BIPOC Mentorship Program

The National Media Awards Foundation (NMAF) is thrilled to be presenting the second annual 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

Mentorships will take place between January and March 2023. Exact start dates will be jointly determined and agreed upon by the mentor and mentee, and the mentorship must be completed by March 31, 2023. There is a ten- to twelve-hour commitment to the mentorship for both mentors and mentees. Seix to eight 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 10 mentorships planned for the 2023 program. Due to this, not all applicants will be accepted into the program this year.

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, 2023.

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 2023 program.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2023 mentorship program will be opening shortly.

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. 

Participating Mentors

Shireen Ahmed is a multiplatform sports journalist, and her work has been recognized all over the world. She teaches Sports Journalism and Sport Media at TMU.

What you’ll learn: How to navigate a system when it can be racist and sexist, how to believe in yourself when no one else will, the importance of community, networking and developing contacts, pitching story ideas, creative processes and how to catalogue your ideas for later.

Kelly Boutsalis is a Mohawk journalist from the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. Currently living in Toronto, she devotes the bulk of her work to highlighting Indigenous stories. Her byline has appeared in the New York Times, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, and the Walrus. In 2020, she was the Narwhal‘s first Indigenous Journalism Fellow, and last year she was The Local‘s Guest Editor. She led the CBC Six Nations pop-up bureau earlier this year.

What you’ll learn: How to pitch, how to identify story angles, how to gain confidence in your point-of-view, how to identify stories and pair them with the right publication.

Alicia Cox Thomson has been working in the media industry for 20 years as a digital editor, writer and content producer for some of Canada’s biggest lifestyle brands, including Chatelaine, Flare and HGTV Canada. Today, you can find her writing about culture, diversity, romance and the arts for Chatelaine, Maclean’s, Today’s Parent, Canadian Business and more, as well as speaking at industry panels and literary festivals.

What you’ll learn: Lifestyle journalism, writing and editing, display copy, social media strategy and copy.

Matthew DiMera (they/he) is an award-winning editor and journalist based in Toronto. They are the founder and publisher of The Resolve, a new independent media outlet in Canada centring, elevating and celebrating Indigenous, Black, and people of colour voices and stories. 

Previously they were the managing editor at Xtra, and the acting editor-in-chief at They are a long-time advocate for the importance and power of social justice and community journalism.

What you’ll learn: How to make it as a BIPOC journalist, whether in legacy or independent media, or in carving out your own path.

Deanne Gage is a reporter for Globe Advisor at the Globe and Mail. She has covered the financial advisor market and specialized in personal finance issues for more than two decades.

She is the former editor of FORUM and Advisor’s Edge magazines, and was a money columnist for the Toronto Star. 

Deanne has been the recipient of several National Magazine B2B Awards and other industry awards. Her work has also appeared in Chatelaine, MoneySense, Today’s Parent,, and other leading business magazines.

What you’ll learn: How to run a freelance business: everything from pitching story ideas to editors, coming up with fresh angles to the same old stories, taxes, bookkeeping, ensuring you get paid. As well as managing a small editorial team and career transitions.

Samia Madwar is a senior editor at The Walrus. She was previously the managing editor at The Walrus and, prior to that, worked at Up Here and Canadian Geographic magazines. She serves on the board of Magazines Canada, volunteers as a judge for the National Magazine and Digital Publishing awards, and regularly mentors emerging BIPOC journalists. She enjoys travelling and learning nerdy facts about mushrooms.

What you’ll learn: Magazine/longform writing and editing, magazine print production, fact checking.

Melissa Shin is the Editorial Director of Advisor’s Edge and Investment Executive, Canada’s leading publications for financial advisors. She is an award-winning journalist whose reporting has been cited in university syllabi, in textbooks and to national regulators. 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, a North American magazine focused on clean capitalism. Since 2021, Melissa has been 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: More experienced mentees often know the direction they should take with a difficult issue and just need to talk out the process or receive validation. For that kind of mentee, I’ll ask probing questions, draw parallels to past experiences I’ve had and provide suggestions if asked. Such mentees often benefit from setting the agenda for discussions. For more junior mentees, I hope to provide them with a framework for problem solving and decision-making, and I’ll take more initiative in setting up an agenda for discussions based on their needs. In both cases, I hope to connect mentees with resources and people who can help them as they grow in their career.


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.