Mentors

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 ATKIN
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BARBARA ATKIN

Trend forecaster and retail consultant
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BARBARA ATKIN

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 Beker
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Jeanne Beker

Fashion Industry Icon
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Born in Toronto, Jeanne Beker began her career in show business at the age of 16 and since then has never looked back. A mother of two daughters and fashion guru extraordinaire, today, Jeanne is one of the most iconic and influential women in the fashion industry both here at home and around the world.

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.





Natasha Koifman
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Natasha Koifman

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Natasha Koifman created NKPR in 2002 in order to combine her two passions: shining a spotlight on stories of substance and supporting causes that are making a difference around the world. Under Natasha’s guidance and leadership, NKPR has established itself as a highly-regarded full-service public relations, artist management and digital agency with offices in Toronto and New York, representing over 40 diverse national and international brands including Mulberry, TD, Scotiabank, Green Shield Canada, Thompson Hotel Toronto, Saje Natural Wellness, RUDSAK, DAVIDsTEA, PYA Brands, Freemark Apparel Brands and Shoes.com. Launching NK Artists in 2013, NKPR also manages strategic partnerships for high-profile personalities like David Drebin, George Stroumboulopoulos, Sophie Elgort and Drena De Niro.Winner of the 2015 WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award in the CIBC Entrepreneurs category, and selected as one of the most innovative people in North America by BizBash, Natasha is dedicated to social responsibility and giving back to those in need, believing that public relations can help forge meaningful relationships between the public and not-for-profit sector. She acts as Chair of the Board for Artists for Peace and Justice Canada, working with a star-studded board which includes founder and Academy Award-winning director Paul Haggis, as well as public figures like Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Javier Bardem, Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. Natasha has also championed cause-related initiatives for organizations like Best Buddies, Camp Oochigeas, Partners for Mental Health, MusiCounts, Paws for the Cause, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, Girls on the Run, and Can Fund.Recognized by the industry for her acute public relations expertise, her authoritative commentary on popular culture and her inherent fashion-forward sensibility, Natasha shares her voice as a public relations expert on Newstalk1010, contributes biweekly to the Huffington Post and provides regular pop-culture commentary on Entertainment Tonight Canada. As one of the first tastemakers to be featured on the internationally renowned fashion platform The Coveteur, her signature high-style aesthetic has been profiled in leading publications including FASHION, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Living, Chatelaine, NOW Magazine and many more.Natasha splits her time between homes in Toronto and New York City.
Bernadette Morra
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Bernadette Morra

Editor-in-Chief, FASHION magazine
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Bernadette Morra is the editor-in-chief of FASHION magazine, Canada’s #1 fashion and beauty 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 Parker
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Odessa Paloma Parker

Fashion Editor; The Globe and Mail
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Odessa Paloma Parker is the fashion editor at The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. She received an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and a Book & Magazine Publishing Certificate from Centennial College.

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 Rosen
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Harry Rosen

Executive Chairman, Harry Rosen Inc.
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HARRY ROSEN is Executive Chairman of Harry Rosen Inc., which operates a chain of 16 better menswear stores in the 7 major markets in Canada. Founded in 1954, Harry Rosen claims a 40% share of the better quality menswear market and in 2014, celebrated 60 years in business. Harry Rosen has become recognized for his innovative approach to menswear and has always anticipated change. His exciting, progressive stores and innovative advertising, along with the quality of service delivered, play an important role in their success.

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.
Michele Romanow
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Michele Romanow

Entrepreneur
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Michele is the Co-Founder of Snap by Groupon (previously SnapSaves), which was acquired by Groupon. Snap is a leading mobile coupon app backed by Groupon's 70M subscribers. She is a current Dragon on CBC's Dragons Den and this year WXN ranked her in the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Previously, Michele was the Co-Founder of Buytopia.ca, a Canadian ecommerce leader ranked the #3 on the Profit Hot 50 list of fastest growing companies and ranked #1 on Chatelaine's W100 list of fastest growing companies. She is a Forbes, "Millennial on a Mission", a finalist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. Michele was previously the Director of Strategy for Sears. Michele holds an engineering degree and an MBA from Queen's University where she received the Queen's Tricolour. She’s is a director on the board of Whistler Blackcomb (TSX: WB) and Shad Valley.
Shayne Stephens
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Shayne Stephens

Marketing Director, Saks Fifth Avenue Canada
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An award-winning writer, Shayne Stephens fell into marketing after spending a decade in the publishing arena. Since then, the ex-Winnipegger has held senior positions at NYGÅRD and Holt Renfrew before joining the Saks Canada team as Marketing Director in June. A known menswear influencer with a strong international network, Shayne is an innovative and creative thinker with an excellent understanding of contemporary culture, fashion and trends.
Suzanne Timmins
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Suzanne Timmins

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND FASHION DIRECTOR HUDSON’S BAY AND LORD & TAYLOR
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SUZANNE TIMMINSSENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND FASHION DIRECTOR HUDSON’S BAY AND LORD & TAYLOR Suzanne Timmins is Senior Vice President and Fashion Director of Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor. A seasoned fashion executive Ms. Timmins’ illustrious 30-year career has spanned diverse retail environments ranging from luxury retailers, department stores and mass consumer chains. Creating unique retail concepts is the foundation of her career and her ability to spot the new and the innovative readily lends itself to the discovery and acquisition of the best international designer labels. Her acute ability to determine what is relevant, current and fashionable contributes to a world-class shopping experience for Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor customers. Ms. Timmins led the design development of the highly acclaimed 2010 Olympic collection for Hudson’s Bay. She also pioneered the re-launch of Hudson’s Bay Company’s stripe collection and the recent revitalization of The Room, an internationally renowned mecca for luxury designer labels. A definitive voice of fashion, Ms. Timmins is a sought after source for the international fashion media and is also a trusted commentator on design and style. Suzanne is an advocate and nurturer of new design talent and sits on the jury of the Andam prize in Paris, the TFI New Labels competition and the nominating committees for the British Fashion Awards and CAFA awards.
Stephen Wong
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Stephen Wong

Proprietor/Designer GRETA CONSTANTINE
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Stephen Wong - proprietor/designer GRETA CONSTANTINEStephen Wong is co-proprietor and co-designer of GRETA CONSTANTINE, an accessible luxury line of women's wear based in Toronto, Canada. Since starting the line in 2006, it has rapidly accumulated a clientele of international socialites and celebrities. Stephen began his career as a costume designer working for Susan Dicks & Co. and has worked on such films as Mean Girls, American Psycho, Glitter, Hairspray and Chicago which won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Entirely self-taught, Stephen has developed his own techniques within draping and drafting. This year marks GRETA CONSTANTINE'S 10th anniversary and its first Paris Fashion Week presentation as an invited guest of the Chambre Symdicale De La Haute Couture.