TELUS Fund is recognized by the CRTC as a Certified Independent Production Fund. Thanks to the success of TELUS Optik TV with more than 1.1 Million customers in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec, TELUS Fund has committed over $25M to more than 100 projects since 2013.
Independent Director, residing in West Vancouver, B.C.
Nini Baird has for more than 25 years shared her expertise with TELUS Corporation. She was founding member, then chair, TELUS New Media and Broadcast Fund Board (1998-2004); founding Chair TELUS Vancouver Community Board (2005-2019); founding chair, TELUS Fund (2013-). In 2014 she was named a TELUS Legend for her contributions to these start-up initiatives.
She is immediate past Chair, Knowledge Network Corporation Board, on which she served for 12 years. She is a former Chair, British Columbia Arts Council, and for 19 years board member of British Columbia Film (now Creative BC). Her BC post-secondary career included senior arts leadership positions at Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr College (now University) of Art and Design and Open Learning Agency/Knowledge Network.
Nini is a member of the Order of Canada. Her awards and recognition include Canada 150 Women (2017) Honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University (2015), , recognition as one of Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network (2013), and Keith Kelly Award for Cultural Leadership from Canadian Conference of the Arts (2006), and President’s 40th Anniversary Award from Simon Fraser University for her lifetime of devotion to the arts and leadership in the creation of their School for the Contemporary Arts (2005).
Board Vice-Chair (Independent Director, residing in Richmond, BC)
Nelson currently serves as on the boards of Providence Health Care, the Providence Residential & Community Care, and the Richmond Hospital Foundation. Previously he has also served as a member the TELUS Vancouver Community Board.
Nelson’s career at TELUS began as a finance trainee. After 35 years of service he was named a TELUS Legend and retired from the position of Senior Vice President Finance – TELUS and CFO – TELUS International. Prior roles at TELUS included Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller. Nelson was involved in the conversion of TELUS’ accounting standards and requirements, leading the successful implementation of control processes and providing extensive financial support to mergers and acquisitions. He was also the Executive Sponsor for TELUS’ Finance Management Development Program, which over the course of 10 years developed finance talent and was recognized as a training office for Chartered Accountants in three provinces.
TELUS Representative, residing in Vancouver, BC, and responsible for representing Official Language Minority Community in funding decisions
Michel Belec is Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary of TELUS International. He leads an international team of legal professionals dedicated to value-add strategic support on corporate, commercial and investment transactions. He provides tactical legal advice to TELUS’ international business units seeking to create outstanding customer outcomes in the business market segment.
Michel also oversees best practices for our Corporate Secretariat office and is a trustee of TELUS’ co-managed pension plan and a director on various TELUS pension related boards and committees. Michel is a strong supporter of local charities and regular participant in the delivery of TELUS’ induction and learning programs.
Michel holds a BA from Simon Fraser University and an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School. He is authorized to practice law in the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario and completed senior leadership training with INSEAD, the Rotman School of Management and the Schulich School of Business.
Nadine Cole is the former SVP & General Manager Western Canada and United States for Cossette Communications, a full-service Integrated Advertising Agency. At the heart of all strategy, creative, business development and operations, Nadine has serviced clients such as McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, TELUS, Sephora, TD Bank, General Mills and Walmart to name a few. With 25 years of experience, she has had the pleasure of partnering with top marketing leaders in some of the most challenging industries, guiding them through critical strategic and marketing decisions that have helped to deliver results.
In addition to her Advertising career, Nadine has served on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House BC/YK for six years and was a member of the National Cossette Executive Leadership Team and V7 Executive Leadership Team in Vancouver. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors of Picnic Labs in addition to the TELUS Fund Board. Nadine is an Angel Investor in early stage start-ups, and is the creator of ‘Empower’ an annual C-suite event developed to tackle topics challenging senior positioned women in Vancouver. Nadine is also a frequent speaker and panelist discussing the importance of company culture
“Dr. Mike” is a family doctor known for his work in innovative health messaging to the public. His media lab pioneered “peer to peer healthcare”, fusing patients with creators and experts to capture evidence-based stories and then imbed them in the relationships of care. His Whiteboard series on YouTube that has been viewed by more than 12 million people.
He had a radio show on CBC’s Fresh Air, was a doctor at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and started a Med School for the Public at the University of Toronto. His work has been profiled in JAMA, BMJ, Walrus, Readers Digest, and on the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black”. Recent awards include the top 10 innovators in health by the Canadian Medical Association, top 45 Canadians over 45, and the Gold medal in social media at the Web Health Awards.
In 2014, he was given the first worldwide endowed chair in Patient Engagement (and Childhood Nutrition) at the University of Toronto and awarded the McNeil Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of outstanding communication of science and medicine to the public.
Carissa McCart is the Director of TELUS Studios. She leads a national video, design, photography, and digital production team that produces and creatively supports product, service and narrative-based marketing campaigns for TELUS. Carissa and her Studios team are passionate stewards of the TELUS brand and avid storytellers focused on the company’s world-leading social purpose efforts.
Carissa comes from a writing and communications background. Prior to joining TELUS in 2006, she worked in educational marketing for the Knowledge Network and the Open Learning Agency for a decade, inspiring in her a lifelong love of community-supported broadcasting and nurturing new voices in creative storytelling.
Carissa holds a BA from the University of Victoria. She is also on the board of the National Screen Institute, the only national training organization in Western Canada for writers, directors and producers in film, television and digital media.
Andra Sheffer is the former CEO of the Independent Production Fund which invests in scripted short-form drama series (web series) created for digital platforms and television drama series (1991-2019). She was also the founding Executive Director of the Bell Fund (1997-2014) which supported interactive digital media projects associated with Canadian television programs. In retirement, she is an advisor, mentor, project evaluator and supporter of the Canadian film/tv/digital industry.
Previously, she was the founding Executive Director of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television producing the annual Genie and Gemini Awards (now the Canadian Screen Awards). She has lectured on the business of television and digital media and is the editor of various publications about the business.
She also served as Managing Director of TIFF, with the federal government as a Certification Officer setting up the original CAVCO office (and Canadian content “point” system), and at the Film Festivals Bureau promoting Canadian films internationally. She has been awarded the Digital Media Trail Blazer award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the Champion of Digital Innovation Tribute at Merging Media, an Award of Excellence by the Digi Awards, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Youth Media Alliance, the IWCC’s Trailblazer Award and has been inducted as an Industry Builder into the Playback Hall of Fame.
Jack Shute is a partner of ‘The&Partnership’, an internationally renowned communications agency, and General Manager of ‘The Greenhouse’. Jack an integrated communications leader, overseeing teams who bridge the worlds of creativity, strategy, media and data. He has worked with a wide range of clients in the UK, Canada, the US and Japan including TELUS, Lexus, Nissan, Sony PlayStation and many others.
Jack has been closely involved with the strategy and execution of the Social Purpose mission at TELUS, from macro communications, to rolling up his sleeves at many TELUS Days of Giving events. He is based in Vancouver, with his wife and two young children, and is passionate at giving back to the wider Canadian community that welcomed his family with open arms after their move from the UK.
Since October 2019, Benoit has led GoCo, a new disruptive Canadian company that brings next-generation business communications solutions to market. It operates as an independent carrier, but is part of the TELUS family.
Benoit has 23 years of experience in the telecommunications industry where he has held leadership positions in Marketing as well as Customer Solutions targeted to Business clients. He also played a key role in developing TELUS’ business strategy in Canada – notably in building its presence in Quebec and facilitated numerous mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining GoCo, he was responsible for national business product development and marketing at TELUS.
Benoit holds a marketing degree from Université Laval and completed senior executive training programs at Paris’ INSEAD and the Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Cercle des présidents du Québec (Quebec Council of Presidents) marketing network. He also sits on the board of Numana and is a member of its Executive Committee.
Dr. Thomas Ungar is the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital of the Unity Health Toronto and Associate Professor University of Toronto with clinical and health leadership experience as a family physician, addiction medicine provider and psychiatrist. He is a thought leader using human centered design to improve quality of care addressing Equity and systemic implicit bias of Mental Health and Substance use disorders as part of the Mental Health Commission of Canada structural stigma research team. He is an award winning educator, communicator and creator of the YouTube webseries Think You Can Shrink?
Elizabeth Friesen delivers the Executive Director responsibilities of the TELUS Fund overseeing finance, administration, operations and program design. Elizabeth is also a certified Project and Change Management Professional who brings more than 25 years of senior leadership experience to her consulting engagements.
She has applied a proven set of tools and techniques to the implementation of a renewed medical education curriculum at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, analysis of distributed education alternatives for the Province of Alberta, and the launch of a new channel for Knowledge Network. Elizabeth has also facilitated meetings and built consensus for change at organizations such as Langara College and the Canadian Media Producers Association. Former senior positions include Chief Operating Officer at Telefilm Canada where she led English, French and International Operations and was responsible for a +$100M portfolio of media investments.
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