The 2021 Canadian Game Awards may be behind us, but it’s never a bad time to acknowledge the talented people behind the event. We would like to introduce you to the CGAs’ team of judges! Representing every facet of the gaming industry in Canada, it’s these wonderful individuals who were tasked with making the official selection of winners from this year’s nominees.
Elaine Gusella is Game Director for indie studio Artifact 5, Director for the MTL Indie Game Awards, and Coordinator for the gender diversity and inclusivity initiative Pixelles. She has worked as a game design and marketing strategy consultant with multiple independent game studios and organizations in Montréal.
Elaine has spearheaded community projects, including game jams, consumer events, and mentoring programs. She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Game Design from Université de Montréal, where she specialized in communications and social features in games.
Her personal projects delve into life-size installations, and creating hybrid experiences between the digital and physical worlds.
Genevieve St-Onge co-founded popagenda three years ago. Her primary focus in the company – which can best be described as a publisher for hire – is designing go-to market strategies for the developers they work with, defining their product positioning, competitive landscape, campaign pace, PR strategy, and business development with first parties and other marketing partners.
Genevieve spends another good chunk of her time helping early projects secure platform partnerships or the funding they need for their development.
Kevin Swift is the co-founder of Leadhouse and an esports industry veteran who has been a consistent presence in esports across North America and Western Europe since 2014.
Swift has worked with some of the biggest companies and events in the business, including ESL, Activision Blizzard (MLG), Turner Sports (Eleague), CEVO, Gfinity, Northern Arena, and iBuyPower.
Lenna “Chibi” Ly runs Team Ops for the Vancouver Titans. She is a social media and community management specialist and professional brand ambassador. At a time where we have all been forced indoors and needing to isolate from one another, Ly has managed to keep connecting with people, especially those most in need. By using the Toronto Defiant Discord and Twitter channels, she has been pivotal in creating community, and followers have noticed her authenticity and kindness. Whether is it virtually or in-person over the past two years, Ly has welcomed so many into a growing gaming community, and for that she is recognized as a Toronto Defiant community hero.
Ly has also made a difference for women in gaming, building safe and open spaces for those who may otherwise have shied away from the gaming community. As one of her nominators put it, “She has done lots for women in the gaming community, ensuring they are involved and feel welcomed. Chibi is a great role model for women in gaming, and in the Defiant community, both online and in real life.”
Maria Abila is a gaming expert and trainer at Microsoft, and the co-founder of the Women’s Video Game Association. Her passion for gaming stems from her love of how gaming brings people together. Her past work includes the Xbox Special Olympics, Cloud9 Intel Game Nights North American Championship, Women in Gaming Celebration, to name a few events.
She now manages tournaments and events at Corporate Esports at Microsoft, and esports education and programming at Girls Who Game! As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, she works towards building a better gaming landscape for the youth and women of tomorrow.
Martin Omes is a professional esports event manager, and Halo Grassroots community leader. He is involved in many different facets of the gaming industry. As the program logistics coordinator of Gamers Outreach Foundation, he is behind the program which builds portable gaming karts for Children’s Hospitals.
He also works in various aspects of the competitive gaming scene as event manager for many major gaming titles, such as Halo and Call of Duty. Omes has worked organizations like Activision Blizzard, 343 Industries, Dreamhack, GFinity, FaceIt, and more. He works with gaming communities in Canada to ensure accessibility for players of all ages to learn, meet fellow gamers, and grow.
Mary Gushie is a journalist an an advocate for women in games.
For over ten years she has covered important events and stories with a focus on equality and equity in the game community.
Her work focuses on highlighting women in the industry – as players, developers, producers, and characters.
Meagan Feeney, also known as thedragonfeeney, has been a Twitch streamer and partner for the last 5 years, along with being an esports professional.
She has participated in several large events, such as the Super Mario Maker 2 Invitational 2019, EGLX 2019, and Glitchcon 2020.
Miki Ljuljdurovic is an accomplished Canadian content creator with a focus on high skill, high energy entertainment. He streams daily and hosts a podcast.
He is a co-founder of Warp World, creators of Crowd Control, 1UpCoin, Turnip Exchange, and other tools for Twitch streamers.
Paul Hunter is a journalist and content creator who has reported on the video game industry since 2008, first on his personal website NextGenPlayer, and then as gaming editor for Best Buy Canada’s blog. Currently he is the executive editor for Walmart Canada’s content portal theHUB.
His latest passions are growing his gaming podcast Down to Play, and streaming the latest game releases on Twitch. Hunter has travelled around Canada and the world, covering the games industry at events like E3, the Tokyo Game Show, the Montreal International Game Summit, and Fan Expo.
Raj Patel is an experienced brand manager who has worked in the games industry in a variety of roles for over a decade now, with experience in global campaigns including hardware, services, mobile, independent, and AAA products.
He’s gone from an influencer and blogger to leading marketing strategy and campaigns for some of the biggest titles made in Canada.
Steve Vegvari is a Toronto-based freelance writer and podcast host, currently writing for Canadian outlets such as iPhone in Canada, SQUAD, and Console Creatures.
Vegvari is incredibly passionate about the Canadian games industry and gaming as a whole, and is a connoisseur on everything related to console gaming.
Being in love with all things gaming, Zak Inzirllo’s passion can be traced back to 2008 where his love for competitive gaming began with the Halo franchise.
Inzirllo is always looking to utilize his experience in community management, brand partnerships and marketing. He currently works as the community manager at FlyQuest.