on training, Redwood’s mission is to advance skills through a new level of e-learning by having learners engage with immersive environments and social media. Lydia is on the board of CeLEA, the Canadian e-Learning Enterprise Alliance and IO’s E-Learning Committee. She has presented many papers on soft skills E-learning and other high performance learning initiatives.
Andra Sheffer Andra Sheffer is the Executive Director and CEO of two private Funds supporting the Canadian digital media, television and film industries: the Independent Production Fund which invests in drama series created for digital platforms; and, the COGECO Program Development Fund for the development and production of television drama. She was the founding Executive Director of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television producing the annual Genie and Gemini Awards (now the Canadian Screen Awards). She lectures on the business of television and new media and is the editor of publications about the business of tv and digital media production: New Media, New Business: The Producer’s guide (2001), Create a Winning Proposal – the Handbook for New Media Producers (1999) and the co-editor of MAKING IT: The business of film and television production in Canada (1986 & 1995). Previously she served as the Managing Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and with the federal government as a Certification Officer setting up the original CAVCO office (and Canadian content “point” system), and at the Film Festivals Bureau promoting Canadian films internationally. She was awarded the 2013 Digital Media Trail Blazer award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the 2014 Champion of Digital Innovation Tribute at Merging Media 5, and inducted as the 2014-15 Industry Builder in Playback’s Hall of Fame.
Mary Sorrenti A Chartered Professional Accountant and a graduate from the Schulich School of Business, York University, Mary has over a decade of experience working on projects both large and small. She has project managed teams on multi-national engagements spanning several continents, and is well versed in the telecommunications and entertainment industries. She has public accounting experience auditing large multinational corporations, and has provided business and tax advice to some of Canada’s most successful private enterprises.

In her role as VP, Operations and Finance at Game Pill, her responsibilities include heading up the finance and accounting functions, liaising with clients on funding applications and business affairs, relationship management, as well as managing development teams to ensure everyone stays motivated and is working towards project timelines and budgets.

Mary has a love for learning and is always looking for ways to get involved. To this end, she has fine-tuned her producer skills and is a recent graduate of the Independent Television Production Program from Centennial College, is a member of the Advisory Board for GameOn Finance, sits on the Advisory Boards for both Humber College and Centennial College, is a member of IAAPA, the Canadian Museum Association, and an active member of WIFT.

Heather Steele headshot A strategic communications leader with over 15 years’ experience building global brands and growing successful companies, Heather Steele is driven by creativity and the fast pace of innovative industries. In her role as Communications Director at Ubisoft Toronto since 2011, Heather helps the game development studio successfully grow the team while maintaining its strong studio culture and commitment to develop the highest quality AAA games. Currently, the studio is on track to grow to 800 talented creators by 2020.

Prior to joining Ubisoft Toronto, Heather was Vice President at High Road Communications, leading business development and communications strategy focused on results-driven marketing communications, media relations, and social media for a broad range of clients including Microsoft Canada, Xbox Canada, Disney Interactive Canada, Ubisoft Montreal, Electronic Arts, Facebook and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC).

Heather holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and a Post-Graduate Communications Certificate from Humber College. You can find her on Twitter @hsteele sharing thoughts on the latest video game releases, the hottest new restaurants, or the latest episode of The Walking Dead. 

Executive

jeffrey-elliott-headshot-web-bw

Jeffrey Elliott

Chair

Lucie Lalumière

Vice-Chair

Lisa Coulman

Lisa Coulman

Treasurer

Christa Dickenson

Executive Director

David Dembroski

Secretary

Staff

Executive Director
Christa Dickenson is Executive Director of Interactive Ontario. As a marketing executive, Ms. Dickenson brings to Interactive Ontario close to two decades of experience leveraging partnerships and optimizing sponsorship opportunities. Having had a successful career spanning broadcast television, technology & telecommunications, Ms. Dickenson worked at Rogers, CTV and CPAC prior to joining Interactive Ontario. Ms. Dickenson possesses an unparalleled talent for innovation coupled with a strong business acumen. With her brand advocacy expertise honed over many years, she is a highly effective policy advocate.

In addition to a professional background spanning both the creative and business sides of the broadcast, technology and telecommunications industries, Ms. Dickenson has volunteered extensively with a variety of local and international non-profit organizations.

Senior Manager of Operations
Carly Beath comes to her role at IO from a background in marketing/communications and program management in the entertainment, politics and non-profit worlds.
Prior to joining Interactive Ontario, she worked with organizations and companies that include the National Campus and Community Radio Association, MapleMusic Recordings, and the LOFT Youth Centre for Social Enterprise and Innovation. She is well-versed in the cultural sector from both business and creative standpoints; she is a musician whose projects include live performance, independent releases, audio engineering, music supervision and more.

Mandate

Interactive Ontario’s mandate is to:

  1. “Collect and Connect” digital media business leaders and all levels of government to stimulate growth of the digital media content industry in Ontario,

  2. “Collect and Connect” the Ontario digital media content industry and key industry sectors to promote local talent and stimulate growth,

  3. Promote the digital media content industry, in its own right, as distinct from related digital industries such as hardware, software, telecom and other digital infrastructure industries,

  4. Gather information from Ontario digital content business leaders to identify trends and set priorities to target needs in this rapidly changing field,

  5. Develop industry focused recommendations and promote these recommendations to all levels of government for the direct benefit of the digital media content industry,

  6. Function autonomously, in partnership with other industry associations, with a targeted focus on the business of digital media content development,

  7. And seek recognition from all levels of government as the definitive voice for the business of Ontario of digital media content.

Read our by-laws here