BIPOC Mentorship Program

For the first time ever, The National Media Awards Foundation (NMAF) is launching a mentorship program to equip early- and mid-career BIPOC publishing professionals across Canada with the skills and support they need to succeed in industry-specific leadership positions by pairing them with a senior publishing professional. The goal of the program is to assist Canadian BIPOC publishing professionals in advancing the next stage of their career.

Mentees will learn directly from a senior publishing leader through collaborative one-on-one meetings on the specific subject area of their choice. Mentors will be Canadian senior industry leaders with at least 10+ years of experience, and will be NMAF award-winning creators or have award-winning publication experience. They will assist in developing the mentee’s leadership skills and identifying career goals and opportunities, while also sharing personalized guidance, publishing best practices and professional development opportunities.

Program Details

Applications open: January 3, 2022
Applications close: January 24, 2022

Mentorships will take place between February and March 2022. Exact start dates will be jointly determined and agreed upon by the mentor and mentee, and the mentorship must be completed by March 31, 2022. There is an eight-hour commitment to the mentorship for both mentors and mentees. Four to six of these hours will be spent together in one-on-one meeting(s), and the remaining hours may be spent as both the mentor and mentee see fit. 

In an effort to provide as much flexibility as possible for both the mentor and the mentee, the structure of the mentorship can be determined by the mentor based on the specified needs of the mentee, or as a collaborative process between the mentor and mentee. For example, participants can jointly decide on a single, full-day session or multiple sessions. Mentorship meetings can take place in-person, by telephone or virtually to accommodate geographic differences or possible COVID-19 restrictions.

On completion of the mentorship, both the mentor and mentee will be required to complete a brief individual survey to provide the NMAF with feedback about their experience and to help improve the program going forward. 

There are up to 13 mentorships planned for the 2022 program, eight of which are reserved for Ontario-based residents, and the remaining being for those outside of Ontario. 

Who is Eligible to Apply for a Mentorship?

The NMAF Mentorship Program is open to early- or mid-career publishing professionals who demonstrate a high degree of craft and promise within the magazine and digital publishing industry. Applicants must be based in Canada and identify as Black, Indigenous and/or people of colour. Applicants must also be 21 or older by January 3, 2021.

Participating mentees will also receive a free one-year LinkedIn Learning license, courtesy of the NMAF Mentorship Program. LinkedIn Learning is an online learning platform with over 16,000 video courses taught by experts in the field. The NMAF has partnered with LinkedIn Learning to make their courses available to mentees as part of the 2022 program.

How to Apply

Please download and complete the application form below and email it to the NMAF at by 5 p.m. (ET) January 24, 2022

You will be asked to:

  • Provide a brief outline of your experience and/or career to date
  • Briefly tell us:
    • About your career goals for the next year, and how a mentorship would help you reach those goals.
    • What you hope to gain from the mentorship. 
    • The main topic(s) and area(s) of publishing management in which you seek mentorship, and what you’d like your mentor to focus on. Areas of interest include (but are not limited to) operations and management, content development, and marketing and sales.

Mentorship applications will be reviewed by the NMAF with input from our Indigenous Community Consultant. Upon approval of a mentorship application, the mentee will be matched with a senior mentor who can help with the topic and goals they have identified. 

Applicants will hear back about the status of their application between February 7–11, 2022.

Participating Mentors

The NMAF is pleased to announce that the following senior publishing leaders are participating in the 2022 program as mentors:

Ish Aderonmu is a writer, law student and maker of #GoodTrouble. Ish has been recognized for his leadership acumen and potential for leadership and voice around traditional and non-traditional tables of influence in Canada. In 2020, he was named as a CivicAction Leadership Foundation Diversecity Fellow, a program designed to help rising leaders hone the skills and capabilities needed to build bridges across sectors. The fellowship program is award-winning and recognized for its ability to seek out and develop the future leaders of Canada. Ish believes that deeply personal stories can communicate a vision and a picture of the realities people face. These visions—as enablers of action—can be a helpful tool for social and political change. This is beautifully articulated in his award-winning piece, “They Called Me Prisoner 183645” which received Gold at the National Magazine Awards 2021. Ish has been featured in numerous national media outlets including the Toronto Star, Global News, CBC, and Toronto Life.

What you’ll learn: The power of storytelling and that deeply personal stories can communicate a vision and a picture of the realities people face, an understanding of how these visions — as enablers of action — can be a helpful tool for social and political change, and more!

Shireen Ahmed is a multi-platform sports journalist with CBC Sports, a TEDx speaker, mentor, and an award-winning sports activist who focuses on the intersections of racism and misogyny in sports. She is an industry expert on Muslim women in sports, and her research and contributions to this topic are immeasurable. She is co-creator and co-host of the “Burn It All Down” feminist sports podcast team. She teaches Sports Journalism and Sports Media at X University, in Toronto, Canada. She lives with her children and her cat.

What you’ll learn: Strategies to break down the mental barriers of imposter syndrome that affect BIPOC more than others and focus on the work, the ideas, and the vision; plus help with networking, pitching and developing story ideas, and more!

Arjun Basu has created content for brands as diverse as Air Canada, Bombardier, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Investors Group, Mercedes Benz, and many others for more than 20 years before starting his own marketing, brand and storytelling consultancy, arbaStrategies. He served on the board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation including two years as President. He works on a podcast, Middle of Everywhere, for The Solo Project, a media and research start-up exploring the new world of work, alongside the founding editor of Inc. magazine and the founding art director of Fast Company. He has spoken at marketing, media and content conferences around the world and is also an award-winning fiction writer. He lives in Montreal.

What you’ll learn: The realities of the magazine industry and the state of the media industry overall, the avenues open currently, how to build creative teams, how to build media brands, how to become the best at what you want to become, how to operate independently (if a freelancer) or how to become part of larger teams, how media works (and how it doesn’t), options within media that j-school (still!) doesn’t tell you about, the truth about money, how to work nicely with others and when you perhaps shouldn’t work so nicely, and more!

Deanne Gage is a Toronto-based editor and writer who has specialized in personal finance issues for more than two decades. She’s the editor of FORUM magazine, and a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail‘s Globe Advisor section of Report on Business. She is the former money makeover columnist for the Toronto Star. A recipient of several journalism awards, Deanne’s work has also appeared in Chatelaine, MoneySense,, Today’s Parent, and leading business-to-business publications.

What you’ll learn: How to hustle for business, strategies for coming up with story ideas and sources for those stories, the right way to pitch editors, interviewing techniques, overall strategies to be a successful sole proprietor and/or an editor/section editor for a magazine, and more!

Samia Madwar is the managing editor of The Walrus. Before joining The Walrus, she worked at Up Here magazine, based in Yellowknife, for three years, where she learned how to balance meeting deadlines with spending time outside. She now serves on the board of directors of Magazines Canada.

What you’ll learn: The art of pitching to magazines, writing and editing longform journalism, networking, managing a team of editors and production staff, magazine production, fact-checking, what it takes to help publish a broad, diverse range of voices, and more!

Informed by her rich and varied 20+ years as a journalist and audience specialist, Sandra E. Martin is a multiplatform content strategist, an instructor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, and Head of Newsroom Development at The Globe and Mail. Previously, Sandra served as Editor-in-Chief of MoneySense where, under her leadership, the online personal finance magazine earned two finalist nods in the 2021 Canadian Online Publishing Awards, to be announced in February 2022, and picked up a Silver award in the Best Service Article or Series–Consumer category at the 2020 COPAs. During her tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living, the magazine won numerous accolades, and maintained its place as the most-read paid women’s lifestyle publication in print and online. Previously, Sandra helmed the highly successful launch of Walmart Live Better/Vivre mieux Walmart, and served in senior editorial capacities at Today’s Parent. Her byline has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Cottage Life and the National Post, among others. She is a two-time National Magazine Awards finalist, a repeat NMA judge, and a two-time NMA host. She sits on the board of directors of Canada’s History Society (publishers of Canada’s History and Kayak magazines), and SABEW Canada (which promotes excellence in business writing and editing).

What you’ll learn: Strategies for career development, networking, editorial administration, pitching and developing story ideas, research and interviews, human resources and recruitment, personal brand-building, and more!

Omar Mouallem has over 15 years of professional magazine experience. His articles have been published in such titles as WIRED and Rolling Stone and received multiple honours from the National Magazine Awards. He’s also co-founded two magazines, consulted on titles, and hosted the Alberta Magazines podcast. In addition, Omar is an acclaimed author and documentary filmmaker, whose most recent film, The Last Baron, was adapted from his article about a renegade burger chain.

What you’ll learn: All forms of magazine writing, including narrative journalism, long-form features, short articles and FOB (front of book); public appearances/speaking as a writer; editorial management, and more!

Melissa Shin is the Editorial Director of Advisor’s Edge and Investment Executive, Canada’s top financial services publications. As an award-winning journalist, Melissa turns technical subject matter into accessible content for sophisticated audiences. She is also an experienced moderator and speaker. Melissa started at Advisor’s Edge in 2011. Prior to that, she was managing editor of Corporate Knights magazine. From 2013 to 2017, Melissa chaired the board of Point of View magazine, and she is now secretary of the board of Fashion Takes Action. She is a graduate of the Schulich School of Business at York University.

What you’ll learn: How to listen to yourself and trust your instincts, how to advocate for yourself, how to pitch and develop story ideas, the editorial process, B2B journalism, and more!

Garth Thomas is Managing Director of Business and Financial products at The Globe and Mail. In this role, Garth is responsible for the business operations, strategy, commercial performance and new business initiatives across all platforms for The Globe and Mail’s business and financial products that include Report on Business, Report on Business magazine, Globe Investor, and Globe Advisor. Prior to The Globe and Mail, Garth spent over 20 years at Rogers Media where he was responsible for launching and developing business initiatives which included Today’s Parent Approved, The Growth 500 and the Maclean’s University franchise, among others. Prior to 2017, Garth was Executive Publisher responsible for the business operations of Rogers Publishing’s extensive portfolio of over 20 brands that included titles such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Hello!, Marketing, The Medical Post and

What you’ll learn: Leadership, business strategy, business development, digital product development in both B2B and B2C environments, and more!

Additional mentors will be announced soon.


If you have any questions or require more information, please contact

This program is made possible with the support of Ontario Creates and the Department of Canadian Heritage.