DFZ Mentors

DFZ Mentors include industry and academic professionals who guide members through projects including commercial products, installations, exhibitions, competitions, design businesses and tech startups.

Be an Industry Leader
Promote yourself as a leader in your industry by mentoring, speaking and networking at the DFZ. Mentors are promoted through all DFZ channels.
Give Back to the Community
Help emerging entrepreneurs make their ideas a reality.
Grow Your Network
Connect with industry professionals and academics.
Speaking Opportunities
Give talks, demonstrations and workshops to the DFZ and larger Ryerson community.
Skills Expansion
Improve and expand your skill set and knowledge.
Programming + Events
Participate in DFZ talks, demonstrations, workshops and networking/social events.

Become A Mentor

Industry and academic professionals can become Mentors at the DFZ as specialists for specific projects or join for a year to mentor multiple Members on different projects. Mentors should commit to a minimum of 4 hours per month for the duration of their mentorship. The DFZ is seeking Mentors with experience in consumer product design, installation design, commercial product design, business strategy and planning, exhibition design and visual art, as well as partners at design or architecture firms and professionals in leadership positions at technology startups.

To inquire about Mentoring please submit your expression of interest and your LinkedIn profile or CV to dfz@ryerson.ca.


Martha Malloy

Website | LinkedIn

With more than a decade of professional marketing experience, Martha Malloy is a communications and technology strategist with a passion for working with driven entrepreneurs. Trained in both UX/UI and product design, she combines her intimate understanding of the creative innovation process with the art of pitching ideas.

McAlister Zeller-Newman


McAlister is a recent graduate of Ryerson’s New Media Program and present day assistant of Toronto-based, multidisciplinary artist Max Dean.  With over a year of experience working closely with Max, a veteran of the art world’s, he has been engaged with a methodology of taking an idea and working it to fruition.

Prior to studying at Ryerson, he was involved in the refabrication and repurposing of discarded objects and antiques into industrial/modern furniture.

His personal work focuses more on painting and the creation of mechanical means to alter the perspective and/or viewing experience of the work.  He is also playing with the creation of basic A.I. generative code based systems that through their own means create their own dynamic designs.

Brad Poulos


As a former profit 100 CEO and public company chair, Brad Poulos has taken companies from inception, through high growth, to exit. As a professor in the world-renowned Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, his teaching practice focuses on lean startup, small business and company strategy and his research focus is the cannabis industry in Canada and abroad. In Fall of 2018 he pioneered the first University course in Ontario on the Business of Cannabis at Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education.

His career spans 30+ years, several continents, and a handful of industries including telecom, luxury goods, software and education.

Blending a technical background with an Ivey MBA, his unique insight and analysis are in constant demand from media, the industry and the educational community.

For fun, he plays keyboards in the rock band Southpawz in the Greater Toronto Area.

Brad Poulos in Ryerson Today – What cannabis means for Ryerson

The Ryerson Connection – Talking weed with a Ryerson expert

Glenda Rissman


Glenda is one of the founding Principals of q30 design inc. An honours graduate of the Graphic Design program at Dawson College in Montreal, Glenda is also an RGD (Registered Graphic Designer), and has been a design consultant for over 30 years and a design business owner for 26 years.

She has designed and managed corporate communications for some of the largest corporations in North America.

Connor Malloy

Website | LinkedIn

Connor employs a blend of design thinking, user experience based problem solving and a contagious enthusiasm to share new ideas with everyone around him. After 10 years leading industrial & architectural design projects and working with diverse teams, Connor brings a unique multidisciplinary arsenal of communication tools to any challenge.

Joseph Breitner


Joseph has a B.Sc. with honors in Mechanical Engineering and an M.Sc. in Materials Engineering, both from Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, Israel.

When Joseph moved to Canada in 2002 from Israel he held positions from Mechanical Engineer to Engineering Director; leading an international team developing water filtration products.

Filiz Klassen


Filiz is the Founder and Co-director of the Design Fabrication Zone and an Associate Professor at Ryerson University, School of Interior Design.

Her research emphasizes materiality as ‘responsive matter’ in architecture and interiors and focuses on adaptability to variables in environmental conditions. She is recipient of a research/creation grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for her project Malleable Matter: Material Innovations in Architecture (2005-2010). Her ‘Snow, Rain, Light, Wind: Weathering Architecture’ exhibition is displayed at Triangle Gallery, Calgary (May 28-June 24, 2010) and Design at Riverside Gallery, Cambridge (November 2009 to January 2010).

She has presented at conferences internationally in Boras, Singapore, London, New York, Istanbul, Eindhoven, Delft, Venice and nationally in Banff, Calgary, Cambridge and Toronto. Her articles on material innovations and responsive environments are published in books Snow, Rain, Light, Wind: Weathering Architecture (2009), Arium: Weather + Architecture (Hatje Cantz, 2010) and Mobile Nation (Riverside Press, 2008), as well as in other academic and professional journals. She is the co-editor of Transportable Environments 3, the third book on portable architecture and design published by Spon Press (UK, 2006) following the international conference she organized and co-chaired at Ryerson.

She has curated exhibitions and also exhibited her work at Archive Gallery, Gladstone Hotel, Design Exchange, and various other venues in Toronto. She directed ‘Weathering Architecture’, a performance that was staged as part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH: Emerging Performance Projects in 2008. For more information on her work and publications please see www.ryerson.ca/malleablematter.

Vincent Hui

Vincent currently teaches a variety of courses within the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada ranging from design studios to advanced architectural computing, and digital fabrication.

He received his Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Architecture), Master of Architecture, and Teaching Certifi- cation from the University of Waterloo as well as a Master of Business Administration (specializations in Marketing and Strategy) from the Schulich School of Business at York University. After gaining international and domestic work experience with architecture firms around the world, he became a partner at Atelier Anaesthetic in 2003.

He has been awarded several teaching citations while at University of Waterloo since 2001 within both Schools of Planning and Architecture. Vincent’s works with physical com- puting and digital fabrication have been exhibited and published internationally. His recent work with architectural appropriation of ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, and data-scapes has culminated in the Arch-App, a tool that allows users to access data on any landmark in the built environment.

Diana Andrea Guzmán

Website | LinkedIn

Diana is a multidisciplinary designer able to create from the digital to the territorial scale. She has a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, a master’s degree in architecture and urban design, a certificate in user experience design (UX) and in advanced graphic design. This wide knowledge in design allows her to have a holistic mindset, to make analytical connections through different disciplines and to communicate using different languages and tools within an interdisciplinary team. She currently runs her own design studio IDITA offering multidisciplinary design services with a holistic approach in order to provide sustainable solutions.  

Elisabet Camprubi

Website | LinkedIn

Elisabet is a design-oriented thinker and user-centric designer with almost a decade of extensive experience in product design and research across various business environment from start-ups to enterprises.Through the process of design thinking methodology, she implements experiences that enhance usability, increase adaption and drive brand loyalty.

Manjunath Anand


Manju comes with 12+ years of experience in conceptualising, developing and prototyping hardware such as medical devices, power equipment and consumer products.  He works closely with embedded systems and software teams for complete product integration.  He is also experienced in obtaining patents and product testing certifications, and providing continued support for production, process and quality improvement.  Manju has the ability to see and predict failures in the early stages of design, reducing the number of design iterations and time to market.He currently serves as Chief Technology Officer at CleanSlate UV, a company incubated at the DFZ that has brought to market a portable sanitizer for sanitizing mobile device in hospitals and food processing facilities.  He also works as Chief Hardware Engineer at CoinValue, a deep neural network-based coin sorter machine.

Stephania Stefanakou


Stephania Stefanakou is a 23-year-old fashion technology entrepreneur, with a Bachelor of Design from Ryerson University and a background in Digital Fabrication.

Stephania has experimented with various forms of tech ranging from 3D Printing, Biomaterials and Augmented Reality. She is the CEO of “House of Anesi”, a lingerie-tech startup.

Charles Boulakia

Website | LinkedIn

Charles is an intellectual property lawyer at Ridout & Maybee LLP, a registered patent agent in Canada and the U.S., and a trademark agent in Canada. He has over 15 years experience advising companies, inventors and designers from Canada and all over the world. He is an expert in patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and copyright.

Shernee Chandaria


Shernee Chandaria is the President of Conros Corporation, a leading manufacturer and distributor of consumer products. Her interests extend to the Arts, Health, and Education. She is on the Board of Directors at TFS, and is a Governor on the NYGH Foundation Board. She continues to spearhead ways for the Conros team to give back to the community.

Past Mentors

Emira Galeteanu

Emira is an award winning licensed architect and has been involved in the design and contract administration of several cultural, institutional, educational and residential projects. Emira’s passions are in both buildings and building. She is an active participant in the maker movement and believes that design thinking should touch every part of our daily lives. When she is not building buildings she is building furniture (wood and metal), lighting fixtures, art objects and jewelry. She has also written and illustrated 3 children books.

Christine Leu

Christine Leu is a partner at LeuWebb Projects, where she creates installation design and art projects both locally and internationally.  She is an architect, photographer and teacher. She’s interested in unique communities that manage to thrive in the everyday. As such, she’s currently working on a photo-documentary project on the Highway of Heroes/401 corridor and new immigrant farming practices in urban environments.

Lois Weinthal

Professor Weinthal’s practice investigates the relationship between architecture, interiors, clothing and objects, resulting in works that take on an experimental nature. Her teaching explores these topics where theoretical discussions in seminars are put into practice in design studio. Her seminar teaching led to the publication, Toward a New Interior: An Anthology of Interior Design Theory (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), which organizes the interior as a series of layers that surround the body. This anthology won the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) Book Award in 2014. Professor Weinthal uses the design studio as an opportunity for students to test ideas by constructing them at full-scale.
Additional publications include co-editor of After Taste: Expanded Practice in Interior Design with Kent Kleinman and Joanna Merwood-Salisbury (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), which began as a series of symposiums to address the interdisciplinary nature of interiors and the tangent disciplines that affect and inform it. A recent publication includes The Interior Architecture and Design Handbook, co-edited with Graeme Brooker (Berg Publishers, 2013). In 2016, she became Editor of the international journal: Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture (Taylor & Francis). In her writings, she places emphasis on the underlying forces that give shape to interiors. She has received grants from the Graham Foundation, Fulbright, and DAAD. She has exhibited and lectured nationally and internationally including design schools in England, Netherlands, Norway and US. Design work from her studio courses have won national awards and have been published internationally.
Previously, she was Director of the Interior Design Program at Parsons The New School for Design and Graduate Advisor for the Master of Interior Design Program in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.

James Chalmers

With a fascinating path to success and an impressive track record, James has proven to be an extremely successful and visionary business leader. In pervious roles he took regional companies national, national companies global and now as President at MAKO Invent, he is working to solidify MAKO as the top choice for consumer product design and engineering.

Dr. Rafik Loutfy

Dr. Rafik Loutfy joined Ryerson University in July 2013 as Innovator-In-Residence, Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science. He was appointed as the inaugural Director of Centre Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship in July 2014. His research interest is in the role universities and colleges play in the entrepreneurship eco-systems.
Prior to joining Ryerson, Dr. Loutfy spent 10 years as the Director of the Xerox Centre of Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation at McMaster University, establishing its flagship Master (MEEI) program. He had a long and distinguished career with Xerox Corporation. Loutfy joined Xerox in 1974 as a researcher and held a variety of project and managerial positions at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) including Centre manager. He was appointed vice president in Xerox’s Corporate Research & Technology organization in 1991 and held a variety of VP positions, including vice president of strategy planning and innovation. Loutfy became a corporate officer in 1997 and served as the chief technical officer (CTO) and senior vice president of Xerox Business Group Operations, and vice president of the Wilson Center for Research & Technology in Webster, New York – one of Xerox’s largest research centers, and Director of Corporate Business Strategy.
Loutfy possesses a BSc and MSc in chemistry from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, a PhD in Photochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Toronto. He holds 32 US patents and has published more than 178 scientific articles.

Jonathon R. Anderson

Jonathon R. Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Furniture Design from Savannah College of Art & Design and a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Architecture from Southern Illinois University. Additionally, Jonathon’s consulting and professional practices concentrate on the use of digital design for fabrication. Jonathon has published and exhibited internationally. His work explores how industrial manufacturing and CNC technologies influence the design and making processes. As a result, the work is characterized by innovative and explorative methods that result in interconnected design, fine art, and technology solutions. From this non-traditional process emerges a provocative, complex design language that visually communicates at varied scales and emphasizes corporeal and phenomenological experiences. To Jonathon, making is not only a practice but a form of critical thinking.His studio is a research and speculative art + design firm that has been awarded in several international competitions including A’Design Awards (platinum level), eVolo skyscraper competition, YAF 10up design/build competition, d3 Natural Systems, and the AIA Austin TOGs competition. Jonathon served as co-editor of the International Journal of Interior Architecture and Spatial Design (ii journal), editor of the IDEC Exchange and currently working on a new book titled ‘Innovations in Landscape Architecture’. The book will be published by Routledge, a Taylor-Francis publishing company, and expected early 2016.

Alex Gill

Alex Gill is a social entrepreneur who founded and leads Mendicant Group. Since 2005, he and the Mendicant team have brought new thinking to a range of social and environmental issues and helped nonprofits found a number of social businesses. He has moderated the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance since its inception in 2010. He currently teaches at Toronto’s Ryerson University where he designed and co-founded its SocialVentures Zone incubator and serves as that university’s first-ever “Social Innovator in Residence.” THIS Magazine also named Alex one of Canada’s “Social Justice All-Stars” in 2015.

Ala Roushan

Ala Roushan is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University, Toronto and a Ph.D. candidate at the European Graduate School focused on Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought of the Digital. She holds a Master of Arts in Advance Architectural Design from Städelschule, Frankfurt.  Currently, she is engaged in creative practice through speculative design research, writing, curating and teaching. Her interests include investigating advanced digital processes and computational logics in unraveling the generative potential of material intelligence and emergent aesthetics. In addition, she is the co-curator of Flip Project Space, an independent curatorial project for contemporary art, initiating various collaborative modes of artistic production.

Lorella Di Cintio

Lorella Di Cintio has been educated in Canada, United States, and Europe in the fields of Interior Design, Architecture, and Media and Communications. Her research focuses primarily on design activism and is the founder of The Design Activism = Change Initiative.
Her research concentration is on the social and political positions undertaken by designers. Di Cintio creates unique pedagogical links among design activism, service and experiential learning and social innovation. She has forged working partnerships with First Nations communities in Canada and Mexico and her students’ designs have supported Toronto food-bank users and Haitian earthquake survivors. She has received a silver medal for the advancement of design education and service from the Universidad Iberoamericana. In 2014, she received from the Interior Design Educators Council – the IDEC Community Service Award.
Ryerson University research affiliations: The Centre for Studies in Food Security, Edge Lab: Experiential Design and Gaming Lab (Adaptive Design), Design Fabrication Zone and Yeates School of Graduate Studies. Currently she is the guest editor for the IDEA Journal (Design Activism: Developing Models, Modes and Methodologies of Practice 2014). She is an academic reviewer for the Journal of Interior Design with a focus on service-learning pedagogy, and she is Editor-in-Charge of Service Activi- ties in Academia with the Interior Design Educators Council. She has received grants from Canada Council for the Arts and has exhibited her creative work internationally: the Drawing Centre in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and recently exhibited Unconscious House: Erasing Domesticity at Curtin University, Australia. This year she will be presenting a paper at Cumulus Johannesberg: Design with the other 90%: Changing the world by design and she will be exhibiting her collaborative work at the Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania.
For more information on her current research projects please see http://lorelladicintio.blog.ryerson.ca/

Tom Bessai

Tom Bessai is a registered architect principal of Denegri Bessai Studio Architecture and Design.  He is an Assistant Professor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto.
He holds an MArch from UCLA and is completing a MSc from the University of Michigan’s Taubman College with a specialization in Design and Material Systems.  His research and teaching explore computation and digital fabrication strategies for adaptive architecture.

Kevin Mako

Kevin founded MAKO Invent back in 1999 and it steadily grew over the years to become Canada’s largest full service consumer product design and engineering firm. Now with offices in Canada, the USA, the UK and an ever growing presence in Asia, his focus is now growing and educating an entire industry.

Taymoore Balbaa

Taymoore Balbaa is the recipient of 2 major national awards, the Prix de Rome for Emerging Practitioners and the Young Architect Award (awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the RAIC respectively). He is a Co-Founder & Partner at Architecture & Interiors practice AXIA (axiadesign.ca), formerly Atelier3AM, developing a body of work that includes spaces for immersive technologies, jet interiors, libraries, housing, temporary event structures, cultural centres, and projects of urban revitalization. In 2013, he began his collaboration with SubPac tactile audio systems, executing several structure/pod/chair designs for their physical audio technology. Taymoore received his Masters of Architecture from the University of Waterloo and won the RAIC Medal for his thesis. He is a licensed architect in Ontario (OAA) and in the European Union with the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE). At both Graduate and Undergraduate levels, Taymoore has taught at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (University of Toronto), and at Ryerson University’s Dept. of Architectural Science, and has lectured at universities in Berlin, Toronto, Napoli, Tunis, Istanbul, Halifax, Sardegna, and Ottawa. In 2012 he was appointed Assistant Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design in the Faculty of Communication & Design (FCAD).

Andrea Romero

As the Community Director and one of the founding members of the Fashion Zone, Andrea Romero sits on the screening committee where she is responsible for onboarding, development, education and resources for all memberships.
Before her work in the Fashion Zone, Andrea developed a mentorship program for Ryerson fashion students and held various management positions in the fields of finance, marketing, and PR. She is currently completing the Ted Rogers MBA in the Management of Technology and Innovation (MBA-MTI) with an expected graduation of Spring 2017.
Andrea is an intrapreneur with a passion for the retail, fashion, and tech industry. With her dedication and skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, she is focused on helping startups find solutions to optimize business performance globally.

David Kwok

David Kwok works at the DMZ as the Programs & Community Coordinator, designing an array of entrepreneurial and skill development programming for the student body and the greater community at large. During his time at Ryerson, he had led and contributed to multiple social innovation initiatives revolving around youth education and skill development.
Upon graduation, he turned one of his University passions, SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) Canada into a non-profit organization. SAGE focuses on helping youth ages 15 – 18 experience the world of entrepreneurship by helping them develop their own ventures while providing mentorship and access to University resources. In addition, he started an educational company called ZerotoStartup, helping youth ages 12 – 17 learn about entrepreneurship, technology and personal branding to go from idea to prototype in 45.5 hours of education.

Namir Ahmed

Namir Ahmed is a veteran Digital Media artist and Archaeologist.
In 2012 Namir was able to combine Archaeology and Digital Media as an at UWO where he co-founded an innovative internship program, the Sustainable Archaeology Animation Unit, focussed on 3D visualization and new forms of public engagement in Archaeology.
Today Namir focusses on teaching and exploring new and emerging technologies at Ryerson Library’s Digital Media Experience Lab.

Dr. Claus Rinner

Dr. Claus Rinner is a Professor and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree (1993) in Mathématiques appliquées et sciences sociales from Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France, a Master’s degree (1996) in Applied Systems Science from the University of Osnabrück, Germany, and a PhD (1999) in Geography from the University of Bonn. After a brief stint as a software developer, he taught at the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster (2001-2003) and the Department of Geography and Programme in Planning at the University of Toronto (2003-2006), prior to joining Ryerson.
Within Geographic Information Science, Claus specializes in geographic visualization and multi-criteria decision analysis to support effective spatial decision-making. He develops map-centred, exploratory methods to evaluate phenomena such as public health and urban quality of life. Claus also works on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) concepts to support participatory planning, and investigates the decision support capabilities of GIS technologies such as location-based services and spatial data infrastructures. Most recently, Claus developed a keen interested in the collaborative and educational uses of 3D-printed terrain and cityscapes. He is co-author of a 2015 Springer monograph on Multicriteria Decision Analysis in Geographic Information Science and published 30 peer-reviewed articles, which summarize NSERC- and SSHRC-funded research.
Claus teaches cartographic design, geovisualization, and GIS. As the graduate program director of the Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA) from 2007 to 2015, he was also responsible for guiding numerous graduate students through their practicum placements and major research papers.