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Sarbjit Kaur

Founder

Sarbjit Kaur is an award-winning communications professional with a background in journalism, government and PR. She ran her own consulting firm, Kaur Communications and was also a Senior Associate at Toronto-based Argyle PR for almost a decade, before launching KPW Comms. 

 

Prior to starting her consulting career, she served in senior communications roles in the Office of the Minister and in the Ontario Public Service at four Ontario Ministries: Transportation, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Consumer Services, and Government Services. She also served as Acting Director of Communications & Corporate Secretary of Ontario Creates.

 

Sarbjit works with clients from diverse sectors. Notable projects include: Lead consultant, City of Mississauga 10 Year Master Communications Plan, winner of IABC Gold Quill award (the highest honour for communications professionals); Ripley’s Aquarium of Toronto launch, CPRS National Gold Award and the IABC-Toronto Ovation Award and; WSPA Collars Not Cruelty campaign, winner of IABC Toronto Ovation Award of Merit in Social Responsibility; Beauty Gives Back, Beating the Cancer Blues, winner of CPRS Bronze Award.

 

Sarbjit currently sits on the Board of Park People and has served previously on numerous other committees and advisory boards. Commentator on Global Toronto's Morning Show, CTV, CP24, Talk 1010 and others.

 

Naomi Parness

Founder

Naomi Parness is an award-winning storyteller, content creator, communications specialist and journalist. 

 

A reporter with over 20 years experience she spent almost a decade at CTV News Toronto. During her time at CTV she held many roles such as City Hall Bureau Reporter, Education Specialist, and general assignment reporter. She was involved in many in-depth investigations and broke numerous stories.

She covered elections for CTV News at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.  She was also live on the ground for many historic and breaking news stories including the G20.

 

Prior to CTV, Naomi was an anchor and reporter at CHEX TV in Peterborough and a reporter at CTV Two Barrie (then called A-Channel News). While at CTV Two Barrie -- she traveled to Poland to cover the March of The Living. She wrote, reported and helped produce a 5-part series about the Nazi death camps. It won the 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Documentary and the National and Regional RTNDA Dave Rogers Award for Best News Feature.

 

Naomi also spent two summers working in New York City at CBS News and NY1, where she worked on a nightly show about 9/11.

 

In 2016, Naomi left news but continued her passion for storytelling. She spent 3 years at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, a Toronto not for profit organization, as the Director of Digital Content and Storytelling. In 2019, she became a Principal and Founder at KPW Communications. Her main practice area is content creation and digital storytelling for a variety of public and private sector clients and several charities.

 

Naomi is an active volunteer in her community and has sat on the Holocaust Education Week committee for over two decades.

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Karman Wong

Founder

Karman Wong has more than 20 years of experience as a communications professional, with the unique perspective of being on both sides of the camera.

 

Prior to launching KPW, Karman worked as a reporter and anchor for Toronto's 24-hour news channel - CP24 and filed reports for a number of Bell Media properties, including BNN and CTV News Channel. For a decade she provided live, in-depth coverage on a range of stories - from federal, provincial, and municipal elections to crime, current affairs, entertainment and breaking news.

 

Previously, Karman spent over ten years as a communication advisor to the Premier of Ontario, several cabinet ministers and candidates for political office.  She served as the Premier’s Director of Issues Management and Legislative Affairs, responsible for managing the government response and guiding the government through contentious matters.  In this role, Karman also oversaw the legislative agenda for government and prepared the Premier and senior government members for Question Period.  

 

For several years prior to this role, Karman handled complex public policy issues as a spokesperson and Press Secretary to the Premier of Ontario.  Karman has been responsible for the media performance of many high profile individuals in her career as a political communications professional and advisor.

 

With extensive connections across the North American media landscape and a deep understanding of media relations, Karman works with a variety of public and private sector clients on general PR, crisis communications, media training and media strategy.

 

Tamara Cherry

Senior Associate

Tamara Cherry is an expert storyteller, strategic thinker and award-winning print, digital and broadcast journalist who led coverage of some of Canada’s biggest news stories for nearly 15 years.

The bulk of her reporting career was spent in North America’s fourth-largest news market as the Crime Specialist for CTV News Toronto. Her stories were frequently broadcast on stations across the country.

Before joining CTV, Tamara reported on crime for the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star newspapers. She started her career covering a broad range of issues at the Regina Leader-Post and Calgary Herald.

From her exposés about human trafficking, Tamara became the first civilian recipient of the Peel Regional Police Chief’s Certificate. She is also the author of All the Bumpy Pebbles, a novel that seeks to educate about the domestic sex trafficking of women and girls. She has donated countless hours educating the public about this pervasive crime.

In 2019, Tamara received a prestigious Best Local Reporter nomination at the Canadian Screen Awards. Later that year, she left her journalism career to launch a public relations firm that supports victims and survivors of traumatic events. 

Tamara remains a trusted voice in Canadian media as both a regular commentator on Newstalk 1010 radio in Toronto, and a go-to expert across several major news outlets on stories involving police, trauma, and communications issues.

Tamara specializes in communications strategy, media relations and writing.

Integrity, compassion and professionalism have earned Tamara respect across the justice sector and among her journalism peers. She proudly serves clients across North America from her home in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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Najib Hayat

Vice-President, Finance

Najib Hayat is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), with over a decade of consistently progressive experience in Accounting, Audit, Governance, Risk, Controls (GRC), Tax and IT.

 

Najib has previously held management positions with large financial services and professional services firms such as KPMG LLP and EY LLP.

 

He sits on several boards including Park People, a national charity that activates the power of parks to improve the quality of life in cities across Canada.

 

Mandy Sharma

Senior Associate

Mandy Sharma is an experienced government relations and business development professional who brings a wealth of Government experience, with over 21 years in Federal, Provincial and Municipal Government at the most senior management level.

 

Most recently serving as Chief of Staff to the Ministers of Research Innovation and Science, and Environment and Climate Change in the Province of Ontario. Other portfolios include Treasury Board, Government and Consumer Services and Small Business at the Provincial level and Industry and Infrastructure Canada at the Federal level. She uses her knowledge and expertise to help clients navigate Government to reach the right decision makers on their files. Throughout her career Mandy has maintained positive relationships with colleagues, officials and stakeholders from a cross section of industries and from various political backgrounds.

 

Mandy has managed several large scale projects including several trade missions, conferences, summits and festivals both within government and as a consultant. One of the largest climate summits held in Toronto was managed by Mandy, The Climate Summit of the Americas. Mandy's out of the box thinking and relentless effort attracted some very big name speakers to the event.

She also serves as a Director for a charity she co-founded with her husband that provides meals to shelters around the GTA. She also sits on the board of the Hazel McCallion Foundation for the Arts, Culture and Heritage.

 

Mandy studied Political Science & Economics at the University of Manitoba, and completed the University of Winnipeg post graduate diploma in Public Relations and Management and has a certificate in Project Management from the Project Management Institute.

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Sean Mallen

Senior Associate

Sean Mallen draws upon a long career as a national/international journalist to offer sophisticated, practical and impactful counsel to government, industry, educational institutions and non-profit organizations across Canada, the United States and the UK.  He specializes in crisis communications, media and presentation training, strategic communications and speech writing, with a clientele that includes multinational corporations, senior government ministers, diplomats, national charities and leading trade associations.  He also gives regular talks on crisis communications to audiences in Canada and the USA.  

 

His diverse list of clients includes Campbell’s Soup, RBC Capital Markets, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, the Ontario Real Estate Association, Women’s Brain Health Initiative, the Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO) and the Government of Ontario.

 

Sean is the host and producer of The Social Purpose Exchange, a podcast and YouTube series produced by the Goodman Sustainability Group, which is a forum for provocative conversations about a trend that is sweeping the corporate world.  

 

For more than 30 years he was an award-winning journalist, anchor and host, covering major stories across Canada, the United States and around the world. 

 

For Global TV News, he was the London-based Europe Bureau Chief, Queen’s Park Correspondent,  Host-Producer of the influential Focus Ontario program and is a four-time winner of the Radio-Television News Directors Award for excellence in broadcast news. His first book, Falling for London-A Cautionary Tale, a memoir of his experiences with his family during his time as a foreign correspondent, was acclaimed as “a wonderful story, beautifully told.” 

 

Sean is also an occasional panelist on Newstalk 1010 Radio Toronto, has contributed opinion columns for the Toronto Star and CBC.ca and enjoys a sideline of writing travel stories for major Canadian and British daily newspapers.

 

Sarah Tratt

Senior Associate

Sarah Tratt is a media relations and crisis communications specialist with nearly 15 years hands-on experience in the media industry and corporate sector.

 

Sarah began her career at CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News where she worked for nearly a decade as the senior assignment editor. She played a key role in planning and managing the logistics and coverage of breaking news and major events such as federal and provincial elections, several Royal visits, the NBA All-Star weekend and the Pan Am Games. She led the assignment team to winning the prestigious BRAVO Award in 2014 for coverage of the Rob Ford story.

 

Sarah left the newsroom in 2018 to establish the media relations team at Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. at a time when the company was going in a bold, new direction. There, she harnessed her strategic thinking, media relations, issues management and crisis communications skills that has led her to become the expert she is today. Her role consisted of media outreach and relationship building, stakeholder engagement, generating public awareness of RBH’s smoke-free future, and supporting the communications and government relations teams on several external campaigns. Most notably, Sarah played an integral role in launching Unsmoke in Canada having overseen many activities for Unsmoke Week in 2019 and 2020.

 

Prior to joining KPW, Sarah was a senior director at an agency where she developed and executed integrated stakeholder relations and communications plans for corporate clients including Shaw Communications, Subway Canada, and Reddit. 

 

Sarah’s ability to think on her feet, pay attention to the small details, while strategically thinking big picture comes from her experience in a busy Toronto newsroom, working for a global company forging a new direction, and having a variety of clients at any given time.

 

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Professional Writing from Brock University and a diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Seneca College. 

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Melissa Zanette

Senior Associate

Melissa Zanette is an award-winning corporate affairs professional with strong expertise in strategy, government relations, stakeholder relations, issues management and PR. For the last six years she has run the Mayor’s Office in Greater Sudbury as Chief of Staff and worked as a Senior Account Manager, Public Affairs at Edelman Canada prior to this role. 

 

In a career spanning over 15 years, she has served in senior communications roles in the Office of the Minister at five Ontario Ministries: Seniors, Consumer Services, Tourism, Revenue & Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs. She also served as stakeholder relations advisor at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority after the Sunrise Propane explosion, assisting in managing their relationship with the Ontario Government.

 

Melissa has in-depth expertise in the infrastructure and the natural resources sectors. She has also worked for two levels of government and with all three. She has relationships across all party lines and thrives to gain more knowledge daily about politics, government and community issues across the Country.

 

Melissa is the recipient of two CPRS Toronto ACE Awards for her work with a junior mining company.  She  lives in Sudbury, Ontario and will bring a uniquely northern lense to her work.

 
 

Kari Vierimaa

Senior Associate

Kari Vierimaa is an experienced multi-platform journalist, team leader, and communications specialist who thrives under pressure, while making difficult decisions quickly and confidently. For over more than a decade he’s worked in multiple local and national newsrooms as well as in provincial politics.

 

Throughout his career in journalism, Kari has been at the forefront of bringing the biggest stories of the last decade to Canadians across digital, television and radio platforms at CBC, Global, CP24 and CTV. Prior to joining KPW Communications, Kari was a national news producer at the CBC, helping shape daily editorial content on flagship programs such as World Report and The National.

 

Kari has managed large editorial events such as CBC’s initial coverage of COVID-19 when it arrived in Canada to Global’s Canada’s 150th celebration coverage and network special. He also developed CTV News Northern Ontario’s first digital strategy, which led to significant growth across all digital platforms.

 

Before journalism, Kari worked under former Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci, managing communications in his riding and co-chairing his successful 2011 re-election campaign.

 

From his time as a journalist and as a communications staffer, Kari understands what it takes to break into the news cycle, manage a crisis and support ongoing issues management. 

 

Kari is bilingual and holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban, Social and Economic Geography from the University of Toronto. Born and raised in Northern Ontario, he currently resides in Toronto.

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