Vicky Milner, President
Vicky Milner is a distinguished entrepreneur with extensive experience in an array of industries including fashion retail, music, entertainment, and nonprofit management. An avid philanthropist with over 10 years experience in the event business; Vicky has founded and executed many large-scale events for notable brands, including Universal Music Group and the Herbie Fund. Vicky’s strong business acumen, passionate outlook on the fashion industry, and belief in celebrating Canada and its amazing talent makes her an exceptional leader for CAFA.
Brittney Kelleher, Founding Director
Brittney Kelleher is a dedicated philanthropists, capital markets professional, and business of fashion enthusiast. She began her career in the investment business working at Summerhill Capital Management, a well-respected asset management firm specializing in global equities; and subsequently moved to the sell-side where she spent 3 years working in Institutional Equity Sales and Trading, covering all sectors of the Canadian equity markets. Currently, Brittney works at an Executive-level position at the Bank of New York Mellon in Corporate Trust. In 2009, Brittney published her first non-profit fashion and philanthropy magazine, which served as the Founding of The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards. Currently, Brittney serves as the President and Publisher of Canadian Fabric, an annually-distributed fashion and cultural magazine, and has played leadership roles in some of Toronto’s premier events in support of The Herbie Fund, Oolagen Youth Mental Health, The Toronto Public Library Foundation; and currently leads Le Grand Bal in support of The Covenant House.
Michael Monaco, Director of Business Development
Michael has a long-standing career spanning of over 25 years of investment experience in Private Equity, the Hedge Fund industry, Capital Markets, M&A and Financial Management. He has worked for 3 of Canada’s top tier banks and was a managing partner in an international hedge fund. Michael brings a vast amount of experience to our team working with numerous companies in corporate strategy, structure and business development.
Donna Bishop, Director of Programming
Donna Bishop is an accomplished entrepreneur, dedicated consumer and producer of engaging content, and passionate advocate for the fashion industry. Her background spans the fashion, beauty and media industries. In 2009 she founded Green Beauty, Canada’s first online boutique dedicated to skincare and cosmetics that were made with natural ingredients yet had the performance of professional products. She has been featured as a expert in beauty or entrepreneurship in numerous media outlets including: The Marilyn Denis Show, E! Canada, Best Health Magazine, NOW Magazine, Green Heroes (TVO), Coming Clean (Smithsonian Channel), Cosmo TV, The Globe and Mail, InStyle Magazine, The MomShift (Random House) and numerous blogs. In 2010 Donna founded and was executive editor of Bamboo Magazine. She is also a trained focus group facilitator, is a board member of the Toronto Chapter of Fashion Group International and holds a BA from Queens University in Film Studies and Art History.
ZOÏ Agency – Strategic PR Planning and Media Relations, Maria Varvarikos, President and Founder
Founded in 2000 by Maria Varvarikos, ZOÏ (‘life’ in Greek) was established with the vision to help bring brands to life in creative ways. With offices in New York, Montreal and Toronto, this boutique agency offers each client full North American support and global public relations services.
Maria Varvarikos has more than 20 years of public relations and marketing experience. Prior to founding ZOÏ Agency in 2000, Maria served as the Director of Promotions for Ocean Drive Magazine. Inspired to establish her own enterprise in order to fully engage her passion for brands, Maria launched ZOÏ Agency to great success.
Maria and her team have been an integral part of the successful launches and branding initiatives behind top fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle brands such as, WANT Les Essentiels, Maison Kitsuné, H&M, Tiffany & Co., KORRES, and more.
Deborah Lau-Yu, Director of Graphic Arts
Deborah Lau-Yu is a passionate storyteller and award-winning graphic designer. She holds a Masters of Design (MDes) and is the founder & art director of PALETTERA Custom Correspondences, a boutique design firm & production studio specializing in luxury event invitations and identity design, servicing an exceptional global clientele. Deborah’s passion for establishing Canadian cultural sovereignty in design & art has led her team to create iconic designs for many great events: the David Foster Miracle Gala, the launch of the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards, Toronto Fashion Incubator’s 25th Gala, Ford Lincoln’s MKZ launch, Bayer’s 150th anniversary, and Suzanne Rogers Presents
Lisa Kisber, Director of Video Content and Style Correspondent
While Lisa Kisber’s career started in law (she has dual law degrees from McGill University) her love of fashion, marketing and content has come to the forefront with a focus on digital content, journalism and branding.
Lisa has a passion and an acumen for all things related to content and digital marketing, having worked with national and international clients like the FDCC, tiff, Boxycharm, GLOSSYBOX, Marcelle, Annabelle, Boxing Fan Expo, Liquid Nutrition and more. She has also recently taught digital marketing at Seneca College.
She has appeared regularly as a style and beauty expert on television and radio, such as E! Talk, Rogers Daytime, The Shopping Channel, and Virgin Radio Toronto. She has written for major publications, such as the Toronto Star, Men’s Health and Maxim, and created extensive digital content for clients like Le Chateau and Askmen. She appears monthly as the Style and Beauty Correspondent for Global Montreal and has a weekly on-air segment as the Style Expert on Virgin Radio.
Qasim Mohammad, Innovation Advisor
Qasim Mohammad is a Toronto-based technology entrepreneur with an expertise in the psychology of how people buy and sell. Previously he was a member of the investment team at OMERS Ventures – the venture capital division of OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds with over $85 billion in net assets. While at the firm, he focused on software deals and the digital commerce sector, and supported such portfolio companies as Shopify, Jobber, Hootsuite, and Wattpad. Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Qasim was a member of the operations team at Pivotal Software, where he worked directly with startups and Fortune 500 businesses on their strategic mobile app development, PaaS, and big-data initiatives. Qasim enjoys supporting organizations and programs that foster the discovery of scientific and creative arts talent in Canada, and frequently contributes his thoughts on the latest trends in technology and entrepreneurship to such publications as The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, TechCrunch, and The Business of Fashion.