Board & Team
“As the children’s television and digital media industry continues to evolve and grow, the Shaw Rocket Fund is also evolving and growing – always with the goal of helping to encourage and support the Canadian media industry to provide the very best for our children. Since the Rocket Fund began, our contributors have provided not only funding, but also care and interest in what we do.
To our contributors: Thank you for making the Rocket soar! Shaw Communications and Shaw Direct have made it possible for us to work with the creators of high quality television and digital media for kids and families to further Canada’s world leadership in this field.”
– Annabel Slaight, Former Chair
Christine Shipton, Chair
Former Senior Vice President of Content for Shaw Media, Christine Shipton is a seasoned television executive with experience in both production and broadcast organizations. Throughout her career, Christine has been responsible for developing, overseeing and managing some great Canadian programming, including Rookie Blue, Continuum, Bomb Girls, Ice Pilots NWT, Big Brother Canada and Chopped Canada. In addition to her work with the Shaw Rocket Fund, Shipton serves on the boards of directors for the National Screen Institute, Hot Docs, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
Gigi Boyd, Vice-Chair
A Gemini and Leo award winning Producer (“Elijah”), Gigi Boyd was recently hired as the Vice President of Industrial Relations, CMPA – BC Branch. Gigi’s background includes producing roles on Canadian series such as “Cold Squad”, “Godiva’s” and “The Guard”. She is a former Manager of Business Affairs and Director of the Television Unit for the Western office of Telefilm Canada, a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre Producer Program, an inaugural winner of the Banff Next Media TV 360 Team Award and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Directors Guild of Canada – BC Branch board from 2006-2010.
Chethan Lakshman, Director
Chethan Lakshman is Vice-President, Communications and Public Relations at Shaw Communications, where he oversees the company’s public relations, community investment, corporate sponsorship, and organizational communications portfolios. Prior to joining Shaw, Chethan provided independent communications and reputation management strategy and counsel to corporations, charitable enterprises, and individuals. From 1999–2011, Chethan was a leader of the award-winning Corporate Communications team at RBC, where he held a variety of senior roles. Before moving into the field of communications, Chethan worked as a journalist with The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, and CBC.
Throughout his career, Chethan has used his expertise to develop strategies that communicate complex issues, ideas, and policies to a variety of audiences within an environment of competing interests. He sits on the board of directors for The Walrus Foundation, The Company Theatre, and the Canadian Journalism Foundation, and is former Chair of the Toronto Business Development Centre. Chethan lives in Calgary with his wife, Heather.
Nancy Birnbaum, Director
In her 13 years as CEO of Invest in Kids, Nancy led the transformation of this small, Toronto-focused granting foundation into a national charitable organization providing parenting support to new parents across Canada. Prior to this, Nancy spent 20 years in the branding, marketing and communications fields in both consulting and business leadership roles, including as Managing Director of the Toronto office of Young & Rubicam Advertising. Since 1997, Nancy has been part of Humanity, Inc., a business and branding strategy consulting firm based in the U.S. Nancy’s interests and reputation for insightful strategic solutions are reflected in the many volunteer leadership positions she has held in the children and youth, women’s issues, and education arenas.
Annabel Slaight, Former Chair
Renowned co-founder of Owl Magazines, Books and Television, Annabel Slaight is the recipient of many prestigious awards including being named to the Order of Canada on Dec. 30, 2016. She has also received the Order of Ontario, Canadian Film and Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sir Sanford Fleming Award and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA)’s 2016 lifetime achievement award. In addition to her dedication as Chair of the Shaw Rocket Fund, as Founding Chair of the Ontario Water Centre she is engaged in a number of pioneering activities to improve the health of Lake Simcoe including the revitalization of a historic lakeside farm as a centre for experiential learning.
Agnes Augustin, President & CEO
Since 2004, Agnes Augustin has proudly overseen the Shaw Rocket Fund and its commitment to be a champion of Canadian children’s programming through the Fund’s investment practices and the creation of various initiatives to support the industry, such as the much celebrated Shaw Rocket Prize. Prior to joining the Shaw Rocket Fund, Agnes was a Manager and Vice President of Business Affairs for various production and distribution companies, Head of Production for CMT, as well as an independent producer.
Allan Joli-Coeur, VP, Operations
Allan Joli-Coeur brings 22 years of experience in film and television beginning his career as a lawyer with Astral Communications and Heenan Blaikie. He has worked in distribution and broadcasting, and over the past 13 years he executive produced over 345 half hours of children’s programming including 8 television series and its related digital content (Prank Patrol, In Real Life) with Apartment 11 Productions in Montreal. Allan also participated on numerous committees and collective bargaining sessions with the CMPA and AQPM and was Co-Chair of the Industrial Relations Committee.
Victoria Asnong, Business Affairs Coordinator/Analyst
Victoria Asnong is the Shaw Rocket Fund‘s Business Affairs Coordinator as well as an Analyst. Working in the film and television industry since 2006, her experience includes her role at Pink Sky/Avamar Entertainment as the Business Affairs Coordinator for “Flashpoint” Season 4 and 5. She brings with her years of Production Assistant experience for programs such as “The Latest Buzz” and “That’s So Weird”.
Becki Brisson, Business Analyst
Becki Brisson is the Shaw Rocket Fund’s Business Analyst, who is currently on leave. Becki started in the industry in 2005 as a Producer’s Assistant, and quickly moved up the ranks to Associate Producer and Business Affairs Manager. She has worked on several television series including “Corner Gas” and a number of feature films, including several international co-productions.
Marco Figliomeni, Business Analyst
Marco Figliomeni is the Shaw Rocket Fund’s Business Analyst, helping us out while Becki is on leave. As a lawyer who has forayed into acting, Marco is enthusiastic to support the production of engaging children’s programming with the Shaw Rocket Fund. His first exposure to the entertainment industry was in 2013, as a summer law student with Taylor Klein Oballa. Since then, he has been published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, produced and hosted The Law School Show (a legal career development podcast) and acted in independent film and live stage productions.
Lisa Amato, Manager, Strategic Communications
Lisa Amato is the Shaw Rocket Fund’s Manager, Strategic Communications. She got her start in the web development industry in 2010 as a Marketing Specialist, and was promoted to Marketing Manager. Now, she’s excited to highlight the Shaw Rocket Fund’s initiatives in Canada and expand its international reach to industry and parents through websites and online marketing.
Mel Rooney, Administrative Assistant
Mel Rooney is the Shaw Rocket Fund’s Administrative Assistant. A Production Coordinator from Toronto, Ontario, she has worked in the film and television industry since 2008 on shows such as Entertainment Tonight Canada and Big Brother Canada. Her broad experience includes coordinating commercials, movies and music videos for numerous Canadian and internationally known artists.