Rob Baker is best known as the guitarist for the rock band The Tragically Hip. A graduate of Queen’s University (BFA’86) he has put his visual arts studies to use designing many of the band’s T-shirts and album art. He has also released two albums with his band Stripper’s Union. Rob was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 1999, he won a Juno Award for Best Album Design. Rob has always been a large supporter of his community, giving his time, money, and profile to local and national charities with a focus on medical, musical, and environmental causes. This is Rob’s fifth time judging the 3MT.
Melissa Durrell has been actively involved with the startup scene working with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors across North America. As one of Canada’s few female pitch coaches, she’s known for her unique storytelling skills; honed at her former career as an award-winning broadcast journalist. Currently, she is President of Durrell Communications, leading one of the top PR and Communication teams in southwestern Ontario. She is serving a second term as the elected official representing Uptown Waterloo on the City Council, working on several portfolios including urban issues, community building, and green sustainable solutions.
Doug Fregin co-founded the Quantum Valley Investments Fund in March 2013 with his close friend Mike Lazaridis, and co-founded Research In Motion Limited (RIM) in 1984, which created the BlackBerry wireless device that revolutionized the communications industry. Mr. Fregin served as the Vice President of Operations and as a Director of RIM until he retired in 2007. Doug studied electrical engineering at the University of Windsor. He was awarded the Queen’s II Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a Member of the Order of Canada. Doug devotes a significant amount of his time and resources assisting various African charitable projects including the establishment and operation of a vocational School in rural Uganda.
Craig Norris is the host of The Morning Edition on CBC Radio One Kitchener-Waterloo. He has been working for CBC Radio since 2005 and has hosted many shows including The Craig Norris Hour and The R3-30. Craig hosted and co-produced the critically acclaimed current affairs CBC show, Know Your Rights: A Field Guide to The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 2011. Craig is also a talented musician; he is a member of The Kramdens, from Guelph Ontario, and he spent years studying piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music.
Valerie Walker is the Vice President of Innovation and Skills for the Business Council of Canada. In her role, she provides leadership to the Council on innovation, competitiveness, and labour market issues. Prior to joining the Council, Valerie was the Director of Policy at Mitacs where she was responsible for maintaining strategic relationships with government and policy leaders on innovation policy to promote Mitacs as a key player in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Valerie has a doctorate from McGill University and is an alumnus of the Government of Canada’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program.
Master of Ceremonies
Cheryl Chan is a Master of Environmental Studies candidate in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. She holds undergraduate degrees in biology and education. Her research focuses on the challenges and opportunities of marine protected areas, and the well-being of small-scale fishing communities in Jamaica. In 2016, Cheryl placed as runner-up in the University of Waterloo 3MT competition with her presentation, titled “Fish for our future: A community-based approach to marine conservation”. She was recently chosen as a 2017 SSHRC Storyteller finalist. Prior to beginning her master’s, she was a secondary school science teacher at an international school in Nanjing, China. Upon graduating, Cheryl hopes to harness her experience working with communities and her skills as an educator to enhance knowledge mobilization of critical issues surrounding the environment and sustainability.
Tommy Mayberry is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. He holds a Joint Honours BA in English Literature and Fine Arts: Studio, with Dean's Honours, from the University of Waterloo and an MA in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University. He has been the recipient of two Ontario Graduate Scholarships, and he is currently a recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. His dissertation, “Gods and Monsters: William Blake’s Drag/Trans- Bodies,” focuses on the Romantic period and contemporary transgender visual culture as he “drags up” his academic writing to embody his research.