Conference Curator: Kelly Lynne Ashton, Screen-based media consultant
Trained as an entertainment lawyer, Kelly Lynne Ashton has been working in the Canadian film, television and digital media industries for over twenty years. She has worked as a business affairs executive in several Toronto television production and distribution companies, including Atlantis Films Limited and the Owl Group of Companies. Kelly Lynne then entered the world of digital media to act as Senior Producer at children’s web studio Big Orbit Inc. While at Big Orbit she also developed, managed and marketed the online youth research company Reactorz. She has also worked in government relations and media policy as Director of Policy at the Writers Guild of Canada. Kelly Lynne is currently bringing together the different strands of her career in the Canadian media industries – legal, business, marketing and research – and providing consulting services to clients in all areas of the industry including Interactive Ontario, the Bell Fund, Shaw Rocket Fund, and acting as Programming Consultant for CMPA’s Prime Time in Ottawa 2015.
IO thanks the following professionals for their invaluable support and input during the creation of GameON: Ventures 2016.
Sasha Boersma – Co-founder/Producer, Sticky Brain Studios
Sasha’s 15-year career in Canadian screen-media industries has spanned across game studios, television producers, funding agencies, and academia. Sasha is Co-Founder/Producer at Sticky Brain Studios, where she responsible for project management and business affairs. Since 2013, Sticky Brain Studios has developed over 25 games and apps for clients ranging from television broadcasters to health tech to not-for-profits. Their first independent game, Loki’s Castle, will be released for iOS and Android devices in 2016.
She is also contract faculty at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre where she teaches post-graduate courses on accounting, marketing, business and entrepreneurship to future interactive media, games, and television producers. Previously, Sasha worked on a number of interactive digital media projects as a freelance Producer / Business Analyst where her clients included both game studios and television production companies. She started her career at the Bell Fund, then moved to marblemedia where she held various posts in business affairs and produced award-winning interactive projects.
Sasha currently sits on the WIFT-Toronto Board of Directors and the OMDC IDM Industry Advisory Committee. She is also a member of Interactive Ontario and Dames Making Games.
Sabrina Carmona – Producer, King
Sabrina Carmona has worked as a Producer for 7 years now, focusing on mobile F2P mid-core titles. She has worked with teams from all over the world in several countries and is passionate about working with people from different cultures. She is now working at King, in Sweden, but has lived in Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Germany.
Valerie Fox – Chief Innovation Consultant, The Pivotal Point
Valerie Fox, cofounded the DMZ at Ryerson University. She was responsible for its opening and development for these last 6 years. The DMZ has grown to become North America’s number 1 university business incubator and number 3 in the world (UBI Global 2015).
She has now started a new venture called The Pivotal Point, which helps build successful incubation models with corporations, academic institutions and regions, and brings communities of diverse skills together to collaborate, design and deliver impactful innovation.
Vikas Gupta – CEO, Big Blue Bubble
Vikas Gupta is a charismatic leader who defines himself as a seasoned executive with an entrepreneurial DNA. He has an insatiable passion for start-ups and emerging growth companies and lives by the philosophy that the right corporate culture combined with innovative strategy can ignite exponentialism. Vikas is the of CEO of Big Blue Bubble, the largest independent mobile gaming company in Canada and ranking among the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the nation. Prior to Big Blue Bubble, Vikas was the CEO of TransGaming, a global leader in the cross platform deployment of video games and the delivery of video games to Smart TV. He is now Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Vikas enjoys venturing beyond his own industry and is an advisor, mentor, investor, board member to many organizations from innovative start-ups to not-for-profit organizations such as Interactive Ontario, The McLuhan Festival, Prince’s Charities Canada, MaRS, and serves as an advisor on the Ontario Premier’s digital media roundtable and is on the digital media advisory board for the Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism & Sport. Vikas is also a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO) and is on the YPO Toronto Chapter board. Vikas is a proud alumnus of the University of Waterloo. He can be found @vikaskgupta or LinkedIn: vikasgupta2010.
Christian Latour – Product Manager, SHG Studios
Christian began working in the video game industry in 2001. He was directly involved in the development, production and launch of five titles over thirteen years as Game Designer at BattleGoat Studios in Hamilton. Christian helped establish feature road-maps and project timelines to meet contractual obligations from publishers as well as fulfill the role of Customer Service Manager, supporting the studio’s community to increase acquisitions and cross marketing between titles. Joining SHG Studios in 2014 has given Christian the chance to gain experience in the Free2Play market on both mobile and web. His contributions have included marketing, game design, third party relations and customer relations management.
Heather Steele – Director of Communications, Ubisoft
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.
William Volk – CCO Playscreen, CMO Tricerat
William Volk, CCO Playscreen, CMO Tricerat. His video game career spans 30+ years, starting with “Conflict 2500” (Avalon Hill) in 1980. Notable works include “The Pyramid of Peril” (Aegis), “The Return to Zork” (Activision), “Word Carnivale” (PlayScreen) and “Stick Figure Movie Trivia” (PlayScreen). Volk served as VP of Technology at Activision. William has worked in mobile gaming since 2000.