Board Members & Staff

WIFT+ Toronto Board Members

Argie Eliopoulos, Chair
Director, Partnerships and Events, Canadian Film Centre (CFC)

Argie Eliopoulos joined the CFC in 2008 and currently serves as Director of Partnerships and Events. In this role, Argie is responsible for negotiating corporate partnerships and designing, implementing and coordinating sponsorship strategies.

Prior to joining the CFC, Argie managed major public and private events in Toronto; she was the Events Manager of L’Oréal Fashionweek, Director of Events of the Greek Film Retrospective, and managed other various conferences, tradeshows and corporate events.

She holds a certificate in Events and Meeting Management from George Brown and a Business Communication Certificate from the University of Toronto. Argie is an active CANFAR entertainment advisory committee member, and is a currently a part-time instructor at George Brown College (Event Sponsorship & Fundraising and Event Leadership & Human Resources).

Barbara Escoto, Vice Chair
VP, Content Platforms, Bell Media

As VP, Content Platforms, Barbara Escoto is responsible for guiding Bell Media’s technology and customer experience strategies for all platforms, including English and French entertainment, sports, news, and audio products, and overseeing discoverability and engagement optimization across all platforms. Under her leadership, Escoto and her team identify and pursue opportunities to enhance Bell Media’s direct to consumer offerings and partnerships by leveraging data to deliver the most relevant content to viewers across Canada.

Formerly Vice-President, Digital Products, Escoto oversaw all aspects of Bell Media’s multi-platform audience experience, while maximizing engagement opportunities in the ever-evolving media landscape to find creative ways to connect audiences with content they love and trust.

Sundra Sefa, Treasurer
Chartered Professional Accountant, CPA, CGA

Sundra Sefa is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) who is committed to growing her voice in championing women through various community work. As an accountant, a creative and an entrepreneur, she's worked in various roles in finance/accounting, written for online platforms, wardrobe styled individuals and media productions, started two companies in and outside of the country, as well as sits on boards as Treasurer and Executive Council member. As a left and right brained individual, she intends on growing and merging her creative work with empowering others in achieving financial and operational objectives.

Sundra feels privileged to join the WIFT organization as Treasurer and Board member and looks forward to contributing to the social and financial success of the organization.

Terry E. Markus, Secretary
Lawyer, Independent Business & Legal Affairs Consultant

Terry E. Markus is an independent lawyer/consultant providing business & legal affairs services to the entertainment, broadcasting and screen-based media industries for over 30 years. She is also part-time faculty at Humber College, Faculty of Media + Creative Arts, Toronto Canada, teaching Entertainment Law & Ethics.

In addition, Terry is currently executive producing the feature-length dramatic films “Cidic” and “Concession Nine”, and executive produced the feature-length dramatic film “Happy F’K’IN Sunshine” (2020) (premiering at the 2022 Dances With Films Festival) and the feature-length documentary about youth mental health “Connecting The Dots” (2020) (Hot Docs – Bell Let’s Talk Workman Arts Series 2021); and, the dramatic short “Fearfully & Wonderfully MADE” (2018) and the documentary short “Chasing the Lion” (2016), about Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders. Terry also co-executive produced the feature length film “SUCK” (TIFF 2009) (Whistler Film Festival Audience Award 2009); and co-produced the dramatic short “DNA” (TIFF 2003).

Terry is a member of the Board of Directors of Women in Film & Television – Toronto (Secretary) and the Reelworld Screen Institute (Secretary).

Tracy Alves
Director, Strategic Partnerships & Engagement, William F. White International Inc.

Tracy Alves is the Director, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement for William F. White International Inc. (WFW). She has enjoyed a 24-year career at the company where, over the years, she has directly supported and led the marketing department, planned and executed multiple events, and cultivated long lasting industry relationships and partnerships.

In her current role as Director, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, Tracy strives to find opportunities and resources to support film and television creatives in their careers by bringing like-minded people and groups together to contribute to the overall industry. She ensures WFW is constantly expanding its outreach to various communities across Canada.

Sara Chan
Associate General Counsel, Head of Technology, Legal Operations and Rights Management, Corus Entertainment

Sara Chan is a media and entertainment lawyer with Corus Entertainment. She started her career in television production, working on productions like Canadian Idol and MTV Live, and, following a brief stint on Bay Street, happily returned to the media world as in-house counsel at Corus. She has acted as a key legal and strategic advisor across many areas of the business, including original programming, content acquisition and distribution, technology, operations, and media rights management.

She is also an active voice in promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry, serving as a member of Corus’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, as well as a Steering Committee member of Corus’ Asian employee resource group.

Jennifer Chen
Head of Studios, VP Content, Channel Zero Inc.

Jennifer Chen is VP of Content at Channel Zero Studios managing development and original production. She works with Canadian talent in feature-length and episodic content. Jennifer was formerly the VP of Programming for the suite of Channel Zero networks. She began her film and television career in international sales at the CFC and later at Ouat Media.

Jennifer was formerly the Chair of the Board at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. She has a passion for bringing people together and fostering an environment for mentorship. She holds an international MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern and Schulich School at York and a BA in film from the University of Waterloo.

Tanya Green
Head of Preschool, Mainframe Studios

Two-time Emmy Award winning producer, Tanya Green, has been working in the animated arena for over 15 years. In that time, she has overseen and managed many projects from development to final delivery for broadcasters and streaming services all over the world.

Tanya fell in love with animation while working on the Atomic Betty and managing other series at Breakthrough Films. As VP Production at Brown Bag Films (a 9 Story Company), she produced hundreds of hours of animated television including both the Emmy Award winning preschool series Peg + Cat and Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood for PBS, as well as rebooting such legacy properties as The Magic School Bus Rides Again for Netflix.

In her current role as Head of Preschool for Mainframe Studios, she develops and produces content for the young and young at heart audiences. Before becoming smitten with animation, Tanya worked on a number of performing arts projects, dramatic series, feature films and documentaries for various broadcasters in Canada.

Umber Hamid
CEO & Partner, BoomBox Sound

With over 20 years of experience, Umber Hamid is an award-winning leader in the field of music and sound production. As the CEO and Co-Founder of BoomBox Sound, one of North America’s top music and sound production companies, her team has secured the industry’s most preeminent clients including SNAP, Jam3, Procter & Gamble, Toyota,Kellogg’s, Bayer, Bombardier Recreational Products and others.

For several years running, BoomBox's work has won some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, including One Show (2020) Canadian Screen Award (2020) Cannes Lions (2017), The Marketing Awards (2016), and the London International Awards(2016), among others.

Umber is an enthusiastic mentor, constantly striving to share her knowledge with emerging women in the industry.

Laura Heath Potter
Head of Communications, Canada, Paramount Streaming

Laura Heath Potter is Head of Communications, Canada, Paramount Streaming as well as an emerging Independent Producer currently cultivating and working with emerging writers and directors developing and writing both scripted and factual original content. In her role at Paramount she oversees the Paramount+ and Pluto TV communications strategy and execution.

With more than twenty years of film and television communications experience, Heath Potter was previously the Director of Communications for Bell Media’s CTV Networks. Overseeing publicity for CTV’s acquired, in-house and original Canadian programs, Social PR and talent relations. Previously, Heath Potter worked for Odeon Films, Corus Entertainment and The Toronto International Film Festival.

Sharon HINDS
Manager, Rogers Sports & Media, All IN

Sharon HINDS is a passionate true authentic inclusive leader with over 25 + years of International & Canadian career experience. Sharon currently leads the Rogers Sports & Media All IN Inclusion and Diversity Initiative.

Accomplishments: Radio scholarship from Canadian Women in Communications (1995); Management in the launch of niche Radio markets: CISS 92.5FM, FLOW 93.5FM & in G98.7FM; Award recipient of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women (2020); Ted Rogers Employee of the Year for Safe Talk Sessions (2020); Ted Rogers Employee of the Year Award (2020); Ted Rogers CEO Award (2020)

Mentoring: Reelworld Film Festival E20 program, Dr. Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women, YMCA Black Achievers program and the Toronto Regional Immigration Employment Centre.
Board Member: Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)

Julie Kumaria
SVP, Marketing & Content Distribution, Hollywood Suite

Julie Kumaria is the SVP, Marketing & Content Distribution at Hollywood Suite. She oversees the following areas: marketing, creative, social media, partnerships, advertising, affiliate relations and on-air promotions. Julie was Supervising Producer on the documentary Ferris’s Room, and Executive Producer of Hollywood Suite’s original series, A Year in Film and A to Z.

Julie served as the President of CTAM Canada (2018-2020) and has been on the Advisory Board for The Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema since 2014. As an advocate for women’s advancement, Julie won the Women in Communications (WCT) award for Mentor of the Year in 2016. In 2017, Julie was awarded the CTAM U Fellowship Award to attend CTAM U at Harvard Business School.

Julie led Hollywood Suite’s WIFT Toronto campaign to raise money and awareness for women in the screen-based industry for 3 years and the WIFT Indigenous Writers Program for 2 years. Julie has served two years on the WIFT Toronto Foundation Board and is the current Co-Chair of the Engagement Committee for the WIFT Toronto Board.

Karthiga Ratnasabapathy
Head of Video, Apple

Karthiga is a highly distinguished professional with over two decades of experience in the film and television industry. She has held pivotal roles leading top distribution companies while mastering all aspects of the industry.

Currently, as Head of Video at Apple TV in Canada, Karthiga provides strategic leadership in overseeing transactional business, channels business, and Apple TV+. Previously, she served as Vice President of Sales at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Vice President of Acquisitions and Sales at Tricon Films and Television.

Karthiga held the role of chair at the Reel Asian Film Festival for four years. Karthiga's reputation as an industry leader in Canadian and global markets, backed by her MBA from the Richard Ivey School, has made her a highly respected and accomplished leader with an impressive track record of delivering exceptional results.

Anne Schneerer
Associate Vice President, National Bank of Canada

Anne Schneerer has over 25 years of experience in banking. She joined the Creative Industries Group at The National Bank of Canada in 2002 as an Account Manager.

In 2017, Anne was promoted to Associate Vice President for the Creative Industries Group in Ontario and Western Canada, heading the teams outside of Quebec.  Anne has been involved in over $300 million in financings throughout her career at The National Bank. 

Previously, Anne worked at CIBC World Markets in both Loan Syndications and Corporate Real Estate. She holds a BA in Art History from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and an MBA with a specialization in Finance from the University of Toronto. 

In her spare time, Anne loves to ski, cook, visit museums and art galleries, watch sad European films and travel.

Karen Walton
Screenwriter/Executive Producer, Inkling Entertainment Inc.

Karen Walton is a film and television writer and Creative Executive Producer. A Film Writing graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, Karen holds a BA-Honours in Drama from the University of Alberta and was the 2016 Showrunner in Residence for the CFC’s Bell Media Prime Time TV program.

She is known as the writer of Ginger Snaps. Her credits include Orphan Black, Queer As Folk, Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story, and the true-life rape culture saga, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe. Karen founded the public online community known as inkcanada.

Awards include: Margaret Collier Award for Screenwriting, Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny Screenplay, a Canadian Screen Award for Best Dramatic Series, the Banff Media Festival Fellowship Alum Award, a Women In Film and Television’s Crystal Award, ACTRA-Toronto’s Nell Shipman Award and the Writers Guild of Canada’s Writers Block Award.

WIFT+ Toronto Staff

Karen Bruce
Executive Director, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Anyone that has met me knows my love for animals. So how did someone from the travel industry that decided to use that degree to go backpacking around the world come home to work at Toronto Hydro in real estate law end up at with a job at WIFT? Great question, and the answer is my love for storytelling.

It started with a position volunteering and ended as a Director supporting our Canadian screen-based industry, which is something I am most proud of to date. 20 years later I am still doing what I can to support, elevate and celebrate Canada's rich, diverse, and amazing storytellers.

That being said, do not offer me a job at an animal sanctuary – I might jump ship to go save as many animals as possible!

Laurie Januska
Director of Programming, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Laurie’s 25+ years of in-depth experience in the feature film, television and screen-based industry has prepared her for almost anything, scripted or improvised. Her experience climbing the ranks at respected industry membership organizations saw her creating professional development programming for the full range of creative workers, from entry level to career veterans, in an ever-changing work environment.

As a high school cheerleading champ, she had no idea how much those skills would influence her career – supporting and encouraging the team, planning and leading the charge, occasionally lifting people over her head while executing synchronized footwork and singing exuberantly.

When not at work, Laurie enjoys photographing live bands, performing in her musical duo "Sid & Antsy", and watching horror movies - LOTS of horror movies!

 

Abigail Brockhouse
Membership & Engagement Manager, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Abby spent the first few years of her life wandering around backstage at various theatres with her dad and playing in the hallways of the old CBC building in Toronto. Many days were “bring your kid to work” days. She was hooked on the arts from day one and can be seen dressed as Miss Piggy in a Halloween episode of Fraggle Rock.

A couple of decades later, Abby found herself working (and playing in the hallways) with Mirvish Productions, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In short, running membership programs is a way that she feels she can contribute to the arts without having to memorize any lines, or stand outside in the freezing rain on a film set.

In her spare time Abby enjoys watching classic films with her family, and horror films with her cat. Abby believes all dresses should come with pockets.

Caitlin Devon
Bookkeeper, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Caitlin Devon is a CPA and entrepreneur who focuses on serving the non-profit and creative industries through her company, Creative Clan. Caitlin has worked with various charities such as the Etobicoke Humane Society and Human Rights Watch Canada, as well as for-profit companies in private equity and marketing. She is also a content creator for digital finance companies, such as Loans Canada, Finder and Advisorsavvy.

Outside of her work, Caitlin is an avid lover of film and made her own short film in 2022 called Smoke Screen. She has also written various scripts which she hopes to produce someday.

Jennifer Dufton

Program Assistant, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Jennifer is an emerging industry professional and artist in the city, with a deep love of film.

After graduating from the University of Toronto with degrees in Cinema and Media Studies, she gained experience various film industry positions. She interned for production and management firm The Gotham Group, modelling agency Anita Norris Models, and worked as a production or costume assistant on various film and television sets.

You will likely find Jennifer playing music with her friends, and watching movies around the city!

Venessa Harris

Administrative Assistant, WIFT+ Toronto (she/her)

Venessa wanted to be an artist, but learned very early on that she had little to no artistic talent. Instead, she decided to study arts management, and help actual artists live their dreams. WIFT Toronto is the third art-focused, membership-based organization she's worked with since obtaining her degree.

In addition to helping you achieve your professional goals here at WIFT+ Toronto, Venessa is a Canadian Screen Award winning producer, not-yet-published author, and Weezer-enthusiast.

Simi Khosa
Communications & Social Media Coordinator, WIFT+ Toronto (they/them)

Simi Khosa is a communications and PR professional with a deep love for film and television that was solidified early in life.

Prior to WIFT+ Toronto, Simi worked at Cineflix and marblemedia. Before working in the entertainment industry, they interned at nonprofits such as Prosper Canada, Committee Against Women Abuse, and Peel Children’s Aid Society. They hold degrees in Gender and Media from the University of Toronto and Memorial University of Newfoundland.  

Simi’s best friend and WIFT Toronto member, Caitlin Kennific-Stephens once described them as a “mix of wild ambition with a will to survive absolutely anything, plus down to clown vibe.”

You will most often find Simi head bobbing at a concert near you or teaching their one-man horror course to the world (free of charge).