Michael MacMillan, Co-founder and Chair of Samara
In 1978, Michael MacMillan co-founded Atlantis Films Limited with fellow Queen’s grads Seaton McLean and Janice Platt. He was Chairman and CEO of Atlantis (which later became Alliance Atlantis) for almost 30 years. Alliance Atlantis owned 13 Canadian television networks including HGTV Canada, History and Showcase and produced television series including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In the early years, the company won an Oscar for its short film Boys and Girls. The company was sold in 2007. In 2011, Michael co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a new Canadian media company. Blue Ant owns eight Canadian specialty television channels, as well as digital media properties and magazines, including Cottage Life. In addition to co-founding and chairing Samara, he is also the co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyard and Winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
Stephanie MacKendrick, Vice-Chair
For more than 30 years, Stephanie MacKendrick has been a key player in Canada’s communications industry, from print and broadcast journalism to senior communications roles and association management. Stephanie has been President of Canadian Women in Communications since 1996. In 2010, Stephanie was inducted into Canada’s Telecom Hall of Fame in recognition of her longstanding advocacy on behalf of women in the communications and telecom sectors.
Ratna Omidvar is President of Maytree, a private foundation that promotes equity and prosperity. Under her leadership, the foundation has gained recognition for its expertise in developing, testing, and implementing programs and policy solutions related to immigration, integration and diversity in the workplace, in the boardroom and in public office. She serves on a number of boards, including the Canadian Club of Toronto, The Environics Institute, Connect Legal, and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, and is the co-chair of DiverseCity. Ratna is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.
Ruth Ostrower is an executive assistant supporting Michael MacMillan across both his business and philanthropic endeavours. Previously she served as the executive assistant to Michael when he was the chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis. Prior to joining Alliance Atlantis (then Atlantis Communications) she worked for 12 years in the finance industry, primarily in Human Resources. She is the president of the Kiwanis Music Festival, where she has volunteered for many years, and is also an active supporter of theatre and dance.
Kasi V.P. Rao
Kasi Rao is the Vice-President and Director of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada's Toronto Office. Further, he is a consultant & advisor based in Toronto, providing strategic guidance on matters pertaining to business development and policy issues, with a particular focus on India. In this capacity he has advised corporations, universities, think tanks, not-for-profit organizations, companies, law firms, on developing and implementing strategies pertaining to India. Rao has an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A. from the University of Waterloo, majoring in Political Science.
In 2011 Dr. William (Bill) Young completed a successful six-year career as Parliamentary Librarian with the Library of Parliament, capping a thirty-year career as an historian, academic and educator. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an M.A. in History and Political Science from the University of British Columbia and a B.A. in History and Political Science from York University. Dr. Young has offered his support and expertise to many professional groups and has maintained active memberships in professional societies and centers of academic excellence throughout his career.