Rutherford McKay Associates - John McKay

John McKay
Managing Partner

A founding partner of Rutherford McKay Associates, since 2000, John McKay has provided strategic communications, media relations and training services to the public, private and non-profit sectors. Previously, he was a senior communications advisor with the federal government, a television and multimedia producer and community newspaper editor.

John is a strategist, issue manager and communications specialist. He has an analytical mindset coupled with creativity and the ability to see issues from different perspectives. He is able to develop novel approaches while keeping the focus on producing practical and measurable outcomes.

He has designed and implemented numerous communications and media relations campaigns ranging from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, to the presence of unexploded military ordnance in Canadian communities, to civil unrest associated with the G-8 and G-20 meetings, to drug abuse among Canadian teenagers. He has worked with senior Canadian and American military personnel at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs and with Canadian Embassy personnel in Washington D.C. on media relations and communications issues, helping with the development of messages, news media and public/community engagement. He has extensive experience working with the non-profit sector on issues of homelessness, housing and mental health.

James Bullbrook James Bullbrook
Senior Associate, SW Ontario (London)

James Bullbrook brings over two decades experience as a strategic consultant, writer, producer and presenter/trainer. He has worked extensively with clients in the private sector, as well as with candidates, elected leaders and ministries and departments from both the provincial and federal levels of government.

James’ strategic approach is derived from an old truism of political communication: it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear. Or, put another way, the act of communicating does not mean you have communicated.

James collaborates with clients to apply that potent truth to their communication strategies and products, giving voice to their mission and values in a way that resonates with the audiences they need to reach.

James began his career in the Ontario Public Service and later served for over three years as Senior Writer to the Premier of Ontario. He presents to various audiences on leadership communication using lessons derived from successful and less-than-successful political communication, and provides client-specific strategic consulting, training and message development services. 


Saema NasirSaema Nasir
Associate, Toronto

With both private and public sector communications experience Saema Nasir has a broad skill set which ranges from writing press releases, to content marketing strategy, to digital public relations and traditional media relations. She has worked for Parks Canada, Canada School of Public Service, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada as well as major software and tech companies.
She has managed complex public relations campaigns which have resulted in media interest and online traffic and lead the creation of social media tactics for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WeChat and Pinterest. 
She believes that truly effective communications plans and products result from understanding target audiences as well as the online platforms they inhabit. 
Social media, public relations and writing are her passions and specialties. Saema holds a Masters in Public Relations from Westminster University, London, England and a B.A Honours in Mass Communications from Carleton University. 

Rutherford McKay Associates - Karen SchwinghammerKaren Schwinghamer

Associate, Ottawa

A fluently bilingual, highly strategic and creative professional, Karen Schwinghamer is an accomplished leader in the areas of communication strategy, social media initiatives and project management. She is known for an innovative approach and building strong relationships with stakeholders and colleagues through thoughtful analysis, consultation and effective oral and written communication. 

Karen is an excellent trainer and facilitator, and has designed and conducted numerous workshops, focus groups, and adult learning courses over her long career. She combines these skills with her subject matter expertise and experience in media relations, social media and issue management, to deliver engaging and informative communications courses and workshops.

She is also a sought-after writer and editor, with clients as diverse as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), several government institutions, and professional associations such as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

For almost a decade, Karen was a Manager, Editor and Associate Director for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, followed by a decade-long engagement as the Communications Manager for the Senate of Canada.  

Therese Boisclair

Thérèse Boisclair
Associate, Ottawa 

Thérèse Boisclair has over 40 years of experience as a journalist and as a communications and media relations specialist with the federal government. She began her career as a broadcast reporter and spent three years working on Parliament Hill as a correspondent. She joined the government in 1982 and in the course of her career worked as Manager, Media Relations for the Royal Commission on Passenger Transportation; the Senior Communication Advisor for the HIV/AIDS file at Health Canada; Director of Communications at Passport Canada, and the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada.     

Scott phshop new logo smScott Fotheringham
Associate, Ottawa 

Scott Fotheringham writes copy that helps clients reach their target audiences with stories that are worth reading, whether it’s an article in a trade publication, sponsored content, a news release, brochure, or fact sheet. He researches the necessary background information, conduct interviews, and write compelling content. He has extensive copy writing experience, and currently writes marketing material for private sector companies in industries such as digital cinema, broadcast, visual effects, manufacturing, trucking, and green building.

Creative and with multiple interwoven interests, Scott’s career has spanned fields as diverse as molecular genetics, organic agriculture, and support work with mental health consumers. Throughout, he has had an abiding passion for communicating with the written word.

Scott’s first novel, The Rest Is Silence, was published by Goose Lane Editions (2012) and shortlisted for the First Novel Award, the Dartmouth Book Award, and an Ottawa Book Award. He has also co-authored numerous scientific articles during the time he was earning his Ph.D. in molecular genetics. 

Specialties: Copywriting; PR and communications; report writing; articles for newspapers and magazines; taglines; fiction. 

Paul GirouxPaul Giroux
Senior Associate, Ottawa 

Paul Giroux is a writer and an issues manager who has worked with a large number of public and private organizations.

Over the past three decades, his services have been retained in the context of the most current issues of the day including the implementation of the GST, the NAFTA negotiations, the Gulf war in 1991, the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Canada, as well as meetings of the G-20 and G-8. He was senior consultant at National Public Relations for which he managed communications for a redesign initiative in the Government of the Canada. His past clients also include NATO, Foreign Affairs, the Department of finance and the Supreme Court of Canada. He was employed at the University of Ottawa, where he was responsible for communications related to the recruitment of students. He started in the business as a journalist in the newsroom for Radio-Canada.

For the past few years his activities have been focused on speech writing. He continues to work with elected officials and business leaders – an activity that he remains passionate about.

As well, Paul is engaged in development projects in Africa – specifically the housing sector in Cameroun and the region.

David Rutherford
In Memorium

Rutherford McKay Associates - Francine BastienFrancine Bastien 
Associate, Quebec

Francine Bastien has 25 years of experience as a broadcast journalist and 15 as a communications consultant.   She worked as a Parliamentary Correspondent in Ottawa, as a Foreign Correspondent in Washington and London, and has contacts in newsrooms across the country.  Francine has provided media relations training, crisis management, writing and editing services – in both official languages – to senior managers and subject matter experts in government, business, and non-profit agencies across Canada. 

As a French language journalist, she covered international missions with Prime Ministers Trudeau, Clark, and Mulroney.  She was in Washington in the mid-1980s to cover the negotiations that would lead to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and in Europe to report on the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Since 1997 she has worked as a communications consultant and provided media relations and communications training, writing, editing, and translation/adaptation services to a variety of public and private sector clients across Canada.  She has served as the Communications Director, writer/editor and national spokesperson for two high-profile boards of inquiry, including the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar, between 2004 and 2006.  Fully bilingual and bicultural, Francine has a deep understanding of cultural issues that may influence an organization’s marketing activities in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Rutherford McKay Associates - Carolyn BrownCarolyn Brown
Associate, Ottawa

Carolyn Brown is a science and medicine writer and editor with almost thirty years’ experience, twenty in scientific and medical publishing. She has written a column on research and news features for journals such as the Canadian Medical Association Journal and research-based health articles for contemporary media such as Saturday Night magazine. Her scientific writing ranges from a handbook on clinical psychiatry to a chapter to a research guide published by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, to ghost-writing health services research articles, to writing adaptations of technical reports on forestry and climate change for the public. She edits scientific papers and reports for a wide variety of clients, including authors and publishers. Carolyn has also managed print and web-based publishing for the Canadian Medical Association, and editorial and production operations for NRC Research Press. 

She has been training technical and academic writers and editors for twenty years and is now an instructor with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in academic writing and publishing. She is in demand as a speaker on editorial and publishing topics both for scientific and professional writer/editor audiences.

Carolyn holds Certified Proofreader and Certified Copyeditor certificates from the Editors’ Association of Canada.

Rutherford McKay Associates - Dugald MaudsleyDugald Maudsley
Associate, Toronto 

Over a 25-year career, Dugald has been an on-air national reporter, a roving producer making documentaries from many of the world’s war zones, and the creator and executive producer of award-winning documentary series. 

He was a television journalist in New Zealand before joining the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He won that country’s highest journalism award for a series on the Russian coup before becoming the executive producer of a prime time documentary series called Foreign Correspondent. In this role Dugald oversaw the production of more than 120 hours of international features on subjects as widespread as the genocide in Rwanda and the civil war in Afghanistan.

Dugald’s interest in real life, personal stories – and ability to identify and analyse issues – comes from a career of traveling the world reporting on subjects as varied as the HIV crisis in Africa, the war on heroin in Pakistan, Saddam Hussein’s oppression of the Kurds and the birth of Nunavut in Canada’s far north.

Based in Toronto, Dugald has produced documentaries for some of Canada’s most prestigious programs including The Nature of Things with David Suzuki and TSN’s acclaimed series, Engraved on a Nation. He has also written and directed documentaries for the long-running History Television series Turning Points of History, and Discovery Channel’s Mighty Ships and Mega Builders.

Dugald teaches at Ryerson University, is a winner of the Canadian Screenwriters Award, and recipient of numerous Canadian and international honours for his documentary work.