Staff

MediaSmarts’ ability to deliver high-quality programs and resources is based on the expertise and dedication of the dynamic group of professionals listed here.

Kathryn Hill
Executive Director

Lynn Huxtable
Director, Development and Stakeholder Relations

Matthew Johnson
Director of Education

Kara Brisson-Boivin
Director of Research

Thierry Plante
Media Education Specialist

Julia Ladouceur 
Project Manager

Diane van Rens
Web Manager

Melinda Thériault
Marketing and Communications Assistant

Lisa Ursaki
Office Manager

MediaSmarts Bloggers

 

Staff Biographies

Kathryn Hill
Executive Director

Kathryn is pleased to join MediaSmarts, bringing extensive experience as senior leader in the voluntary sector. Kathryn has a Masters of Social Work (1992) from Carleton University, and a Master of Management Degree (2003) from McGill University. Her commitment to social justice has resulted in a career of over 25 years of service in the voluntary sector, serving in senior leadership roles at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, United Way Canada, HealthPartners Fund, Family Services Ottawa and its social enterprise, FSEAP Ottawa. Kathryn has extensive experience in building partnerships and collaborations, at the local, provincial and national level. In her work, Kathryn has focused on building healthy, relevant and resilient organizations.

Lynn Huxtable
Director, Development and Stakeholder Relations

Lynn provides consultation on strategic policy, planning and marketing within the areas of operations, sponsorship, membership and finance. In addition, she directs and manages licensing of MediaSmarts’ educational resources. Lynn brings a diverse range of skills, including marketing, communications, finance and administration, developed while working in the not-for-profit, film and television, and international development sectors.

Matthew Johnson
Director of Education

Matthew Johnson is the Director of Education for MediaSmarts, Canada’s center for digital and media literacy. He is the author of many of MediaSmarts’ lessons, parent materials and interactive resources and a lead on MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wired World research project. As an acknowledged expert in digital literacy and its implementation in Canadian curricula, Matthew is the architect of MediaSmarts’ Use, Understand, Create: Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian K-12 Schools. He has contributed blogs and articles to websites and magazines around the world as well as presenting MediaSmarts’ materials on topics such as copyright, cyberbullying, body image and online hate to parliamentary committees, academic conferences and governments and organizations around the world, frequently as a keynote speaker. He has served as on expert panels convened by the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Ontario Network of Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Services and others, consulted on provincial curriculum for the Ontario Ministry of Education, and been interviewed by outlets such as The Globe and Mail, BBC News Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Radio Canada International and CBC’s The National.

Kara Brisson-Boivin
Director of Research

Kara Brisson-Boivin is the Director of Research for MediaSmarts. Kara is responsible for the planning, methodology, implementation, and dissemination of key findings from original MediaSmarts’ research studies.  Kara also leads ongoing evaluations of all MediaSmarts’ research and programs. Kara completed her PhD in Sociology at Carleton in 2016 with a research focus on Indigenous criminal justice and the ethics of punishment. Before coming to MediaSmarts, Kara created a mentorship and certificate program for graduate students on career development in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Carleton. Kara also holds an appointment as an Adjunct Research Professor (2018-2023) in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. Kara brings to MediaSmarts: an in-depth knowledge of the research and program evaluation processes; extensive publication experience in international academic (peer-reviewed) journals, magazines, and research blogs; and a background in presenting research to key stakeholders at academic conferences, invited talks, panels, keynote addresses, and in webinars.

Thierry Plante
Media Education Specialist

As a French Education Specialist, Thierry is responsible for creating resources for educators, parents and community groups and for conducting outreach activities with French language schools, school boards, education ministries, and faculties of education and community organizations across Canada. Thierry is a former editor, translator and French language teacher and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from the University of Ottawa.

Julia Ladouceur
Project Manager

As Project Manager, Julia manages and coordinates the development of media education and awareness projects, initiatives and resources for MediaSmarts. Her responsibilities include assisting with project proposals, preparing and executing work plans, planning and maintaining budgets, and compiling reports. Julia previously worked for the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, as administrator of On the Identity Trail, a large multi-disciplinary research project. She holds an Honours B.A. in History.

Diane van Rens
Web Manager

As Web Manager, Diane is responsible for the administration, development and maintenance of MediaSmarts’ websites. Prior to MediaSmarts, Diane worked as Web Manager for CARE, an international aid and development organization, and as a Web Designer on numerous website projects within both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She brings with her many years of experience in website management, design, development and maintenance with training in design, multimedia and social media.

Lisa Ursaki

Office Manager

As Office Manager, Lisa provides support to Staff and the Board of Directors as well as ensuring the smooth functioning of the organization’s operations. She brings to MediaSmarts over twenty years of experience in administration, finance, and governance. Lisa formerly held positions as Assistant to the Department Chair at Concordia University, Manager of Finance and Administration for a public mining company, and Credit Officer for a Xerox Canada Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Concordia University.