Michael MacMillan, Co-founder and Chair of Samara
In 2007 Michael co-founded Samara Canada which is a charity that is dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics.
In 2011, Michael co-founded and is CEO of Blue Ant Media, a Canadian-based media company with operations in Canada, USA, New Zealand and the UK.
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.
Michael is also the co-owner of Closson Chase Vineyard and Winery in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
A member of the Order of Canada, Michael has volunteered with numerous community and industry organizations over many years, and is currently involved with Open Roof Films, Human Rights Watch, Civix, and Community Food Centres Canada, amongst other organizations. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and co-author of the book Tragedy in the Commons.
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.
Patrice E. Merrin
Patrice E. Merrin is an independent director of Glencore PLC and of Stillwater Mining Company. She was Chairman of the Board of CML HealthCare Inc. and is a former President and CEO of Luscar Ltd. and former Executive Vice-President and COO of Sherritt International Corporation.
Ms. Merrin serves as Co-Chair of the Emmy Noether Circle at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which funds and supports women in physics and mathematical physics. She is a former Director of Ornge, the Province of Ontario’s medical transport agency, former Chairman of the Council on Canadian American Relations and has served on the boards of many not-for-profit organizations and federal and provincial bodies.
Early in her career, Patrice worked in Ottawa as Special Assistant to the Honourable Marc Lalonde, P.C., M.P., during his portfolios of Health and Welfare, Federal-Provincial Relations and Justice all the while he was Minister Responsible for the Status of Women.
Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Ratna to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario.
Ratna is the founding Executive Director and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. Previously, Ratna was the President of Maytree, where she played a lead role in local, national and international efforts to promote the integration of immigrants.
Ratna is the current Co-Chair of the Global Future Council on Migration hosted by the World Economic Forum. She is also a director at the Environics Institute. She is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita and was formerly the Chair of Lifeline Syria.
Ratna was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Ratna received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.
Ratna has also been recognized by The Globe and Mail, being named as its Nation Builder of the Decade for Citizenship in 2010. Ratna was named to the inaugural Global Diversity List sponsored by The Economist magazine in 2015, as one of the Top 10 Diversity Champions worldwide. In 2016, CivicAction awarded Ratna with their Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area.
Ratna received an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, York University in 2012.
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.
Janet Yale currently serves as President and CEO of The Arthritis Society after years of providing results-oriented leadership in c-suite positions in the private, public and not-for-profit world. An accomplished senior executive with a long history in the telecommunications sector, Janet previously served as executive vice president at TELUS and president and CEO of the Canadian Cable Television Association. A lawyer and economist by training, Janet worked early in her career as a director general at the CRTC and as general counsel to the Consumers Association of Canada.
Janet’s true passion is in the not-for-profit sector where she has been recognized as a proven innovator and leader. In addition to Samara, Janet currently sits on the boards of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, CARE Canada and the Ottawa Art Gallery. She is also chair of the Arthritis Alliance of Canada.
Janet is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a winner of the Woman Leader of the Year by the Federated Press and Businesswoman of the Year by the Women’s Business Network.
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.