Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.


Shari Graydon
Founder, Catalyst –

Shari has spent more than 25 years shamelessly exploiting media to draw attention to issues she knows and cares about. Now she motivates and trains others to do the same, delivering highly-rated conference keynotes and practical workshops across the country. The founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, she’s an award-winning author and women’s advocate. Since 2010, she has helped amplify the voices of thousands of women across Canada, supporting them in sharing their insights with a broader public.

A former newspaper columnist, TV producer and commentator for CBC radio and TV, Shari also served as press secretary to a provincial premier, and as president of MediaWatch. She’s a proud alumna of the University of British Columbia (Theatre) and Simon Fraser University (Communications), where she also taught. She has published two best-selling media literacy books for youth, received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons’ Case, and been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Royalties from her edited collection, I Feel Great About My Hands – And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging, benefit Informed Opinions. Her newest book, OMG! What if I really AM the best person? offers purse-size inspiration for knowledgeable women whose voices deserve to be amplified.

Samantha Luchuk
Manager, Administration and

Samantha joined Informed Opinions in January 2015 offering virtual administrative support, and quickly made herself indispensable. As Manager of Administration and Recruitment, she plays two main roles: she provides essential support to Informed Opinions’ programming and communications; and she enrols qualified candidates into the Informed Opinions’ expert women database, an online tool designed to help journalists, producers and conference programmers find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need. Samantha has more than 18 years of experience in office management delivering support for high level professionals, and a background in editing and communications.

Sherlyn Assam
Media Engagement Coordinator

Sherlyn Assam is in her final year at Carleton University, studying journalism and political science. She writes and serves as an executive member for student publications, Her Campus and Carleton Journalists for Human Rights. Off campus, she volunteers with the Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking, hoping to contribute her talents to abolitionist organizations after graduating. Sherlyn also plans to use her writing and storytelling abilities to share the testimonies of women exploited by sex trafficking through memoirs. She supports Informed Opinions by building expert profiles, identifying emerging news stories and connecting journalists to Informed Opinions’ database of diverse sources.

Laura Shine
Co-lead on French language initiative

Laura Shine is a PhD candidate in Concordia University’s Humanities program, in the fields of Food Anthropology, Food Marketing, and Sensory Studies, and a Concordia Public Scholar. Drawing on her experience in academia and in the media, she wants to bring Informed Opinions’ vision and mission to the francophone audience, working with journalists and experts to amplify women’s voices. As part of her PhD, Laura is investigating the changes in attitudes and behaviours towards novel foods, with a specific focus on entomophagy – the consumption of edible insects. She has taught a Food and Culture course at Concordia and has served as strategic consultant on the board of insect start-ups and presented talks and workshops to both expert and lay audiences. Her written work has been published in specialized journals and generalist publications, and she has made numerous television and radio appearances to discuss her research. She also worked as a research journalist and news editor for Radio-Canada from 2009 to 2014. As part of her community engagement, she has offered French tutoring to Syrian refugees, facilitated collective kitchens and urban community gardening groups, and taught cooking classes as part of food-literacy programs.

Maïka Sondarjee
Co-lead on French language initiative

Maïka Sondarjee is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Toronto. She is also a graduate associate at the Centre for Critical Development Studies (CCDS) and at the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales, University of Montreal (CERIUM). Her SSHRC-funded dissertation studies public participation processes and the inclusion of local populations in policymaking at the World Bank. Maïka is also a consultant on women’s inclusion in policymaking and women’s empowerment in the global South. At the University of Toronto, she teaches feminist and critical theories of international relations. Throughout the years, she volunteered for the NGO Socodevi in Bolivia, Oxfam in Burkina Faso and Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity in India.