Catherine Dona

Catherine Dona

Creative Strategist & Copywriter

Once upon a time, Cathy’s fourth grade English teacher suspected her of turning in a plagiarized essay. To test if ten-year-old Cathy wrote the essay, the teacher pulled her aside and asked this question out of nowhere: “What’s the meaning of mediocre?” To which she confidently replied, “It means average, ma’am.” Shocked by her broad vocabulary, the teacher let Cathy live happily ever after since then. Perhaps the awards she won in several writing contests in those years convinced her too.

Today, Cathy doesn’t answer to teachers anymore but to brands. As a Creative Strategist and Copywriter, she makes sure that the words she uses to tell your brand’s story are never mediocre. But are words that win minds, hearts, and bottom-lines. She’s been in the game for nearly two decades having worked for multinational ad agencies such as Dentsu Philippines and Publicis Manila in her home country, and a few locally-owned across Oman, Dubai, and Singapore. She also once wore the hat of Online Content Director for GMA Network, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the Philippines.

Bringing her wordsmithing skills to AV Communications, her pen will not rest until every brand gets its happy ending as she did.


Jackie Costello

Jackie Costello

Senior Designer

Being creative is a central part of Jackie’s life. As AVC’s Senior Designer, she finds joy in solving problems and helping clients communicate their message through design in various formats. With over two decades of experience in corporate, print and publishing, she has developed a keen ability to listen and translate clients’ needs into products that effectively communicate and help them build their brands. She has worked with a wide range of brands, including KPMG, Western Union, Women & Money, Edmonton Pride Festival and Dräger Medical.

A student of life, Jackie’s love for learning never stops. When she is not working on creative work, she’s a part-time student pursuing a psychology degree to one day be an Art Therapist and use art not only as a way to communicate but also to help people heal. Travelling and immersing herself as much as possible in all mediums and forms of art and culture with her husband, large family, and two standard poodles are amongst her favourite things to do. She credits her curiosity and continuous learning as the secret ingredients to her endless ideas and creativity.


Gideon Lin

Gideon Lin

Gideon Lin

Business Development Lead, Western Canada

After working in countries around the world including the US, Israel and Costa Rica for the last 17 years with clients like HSBC, CIBC and Telus, Gideon has gained heaps of business development experience. He looks at it simply: it’s all about finding a solution to a problem. Now living in beautiful British Columbia since 2012 with his wife, Meg, and their two young daughters, Gideon is focused on helping us grow our client base in Western Canada. He loves watching soccer (but only the World Cup. Shhh, don’t tell Shah…) and the occasional black bear from his kitchen window (yikes!), and laughing with his wife and daughters. He says he can’t carry a tune so avoids singing in public at all costs, but (secretly) might be persuaded to belt out some of his favourite Leonard Cohen ballads, if, say, a karaoke night was to present itself out of the blue. We knew it! He’s our man.


Natalia Kushnir

Natalia

Natalia Kushnir

Account Executive

Natalia relishes working with AVC’s fashion and beauty clients, developing our relationships with companies like H&M, MAC, Guerlain, Clinique, and WINNERS, and making sure they have everything they need during campaigns and projects. And it’s no surprise, because Natalia is a designer herself and is on a constant hunt for unique and trendy pieces to add to her wardrobe. We bet one day Natalia will start her own fashion brand – and still find a way to do community work, which she’s also hugely passionate about. She travels to Israel a lot, touring historical sites, sampling the amazing food and chilling at the beach. We love her offbeat sense of humour, data junkie pride, dedication to efficiency and how she’s always coming out of left field with bits of knowledge, like quotes from Freakonomics or tips from Tim Ferriss; and unique ideas, like the importance of stylish spreadsheets and the health benefits of salad. That last one took a bit of getting used to.


Stephane Hu

Stephane Hu

Stephane Hu

Project Manager

If you want to get to know Stephane, you gotta go with him to an all-you-can-eat sushi place and a musical – not a Raptors or Leafs game. With an empty day and unlimited budget, he’d chose to spend it munching on Maguro or Sake Nagiri and being mesmerized by the sounds and spectacle of musical theatre (so it’s lucky he chose to move to Toronto from China a few years ago). And don’t think about bringing him to an insect zoo. Or an untidy house. But ask him to take on all he can to support a new client? He’s all over it. Stephane loves learning about every aspect of our marketing projects including understanding the client, getting a handle on the creative, exploring media and dabbling in business development. As AVC’s Project Manager, Stephane is in his element. Almost as much as he is at The Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables.


Steven Flores

Steven

Steven Flores

Advertising & Marketing Coordinator

A self-proclaimed geek, Steven will lull you into a false sense of security with his stories of playing video games until all hours, and how his best weekend includes sleeping in lots. But then he’ll casually mention the Japanese manga comic, Berserk, is one of his favourite books, he loves snowboarding and surfing, or that time he crashed the VIP section of a Linkin Park concert in California. Yup, Steven’s all about the yin and the yang. He’s on top of the world when he’s able to help his team reach their goals and gets to learn from new experiences along the way, yet he’ll be the first one to blast out Creep by Radiohead at karaoke. He’s a huge fan of Ben Parker, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, but he’s also a bit foot heavy when driving. He loves eating great food – and will buy some for a homeless person on the street all in the same day. Basically, Steven’s our man of mystery.


Abhinav Sood

Abhinav Sood

Abhinav Sood

Digital Project Manager

Abhi is keen on finding new ways to get work done. That’s part of what makes him such an amazing digital project manager. His face lights up when projects hit their marks, when he gets the chance to learn something new and make a difference – and then bring those lessons on to the next project. And he takes that sense of innovation to every part of his life. Abhi can’t think of anything he likes more than to head out the door and explore new places – in the city or around the world. He loves looking at things from different angles – all the time. He also loves watching all kinds of sports, any dish with chicken, and watching movies that push you beyond what you might think is possible, like Avatar or Inception. He’s a collector of gadgets and has lived in lots of different places on his own. And he’s always thinking of what’s next – next project, next vacation, and just what tomorrow will bring next.


Shirley Leng

Shirley

Shirley Leng

Finance and Accounting

As our fearless Finance and Accounting expert, you’d think numbers would be all Shirley thinks about. But she spends a bit of time each day thinking about food, too. Specifically, lunch (mmm, hot pot). Occasionally, what it would be like to be Elastigirl (maybe stretching her arm down the street to bring that hot pot back to the office quicker). Or her recent family trip to Banff, Alberta. But, mostly it’s numbers. Like telling us what we spent on printer toner and coloured markers this quarter. Or how much we earned from all those award-winning campaigns we launched last month. Or why a hot pot budget is so important to the well-being of all humans on the planet. Well those first two, for sure. That last one might just be all in Shirley’s head.


Nigel Louis D’Souza

Nigel Louis D’Souza

Digital & Content Marketing Specialist

Nigel’s very first job was selling ads in Rolling Stone magazine, which may be where he fell in love with working creatively. In fact, Nigel is the most thrilled when he sets his mind on thinking differently. Teasing out incredible ideas to help companies reach their audiences in innovative ways. Bouncing ideas off his teammates and running with the best ones. Finding the most fascinating solutions to develop our clients’ digital identities. He’s an adventurer on the weekends, too – doing stuff like rock climbing and cycling, while avoiding centipedes at all costs. If he could only eat one meal for the rest of his life, he’d choose burgers, hands down. Maybe while watching Fight Club. Or Reading The Alchemist. For Nigel, Batman is the coolest, but if he could have a superpower, he’d choose to make people laugh uncontrollably. Pretty cool, Nigel. Pretty cool.


Rachel Kwok

Rachel

Rachel Kwok

Media Planner

Rachel kicks butt when it comes to media planning for AVC client campaigns. We can’t think of anyone who’s better at getting into the heads and hearts of our target audiences to understand their behavior and habits, then meshing that with the best media mix to launch our clients’ brands into the stratosphere. She’s got loads of experience from digital and social roles in Toronto and Hong Kong including for Hearts & Science, Cue Digital, The Associated Press, and Maxus Global. After all that screen time, getting back to nature by going on hiking and backcountry camping trips to places like Ontario’s Arrowhead Provincial Park, is key for Rachel. Traveling with family to places, like Thailand, and trying new experiences with her friends, like finding great new Phō places, are also huge. Just don’t ask her to visit the tiger exhibit at the zoo. Or the Christmas Market in the Distillery District. One’s too scary. The other’s too cold.