CJFE's active Board of Directors draws from the media, legal and business communities.
• Alice Klein, President
• Morteza Abdolalian
• Arnold Amber
• Peter Jacobsen
• Donald Livingstone, Treasurer
• Anita Mielewczyk, Secretary
• Frank Switzer
• Nadine Touma
• Philip Tunley
• Lyn Whitham
Alice Klein is the co-founder, editor and CEO of Toronto's NOW Magazine, a free alternative news and entertainment weekly with a circulation of 355,000. She has been a CJFE Board member for two years.
As a writer, Alice's current focus is on the economy and the environment. She also dabbles in documentary film-making.
Call of the Hummingbird, (2007) her first film, was an official selection at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin and Toronto's Hot Docs. She is also on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council, the Centre for Social Innovation and Green Enterprise Toronto.
Since joining the board, Alice has been instrumental in CJFE expanding its web and social media presence. She was elected President in 2015.
The journalist, poet and translator Morteza Abdolalian has spent much of his academic and professional career abroad. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was in the Philippines to continue his education and the struggle against the Iranian regime. Articles by Morteza, published in the university campus newspaper (Dawn), that were critical of Guards in the campus resulted in him being blacklisted and cautioned by security for expulsion from Philippines.
From 1980 to 1982, he worked for the Iranian students' publication Akhgar. When he returned to Iran the following year, he was arrested at the airport and transferred to Evin prison. After he was repeatedly persecuted, re-arrested, imprisoned, and, on one occasion, kidnapped in the Streets of Tehran, he decided to escape Iran and go back to the Philippines.
Returning to the Philippines, Morteza continued to write about both the political and human rights situation in Iran. When the Philippines became unsafe for Morteza, he moved to Japan and lived there for five years, where he worked as a reporter for an Iranian political newspaper and, carrying on with his advocacy of human rights in Iran, he settled in Canada in 1989. He is a member of the Oakville Writers' Group and Pen Canada writer in exile and contributes to several local Iranian publications. Morteza currently runs a blog called Iran Watch Canada (www.moriab.blogspot.com) which monitors daily violation of human rights in Iran.
Morteza joined the Board in 2002. He is very active with CJFE, and he is a member of the CIFET Board of Trustees. Having been blindfolded at gun point, imprisoned and kidnapped from the street, he would like to use his position to help journalists in distress around the world and to develop the multicultural diversity of the Board.
Arnold Amber is a former executive producer at CBC and Director of CWA-SCA Canada, the parent body of the Canadian Media Guild and 25 other smaller union locals that represent employees in the newspaper industry.
Arnold’s dedication to CJFE is based on his drive to protect the right to free expression both on the national and international stage. During Arnold's time as on the board, he has witnessed CJFE grow from a handful of journalists passionate about the right to freedom of expression, to a rapidly expanding organization taking its rightful place alongside its international partners.
Arnold joined the board, at the request of the organization's founder, Nick Fillmore, in 1993. Despite his early roots at CJFE, Arnold credits his colleagues for its success and growth. "Without the work of CJFE's board of directors, it would be difficult to meet the ongoing and formidable challenges we face," he says.
CJFE's responsibility as manager of IFEX is the achievement he is most proud of. The organization's hard work of managing the network strengthens its international effectiveness.
Arnold says the board's effectiveness and excellent results are due to the experiences and perspectives of its members.
Peter Jacobsen is a founding partner of the firm Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP and has over 30 years of experience in practice as a litigator and provider of legal advice.
A graduate of McGill University, Peter practices mainly in the areas of defamation law, media law, administrative law, and constitutional law. He is a seasoned litigator and has significant experience in trials, appeals and judicial reviews at all levels of court and before numerous administrative tribunals. Peter is rated as one of the best lawyers in Canada in the specialty of Defamation and Media Law in the most recent edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada. He provides regular pre-publication advice and defends defamation actions for major media print and electronic outlets and their insurers and book publishers, their insurers and individual authors and editors. He also represents plaintiffs and as well as national organizations.
Peter has participated in several pivotal cases that have advanced freedom of expression in Canada involving libel and slander issues, free press rights, access to courts, publication bans, sealing orders and subpoenas to journalists and editors. He has also appeared in several significant cases at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Although his practice consists largely of defending freedom of expression either through Charter applications or defending defamation cases he maintains a vigorous plaintiff's practice where to do so would not involve media interests.
Peter has worked and volunteered with many organizations including the International Bar Association, Ad Idem/ Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Advisory Board of OntarioNewsWatch.com the Toronto Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation and the Writers' Trust of Canada. He has also served as Ontario Chief Negotiator - English - Wabagoon Mercury Pollution Negotiations (1984 - 87); 1850 Treaty Negotiations (1990 - 1994); Grassy Narrows Mediation (1990 - 1994).
Donald Livingstone is a funding partner of Promeus, a Toronto search firm specializing in public sector leadership recruitment.
Donald is a physician and has practiced as a General Internist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre since 1985 where he was Head of the Division of General Internal Medicine for a number of years. He also provided leadership to Sunnybrook for more than a decade in a variety of capacities including Vice President Medical Affairs, Vice President Professional Affairs, and Senior Vice President, Medical Services and Chief Medical Officer.
Subsequently he served as a consultant in business strategy to a variety of private sector healthcare entities.
He has been formally undertaking senior level recruitment in a professional capacity for approximately 5 years and his clients include hospitals, universities, government and not for profit service organizations. He is particularly interested in strategic positioning and leadership development.
Donald will bring a wealth of practical experience to the CJFE Board in business operations, strategic planning, and governance. He is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management and of the Institute of Corporate Directors Not-For-Profit Governance Essentials Program. He is passionate about the defense of human rights including freedom of speech.
Anita Mielewczyk is a lawyer and currently works for Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association.
After her call to the Bar in 2010, she worked as an Associate at the class action law firm, Kim Orr. Prior to attending Osgoode Hall Law School, Anita worked as an investigative journalist at the CBC. She began her career at the CBC as a radio reporter, after which she went to The Fifth Estate, and subsequently researched and produced investigative documentaries at The National.
Her documentaries were about a wide range of subjects, including the Rwandan genocide, war criminals, human rights, refugee law, environmental rights, corporate liability, drug research and multi-national corporate responsibility, amongst other things.
Access to information, protection of off-the-record sources and protection of journalistic work product formed the backdrop to many of her investigations. Anita continues to have a strong commitment to defending the rights of journalists and the right of the public to know.
Frank Switzer is Vice-President of Corporate Communications at Sun Life Financial. In this role, Mr. Switzer oversees the enterprise-wide internal and external communications and media relations functions. He is a member of Sun Life’s International Marketing Centre.
Mr. Switzer joined the Company in November 2009, bringing 30 years experience in communications and media relations in government, corporate and financial services.
He started his career as a broadcast journalist for a number of Canadian news outlets, and has served as a communications advisor to an Ontario cabinet minister and as Press Secretary for the Official Opposition in the Ontario Legislature. Mr. Switzer also worked in corporate communications for an infrastructure development company and was Director of Communications for the Ontario Securities Commission. Prior to joining Sun Life, he was Director of Public Affairs for Scotiabank Group.
Mr. Switzer holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University, and is a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board for the Ontario Central East Division.
"As a former journalist, with many friends and former colleagues still in the business, serving on the Board of CJFE is an opportunity for me to give back to a craft that I am still passionate about. As an officer at a Canadian-based multinational corporation, I'm pleased I can assist an organization that promotes freedom for the news media. It's a cause that contributes to stronger, more stable local institutions, and helps to create and maintain an environment for economic growth and social justice in countries where Canadian firms do business."
Nadine is an experienced trilingual Montreal criminal lawyer with Poupart, Dadour, Touma & Associates. As an active member of CJFE's Canadian Issues Committee, she has been instrumental in providing information on freedom expression issues in Quebec. She has also been instrumental in obtaining access for the media to sealed search warrants and other sealed documents.
Philip Tunley joined the Board on November 14, 2005. His expertise as a lawyer has provided guidance and recommendations on the most effective strategy to battle free expression within the legal framework. Among these issues is the formal confirmation of CJFE as manager of IFEX.
Insofar as the day to day running of the organization, Philip is a member of the Canadian Issues Committee. He is a past member of the Personnel Committee and a former CIFET Trustee, and as the Vice President from 2007 to 2009, he was also on the Executive Committee. From his perspective, the staff and Board have made progress in pulling together in terms of the structure and governance of CJFE since 2005. In the future, Philip would like to see board members deal with fewer administrative matters, and spend more time on their core mandate and commitment to advocating for the right to free expression.
It is a little known fact, that Philip served from 2004 to 2009 as a member of Metro Toronto Committee of the prestigious Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. The Committee was established to improve the process of recommending candidates for the Federal judicial appointment. This Committee provides a rigorous vetting process to evaluate the credentials and other characteristics qualifying candidates to be judges. The Committee's recommendations cover the Superior and Federal trial courts and Courts of Appeal. Members of the Committee are appointed by the Federal Minister of Justice, in Philip's case as the nominee of the Attorney General of Ontario, however the Committee operates at arm's length and independently of both the Federal and Provincial Governments. Philip served two terms on the Committee, over a total of five years.
Lyn Whitham is currently working as a management consultant while finishing her Master’s degree in Business and Communication at Syracuse University. Over the past years, she has been a Marketing and Communication Executive in Canadian and International, private and not-for-profit organizations.
Previously she was a CBC Television reporter who covered Queen’s Park, Parliament Hill and was a documentary journalist for CBC’s The Journal. In 1992, she and her CBC production team were awarded a Michener Award for Public Service Journalism. She was a Gemini nominee and won a Canadian Association of Journalists award for investigative journalism.
Throughout her career, she has steadfastly advocated for journalists and the crucial role they play in a healthy democracy. She is honoured to contribute to the CJFE and support its mission to defend freedom of expression locally and around the world.
Lyn is a graduate of Queen’s University and will complete her Master’s Degree in the fall of 2014. She lives with her husband Stan Behal, a photojournalist and her daughter Alexandra in Toronto.
Tom Henheffer, Executive Director
Megan Drysdale, Editorial and Events Coordinator
Alix Buck, Promotions and Communications Coordinator
Taryn Blanchard, Communications and Programs Assistant
Rignam Wangkhang, Campaigns and Advocacy Officer
Dustin Stern, Events and Gala Assistant
Karen Knopf, Finance and Accounting Consultant
Sarah Bunting, Bookkeeper