Board of Directors

The CJFE is committed to adhering to best practices in governance and responsible financial management. The Board of Directors meets on a monthly basis to:
  • Review initiatives from CJFE committees
  • Review financial statements
  • Consider requests for funding, partnerships and new initiatives
  • Discuss and determine strategic goals

Committee chairs, with the exception of the Digital Issues Committee and the Gala Committee, are members of the CJFE Board of Directors.

If you’re interested in joining, contact us here.

Executive Board Members

Michelle Shephard
Co-President, Chair of the International Committee

Michelle is an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker who has covered issues related to terrorism and civil rights since 9/11. During her two decades at the Toronto Star, she reported from more than 20 countries and made multiple trips to Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Guantanamo Bay. Shephard was the co-director and producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary Guantanamo’s Child, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and won three Canadian Screen Awards, including the award for Best Direction in a Documentary Program and the Donald Brittain Award. Her most recent films include The Way Out and The Man Who Stole Einstein’s Brain. She is a three-time recipient of the National Newspaper Award and has also won the Michener Award for public-service journalism. Her books include Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism’s Grey Zone, and her latest podcast was a CBC series called White Hot Hate, which focused on the rise of the modern Neo-Nazi accelerationist movement.

Carol Off
Co-President, Chair of Events and Gala

Carol is the host of CBC radio's As It Happens, the network's flagship evening radio program covering human interest stories worldwide. With extensive experience in both Canadian and international current affairs, Off has covered conflicts in the Middle East, Haiti, the Balkans and the sub-continent, as well as events in the former Soviet Union, Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. She reported the fallout from the 9/11 disasters with news features and documentaries from New York, Washington, London, Cairo and Afghanistan. She has won numerous awards for her CBC television documentaries in Asia, Africa and Europe and is the author of three previous books, most recently, Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet, a finalist for the National Business Book Award and nominated for the prestigious Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing. She lives in Toronto.

Philip Tunley


Phil has more than 30 years experience as counsel in complex litigation matters. He represents clients at all levels of courts in Ontario, and in the Federal Courts and Supreme Court of Canada. He appears frequently in the Divisional Court and before a variety of administrative appeals tribunals. Phil’s media and defamation practice centres on the defence of major media in defamation matters, as well as access to information requests, publication bans, and other proceedings that support the work of journalists in gathering and reporting the news. His experience includes matters involving defamation in social media, and on the internet, including cross-border claims. Philip joined the CJFE Board in 2005. His expertise as a lawyer has provided guidance and recommendations on the most effective strategy to battle free expression issues within the legal framework. Phil has been recognized by professional rating agencies, such as Best Lawyers in Canada 2019 which recognized his work in Administrative and Public Law, Appellate Practice, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, and Defamation and Media Law.

Frank Switzer

Frank is a trusted corporate communications professional with an accomplished career spanning the public and private sectors. He has held global responsibilities at several major Canadian financial institutions and served as Director of Communications for the Ontario Securities Commission. Frank also served in senior communication roles at the Ontario Legislature and was a broadcast journalist for a decade after graduating from the Carleton University School of Journalism.

Karyn Pugliese
Chair of the Canadian Committee

Karyn, aka Pabàmàdiz, is currently the editor-in-chief of Canada's National Observer and a frequent guest panellist on CBC's Rosie Barton show. Formerly Karyn worked as the Managing Editor of CBC's Investigative Unit, overseeing the team at The Fifth Estate and Marketplace. Karyn is best known for her work as a Parliament Hill reporter and as the Executive Director of News and Current Affairs at APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) where she ran the news department for seven years. She joined Toronto Metropolitan University's faculty in the Spring of 2020 while completing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Karyn has worked in daily news and long-form investigations at various other outlets, including ichannel, VisionTV, and CTV.

Board Members

Committee chairs, with the exception of the Digital Issues Committee and the Gala Committee, are members of the CJFE Board of Directors.

If you’re interested in joining, contact us here.

Board Members

Morteza Abdolalian

Journalist, poet and translator Morteza Abdolalian has spent much of his academic and professional career abroad. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, during the struggle against the Iranian regime, he left Iran to continue his education in the Philippines. His articles in the university newspaper Dawn that were critical of Guards on campus resulted in him being blacklisted and cautioned by security for expulsion from the Philippines. He also worked for the Iranian students' publication Akhgar. When he returned to Iran in 1982, he was arrested at the airport and transferred to Evin prison. He settled in Canada in 1989 where his advocacy of human rights in Iran continued. He is a member of the Oakville Writers' Group and PEN Canada's Writers in Exile Program, and contributes to several local Iranian publications. Morteza currently runs a blog called Iran Watch Canada, which monitors daily human rights violations in Iran. Morteza joined the CJFE Board in 2002 and is a member of the CIFET Board of Trustees.

Amran Abocar

Amran is the Global General Manager at Reuters, based in Canada. Prior to that, she was
Global Mining Editor and Canada Bureau Chief and has worked around the world in various roles including as Asia Deputy Commodities Editor and Gulf Deputy Bureau Chief, covering everything from Dubai’s debt implosion and the Arab Spring to nationalist mining policies in Indonesia.

Nahlah Ayed

Nahlah is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, currently host of CBC Radio's Ideas. For two decades, Ayed watched history unfold around the globe—from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Her first book, A Thousand Farewells, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Jet Belgraver

Jet is an award-winning Dutch-Canadian journalist, with more than 25 years in broadcasting. Her roles include creating content at CBC's As it Happens, The National, and Foreign Assignment.   She also launched the first Canada Bureau for Aljazeera English in 2010 and spent the next decade covering news and current affairs from coast to coast to coast in Canada and the US. Jet is also an accomplished photographer, which has taken her all over the world. She's documented the work of MSF in Peru, Zambia and Gaza, and most recently mentored journalists with JHR in Kenya.

Robyn Doolittle

Robyn is an award-winning journalist and author and a member of The Globe and Mail's investigative team. Since coming to The Globe in 2014, she has probed suspicious business contracts, political corruption and Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her “Unfounded” investigation, which explored the ways that Canadian police services handle sexual assault cases, prompted a national overhaul of policy, training and practices around sexual violence. Most recently, Doolittle has been examining the country’s broken freedom of information regime through a project called Secret Canada. She is the author of two books, “Had It Coming – What’s Fair In The Age of #MeToo?” and “Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story,” both of which were national bestsellers.

Annette Ejiofor

Annette is a Nigerian, American and Canadian award-winning journalist with just over a decade of reporting and editorial leadership under her belt. She received her Master of Journalism from Columbia University where she is honoured to have learned from notable professionals such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jelani Cobb and Michael Hoyt. This training, coupled with her work experience (NBC News, Spectrum News, NTV, Toronto Star, to name a few) and her cultural backgrounds, are chief among how she informs her relationship with media and journalism. “The more we pull from the world around us, the better we are,” Ejiofor said. Her experience embedding herself and reporting in politically and culturally significant neighbourhoods and communities — from Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York to Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria — equally inform her work, especially now as a manager within a Canadian newsroom. As a leader, Ejiofor’s focus includes a dedication to unflinching journalism, creating space for and training the next generation of journalists and ensuring intersectionality is not an afterthought in the newsroom but a core principle and tenet.

Havoc Franklin

Havoc has spent more than three decades dedicated to journalism, training, content development, and programming in TV and Radio at the national and local level. He has worked in a wide range of roles within CBC Radio, CBC local and CBC News, dedicated to bringing content to audiences.  As part of his longstanding commitment to supporting free expression abroad, Havoc has also participated in journalist training in Cambodia, Thailand, and Malawi. A past president of the National Radio Producers Association, Havoc has been a member of CJFE for 25 years. 

Kathleen Goldhar

Kathleen has over 20 years experience telling audio stories. She is the host of the podcasts Do You Know Mordechai and True Crime Byline. In February, her next podcast The No-Good, Terribly Kind, Wonderful Lives and Tragic Deaths of Barry and Sherman will be released. Kathleen is also the co-creator and producer of the hit podcast Escaping NXIVM. Before she found her way to podcasting she was a member of the CBC Radio's The Current for 17+ years—eventually leading the program as its Executive Producer.

Peter Jacobsen

Peter Jacobsen has over 40 years of experience in practice as a litigator in diverse sectors, notably in media. Peter practises mainly in the areas of defamation law, media law, administrative law and constitutional law. He is a seasoned litigator and has significant experience in trials, appeals and judicial reviews at all levels of court and before numerous administrative tribunals. Peter provides regular pre-publication advice and litigation services to major media outlets including The Globe and Mail, CTV, as well as many magazines/periodicals such as Report on Business Magazine (ROB) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), and publishers such as Penguin Random House. Peter rates as one of the best lawyers in the specialty of Media and Defamation Law in the 2021 edition of the Best Lawyers in Canada. He has worked and volunteered with many organizations, including the International Bar Association, Ad Idem/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Advisory Board of, the Toronto Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation and the Writers' Trust of Canada.

Bruce MacCormack

Bruce is focussed on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on news operations, with a particular emphasis on mitigating the threat of misinformation. He is a member of the Partnership on AI steering committee on AI and Media Integrity. He is also a founder and co-lead of Project Origin; The BBC, New York Times, CBC/Radio-Canada and Microsoft media provenance initiative. Bruce is a member of the steering committee of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). While at CBC/Radio-Canada, he was the Head of Business Strategy for Technology and the Executive Architect of the Enterprise Media Asset Management system. He has served as the President of digital media for the largest Canadian newspaper chain and as the President and COO of Manitoba Telecom Services’ Advanced Media division. He began his career in engineering, marketing, sales and global corporate strategy roles in the telecom equipment sector at Nortel. Bruce has been a member of the Young President’s Organization, a Past President of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the former Chair of The Atlantic International Film Festival. His background includes an MBA (York University - Toronto) and an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering (McGill – Montreal).

Carole MacNeil

Carole is an award winning journalist who is well known for her past roles at CBC television and CBC News Network. Carole has brought Canadians stories from Canada and abroad. She is an expert in the art of the interview, having spent the majority of her career as an interview host, producer and writer. Carole is a communications professional who now assists those in the “media spotlight” understand the fundamentals of news media and improve their interview skills. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Lunenburg Doc Fest.

Mohammed Nakhooda

Mohammed is a seasoned Corporate and Public Affairs executive with a career spanning over 20 years across government, politics, technology, telecommunications and financial services. Currently, as VP, Corporate and Public Affairs at TD Bank Group (TD), Mohammed oversees communications for all of the Bank's Canadian business segments, including, the Canadian Personal Bank, Wealth and Insurance, the Business Bank and TD Securities. In addition, Mohammed also oversees the Bank's Translation Services team. Prior to TD, Mohammed held progressively senior communications roles with the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Minister of Finance, Bell Canada and Nortel Networks. Throughout his career he has helped organizations communicate, adapt and lead in times of significant change including global restructurings, transformational acquisitions and high-profile issues. Mohammed holds an Honours B.A. in Political Science and Media Information and Technoculture from the University of Western Ontario and currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

Jayme Poisson

Jayme Poisson is an award winning journalist and the host of daily CBC News podcast Front Burner, where she covers the big issues facing Canada and the world. Prior to that, she spent eight years as a reporter for The Toronto Star, focusing largely on investigative reporting. She was part of a team that won the Governor General’s Michener award and has won the Sidney Hillman award for public service journalism twice.

Kiumars (Kiu) Rezvanifar

Kiu is the President of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA). He is the founder of KVC Communications Group in Toronto, specializing in communications and broadcasting Iran Zameen on CBC-affiliate CHEX, the first weekly Farsi-language television program, and Persian Tribune Magazine, an English-language monthly publication. Kiumars's second documentary feature, Unveiled Dreams, showcasing successful Iranian-Canadian women, was broadcast on Omni Television. He consults advertising and marketing agencies about Canada's growing ethnic market and has served on various provincial and federal committees and boards, including the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). For his contributions to Canada, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee Medals by the Canadian government.