Grad Week Virtual Speakers Nov 14-21

October 24, 2018

Grad Week Virtual Speakers Nov 14-21

Brittany Salzone, Savannah College of Art and Design. 2018 Student Award winner

Applied Arts has added to its student activities by creating a virtual speaker series for post-secondary students about to graduate. Why virtual? So students from anywhere can attend via their computer, tablet or phone. We have a mix of live webinars and pre-recorded videos.


For almost a decade now, Applied Arts has had a two-day in-person career fair in Toronto for high school students every fall. The Creative Futures Expo has become a must-attend for colleges and universities with visual arts programs who want to reach high-schoolers in the Greater Toronto Area. About 1,800 high schools students attend the free event.


“We’ve concentrated a lot on helping get high schools students into visual arts studies. Our post-secondary efforts have been more one-on-one and sporadic, so we felt the time was right to put more effort into helping students about to graduate launch successfully into their chosen fields,” says Georges Haroutiun, founder and art director of Applied Arts.


So Applied Arts looked to the industry for some rising-star young bloods and seasoned pros to provide their tips for success and share their stories about launching their own careers


The result is an overwhelming amount of support from agencies, design firms and artist’s. John st. of Toronto immediately offered a paid internship in the form of a creative challenge. Mo Bofill, executive director of design and Jacqueline Lane, design director of john st. will kick-off the event on November 14, giving “The Brief” for the creative assignment. Their former john st. colleague Stephen Jurisic – now the dean of Miami Ad School Toronto, who has generously added scholarships to the prizes, will join them.



The rest of the speakers offer up a mix of inspiration and information about the real working world and all aspects of getting started as a professional. When Zulu Alpha Kilo’s Zak Mroueh heard what Applied Arts was doing, he immediately suggested two of his junior creative teams. Copywriter Christina Roche and art director Andrea Por are doing a live webinar entitled “From Humber Beginnings: A Snapshot of the First Year in Advertising,” a nod to both their alma mater and the realistic picture of juniors in a top creative agency.


Their wired-to-the-max, equally inexperienced colleagues, art director Michael Romaniuk and copywriter Patrick Godin do their own live webinar “Cadavers to Cannes: Lessons on Breaking into Advertising in a Big Way,” during which their provocative title will no doubt be explained, in addition to anecdotes about how they’ve come a long way in understanding what you need to succeed after getting your foot in the door. The two followed up the bold stunt that got them hired on the spot by Mroueh last fall by making news at Cannes with their ambitious #canneesshirtlist.


An excerpt of the speaker line-up from the website.



Sid Lee’s Kristian Manchester, Brad Monk of Central Station, Nick Asik of WAX, Mohamed Danawi of Illozoo and Savannah College of Art and Design and Stephen Jurisic, all offer seasoned advice in their own speaker sessions. Katie Ainsworth of Cossete Vancouver and Ann Urban of OCAD U and Urban & Co. will moderate a few Q&A sessions.


There are also intermediate-level speakers with stories about their decade-or-so in the business. These include former Pan Macmillan book-designer Justine Anweiller, UX designer Vicky Li of Hero Digital and photographer Michelle Yee of the SOFIA collective.


It’s a solid line-up, with two speakers each weekday from November 14 to 21. The week will close off with a live announcement of the winners of the Creative Challenge. All 12 speaker sessions will remain as a resource on the website indefinitely.


“The winners of the Creative Challenge will be announced live on November 21, so I’m really hoping we get some great entries. It’s free and you can win money, so we are limiting the number of entries to 100,” says Haroutiun. “I’m just so amazed at the support we got from all these great people. It’s wonderful how generous everyone has been with their time, and how on board they are in their interest in students. And why not? Students are the future of our industry.”


For more information and to register for the live events, go to