Alumni Association Executive

Officers

Ian Whytock, BA’10

President and Board of Governors Representative (2021-2023)

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Stretching, invigorating, exposure.

Ian Whytock, BA’10

Ian is a strategy consultant and focuses on advising early stage and growth companies on go-to-market, scaleup and commercialization strategies. He thrives on identifying needs and making connections for companies. His experience spans company leaders across multiple industries including consumer packaged goods, ocean technology, life sciences, data analytics and nutraceuticals. Prior to consulting, Ian was a founding team member at two technology start-ups.  The rigorous analytical toolkit that Ian was given from his education at King’s serves him well in his approach to serving clients with complex and multi-layered problems.  The pursuit of a strong question before a strong answer, a mark left on him by King’s, is something he pursues in his work each day. His advice to any new King’s student is simple; approach your first year with humility – this is the beginning to all learning. Expect to be challenged and embrace learning ideas that at first may conflict with your own.

Stephanie McGrath, BJ(Hons)’99

Vice-President and Board of Governors Representative (2021-2023)

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Warm, hard, mind-altering.

Stephanie McGrath BJ(Hons)’99

Stephanie is the VP of strategy for a large digital marketing agency. She leads a team of writers, analysts, social media and SEO strategists to create marketing campaigns, communications plans and experiences for hotels, resorts, cruise lines and destinations. Stephanie’s journalism degree from King’s helped her secure her first digital content job and she has continued to progress throughout her career using all that she learned at King’s, particularly the ability to clearly articulate your point and to absorb other perspectives. Her advice to new students is to do the readings, work hard and be nice to your professors and interested in what they have to share. Outside of the classroom, Stephanie recommends trying things you’ve never done before, finding time to exercise even if it’s just a short walk around the block, and using your time at King’s as an opportunity to explore.

Adria Young, BA(Hons)’10

Secretary (2021-2023)

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Creative, challenging, cherished.

Adria Young, BA(Hons)’10

As a student, Adria worked in student government and was an editor of student journals as well as being engaged in her art courses. This experience took Adria from university administration and being the editor of Tidings magazine, to becoming a 2017 ECMA-award winning writer, and now to executive strategic planning for the Province of Nova Scotia. Adria believes the versatility and dynamism of King’s – both academically and socially – prepared her for a range of career experiences. Her advice to current King’s students is to get involved in the activities and opportunities that interest you, as these experiences will show you who you are and who you want to be.


Stuart Pattillo, BA’05

Treasurer (2021-2023)

Stuart Pattillo, BA’05

Describe your King’s experience in three words:  Transformative, enlightening, entertaining.

Stuart works in agriculture finance with a focus on North American farmland and infrastructure investment. While his time at King’s was light on the agriculture and finance aspects of his career, Stuart is thankful to his King’s education for his ability to communicate effectively between a wide variety of stakeholders, from institutional investors, business owners and operators to local agriculture and conservation organizations and farmers. Despite acknowledging that King’s can be a challenging experience for any new student, Stuart’s advice is to get involved in everything that interests you and everything that challenges you. He believes the size of the university is its greatest advantage, as it gives students access to so many social, extra-curricular and academic opportunities on an intimate level. At King’s, Stuart played varsity volleyball and was involved with King’s Theatrical Society (KTS), which he remembers fondly for the remarkable outlets they provided to showcase and develop skills outside of the classroom.

Members at Large

Sheima Benembarek, MFA’20

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Lobster rolls, journalism, conversations.

Sheima Benembarek, MFA’20

Sheima Benembarek is a Moroccan Canadian freelance writer and publishing professional. Currently, she works as an events manager for The Walrus. Previously, she was in business development and brand communications at Corporate Knights and an editor at Broadview. She has a Concordia University bachelor’s in literature and creative writing, a graduate diploma in book, magazine and electronic publishing from Centennial College, and a University of King’s College MFA in creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in print and online publications including the Literary Review of Canada, Maisonneuve, Corporate Knights, The Walrus, Torontoist, Broadview, and This. She was named one of the five RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers in 2020. At the moment, she is working on a nonfiction book project titled Halal Sex: The Intimate Lives of North American Muslim Women, slated for publication by Penguin Canada in Spring 2023.

Geoff Davies, BJ(H)’10, MJ’15

Describe your King’s experience in three words: J-School, Rugby, Wittgenstein

Geoff Davies, BJ(H)’10, MJ’15

Geoff is a writer, strategist, entrepreneur, and — always, in his heart — a journalist. He first came to King’s as a teenager who was in love with the newspaper, and stayed because he loved the community and the Quad. His proudest achievement at King’s was joining the rugby team and learning to play, for the first time, a sport that terrified, confused, and fascinated him. In FYP and CSP, he learned to think (finally!) and felt the excitement of those moments when ideas ‘click’. After King’s, he spent half a decade realizing his journalism dreams, before realizing another one — coming back to King’s. He returned to earn a Master of Journalism degree in New Ventures, studying digital media and business models. He was proud to serve, meanwhile, as Don of Radical Bay, and privileged to have such a special group of students to support. Today, he operates a content marketing agency, as founder of DSSI MKTG. His advice to new students is: savour it.

Laura Holtebrinck, BA(Hons)’13

Laura Holtebrinck, BA(Hons)’13

Describe your King’s experience in three words: challenging, community, cherished

Laura is the Communications Manager at Music Publishers Canada and the Canadian Private Copying Collective, and lives in Toronto. Her journey at King’s was not linear. She originally came there to study Journalism, switched to Contemporary Studies, and later added Sociology and Film Studies to that. As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she was also a Stage Manager in the KTS several times, a three-time Frosh Leader, worked on Patrol for three years, on the A&A front desk for a year, co-founded the King’s Trivia Society (aka “the other KTS”) and co-wrote an Infringement Festival play. Though not always easy or perfect, Laura cherishes her time at King’s immensely, from the challenging readings (of which she definitely read 100% of) and most especially to the friends and community she found at King’s, which have continued long past her undergraduate days. Her advice to current and future King’s students is: “Don’t be intimidated and trust yourself!”

Victoria Foley, BJ(Hons)’05

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Beginnings, exploration, community.

Victoria Foley

Victoria Foley, BJ(Hons)’05

Victoria Foley resides in Biddeford, Maine and brings more than a decade of experience in event planning and execution, including management of volunteers and teams, to the table. She is currently the Director of Marketing & Communications for the New England Cancer Specialists. She has had experience in government, having served as an elected state representative for the State of Maine, serving on the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee as well as the Maine-Canadian Legislative Advisory Commission from 2018-2020 and was also a city councilor for Biddeford, Maine from 2017-2018. She has served on a number of volunteer boards in multiple capacities, including YMCA of Northern York County and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Southern Maine, and is currently completing a certificate in Professional Fundraising.

Andrew MacDonald, BJ(Hons)’99

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Hogwarts with journalism.

Andrew MacDonald, BJ(Hons)’99

Andrew works as a content strategy manager at Eastlink. Although he was unaware at the time, the online journalism course put him on a path to an exciting future in digital media, working for a variety of news, social media and content companies. Andrew is thankful to King’s that long before Google, Facebook or YouTube came along, he learned to balance critical and analytical thinking with creativity, in pursuing new ways to understand and solve problems. His advice to new students is to remain curious. Andrew believes that you shouldn’t let career ambitions or future plans prevent you from exploring new things or discovering new talents and interests. And, of course, Andrew’s most important piece of advice is, “Don’t procrastinate on starting your FYP papers!”

Elizabeth McNeil, BA’13

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Challenging, insightful, collaborative.

Elizabeth McNeil, BA’13

Elizabeth is a Manager of Rewards Strategy & Management at Scotiabank. She is thankful to her time at King’s for challenging her to follow her passions, try new things and to learn for the sake of learning. Her King’s experience taught her to always think outside the box, and to look at life in a cyclical fashion, as one long unfolding of responses, rather than a series of unconnected events. King’s instilled in Elizabeth a desire to understand connection, which led her to the loyalty industry, where she has developed and managed loyalty programs for a variety of retail partners. Her advice to any King’s student is to learn as much as you can absorb and to be aware that learning can happen anywhere. Some of Elizabeth’s fondest memories of King’s are small things, like waiting in line for Christmas Brunch, or toga parties after the Dante lectures. “If it interests you, try it,” is her strongest encouragement to current King’s students.

Lesley-Anne Steeleworthy, BJ’02

Describe your King’s experience in three words: The right choice.

Lesley-Anne Steeleworthy, BJ’02

Lesley-Anne is a marketing writer for Christie Digital in Kitchener, Ontario. Prior to that, she worked in social media and communications for agencies and non-profits. According to Lesley-Anne, she would have never found her way into public relations and communications without King’s. As well as enhancing her writing and communication skills, she made some of her closest friends at King’s, who have helped her along the way both professionally and personally. Lesley-Anne’s advice for one-year journalism students; “Get ready for an intense, but amazing experience! Throw yourself into your studies, let yourself be uncomfortable with new experiences, be open to feedback, try something new, and enjoy the short time you have with your classmates. No matter what, you’re going to walk away at the end of the year with the tools and the network you need to start the next part of your professional journey.”

Jenn Thornhill Verma, BJ(Hons)’02, MFA’19

Describe your King’s experience in three words: Reading, writing, publishing

Jenn Thornhill Verma, BJ(Hons)’02, MFA’19

Jenn Thornhill Verma is a Newfoundlander living in Ottawa, where she has spent over 15 years as a nonprofit executive working in health and social care. She now divides her time as a freelance journalist and working at the McMaster Health Forum at McMaster University. Jenn published her first book in 2019 examining the sociocultural impacts of the east coast cod fishery collapse. Her book inspired her first short-film, recounting the true story of a fifth-generation fisherman who pivots to boatbuilding after the cod fishery closes. Jenn is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and The Writers’ Union of Canada.  When she’s not wrangling her three small children, Jenn also paints landscapes.

Ex-officio

Paul Thomson, BA’90

Past-President and Board of Governors Representative (2021-2023)

Paul Thomson, BA’90

Paul is Chief Executive Officer of Meridian DLT (Canada) Ltd., a Canadian and Cayman Islands based financial technology company involved in carbon trading, global commodity trade finance, emerging markets banking, transportation, and telecommunications. He is also President of Gateway Meridian Insurance Ltd., a subsidiary of Meridian DLT.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kings College and has completed numerous courses in the investment industry including the Partners, Directors and Senior Officers Course at the Canadian Securities Institute and Exempt Market Proficiency Course at the IFSE Institute. He serves on the Board of Governors of the University of King’s College where he sits on the Executive Committee, Finance, Audit and Risk Committee and Advancement Committee. He is also President of the University of King’s College Alumni Association and President of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment Association and serves on the Regimental Senate.

Victoria Gibbs

KSU President (2022-2023)

William Lahey

University President & Vice-Chancellor

Adriane Abbott

Director of Advancement

To get in touch with a member of the executive, contact:

Kimberly Gosse

Alumni Relations Manager, Advancement Office

kimberly.gosse@ukings.ca |