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JHR is staffed and governed by a group of human rights and media development professionals with expertise in Canada and internationally.


Rachel Pulfer

Executive Director

Rachel has managed media development projects in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Prior to joining JHR, Rachel was a Canadian Journalism Fellow at Massey College, and a magazine journalist of 10 years' standing. She was the U.S. correspondent, editorial board member, and columnist for Canadian Business – Canada's national business news magazine. Rachel has previously held positions at Investment Executive Magazine, the Montreal Gazette, and Azure magazine, and her journalism has appeared in The Walrus, Toronto Life, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and Maclean's Magazine.

As a humanitarian who grew up in Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea, Rachel believes JHR’s mission – empowering journalists to cover local human rights issues ethically and effectively – is an excellent way to put her profession to work for a greater good. She is pleased to be part of making that mission a reality.

Board of Directors

Michael Cooke

Board Chair

Michael Cooke was appointed Editor of the Toronto Star in 2009. Michael was raised near Lancaster in Northern England and began his career at age 17 as an apprentice reporter. He moved on to work in and around London’s Fleet Street, and at Bristol’s Western Daily Press and emigrated in 1974 to Toronto where he became assistant national editor at The Star, Canada's largest newspaper. In 1977, Michael moved to The Gazette in Montreal, where he served as assistant city editor, city editor and co-managing editor. Michael moved to The Edmonton Journal in 1992 as managing editor and became editor in chief of The Vancouver Province in 1995.

During the winter and spring of 1998, Michael was one of a team of founding editors of Canada’s new national newspaper, The National Post. And, for the summer of 1998, Michael served as the last editor of The Financial Post. He supervised the paper’s merger with the new national newspaper. During both periods, Michael continued to edit The Province, commuting between Toronto and Canada’s west coast.

In 2000, Michael was named editor in chief of the Chicago Sun-Times and was appointed editor in chief of the New York Daily News in January of 2005, returning to Chicago as Vice-President of Editorial for the Chicago Sun-Times news Group (100 titles) in 2006. Michael was also re-appointed editor in chief of the Sun-Times in the fall of 2006.

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Vice Chair

For the past seven years, Anthony has held senior executive positions, first at a federal Crown Corporation and, more recently, at one of Canada's largest financial institutions.

During this time, he has also been active on the not-for-profit front, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and in the community fund-raising and mental health support sectors. Prior to this, he had a distinguished and award-winning career in journalism as a best-selling author, columnist, foreign correspondent, television and radio commentator and as Editor of one of Canada's largest print publications. During his time in journalism, he worked in all of Canada's provinces and territories as well as reporting from more than 35 countries.

A bilingual native Montrealer, he graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Political Science) and also successfully completed Russian Language studies at The Russian School in Northfield, Vermont.

Farzad Alvi

Board Treasurer

Farzad is a Company Director and a Visiting Research Professor at Schulich School of Business.  He is presently a member of several Boards, with responsibilities including chairing several audit committees, chairing a social impact committee, and membership in a strategy committee.  His research and teaching interests are in the areas of strategy, international entrepreneurship, and the institutional contexts of emerging markets.

Prior to Ph.D studies, Farzad worked in investment banking for 11 years, principally with Deutsche Bank and ABN AMRO Bank, focusing on the restructuring, mergers and equity financing of state-owned banks in emerging markets. Based at various times in Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Amsterdam, he advised governments and banks in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Farzad has been awarded degrees from the University of Cambridge (Ph.D.), Indiana University (J.D.), University of Toronto (MBA, ICD.D), and University of Chicago (A.B.).

Alethea Au

Board Secretary

Alethea Au practices in the Corporate M&A and Technology & Outsourcing Groups in Stikeman Elliott's Toronto office. Her practice areas include mergers and acquisitions involving both private and public entities, corporate commercial transactions, corporate finance transactions and various securities matters.She advises on a wide range of corporate commercial matters including those related to corporate governance, corporate structures and general commercial engagements.  She also acts for large and mid-sized technology companies in connection with outsourcings, licensing and technology development and has been involved in IT procurement arrangements in a variety of industries including, financial services, retail, insurance, telecommunications and mining.

In addition, Ms. Au is a member of the Knowledge Management Group of Stikeman Elliott. She advises principally in mergers & acquisitions and corporate commercial transactions for a wide range of corporate entities across various industries and is consulted on a variety of corporate practice matters as well as various drafting and transactional issues.

Ms. Au is responsible for developing, managing and delivering legal content and current awareness to ensure that both lawyers and clients have the benefit of the firm's collective legal expertise and the latest in legal and industry developments. She also participates in the training and education of practice group members about legal, regulatory and market developments through formal and informal education initiatives and the creation, assessment and implementation of legal project management and other value-added initiatives for clients.

She also works on a wide range of other firm-wide Knowledge Management initiatives, including internal and external continuing legal education, publications, legal project management and client development initiatives.

Ms. Au is a graduate of McGill University, Osgoode Hall and the Schulich School of Business. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals and CATA (Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance) WIT (Women in Technology) Toronto Chapter.

Bobby Walman

Principal, civic works consulting group inc. Sales, Marketing, and Fundraising Executive.

Born and raised in Kitchener Ontario, Bobby holds a Honors Graduate in Political Sciences from York University. Bobby has most recently held the position of President & Chief Fundraising Officer for the Ontario Liberal Party for the past 8+ years and has led a dedicated and outstanding team. Bobby is a Sales and Marketing Executive who has worked in the Canadian Banking and E-commerce sectors, and has assisted with bringing to market 2 very successful e-ventures to market. He is published in the field of drinking water purification with the Walkerton Clean Water Centre & the University of Western Ontario in the topic of micro-filtration. Bobby has a deep understanding of Canadian politics having staffed elected officials at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal levels including Mayor Mel Lastman in the City of North York; Councillor David Shiner, Budget Chief at the City of Toronto, as well as former Ministers & Premiers Peterson, McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.

Bobby resides in Toronto with his wife Susan and three children, Evan, Jason and Max. He is an avid fisherman, stamp and wine collector.

Chad Rogers

Chad Rogers is a founding partner at Crestview Strategy.

Chad helps companies and industry associations make their case to governments and mobilize coalitions that support jobs, growth and investment. He is a frequent commentator on public affairs in print, radio and television and appears as a member of CBC Power & Politics' Power Panel.

He previously led the public opinion research practice at a national public affairs firm, served as a Senior Advisor to Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm, worked on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and has volunteered on campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal level. Chad was a Country Director with the Washington based National Democratic Institute (led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright).

Chad has worked with governments and political leaders around the globe, namely in: Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Pakistan, Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago and Ukraine.

The Hill Times magazine named him of the ‘Top 100 Lobbyists’ in Canada.

Chad is currently a board member and works to fight global malnutrition with Action Against Hunger/ACF Canada, he supports the military and their families through the board of The True Patriot Love Foundation and global transparency through the board of Journalists For Human Rights. He has previously served the boards of the Canadian Club of Toronto, the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy, Save The Children and the Kosova Democratic Institute.

Theresa Ebden

Theresa Ebden is the Canadian Director of Media Relations at Accenture, which together with its design agency Fjord designed and built JHR’s online learning portal, Theresa worked as a journalist with Bloomberg News, The Globe and Mail, BNN and the Toronto Star.
She currently chairs the Industry Advisory Board at the Ryerson School of Journalism, where she graduated with a B.A.A. in Journalism (Print) in 1998. Theresa volunteers with the Girl Guides of Canada and is an avid cross country skier, triathlete and hiker.

Derek Fisher

Derek Fisher has been involved with JHR since 2011. He served for many years as a Director and President of the Alva Foundation, which endowed the Gordon Fisher/JHR Journalism Fellowship at Massey College. He continues to participate in the annual selection process for the Fellowship.

Derek is President of Net Directories Inc, a company he founded in 1995 to help not-for-profits with their communication and fundraising needs. Prior to forming NDI he worked at Southam Inc for 12 years in a variety of positions in the Business Communications division and Head Office.

Derek has an Engineering degree from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Western University.

An avid sailor, Derek has served on the Board, and is a past Commodore, of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. He and his wife Adrienne have three grown children.

Troy Reeb

As head of Global News, Troy Reeb oversees a team of 1,000 journalists and support staff across Canada and in bureaus overseas. In addition to its flagship nightly newscast Global National, which won the 2013 worldwide Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall News Excellence, Global News is a leading producer of local news through its 12 conventional stations and regional all-news channel BC-1.  A former political reporter and Washington Bureau Chief for Global, Reeb was promoted to the network’s top news job in 2008 and assumed oversight of all station operations two years later. Under his leadership, Global has renewed its focus on investigative and political journalism with the launch of the award-winning newsmagazine 16x9and current affairs program The West Block. Reeb has championed a digital shift that has resulted in continuing a three-year run as Canada’s fastest-growing broadcast news website.  Troy is a 1988 Broadcast Journalism graduate of Lethbridge College and recently completed an Executive Management program at Harvard Business School.  He was named Lethbridge’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2003 and personally supports an annual internship program in his name for journalism students.  He is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal, the Provincial Awards Celebrating Excellence and numerous industry honours.  Troy currently serves on several boards including with Journalists for Human Rights.

Catherine Cano

Catherine is currently the President and General Manager of CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel). CPAC is Canada’s only national, commercial free, not for profit, bilingual television network and digital media. She is transforming CPAC into a Canadian leader in democratic literacy.

Catherine has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in broadcasting across all platforms, in Canada, the United States and internationally.

She has held important leadership positions at the CBC/SRC including Head of News television, Director of RDI - a 24 hours News Channel and Director of Program development at CBC.  Catherine was also Deputy News Director of Al Jazeera English in Doha. In her most recent position with CBC/SRC, she was the Head of news television, radio and digital, overseeing Newsgathering and all news programming at Société Radio-Canada

Catherine’s executive experience also extends to the private sector, where she was Managing Partner of NATIONAL Public Relation’s Toronto office.

Among her many awards and distinctions are two Geminis and the Michener Prize, one of Canadian journalism’s most distinguished honours. Earlier this year, Catherine was honoured as the recipient of the highly regarded WCT Innovator of the Year Award. She was also honoured as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women in 2012 by the Women Executive Network.

A strong advocate of news and media literacy and on the importance of being creative and innovative to better engage the public, Catherine is often invited to be a part of important panel discussions as both a participant and a moderator.

Ben Peterson

Co-Founder and Board Chair Emeritus

Ben Peterson co-founded Journalists for Human Rights in 2002, and served as its Executive Director until 2011. During that period, JHR grew into Canada's largest international media development organization. Under Ben’s leadership, JHR worked across 15 different countries in sub-Saharan Africa and built one of Canada’s strongest student leadership networks. Ben has a BA in Economics and a BAH in Political Studies from Queen's University, and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Ben has received many national and international awards for his work, including Canada's Top 40 under 40 Award, the Action Canada Fellowship and the Queen's University Alumni Humanitarian Award. Ben is a published author and accomplished public speaker.


147 Spadina Avenue, Suite 206 Toronto, ON, M5V 2L7
Journalists for Human Rights is a registered charity #860372853RR0001