A man who needs no introduction. (See what we did there). Aman Gupta, President of FAN EXPO HQ lives, breathes and oversees everything at this fan-charged mothership. Seeing as he has no interest in wasting time here is what you need-to-know: his hero is Superman, he may be related to the person who invented the number zero, he will never go white water rafting, January should be eliminated as a month, if Fred Flinstone was real they would be best friends, and finally, his favourite quote is, “Get to the point”!
Hmm. This might’ve been longer than he would want.
Andrew Moyes, Vice President is a busy man. Across all of our many many huge shows, he has the ability to make it appear as if he’s in several places at once. Usually to everyone’s shock though he actually isn’t. But, he notes, it’s a superhero power he very much wishes he had. Maybe one of his clones can take a vacation on the beach for some much-needed sun and fun.
VICE PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS
Edlira Nurka, Vice President, Commercial Operations has many titles but there is one she goes by often here at FAN EXPO HQ; the “Problem Solver”. Every day presents a new challenge and she deftly adapts and finds a solution. But everyone needs a break so when the work is done she unwinds with some episodes of Friends, hangs with family, and daydreams of Julia Roberts playing her in a movie about her life. So what’s the one problem she cannot fix? Drivers who drive slow in the fast lane. Us too, Edlira. Us too.
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT
A wise human once said “A pessimist says the glass is half empty. An optimist says it is half full… an engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be”. That human was not James White, Director of Content. Since working here in 2018, he is a man who has always looked at life with a peculiar eye. For instance, he greatly dislikes storing ketchup in a fridge but is somehow okay with owning around 40 pairs of shoes. Nevertheless, he also has many great loves like watching tons of films, hiking, photography, and is an awesome husband.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
During the day, Kathryn Eves-Maharaj spends her time directing FAN EXPO’s many branding initiatives. However, her secret identity is that she is... Wonder Woman. With style and countless pairs of shoes, Kathryn is capable of lassoing together ambitious projects with focus and vision. On her off hours, she takes flight in the skies, traveling to new cities. But like all great heroes, she has an arch-nemesis: exclamation marks. Nevertheless, nothing will stand in the way of her destiny of being a wonderful mom to her newborn child and leading the charge for new creative opportunities.
Some call Gilbert (pronounced / Jill-bear), as “Status Quo Challenger”, a “Change-Maker”, a “Community Builder” kind of guy – and yes, he is all those things. Driven by his passion to bring smiles on faces, and committed to create & transform events into dynamic, epic platforms where fans, retailers, artists and brands come together to discover, celebrate and belong! He is a hybrid-mutant nerd, fascinated by the artistic expression of creators, makers, tech-innovators and geeks out at the art of cosplay. A jetsetter who regularly explores faraway lands and enjoys cool family hangouts. That family, if ever portrayed on film, would feature Taylor Lautner playing Gilbert. Sounds like a fun film tbh.
Sharon has been producing events and consumer shows for more than twenty-five years in cities across North America and joined FAN EXPO HQ in 2016. As Show Director, Sharon’s job is to oversee the safe operations of the show, develop marketing partnerships, direct ticket sales growth. But just as important is for her to ensure the shows deliver the ultimate fan experience to all the awesome attendees and exhibitors. When not at the show, Sharon enjoys nerding out over classic VW campervans.
Fiona Standing is always busy overseeing everything from vendors to location changes for FAN EXPO events. In fact, one could say she is a natural-born conductor of people and events. This is why she is possibly the only human equipped to lead an army of Minions. When taking a pause from these great feats she spends time being an incredible mother to a baby girl. Did we also mention she utterly destroys construction crews in pancaking eating contests? Yeah, she’s objectively awesome.
As the child of awesome superhero parents, Desi Zlatkova, Show Manager is also a hero to many at FAN EXPO HQ. When she’s not overseeing new initiatives she is graciously known as the person who always brings food to meetings. On her days off she’s mulling over ways to protect and conserve biodiversity, planning her next big trip, and making Wednesday an official Donuts day! Again, Desi is the heroic MVP.
Vivienne Song, Project Coordinator is a person of many talents and skills. However, there is one thing that always eludes her: time travel! Yes, despite her ability to organize countless tasks at once, she too is bogged down by the miserable, cold January months and would like to get to Spring faster. Besides how else would she be able to tend to her garden and hang with her two pet bunnies to the fullest extent with all that chilly weather. Did we mention her fave character is Summer from Rick and Morty? Yeah, she really hates snow, huh?
PARTNERSHIPS DIRECTOR (US)
When Liam Fleming is not busy being the Partnerships Director US, he’s a man who has many questions about this thing called life. For instance, he asked on one particularly frigid Sunday, “Why ride an e-scooter with one wheel and not two”? Then, in the early hours of dawn on a Wednesday, he said under his breath: “ Does February truly exist? Also, why do people get on the subway before other people have gotten off”? Perhaps, Liam, some questions aren’t meant to be answered. Fortunately, his curiosity is an asset to FAN EXPO HQ.
Drew Carroll, Sponsorship Director greatly dislikes the spread of wrong information. So here are all the basic, and absolutely accurate, facts about him: he would like every superpower, Orlando Bloom would play him in a film, he thinks Deadpool would make a good friend, he enjoys spending time with family, and his nickname is Rooster. Surely, there is surely a very reasonable explanation for that nickname.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP MANAGER
When FAN EXPO HQ and Calgary Expo combined together as one company a magical thing happened. That magical thing is Rea Hailey, Strategic Partnership Manager. Since 2015, she has established the Sponsorship division at Emily Expo (before the merger), volunteered with Epic Photo Ops, and would very much love the power to read people’s true intentions. But until she happens upon a random accident that gives her said powers, she’s doing just fine.
SALES & EXHIBITOR RELATIONS MANAGER
From being a vendor at the very first FAN EXPO HQ to becoming Sales and Exhibitor Relations Manager, George Zotti aka G-man has seen it all… maybe too much. So it’s no surprise that if he was a superhero he would want the powers of the Vision or Martian Manhunter because, well, they seemingly have every power. When he’s not being an all-powerful God (get it? G-man?) you can find him solving problems on the fly and making sure everyone has a good show.
Jessica Somerville, Account Coordinator, is knowledgeable about many things. Being obsessed with The Sims as a teen she can now speak fluent Simlish which, if you can understand that, is super impressive. When she’s not being a genius among mere mortals she also loves watching the Raptors. Now, shoo! She’s trying to gain the power of telekinesis.
TALENT & CONTENT BOOKING COORDINATOR
Maya Angelou once said, "You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated". Katie Telford, Talent & Content Booking Coordinator, most likely told herself this very thing when she was stuck on a 16-hour Greyhound bus ride. Working with stars and numerous personality types has given Katie a sense of Buddhist-like patience. But like all of us, she has a breaking point--and that is a messy house. And hey, who can blame her? After a long day, seeing junk strewn all over your once clean and precious living space… sigh. But Katie is unstoppable so good luck, loose clothes.
GUEST RELATIONS COORDINATOR
Is that a bird? A plane? No, it’s Michelle Hughes, Guest Relations Coordinator. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask) Michelle is so good at her job sometimes she is solely known for being the flight booker. Well, guess what? She’s more awesome than that. For instance, if she was the ruler of her own country she would ensure there is free education for everyone. Nature is also of paramount importance to her so she can go camping or spend time at a cottage. So if it wasn’t clear before Michelle likes being outside and traveling to which we say… be free, Michelle. Be free.
SENIOR EVENT COORDINATOR
James Armstrong is the Senior Event Coordinator. James also founded a Star Trek Fan Club in the early 90s and is “allegedly” cousins with Neil Armstrong... 32 times removed. So it’s also fair to say James is a fearless leader who likes to boldly go where no human has gone before. Not to mention these traits are perfect for organizing all the non-stop events and fanbases that travel to the mothership that is FAN EXPO HQ.
*cues Sailor Moon music* Writing leads by moonlight, reading emails by daylight. Never running from a Star Wars fight, she is the one named Ansley Newland! To no one’s surprise, great content is key to our treasured Programming Coordinator. So when she isn’t busy at FAN EXPO HQ, she’s sewing, baking, keeping plants alive, and has a vast book pile. Upon further reflection, she’s never not busy so be like BB-8 and roll away from her private quarters.
COMIC RELATIONS COORDINATOR
Kevin Boyd, Comic Relations Coordinator and ultimate Spidey fan is a web (pun intended) of industry sources in the world of comics. Since the age of 12, Kevin has been wall-crawling through comic book conventions to feed his endless curiosity. Now for FAN EXPO HQ, he swings around from city to city, on the hunt for awesome comics and… pancakes with bacon. So yes he does have complicated feelings about Spider-Pig.
Sometimes fate (and an awesome Grandma) introduces you to your life loves. Take, for example, Constance Eza, Comics Coordinator. At the tender age of six, she went to a comic con with her grandma who thought comics would be a good way to get her to read. Constance chanced upon an issue of X-Factor and as the legend goes… she never looked back. Moving forward, she’d be bespoken the name Convention Squirrel, become a doctor (vascular neurologist), and join the FAN EXPO HQ team as the resident go-to comic expert.
Tom “That anime guy” Croom, understands the importance of a good ol’ shonen origin story so here’s one: As a little boy, Luke Skywalker was his hero but as he grew older it became Mark Hamil. Somewhere along the way, he realized he could trace his family tree to Thomas Jefferson and discovered a constant diet of anime amongst many other things. Now he’s a part of FAN EXPO HQ and is the guy we all call because we figure he knows the answer to everything. Quite the hero’s journey, indeed.
Dominick Trascritti, Gaming Coordinator has organized game days and conventions since 2004 and playing DnD and other games since 1978. Related: one of his ancestors was involved in the French Revolution so one could argue he comes from a long line of strategists—without the life or death consequences, of course. When he’s not being a 3LIT3 gaming expert he spends time with his three wonderful daughters.
Walter Kruger, our Gaming Coordinator, is a fun guy who enjoys the simple things in life. Namely, desiring to be best friends with R2D2, unable to live without RPGs, and raising two wonderful smart and kind kids. However, do not be fooled! He has a secret identity! Here’s a hint: “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”!
Like many great wizards, Hogwarts was a safe haven from a cold world – and that was certainly the case for the magical Alexandra Serrano, Marketing Manager. Moving from Mexico to Toronto in the second grade, Alexandra was not fond of outdoor recess in the middle of winter. To get away, she would join the Harry Potter Club to read indoors and became enthralled with life at the bewitched school. Presently, she still enjoys reading and now exploring the great outdoors. However, she is also fond of Salem the Cat so she’s clearly still practicing spells in secret.
For three years, Nirushan Neelavannan, Digital Manager has been lying to us. Great guy, yes, but inside he harbours a deep, dark, fiery truth he can barely contain. Yes, it is the pasión to DANCE! Nirushan is in fact a very skilled dancer and teacher for many children. Sometimes, while he’s coding and all that boring stuff, he secretly busts a one-two move behind his desk when no one’s looking. Or when he thinks no one is looking. Little does he know there’s a video library of all his candid moments we’ve caught and stored on a hard drive.
CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER
Hear ye, hear ye for Laura Mayes, Customer Service Manager and Queen of the FAN EXPO HQ Service Desk, Mother of Travel and The Supreme Conqueror of Pasta with loads of Parmigiano Reggiano! What can we say about Laura that hasn’t already been said in this extremely long title? She dislikes people who don’t have manners and is currently exploring the ability to bring people back from the dead. So, it’s probably in your best interest not to irk her or prepare to suffer her WRATH… and a room-filling smile.
PROJECT MANAGER OF MARKETING
Life would be swell if it was a cartoon – just ask Alan Abuchaibe, Project Manager Marketing. As a young child, Alan recalls, his first memory ever was a cartoon and since then his life has become an epic ride of unseen animated magnitudes. Alan’s favourite meal is hamburgers (Spongebob influence?). He swims regularly and often wishes he could breathe underwater (Disney’s Atlantis). Also, his favourite quote is “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn this way” from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? With all that said, who is to say that Alan isn’t a hand-drawn character himself? Or, perhaps more troublingly, he’s the only one that has noticed that all of us are really cartoons.
Jabbari is the Copywriter for FAN EXPO HQ who focuses on all things in the kingdom of nerdom. When he’s not pretending to do work he can be found indulging in copious amounts of anime and manga ranging from Monogatari to Chainsaw Man and is also fond of calling stranger’s dogs “InuYasha”. In other embarrassing news, he is currently engaged in an intense battle of wits with the pigeons on his balcony who have decided to claim his territory as their own. A mistake they will soon learn not to make again. In spite of all this, he is *sigh* still employed here.
CUSTOMER SERVICE COORDINATOR
Fun fact: did you know that Ashley Baker, Customer Service Coordinator is also a vampire slayer? This fact became particularly obvious to the FAN EXPO HQ staff when Ashley would note her annoyance with people who chew (*hiss*) loudly and lack common decency. In addition, she really loves eating brunch (which is obviously when the sun is out). Now, let us not forget she is wonderful, kind, and enjoys spending time with friends but if you are a vampire… it’s probably best to stay away.
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
Caroline Currie, Social Media Coordinator has been blessed with the powers of (analytics) mind control and social time(line) travel. So of course she is a bit too good at her job which has made her the kind-spirited ‘Hermione’ of the FAN EXPO HQ team. It’s also not a surprise then that she believes Ron Weasley would be her best friend IRL. The only possible drawback to this combo would be if he has the patience to go on another of her epic quests of self-discovery and SHOES!
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
What do croissants, Poison Ivy, and the King of Spain all have in common? Marcus Munoz, apparently. As our Social Media Coordinator and dexterous digital savant he has an unmistakable love, and kind of odd considering his job, love for nature. Nevertheless, in between tasks he’s a self-taught Plant-bender and will attack all obnoxious gum chewers. So yeah, just leave the Hubba Bubba at home.
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
It’s not every day that someone from the FAN EXPO HQ team can say they slow danced with (a statue of) Spider-Man. But Quinn King, Social Media Coordinator proudly can. You see, Quinn understands the finer things in life are fun such as hiking, camping, skiing, playing video games, gardening, hanging out with her three cats, and... phew we’re out of breath. She’s a real deal super-woman with only one kryptonite: the high pitched sound cutlery makes when it scrapes against the plate.
Darryl Demers, Designer is a man who believes in speed and efficiency. Since 2015, when he started working at FAN EXPO HQ, Darryl has made it his mission to defeat all who stand in the way (literally) because they’re walking slow. Unsurprisingly, he has dreams of flying so hopefully he’s one step closer to avoiding all those molasses-inclined foot steppers. Let us all grant his wish that he gets his pet dragon, Toothless sooner rather than later.
Mark Buchanan, Graphic Designer discovered his inner fandom at one of the most pivotal moments in geek culture. Yes, we are talking about the opening night of Star Wars: Episode I Phantom Menace. So as you can imagine, if he decided to stick around after THAT he’s in it for the long haul. And sure enough, Mark’s resolve is the stuff of legends which is why only Idris Elba could accurately portray his life. Also probably why omnipotence is his go-to superpower choice. Did we mention he is also raising a lovely daughter?
It’s Gangani, Al Gangani. Stirred not shaken, is the mantra for the cool-headed and super methodical Operations Coordinator. Warm and very welcoming, nothing irks his spirit more than when people make last-minute changes on-site for a FAN EXPO HQ event. Especially because, well, there’s a reason he plan shows months in advance. When he finally gets the chance to escape the chaos, he spends his time with his lovely wife and his dog. Yes, he does have the neatest desk.
SENIOR OPERATIONS COORDINATOR
Once upon a time, Toni Chin, Sr. Operations Coordinator was busy doing her job and being a superstar at it. She was answering emails on time and recalling memories of being a Summer Camp director when something stopped her in her tracks. Someone had emailed a “Thank you” for a job well done for another awesome birthday party game she had created--- but something was off. She inspected the email closer until she found it: the [REDACTED] individual had spelled her name as “Tony” instead of Toni. And that’s how she became The Riddler.
Aarti Patel believes in punctuality. You see when you have to monitor the day-to-day of huge events you don’t have the luxury of being slow or the patience for people who suddenly stop to check their phone. No, every day is go-go-go. So what does she make time for, you ask? Well, she loves painting and cooking new recipes. She also moonlights as The Diamond Lady at the office. But under that luxurious exterior, there is one thing she desires: being friends with Brooke from One Tree Hill.
SENIOR OPERATIONS MANAGER
When you need a spotter at the gym, who are ya gonna call? Jay Ro, Senior Operations Manager! Okay, last one: do you smell what Jay Ro is cooking?! In between silently judging people who don’t follow gym etiquette, he trains with Reboot’s Enzo Matrix to defeat Megabyte and keep Mainframe safe. All in a day’s work for the man, the myth, the legend they call Jay Ro.
If life was Dungeons & Dragons and you pulled up Lizzie Carr, Operations Coordinator character alignment it would likely be chaotic neutral. For one, her earliest experience with fandom was Batman Forever which… let’s be honest here is alarming but brave. Other moments of daring bravery is her tendency to break into solo impromptu dance parties to the music of Chaka Khan. What takes this over-the-top is when a friend of hers asked the very innocent question of, “who would you want to play you in a movie”? Her response? “Danny DeVito”. There are no words that can explain this.