We are proud to announce these esteemed industry leaders as 2016’s FGI Toronto Mentors. Meet the mentors for networking and meaningful conversation at our Mentor Dinner on May 31, 2016.
BARBARA ATKINTrend forecaster and retail consultant
Trend forecaster and retail consultant
Past Vice President, Fashion Direction; Holt Renfrew & Co. Limited (Canada)
Past partner in Aline Marelle, manufacturing and marketing of Fashion Designers
Barbara Atkin is known in international fashion circles as a dynamo and is respected by some of the industry’s best minds for her talent, passion and an exceptional flare for the industry. Atkin’s capacity to forecast emerging trends made her Holt Renfrew’s “fashion radar” and an indispensable resource for elite fashion media worldwide. She has a reputation for taking a bold approach to the business, exemplified through the creation of the new Vintage Couture concept and the award winning Holt Renfrew World Design Lab, an incubator for emerging designers and a laboratory for experimental ideas and new merchandising techniques.
Scouring the globe for fresh ideas, Atkin often brought home “hero” items. Her sharp eye for selecting the winning gems and her fashion forecast for Holt Renfrew ultimately set the stage for the buyers in market, advancing Holt’s reputation as a fashion leader by bringing them “firsts,” “bests” and exclusive products and designers to the Canadian luxury specialty store. She consistently demonstrates her intuitive ability to identify winning colours, fabrics, themes, trends and must-have items for each season. It is her incredible track record of “getting it right” that helped establish Holt Renfrew as one of the world’ s leading fashion and lifestyle destinations benchmarked amongst the best.
Atkin was named by Elle Canada as one of Canada’s Top 30 Power Women. According to the article, “If she says it’s in, it’s in.” Barbara has been a director of Tourism Toronto and today is a member of the advisory committee for the Fashion Design Counsel of Canada. She continues to mentor young adults in their pursuit of meaningful careers and is a guest lecturer at Ryerson University in Toronto and other consumer groups.
Although Atkin calls Toronto home, her role takes her to the fashion capitals of the world, namely Milan, Paris, New York, London and Los Angeles.
Jeanne BekerFashion Industry Icon
Jeanne's accomplishments are vast and varied including television and radio gigs.
She is perhaps most known as the host of FashionTelevision, which became a widely syndicated show, with viewers across Canada and in over 120 countries across the globe. The trailblazing series, which was in production until 2012, ran for a glorious 27 years!
In addition, Jeanne helped pioneer fashion on the Internet with American communications giant MCI, when she became editorial director of @fashion in 1995 – the web's first fashion site.
Jeanne wrote a column for Flare magazine for over 10 years, and was the editor-in-chief of FQ Magazine and SIR Magazine from 2003 to 2009, as well as a regular featured columnist with first, The National Post, and then The Globe and Mail. She was a contributing editor for the Toronto Star and The Kit for four years, and in 2015 returned to The Globe and Mail as a featured Style columnist.
She’s also a featured columnist with Toronto’s Post City Magazine, and contributes to a variety of lifestyle magazines, including The Globe’s Style Advisor, Air Canada’s En Route and Zoomer. She also co-executive produced the TV documentary series Cover Stories , which gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the business side of running her magazines.
Jeanne is a published author with 5 books to her credit, including her autobiographies “Jeanne Unbottled: Adventures in High Style” (Stoddart 2000) and “Finding Myself in Fashion” (Penguin 2010) She also published three books with the Tundra, the youth division of McLelland and Stewart: The Big Night Out; Passion for Fashion: Careers in Style; and Strutting It: The Grit behind the Glamour.
Jeanne is creative director of her own clothing line, EDIT by Jeanne Beker, as well an exclusive line of shoes and handbags for The Shoe Company. She recently launched her own namesake collection of clothes and accessories on The Shopping Channel last year, and is developing other fashion and lifestyle product lines under her own label. She is currently the Style Editor at The Shopping Channel, and hosts a regular series called “Style Matters with Jeanne Beker”.
Jeanne was also a judge on Canada's Next Top Model from 2006 to 2009, and a regular Style Correspondent for CTV’s Canada AM , The Marilyn Denis Show, and eTalk from 2010 to 2014. In the fall of 2014, Jeanne guest curated an exhibit at Toronto’s Design Exchange Museum, entitled The Politics of Fashion and The Fashion of Politics.
A frequent public speaker, Jeanne has been recognized by numerous organizations for her ongoing community involvement and influence in the fashion world, and has received awards from Fashion Group International, the Variety Club, and Women in Film and Television. She was presented with the Canadian Award of Distinction at the Banff International Media Festival in 2012, and in 2013, received the Special Achievement Screen Award from the Canadian Academy of Film and Television.Named one of Canada’s most powerful women by WXN—Women’s Executive Network, in 2014 Jeanne was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from CAFA, the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards.
Past Honorary Chair of Toronto’s Annual Fashion Cares, which ran for 25 years, Jeanne also currently sits on the honorary boards for Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, Women’s Brain Health Initiative and Dress for Success.
Jeanne received an honorary doctorate from St. Mary’s University in 2013, and was named to the Order of Canada in 2014. In 2016, she was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends by the American Marketing Association.
Bernadette MorraEditor-in-Chief, FASHION magazine
Bernadette began her career in fashion journalism in the ‘80s when she was a freelance writer for The Canadian Press, The Toronto Star and Flare magazine. She joined The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, in 1988 as fashion writer and was fashion editor from 1993 to 2008.
Over the span of her career, Bernadette has interviewed many of the world’s top designers, models and celebrities including Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Linda Evangelista, Daria Werbowy, Victoria Beckham, Isabella Rossellini and Audrey Hepburn to name just a few. Bernadette joined FASHION magazine in August 2009.
Odessa Paloma ParkerFashion Editor; The Globe and Mail
For three years she ran the magazine she co-founded, Plaid. The goal of Plaid was to be “inspirational, not aspirational” and to provide as much locally-focused content as possible. After closing Plaid, Odessa joined the artist agency Judy Inc. and worked as a freelance stylist and television commentator. She is also the founder of Vintage Crawl Toronto, a twice-yearly community event that celebrates vintage and antique retail.
Odessa is interested in creating dynamic projects and improving people’s lives through the power of style.
Harry RosenExecutive Chairman, Harry Rosen Inc.
Commitment to service through a superior staff training program, as well as the use of current technology, selection and presentation affords Harry Rosen a competitive advantage. Harry considers community service an integral part of a business career and in past years has been active in the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Special Olympics, Corporate Fund for Breast Cancer, Cancer Care Fund, Mt. Sinai Friends for Life Campaign, University of Western Board of Governors and the United Jewish Appeal as well as a three year term as Campaign Chairman of the Canadian Cancer Society for Metropolitan Toronto.
Currently he serves on the Mt. Sinai Board of Governors, Ryerson University’s Board of Governors, CAMH Campaign Cabinet and the Advisory Board of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine.
Harry was honoured with an Honourary Doctorate in Commerce from Ryerson University in October 2003; in January, 2004 was appointed as a Member to the Order of Canada and in 2012, Harry was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Harry is married with 4 children, 7 grandsons and two granddaughters, his children having established themselves professionally, with one son in the business, Harry is a long way yet from resting on his laurels.