Who We Are
FRIENDS’ dedicated team is proud to stand up for Canadian voices on behalf of more than 360,000 supporters from across the country.
Executive Director and Spokesperson
With more than 20 years of combined experience in policy and regulatory advocacy, content production, and entertainment law, Marla is a trusted and passionate leader in the Canadian media sector. Most recently, Marla was the Senior Vice President, Business Affairs & Operations at Halfire Entertainment.
Previously, she served as the Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel at the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), where she provided broad-based legal and strategic business advice on various aspects of the independent production sector. At the CMPA, Marla also played a leading role in the collective bargaining of various creative union and guild agreements. Her robust experience also includes roles at DHX Media (now Wildbrain), the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film Centre and Alliance Atlantis Communications.
Our Board of Directors
Raymonde Lavoie is the Chair of the Board of FRIENDS. She lives in Montréal, where she has lead creative and strategic teams for multinational and local agencies, and was co-owner of two agencies. She has taught Strategic and Creative Techniques at the University of Montréal. She sits on the Managing Committee of IWF Montréal and on the Board of Drug-Free Kids Canada.
Brenda Baker is a writer, performer, and creativity coach from Saskatoon, who holds a BFA in visual art and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. She has worked as an arts journalist for CBC Radio Saskatchewan and served on the boards of Access Copyright and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. Since 2005 Brenda has been the Founding Director of Kids of Note, Saskatoon’s hit choirs for children of all abilities.
Ani Hotoyan-Joly is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) and has the ICD.D designation from Institute of Corporate Directors. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Women’s College Hospital, a member of the Executive Board of Armenian Relief Society of Canada, and she is the Vice Chair of the Community Services Sector Audit Committee for the Province of Ontario. As a member of the board for FRIENDS, she chairs the Audit Committee.
Scot Keith is the founder and President/CEO of One Twenty Three West (123w), an idea and design collective based in Vancouver and Toronto. which won Canada’s Small Agency of the Year award in 2020. Scot has helped lead campaigns that have won or been nominated for over 500 awards, including Hockey Canada’s “Relax, it’s just a Game” which was featured on Oprah. He has spoken all over the world, including the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
Ethan Rabidoux is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and communicator. A former military man and politician, Ethan earned his BA (Honours) from Queen’s University and his MA in Journalism from Western University. In 2005, students at Queen’s elected him President and C.E.O. of the Alma Mater Society. He won the Dalton Camp Award in 2010, which began his long association with FRIENDS. He lives with his beloved wife and two wonderful sons in rural Southwestern Ontario.
Isabelle Reinhardt is in private practice as a substitute lawyer in the fields of commercial law, IP/IT, procurement, and commercial litigation for renowned corporate entities. She has served on the board of the Association des diplômés en droit de l’Université de Montréal. Ms Reinhardt completed a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages at McGill University and earned her law degree at Université de Montréal. She is a member of the Quebec Bar Association and an accredited mediator in civil and commercial matters.
Raj Shoan is a policy consultant and lawyer with broad experience in communications law and regulatory affairs. He serves as General Counsel for ACTRA (Alliance for Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) and represents ACTRA on the Board of Directors for Re:Sound. Prior to managing his own consulting firm, he was appointed to the CRTC as its Ontario Commissioner. He also served previously as Director of Regulatory Affairs for CBC/Radio-Canada and Astral Media Radio Inc.
Gregory Taylor is an associate professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Communication, Media, and Film, where his teaching and research focuses on the politics and economics of the Canadian broadcasting and wireless industries. His first book, Shut Off: the Canadian Digital Television Transition (McGill-Queen’s, 2013), was short listed for the 2014 Donner Prize for Best Public Policy Book by a Canadian. Gregory received his PhD from McGill University in 2010.
Aritha van Herk (CM, AOE, FRSC) teaches Fiction and Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Calgary in Alberta. She has authored five novels, two books of criticism, and many non-fiction and ficto-critical texts, especially works investigating cultural perspectives both contemporary and historical. She has also published hundreds of articles, reviews and essays on Canadian culture, and serves on a number of national and international boards.