Debbie Gordon – Director, kidsmediacentre
Debbie spent the first twenty years of her life working in the television, advertising and marketing industries with a number of large multi-national agencies. She worked on child and adult directed brands and across a multitude of media disciplines with companies like Unilever, Hershey, Heinz, Kraft, Levis, YTV, Much Music, CTV and Global.
One day, when Debbie was wiping SpaghettiO’s off the floor, her daughter began espousing the virtues of Mr Clean. According to her daughter, the nice white man in the bottle would take care of all her house-cleaning woes and leave her floors clean and shiny. Years of TVO and PBS co-viewing and mediating her children’s media diet, could not have prepared her for this.
This epiphanous moment resulted in the 2001 birth of Debbie’s media literacy consulting practice, Mediacs. Debbie has spent ten years on the front lines, traveling to schools – talking to kids, teachers and parents, analyzing the world through the lens of the media. Over the years, she has tracked the incredible trajectory of kids’ passion for the online space, all the while helping them make smart, safe, cyber choices. Debbie’s work in the area of body image, gender representation, digital media, healthy eating, and youth marketing attracted the attention of organizations and media across the country. Debbie has coordinated several conferences on gaming and digital literacy for school boards. She has guided corporations and government agencies on important corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives including writing the digital literacy column for Microsoft, creating game-safety messaging for X-box and developing web strategies and activities for the Dove Self Esteem fund.
Debbie has written on children and media for CBC Radio, canadianparents.com, Today’s Parent Magazine, Scholastic, Canadian Living, Reader’s Digest, Owl, American Dietician and has been a regular guest speaker at many public health, marketing and education conferences.
Emily DeVries – Assistant, kidsmediacentre
Emily DeVries is relatively new to the media industry, but brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.
Throughout her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Religious Studies from McMaster University, Emily focused her studies in areas of child development, taking courses in everything from child language acquisition to adolescent psychology.
Following her degree, Emily spent a year mentoring University students in personal and spiritual growth at McGill University in Montreal before enrolling in Centennial College’s Children’s Entertainment: Writing, Production & Management program.
Since graduating top of her class, Emily has had the opportunity to work on the production side of several shows including a short for Sesame Street, Made Up! for Disney XD and YTV, and the pilot episode of a show for kids’ CBC called Snapshots.
When not on a production, she has enjoyed working on several research projects with the kidsmediacentre for clients such as the Michael Cohen Group, and Prix Jeunesse/TVO Kids in the capacity of researcher.
Emily is currently filling an assistant position at the kidsmediacentre, and looks forward to each day finding new ways to live-out her passion for promoting the creation of quality content for kids.
Helen Sianos, MA – Coordinator, Children’s Media Program @ Centennial College
Professional Dreamer. Tech Savvy Educator. Creative Storyteller.
Helen Sianos brings over 17 years of national live, field, remote and studio broadcast television experience as a senior producer, writer, video editor and director with most of Canada’s top networks/broadcasters such as CTV, Global, CBC, Bell Media and Corus Entertainment. Her passion for children and youth programming in the broadcast arena lead to a fulfilling career working for CBC, YTV, and TELETOON.
At the CBC she was an interstitial writer, producer, director, and chase producer for the after-school block of programming. Helen booked a wide range of celebrities from the world of sports, music, film and television and worked with children who were then prepared for their on-camera interviews with the celebrities.
After YTV, the marketing department at TELETOON hired Helen. She was a promo producer, writer, non-linear digital editor, and director of live-action promos and multi-platform interstitial content for TELETOON and TELETOON Retro. She worked on campaigns for both the English and French specialty animation channels.
In 2010, she was one of only twenty broadcast media professionals across Canada who was awarded a scholarship to the CWC / Corus Digital Media & Technology Executive Development Program.
As faculty at Centennial College, she was a 2014 recipient of two President’s Spirit Awards at Centennial College. After becoming Coordinator for Children’s Media in 2016, the program, along with its faculty, received two awards. The first was the President’s Academic Gold Award for Overall Quality of Learning Experience for outstanding student satisfaction ratings for five consecutive years. The second was the President’s Academic Program Recognition Award for Quality of Learning Experience for outstanding student satisfaction rating in 2016.
Helen’s passion for children’s media and teaching the next generation of content creators, inspired her to continue her own life-long learning and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).