2021 IRMA Awards Judges

Anicka Quin

Anicka Quin is the Editorial Director of Western Living and Vancouver magazines. Under her leadership, Western Living has become a regional brand with a national reputation, winning Best Home Design and Décor magazine in Canada in 2017 at the Canadian Magazine Awards and Magazine of the Year at the Editor’s Choice Awards in 2019; Vancouver magazine has also thrived under her tenure, winning Magazine of the Year at the Canadian Editors’ Choice Awards in 2018 and best e-newsletter in 2019. Before joining Western Living and Vanmag, Anicka worked with Alternatives Journal and the alt-weekly id Magazine. She’s also decidedly become a pandemic cliché, and has spent the last year working on a YA novel, which she hopes to finish any day now.

Charles Salzberg

https://www.charlessalzberg.com/Charles Salzberg is a former magazine journalist whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Redbook, The New York Times, nonfiction book writer and twice nominated Shamus Award author of the Henry Swann Detective series, Devil in the Hole, named one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013, Second Story Man, winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award. He is one of the Founding Members of New York Writers Workshop, and he is on the Board of PrisonWrites and the Mystery Writers America New York Board. He teaches writing in New York City and his next novel, Canary in the Coal Mine, will be published in April 2022.

Evelyn Renold

Evelyn Renold has served as a top editor at national magazines, including Good Housekeeping and Lear’s, as well as at New York-area newspapers. She has taught journalism at NYU and Fordham University, and her writing has appeared in Elle, Cosmopolitan, AARP and, most recently, the online journals, nextavenue.com and dorothyparkersashes.com. As an editorial consultant, she works with writers at evelynrenold.com

Jeff Labrecque

JeffreyMLabrecque@gmail.comJeff Labrecque worked at Entertainment Weekly Magazine and its website for 14 years, profiling the likes of Bill Murray and Quentin Tarantino while chronicling shows like Mad Men and The Leftovers. He is currently a communications writer at Princeton University, closer to his home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He still loves pop culture and is excited to get back to a world of in-person moviegoing, a subject he has strong feelings about: https://pwrites.princeton.edu/the-undeniable-scientific-superiority-of-seat-f7/. He can be reached at JeffreyMLabrecque@gmail.com.

Christine Dewairy

Christine Dewairy is the art director of Toronto Life. She oversees the creative direction of the magazine and all extensions of the brand including the website, special issues and sponsored content in all its iterations. Prior to her role at Toronto Life, she art directed various publications including Maclean's, and the weekend and fashion supplement sections of the National Post.

Natalie Gagnon

design@nataliegagnon.caNatalie is a Vancouver-based publication designer, design educator and ceramicist who brings content, minds, and clay to life with strategic design, clear communication style, and artistic focus. With nearly a decade of art direction and marketing experience in the magazine industry (Vancouver, Western Living, Modern Dog, Modern Cat, NUVO, and Montecristo magazines), and eight years developing and teaching post-secondary design courses for Simon Fraser University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, she is well-equipped to solve a diverse variety of communication and learning needs. When she’s not covered in clay at the pottery studio, Natalie envisions and designs impactful, iconic content and inspires students to be passionate designers.

John Andrews


John Andrews has been a staffer at South Dakota Magazine for 13 years, the last seven as managing editor. He has searched the gumbo hills of southwestern South Dakota for the rare Fairburn agate, lost his publisher’s money betting on horse races in Aberdeen (it was less than $100) and eaten lutefisk with Norwegians in Summit. In addition to producing a bimonthly magazine, he and the staff are currently combing the magazine archives to complete a book of essential South Dakota stories. Its release in late 2019 helps commemorate the 35th anniversary of South Dakota Magazine in 2020.


Melissa Chessher

mchesshe@syr.edu Melissa Chessher is a magazine professor and director of the Magazine, News & Digital Journalism Graduate Program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She possesses more than 20 years of experience in the magazine field as both a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in more than a dozen magazines, including Marie ClaireSelfHealthGlamour, ShapeFitnessMen’s Health, and Parents magazines, and her investigative feature for Self magazine on the challenges faced by women who work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer was part of a package that earned an Ellie Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors in the category of personal service. As an editor, she worked on the launch of Real Simple, the largest magazine launch in Time Inc. history. In 2016, she was named one of Folio magazine’s Top Women in Media Award and routinely serves as a judge for the ASME’s Ellie Awards.   Melissa Chessher | Professor & Chair Magazine, News & Digital Journalism (Undergraduate, Graduate) Director | Newhouse Graduate Newspaper Fellowship for Minorities Core Faculty | Renée Crown University Honors Program Co-Director | Fashion & Beauty Communications Milestone pronouns: she/her   S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications 315.443.4038 | mchesshe@syr.edu 215 University Place, Suite 318C, Syracuse, N.Y. 13244 Syracuse University      

Deborah Baldwin

Deborah Baldwin is a New York writer and editor. She is a former staff editor at The New York Times, This Old House magazine, Real Simple and the International Herald Tribune, and was editor of Common Cause magazine in its heyday. Her freelance pieces have appeared in The Times, The Washington Post, Medium, PassBlue and other publications, including two anthologies devoted to Paris.

Julia Wang

Julia Wang is the inaugural vice president of content at The Lifetime Value Co., where she built and oversees content, public relations and creative services across the company’s portfolio of seven brands. She’s been recognized by Folio’s Top Women in Media Award and has led award-winning teams in the entertainment, parenting and fintech space. She also served on the editorial board of the Webby Award-winning The Longest Shortest Time before the beloved parenting podcast signed off in 2019. You can find her on Instagram @thejuliawang

Terry Greene Sterling

Terry Greene Sterling is editor-at-large for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, a three-time Virg Hill Arizona Journalist of the Year, and writer-in-residence/affiliated faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Her bylines have appeared in The Washington Post, National Journal Magazine, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Slate, The Guardian, High Country News, The Daily Beast and many other publications. Her recent book, Driving While Brown, Sheriff Joe Arpaio versus the Latino Resistance, was published by the University of California Press and co-authored with Jude Joffe-Block. It was praised in The Los Angeles Review of Books. The book was selected as the Best Nonfiction in the prestigious 2021 Best of Phoenix Awards. Reach Terry on Twitter @tgsterling or on her website.

Deb Cummings

dcumming@ucalgary.caArea of Expertise: None, although I have researched dozens of countries and interviewed scores of celebrities and academics. Mostly, I get to write about what I find interesting. Which is, pretty much, everything. I am, what some would call, a veteran journalist who has been a reporter, features writer and editor for three decades. Half my career has been spent toiling in daily newspapers, the other half in magazines — with a few GAP years in between. With a passion for social development issues and travel, I has reported on more than 40 countries. Currently serving as publications editor at the University of Calgary, you may also find me teaching journalism at Mount Royal University. Along the way I have won more than a dozen Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards and am a two-time winner of the Travel Media Association of Canada’s feature writing award.  I love to read, write, hike, canoe and ski in the mountains. I also like to garden and paint, but am rarely effective at either.

Al Bonowitz

Bonowitz.Al@aaa-calif.comAl Bonowitz is editor in chief of AAA member magazines for Hawai‘i and Northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and assists with Westways, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s 4.65-million circulation magazine for its Southern California members. The best part of his job entails learning about his territories by visiting each one twice a year to meet with writers and publicists. In his spare time, he enjoys baseball, reading nonfiction, dining, and playing the drums.  

Melissa Newman

melissanewman36@gmail.comMelissa Newman has made her career specializing in print design and art direction and is currently working as a consumer direct designer at outdoor retailer, Orvis. She formerly served as Art Director for Yoga Journal and other niche national magazines. Melissa lives in New England with her goofball Golden Retriever, Harper, and partner, Zack. Travel is a passion, and she's currently on a quest to visit all of the major U.S. National Parks.

This Year’s Judges:

Writing Judges:

  • John Andrews, Managing Editor, South Dakota Magazine
  • Deborah Baldwin, Former Editor of This Old House, Real Simple, and Common Cause
  • Al Bonowitz, Editor in Chief, AAA Hawai‘i, Editor in Chief, Northern New England Journey
  • Kiera Butler, Senior Editor, Mother Jones
  • Sue Carter, Deputy Editor, Inuit Art Quarterly
  • Melissa Chessher, Professor & Chair, Syracuse University
  • Deb Cummings, publications editor at the University of Calgary, Veteran Journalist
  • Matthew DiMera, editor and Founder of The Resolve
  • Terry Greene Sterling, Writer-in-Residence, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
  • Jeff Labrecque, Former staff writer at Entertainment Weekly; communications writer at Princeton University
  • Joseph O’Donnell, Editor/Publisher, B-Metro and BHM Biz magazines
  • Anicka Quinn, Editor of Vancouver magazine/Western Living magazine
  • Ingrid Randoja, writer, editor, Now Magazine, Cineplex Magazine
  • Evelyn Renold, Former Deputy editor of Good Housekeeping magazine and editor at Lear’s and Newsday; taught journalism at NYU, Fordham and USC Annenberg
  • Charles Salzberg Writer for The New York Times, New York Magazine, and co-founded the New York Writers Workshop
  • Stephen Vest, Editor & Publisher, Kentucky Monthly
  • Julia Wang, VP of Content at The Lifetime Value Co.
  • Charles Whitaker, Dean and professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism; former senior editor at Ebony


Design Judges:

  • Maria Amador, Art Director, Reader’s Digest magazine
  • Christine Dewairy, Art Director, Toronto Life magazine
  • Natalie Gagnon, art director, publication designer, brand strategist and design educator
  • Kathleen Gates, Gates Sisters Studio
  • Sarah Hackman, CEO + Creative Director, Hackman Creative
  • Todd Johnson, Front Porch Creative
  • Jeremy Leslie, Founder of magCulture
  • Dave McKenna, Art Director, 5280
  • Melissa Newman, Art Director, Yoga Journal
  • Pete Nguyen, Art Director, Creative Consultant
  • Colleen Nicholson, Art Director
  • Tiffani Reding Amedeo, Art Director, New Orleans Magazine
  • James Reid, Director, Content Operations, Rogers