Through chess, students are encouraged to develop and model all the characteristic traits that build success from respect to empathy to cooperation to perseverance.
~ KEN KROEKER, Acting Principal, Pauline Junior Public School

Michael Sutton

Chief Technology Officer for Spirit Victory, Michael Sutton is a consultant in advanced print and document composition solutions, a developer variable PDF solutions, and an accredited teacher for EDA Certification Course Ryerson University. Michael teaches Accessibility at Ryerson, and also teaches in the Sunnybrook Patient as Teacher program.

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Shabnam Abbarin

Shabnam is an animation industry professional, a chess player and instructor, and a cognitive science and computer science student. She has worked as an Animator on a variety of Canadian and American youth media content such as Dino Dan, Annedroids and Rusty Rivets. She currently works as a Pipeline Technical Director at Sony Pictures Imageworks Vancouver where she recently finished working on the Oscar winning movie ‘SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse’. Shabnam learned to play chess from her father before she started school and has been a tournament player and advocate of the game ever since. She aspires to investigate the connection between chess, critical thinking, ethics and cognition in her future studies.

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David Fletcher

David Fletcher taught high school for 30+ years. This included a popular multi-grade for-credit program in chess at a TDSB alternative high school. Over the eight years it was offered, the 100+ students who took the courses noted that chess was an important motivator in coming to school. The various life lessons and skills learned in the chess courses transferred to helping them succeed both in their other courses and in life generally. David has also taught after-school chess programs for ten years. Since retiring in 2015, he has started an institute to organize chess teaching in Costa Rica.

He has served on the CIC Board since its creation and currently serves as Chair of the Curriculum Committee, which oversees the development of new curriculum for use in schools.

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Marlena McCarthy

Marlena McCarthy thinks of herself first as a writer, and second as a professional fundraiser. After graduating with a Journalism degree and certificate in public relations, she decided to use her skills for good, and has worked with charities for 35 years in marketing, communications, and fundraising. From 1982 -1997, she worked in communications and fundraising for various charities, including Canadian Red Cross and TVOntario. From 1997-1999, she worked as a senior consultant with Canada’s premiere fundraising agency, Stephen Thomas, handling their direct mail campaigns of their largest clients.

Through Marlena’s own business, Done Write Communications, she works as an independent fundraising consultant, strategist and writer for non-profits specializing in direct mail, cases for support, foundation appeals, mid-level donor programs, legacy giving promotion and donor communications. Since 1999, she has worked with more than 135 different charities and foundations, including the Chess Institute of Canada.

As Founding Partner and Vice President of Bequest Insurance, Marlena co-authored (with husband Jack Bergmans, CFP) the only how-to books on integrating insurance into philanthropy – Multiplying Generosity and Ripple Effect.

Her hidden superpower is singing. She has a fun and cheeky a cappella quartet called Spadina Station, and sings in the Toronto a cappella choir SoundCrowd.

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