Mark Seland

Managing Partner for Western Canada at NATIONAL Public Relations, Mark Seland has over 30 years of experience and is regarded as a trusted advisor on complex strategies and issues resolution to boards, CEOs, government and political leaders in Canada and the U.S.

Before joining NATIONAL in 2020, Mark was president and CEO of ABRIO Health, an organization striving to reconfigure public policy and structures in the community, healthcare, and social services to improve overall population health. Prior to this, he spent 17 years with Canadian Pacific Railway, leading the corporate communications team in U.S./Canada government engagement, marketing and internal communications, media relations, and crisis and community management, including acting as the internal executive communications advisor throughout the 2011/12 proxy contest.

Mark is an alumnus of Mount Royal University, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, and a regular lecturer on corporate culture, change management and extraordinary leadership. In his first year with the Firm, through a nomination by his colleagues, he received the AVENIR GLOBAL Visionary Leadership Model Award.

Colette Balaam

Colette joined the firm in 2021, and specializes in medical communications and commercial development strategies. She has spent 18 years in healthcare consulting serving clients in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector, including biotech and medical devices. Colette brings a holistic approach to client challenges driven by a deep understanding of the US market. She is well versed in the US regulatory and reimbursement landscape and provides insights driven solutions to her clients’ communications needs. Colette is a member of the NYC Healthcare Business Leaders Association, and the Digital Medicine Society.

Kevin McCann

Kevin brings clarity to the complex. As Managing Partner at NATIONAL, he is focused on leading integrated teams to solve pressing challenges in the evolving communications landscape. He specializes in strategy, communications, and advocacy, and can be credited for leading transformational campaigns for clients across North America. He shares accountability leading the Atlantic Canadian region for NATIONAL and AVENIR GLOBAL’s corporate strategy on research, insights, and strategic planning. Kevin’s work encompasses both public and private sectors. His specialty areas include digital advocacy and strategy, earning social license, reputation management and recovery, investment and talent attraction, and strategic planning and facilitation. Kevin’s sector specific work over a 20-year period spans everything from energy, major infrastructure, and healthcare to consumer, B2B, financial services, and post-secondary. As a respected leader in digital innovation, he has guided organizations in defining value proposition, brand narrative, path to conversion, insights, organizational change, and issues management. Prior to joining NATIONAL, Kevin built a reputation as a strong leader through experience in roles at Grassroots Enterprise, a digital advocacy firm based in Washington D.C., and as SVP at Edelman Public Relations. Through his career path from developer to technologist, technologist to strategist, and strategist to lead counsel, he offers an exceptional perspective to organizations facing or driving change and opportunity.

Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith was appointed as managing partner of NATIONAL’s Toronto office in October 2020. Gillian has more than 20 years of experience in public relations and strategic communications. Over the course of her career, she has held senior positions with multiple organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors including RBC, Aeroplan, the Toronto Region Board of Trade and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. Before joining NATIONAL, she was working at her own consulting agency, acting as a senior advisor with a portfolio of C-suite and Board clients across multiple industries, including healthcare, technology, financial services and energy. Gillian Smith serves as a board director with the Ontario Science Centre, TO Live, Toronto Arts Foundation, Business and the Arts, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and The Walrus Foundation. She also ran for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election.

Andrew Molson

Andrew Molson joined the organization in 1997 after leaving the practice of law to become a public relations consultant at NATIONAL.

In addition to chairing the board of AVENIR GLOBAL, Andrew serves as vice-chairman of Molson Coors Beverage Company and other several boards of directors, including Groupe Deschênes, Dundee Corporation, Theratechnologies and the CH Group, owner of evenko and the Montreal Canadiens, proud winner of 24 Stanley Cups.

Andrew holds a law degree from Laval University, a bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, and a masters of science in corporate governance and ethics from University of London (Birkbeck College). Andrew participates on several non-profit boards, including the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations, Concordia University Foundation, the evenko foundation for emerging talent, Business / Arts, the Québec Blue Cross and the Molson Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to the betterment of Canadian society.

Valérie Beauregard

Valérie Beauregard was named executive vice-president of AVENIR GLOBAL in 2013. She oversees corporate projects and issues related to the management of the Firm’s human resources policies, employee communications, professional development and branding programs. She is a member of AVENIR GLOBAL’s board of directors and sits on all our brands’ executive committees. Before joining the Firm over 20 years ago, as a financial communications consultant, she worked as a business reporter for a financial publication and as a journalist and marketing columnist at La Presse, North America’s largest French daily. She has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a double major in finance and international business from McGill University.

Jean-Pierre Vasseur

Jean-Pierre Vasseur has been president and chief executive officer of AVENIR GLOBAL since January 1, 2009. Jean-Pierre joined the Firm in 1988, serving successively as chief financial officer, executive vice-president and later, president. He is a chartered accountant and graduate of McGill University. Before joining the Firm, he worked for a leading accounting firm. Jean-Pierre is a member of the board of directors of the Maison Emmanuel Foundation.

Lorèn Lailey-Irvine

Lorèn Lailey-Irvine joined NATIONAL in November 2019 as managing partner of our Calgary office, and was appointed as managing partner of the Vancouver office in November 2020, taking responsibility of the Firm’s operations across Western Canada. With over 25 years of experience with public, private and non-profit clients, Lorèn is known as a strategic storyteller, having developed integrated reputation marketing strategies for some of Canada’s top brands including Shaw Communications, Rick Hansen Foundation, United Farmers of Alberta, Canadian Pacific Railway, Alberta Securities Commission, Tervita and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Adept at communicating strategies and value propositions effectively, she is sought after for shaping public perceptions on national projects. Through clearly and concisely crafted stories grounded in research, her work has informed audiences, changed perceptions, or inspired action across the country. Lorèn is an active volunteer and mentor and has dedicated her time to many youth organizations including Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta and PLAY Community Day Care.

John Goundry

John has over 25 years’ experience in advertising and marketing. He has held senior positions at a number of healthcare agencies in London before co-founding Cherry in 2005. This was a natural evolution of his ambition to create an agency focused on not just developing the best creative campaigns but one which genuinely understood what clients really value.As well as being the agency’s managing partner, he has a wealth of experience working across a wide range of therapy areas in the UK and EU. His expertise includes providing strategic insights, managing message development, influencing behaviour change and tactical planning for complex new product launches and revitalizing underperforming brands.In response to the opportunity that digital has created and the resulting change in client needs, John has been involved in integrating creativity, strategy and the latest technology to better connect brands with healthcare professionals and patients.

Matthew Kucharski

Matt is a seasoned public relations, strategic communication and marketing professional, helping clients across a wide range of industries build, grow and protect their brands and reputations. Throughout his nearly 30 years in the field, he has been a continuous trend watcher, learner, educator and innovator – helping the agency and clients stay ahead of “what’s next.”Matt leads a highly talented and experienced leadership team supporting all of Padilla’s offices and brands. He also is a sought-after marketing, communication and business counselor with expertise in branding, corporate communication, reputation management, and crisis and critical issues response.Matt has planned and implemented strategic communication, brand building, and reputation management programs and projects for a wide range of Padilla clients, from global Fortune 500 enterprises to promising category challengers. Clients benefitting from Matt’s experience include Rockwell Automation, Mayo Clinic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Be The Match, Tyco Retail Solutions, 3M, Valspar, Microsoft, Cisco and numerous others. He has extensive expertise in brand and reputation management, message development, thought leadership, integrated campaigns, new product and service launches, and major company transformations. He leads and facilitates brand strategy sessions as well as customer advisory council meetings.Matt is one of the agency’s primary liaisons to the Worldcom Public Relations group and served as global chair. He also is one of the agency’s highly requested executive media and presentation coaches.In his spare time, Matt is an adjunct faculty member for the Master’s in Strategic Communication program at the University of Minnesota and sits on the boards of Pheasants Forever and the Greater Twin Cities United Way. He is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society “Page Up” program and an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Gordon Taylor Lee

Gordon Taylor Lee was appointed Managing Partner of NATIONAL’s Ottawa office in February 2019. With over 20 years of public affairs and communications experience, Gordon comes to NATIONAL having served as a senior political staffer, an executive-level member of Canada’s federal public service, and private sector leader of a global, integrated communications and public affairs firm. Gordon is a former Senior Policy Advisor to Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Director of Policy to the federal Minister of Health, and political advisor to multiple campaigns. Gordon has also led management teams within various departments, including Health Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. He began his career with Global Affairs Canada, having served in the department’s North American Bureau and with Canada’s Consulate General in Seattle. Most recently, Gordon was Senior Partner and General Manager of FleishmanHillard’s Ottawa office, where he led accounts with key clients and Fortune 500 companies across numerous sectors, including finance, trade, healthcare, innovation, and manufacturing. Originally from British Columbia, Gordon holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria and a graduate degree from Queen’s University.

Rick Murray

Rick heads up the SHIFT team across the US. A driving force in PR for 20+ years, Rick’s passion, curiosity, competitiveness and energy have helped teams and clients in virtually every business sector win worldwide. From his early days on the Web and pioneering efforts in word of mouth marketing and social media, to championing PR’s ongoing shift from imperfect art to data-driven science, Rick helps clients build brands, enhance reputations and mitigate risk by embracing and successfully navigating the ever-changing media and technology landscapes.An economist by training, marketer at heart and self-confessed news junkie, Rick is based in Boston, or wherever the business takes him from day to day.

Michael Evans

Michael is managing partner of Madano. He joined the firm in 2008 as partner with senior-level experience and expertise in the energy and environmental sectors. Michael provides advice to clients in these sectors on strategic communication, research activity, government relations and stakeholder management in addition to issues and reputation management.Before joining Madano, Michael was Principal Private Secretary to the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and spent five years providing presentational and policy advice across a range of issues ranging from climate change and energy policy to health and biotech.Michael was also involved in the 2003 and 2007 Energy White Papers and was part of the UK’s G8 team in 2005. He also advises the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and has worked on a number of energy reports including A low carbon nuclear future and Towards a low carbon pathway for the UK – 2050 and beyond.

Martin Daraiche

Martin Daraiche has been president of the Firm’s Canadian operations since 2019. He joined NATIONAL Public Relations in 2008, later becoming a partner (2012), then managing partner of the Quebec City office (2017).

From public affairs to issues and crisis management, Martin is renowned for his strategic vision and his exceptional ability to develop trust with clients, team members and all stakeholders involved in a project.

A lawyer by trade and registered with the Quebec Bar since 2004, Martin holds a law degree from the University of Sherbrooke. Before joining NATIONAL, he was a political advisor for various ministries in the province of Quebec, as well as public and legal affairs advisor for the Premier of Quebec.

Martin served on the board of directors of The Arthritis Society until 2019 and was a select member of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference in 2012.

Sarah Young

Sarah Young became a partner in NATIONAL in December 2012 when the Firm acquired a majority interest in MT&L Public Relations, a firm she and her partners owned for more than a decade. Her unique talent for integrating communications efforts – seamlessly blending traditional public relations, creative strategy and tactics and digital tools for her clients – added to an expertise in stakeholder and community relations, public engagement and coalition building, have earned the trust of clients across Canada.

Sarah currently serves as a board member for the Nova Scotia Community College, Phoenix House, and on the Mount Allison University Board of Regents. A recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and an alumnus of the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, Sarah is certified by the U.S.-based Institute for Crisis Management and by IAP2 for Public Participation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (honours) from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, and a Masters in Media Studies from Concordia University in Montreal. Sarah leads NATIONAL’s Talent Working Group.

Julie-Anne Vien

As a positive and committed leader, Julie-Anne is driven by the most complex challenges, determined to support entrepreneurs and organizations from near to far in their growth and outreach. On a daily basis, she has the privilege of advising visionaries and inspiring leaders as well as assisting in the achievement of large-scale projects, by mobilizing teams or proposing creative ways to assist them in break through the sound barrier.With keen experience in crisis management, Julie-Anne will help in the preparation of dealing with the unexpected. She will “”navigate you through the storm”” and maintain your most precious asset: your reputation! Above all, your success is her personal objective!Julie-Anne has had an impressive career path and progression since joining NATIONAL in 2005. As a multidisciplinary strategist and attentive administrator with contagious energy, she was predestined to become the new Managing Partner of the Québec City office, already recognized for its high performance.

Serge Paquette

A sociology and political science graduate of the University of Ottawa, Serge Paquette has worked in communications for more than 25 years. His clients draw on his extensive, solid experience in communications and politics and his in-depth knowledge of influential networks to address their positioning issues and public relations needs.Over the course of his career, Serge has completed numerous public relations and communications assignments and orchestrated major events. An insightful manager, he is noted for the inspiring leadership he provides to his teams, his high-quality analysis of issues and his strong aptitude for identifying and implementing innovative, timely and effective solutions.He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Quebec Federation of Chambers of Commerce since 2010 and vice-president of the Board since 2013.In 2017, Serge rejoined the Armand-Frappier Foundation, which contributes to the advancement of healthcare research, as vice-president of the Board of Directors, a position he occupied from 2007 through 2013.He has been on the Board of Directors of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde since 2009.In 2017, Serge also joined the Board of Directors of the Montréal Space for Life Foundation, which makes financial contributions for the development of Montréal’s Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium.

Royal Poulin

Royal Poulin joined AVENIR GLOBAL in 2003 and has been executive vice-president and chief financial officer since 2013. Prior to joining the Firm, Royal spent several years in the telecommunications and software industries and in corporate finance consulting. He obtained his CMA designation in 1996, later further developing his skills with a postgraduate degree in business valuation (charter business valuator, CBV) from York University. Royal then capped off his training with a Master of Finance from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Ralph Sutton

Ralph specializes in advising companies within the healthcare sector on both brand and corporate communications strategies.Based in London, he works closely with clients from across the world to help design impactful communications plans to deliver the right message to the right people at the right point in a brand’s lifecycle.This often involves taking complex science and shaping a powerful story that can resonate with audiences as diverse as physicians, patients, regulators and investors. In addition, Ralph regularly advises clients on how they can effectively prepare for and manage issues and crises when they occur.

Chuck Johnston

Since joining the Firm 2002, Chuck has been using his broad industry knowledge to assist clients in developing and executing novel education platforms with physicians, pharmacists and patients to achieve the desired outcome.In addition to his role as a Partner in NATIONAL, he is also responsible for the development of the Firm’s Clinical Trial Support Services (CTSS) offering, leading a cross-office and multi-disciplinary team that focuses on building this business and enhancing its unique offering to clients.Chuck has more than 24 years of experience in senior management positions in the healthcare industry. He has gained an in-depth understanding of the barriers to knowledge transfer and behaviour change and the motivation required to optimize them.