About Us

Digital Alberta

We believe that digital in Alberta will thrive with the right support. To accomplish this, our mandate is to:

  • Accelerate the growth and commercialization of Alberta’s digital media community within our province, country and globally.
  • Celebrate and promote individuals and organizations that foster innovation, technology and digital media in Alberta.
  • Encourage students and talent to stay in Alberta in order to increase capacity and productivity within the industry.
  • Promote innovation and collaboration between individuals and organizations, acting as the digital hub for our community.
  • Connect Albertans with funding, support, and each other by providing them with exclusive information and networking opportunities.

Our members represent a wide variety of digital professions and specializations including agencies, artists, developers, designers, educational and cultural institutions, freelancers, start-ups, students, and video technicians – just to name a few.

Together, we work in and with a variety of industries in Alberta including agriculture, culture, education, energy, entertainment, financial, forestry, government, health, not-for-profits, retail, and more.

Board of Directors

Kate Leadbeater


VP Digital, DDB Canada, Co-founder Testfire Labs

Recognized as one of Canada’s top digital strategists, Kate leads DDB Canada’s award-winning digital communications practice in Western Canada. She is also co-founder of Testfire Labs, a software startup using machine learning to help people get more from meetings. A two-time jury member for the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Strategy Fund and a regular columnist on digital culture for CBC Radio, Kate is heavily involved in the digital community and has been a board member of Digital Alberta since 2014.

Brian Stewart


Deputy CIO, University of Alberta (Edmonton)

Brian Stewart is the Deputy CIO at the University of Alberta. His role is to provide strategic leadership, vision and direction for Information Services and Technology and to enable business transformation.Brian’s background included strategic and operational management, with a particular focus on the use of digital technologies to improve and transform organisational performance. Brian has an MA in Economics from the University College Cork and an MBA from Athabasca University and is currently working on his PhD on the sustainability of online learning with the University of eastern Finland.

Chelsea Hallick


Business Development Manager, Interactive Digital Media, Calgary Economic Development

Chelsea is an award-winning digital media professional, who is engaged in building economic success and a strong community for the interactive and digital media sector. She works with industry, government and community partners to position Calgary as the location of choice for the purpose of attracting investment, championing local success, strengthening access to global markets and growing the talent pool. Chelsea is the lead for both the Calgary Digital Media Strategy and Calgary’s Video Game & Immersive Technology Strategy at Calgary Economic Development. Over the last decade, she has worked in a variety of industries with a focus on digital-first experiences.

Derek Czerkaski


Head of Production, New World Interactive (Calgary)

Derek has been involved with the games industry for over a decade. He got his start serving as a freelance journalist within popular gaming websites such as “GameFAQS.com” and “MMORPG.com”. He transitioned into the development side of the game industry in 2014, where he began as a QA tester. Over the past years, he climbed his way through the ranks of numerous disciplines; ranging from assisting with UX testing via Playtests at Epic Games, to refining a QA department and assisting with production at Sony-Bend, to engaging with the community and players at Ubisoft. He has also served as a strategic advisor for Tencent, working in their evaluations department, which is responsible for assessing strategic partnerships with game studios across the globe.

James Kuehn


Faculty of Art & Design and Built Environment Engineering Technologies, Medicine Hat College

James is a 2018 Ember award-winning digital media designer. He has a MSc of Digital Media Design with distinction from the University of Edinburgh and a BA Communication Studies from Athabasca University. His previous experiences have trailed through filmmaking, (when film was film), over 20 years of web experience, 3D design, CAD, motion graphics, and interactive media. Currently, James is pursuing his BSc. in Architecture, where he is focusing on environmental and spatial design.His day-gig is as an educator at Medicine Hat College, where he teaches web, interactive and CAD design. If that's not enough, he is a founding member of Pulp. New Media, which is a creators' society for Medicine Hat. Pretty much an infinitely curious creator..

Jo-Anne Yau


Business and Technologies Lawyer, DD West (Calgary)

Jo-Anne Yau is a business lawyer with over a decade of experience in the U.S. in capitalizing on intellectual property, protecting corporate brands, negotiating agreements, and litigating commercial disputes. Her hometown is Calgary, and she returned in 2016 to grow her practice in the areas of technology and cyber law. In 2020, she expects to earn her Master of Laws post-doctorate degree in Internet Law and Policy. Jo-Anne’s clients include companies, franchises, inventors, artists, athletes, sports leagues, and performers from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. She is a Patent Attorney registered before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a registered Sports Agent, and is the youngest person ever appointed to preside over a Florida court. Fostering innovation is central to Jo-Anne’s philosophy. Her business development strategies in her own law firm earned her the “Entrepreneur of the Year” runner up title in the largest women’s business owner organization in Florida. She has served on a number of boards, and focuses on organizations supporting entrepreneurs, women in business, youth in sports, and emerging markets.

John Gardiner


VP Corporate Development & Strategy, Big Viking Games (Calgary)

John Gardiner has been working in the mobile game industry since 2014, and now is leading Corporate Development and Strategy at Big Viking Games, one of Canada’s largest independent gaming studios. Previously, John was the Chief Operating Officer at Highmark Interactive, which gamified neurocognitive testing for head injuries. While living in Toronto, John was a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).

Katelyn Petersen


Executive Director, German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research (Calgary)

Katelyn Petersen has managed the German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research since 2014. She is passionate about creating opportunities for technology development and economic growth through international collaborations. Prior to assuming her role at the GCCIR, Katelyn worked as Regional Coordinator for Europe at University of Alberta International, where she managed the university’s partnerships and initiatives with European institutions. Katelyn completed a Doctorate in contemporary German literature in 2013 at the University of Alberta and the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich as part of a Joint Degree Program.

Kris Hodgson-Bright


Faculty, Digital Communications and Media, Lethbridge College

Kris Hodgson is an instructor in the Digital Communications and Media program at Lethbridge College where he has worked for the past 9 years. He has been a writer and photographer for various publications across western Canada for the last 16 years with a background in journalism and public relations for newspapers and economic development agencies. The completion of work on his master’s degree in Virtual Reality/360-degree journalism from the University of Alberta kick-started applied research opportunities at Lethbridge College. He helped to launch Alberta’s first and Canada’s second Virtual and Augmented Reality certificate program in the fall of 2019 and helps to organize Merging Realities, the world’s first global Virtual Reality conference that is now in its third year showcasing the latest developments from both industry and post-secondary students.

Meagan Hampel


Communications Director, Cybera (Calgary)

An expert in technology communications with over 10 years of experience, Meagan is well-versed in translating complex topics into stories that can be understood by anyone. She spent four years working as a science reporter in the UK, covering a diverse range of research and industry breakthroughs. Since 2014, Meagan has led the communications team at Cybera, a not-for-profit, technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta’s economic growth through the use of digital technology. She passionately believes in the importance of increasing the breadth and quality of Alberta’s digital resources, for the benefit of everyone. Meagan is also fascinated by new communications technologies, and the integration of multimedia tools with traditional storytelling.

Nick Facey


Senior Director of Innovation, Finger Food Advanced Technology Group (Calgary)

Nick Facey also serves as a board director for DigiBC - The Interactive & Digital Media Industry Association of British Columbia. He is a former Chief of Staff for the BC Minister of Innovation, Technology & Citizens' Services and the BC Ministry of Education.

Robert Andruchow


Chair, Department of Art and Design; Assistant Professor, Digital Experience Design, MacEwan University (Edmonton)

Robert plays a leadership role in the design community through his teaching, work and research. He recently led the creation of a new and innovative Bachelor of Design degree at MacEwan University, which places social science theory and methods at the core of the designer’s education in addition to traditional art and craft training (macewan.ca/design). Within this degree, he also developed the first UX/IX design program in the Prairie provinces (https://youtu.be/DZrmoTrSg6M). In the industry, Robert worked for the federal government for six years as a UX designer and then created his own digital company, Big Pixel Creative in 2007. He is currently a co-chair for UX Edmonton (which runs the largest annual UX conference in the Prairies) and last year served as a member of the Government of Alberta’s Talent Advisory Council on Technology, and the ICTC Advisory Committee on Digital Talent Needs in Canada.

Sarah Classen


Director, Creative and Digital, City of Edmonton

As Director, Creative and Digital within the Communications and Engagement department, Sarah maintains focus on the strategic direction and long-term vision while balancing the need to address immediate and emerging needs. At the City, she has created a new structure for creative and web, and aligned resources and skill sets in order to deliver exceptional results and customer service. She is also a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Art and Design.

Scott Nye


Head of Game Studio Operations, Improbable (Edmonton)

In addition to his CPA, CMA, and MBA, Scott brings over 20 years of professional experience to the Board in traditional finance & accounting positions as well as corporate strategy, business operations, marketing, and service development roles. His career has spanned a variety of sectors including interactive entertainment, telecommunications, biotechnology, and cultural industries. He currently supports the global game studios of Improbable, a UK-based technology startup . Prior to this, Scott spent several years at Electronic Arts – supporting BioWare locally as well as other EA Studios across North America.