Mike Van Soelen is the founder and President of Playbook Communications. He created the company in 2007 to help leading organizations reach and engage their most important audiences.
Before creating Playbook, Mike spent 15 years working in communications and marketing, working both in the private sector and political realm. His previous posts have included Chief of Staff in the Ontario Government, Director of Communications in Ottawa and senior counsel at one of the country’s largest public relations firms. Mike’s track record speaks to his unique understanding of how brand messages properly delivered can facilitate concrete, measurable objectives.
Mike holds a Masters of Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. He lives with his family in Toronto.
Amanda Galbraith is a Senior Strategist and Operations Lead with Playbook Communications in Toronto. Joining the Playbook team in 2008, Amanda provides strategic communications, media relations and public affairs support to leading organizations across a range of sectors, as well as government and industry associations.
Amanda is a skilled writer with a love of the written word. From web copy to media releases, she has scripted galas and conferences and written speeches for industry leading CEO’s and cabinet ministers. Amanda also specializes in digital marketing and social media strategies. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University.
Before coming to Playbook, Amanda held a range of communications, writing and event planning positions over five years within the federal government. Amanda has worked for the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Prime Minister of Canada, the President of the Treasury Board and as Deputy Director of Communications for the Minister of the Environment.
Danna O’Brien is a Senior Strategist with Playbook Communications, combining 20 years of media and government experience to provide strategic communications, media relations, issues management and event support to a range of public and private sector clients across Canada.
After graduating from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours degree in History, Danna went on to become an awarding winning radio broadcast journalist.
Danna then moved to the other side of the microphone, serving as a Senior Communications Advisor to four Ontario cabinet ministers at the Ministries of Transportation, Citizenship and Immigration, and Economic Development and Trade. In these roles Danna was responsible for the development and execution of comprehensive communications plans and the management of emerging issues. Her strategic communications abilities were recognized for excellence and on-target media coverage both inside and outside of government.
Emmanuel (Manny) Morin is a Senior Strategist in Ottawa. Manny provides expert strategic counsel and GR programming in support of Playbook’s clients. In short, Manny is in the business of getting results for his clients. Notwithstanding, his flexibility to work in all sectors, Manny is a well respected expert on Telecommunications and Transportation. His network spans across the country.
Manny brings a wealth of political experience to the team, having served in government for several senior cabinet ministers. Notably, Manny served the Federal Minister of Transport where he worked on files such as the Detroit/Windsor crossing, airport rent, Toronto Island Airport, passenger rail, rights of the disabled, Pickering Lands, etc. After leaving government, Morin attended law school and worked for one of the country’s largest industry associations – the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
Erik Waddell is a Senior Strategist based in Ottawa. Having held director-level positions with Cabinet Ministers at Industry Canada, Health Canada, and at the Treasury Board, Erik brings to the table a wealth of expertise on the inner workings of the federal government.
With a background in media and communications as well as policy development and parliamentary procedure, Erik offers unique and valuable insight on public affairs and communications for Playbook’s clients. With a talent for distilling complex issues down to their essence, whether for high-level briefings, detailed analysis, or his newspaper columns, Erik helps bring focus and direction to public affairs and communications strategies.
Jessica Georgakopoulos is a Strategist at Playbook Communications. Jessica joined the Playbook team in 2012, where she provides media relations, public affairs, strategic and crisis communications support to leading organizations.
Having worked in fast-paced offices for four years, Jessica brings a wide variety of communications skills to the Playbook team. She is a skilled issues manager, event planner, writer and media relations specialist.
Jessica served as a communications advisor, issues manager, and official spokesperson for Canada’s Minister of State for Democratic reform and Minister of State for Transport. She also worked for the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park in the communications and policy and research offices and on various election campaigns.
Jessica holds an Honours Bachelor degree in Media studies from the University of Guelph and a diploma in Public Relations from Humber College.
Meaghan Rusnell is a Senior Strategist with Playbook Communications. She has held a range of strategic positions within the Federal government and private sector where she has worked to implement tactical policies, procedures and action plans.
Rusnell worked as a Legislative Assistant to a Member of Parliament where she oversaw strategic operations – including writing speeches, Q&As, backgrounders; organizing technical information briefings on policies; and, co-ordinating stakeholder and constituent relations.
Working with Brock University, Rusnell co-ordinated several high-profile transformational capital projects that cut across multiple levels of government.
Rusnell holds a Bachelor in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from the University of Guelph.