Brand Journalism Team

AHA’s Brand Journalism Team is made up of print and broadcast journalists and strategic communicators who understand the online and social media world. Individually, members of the Brand Journalism Team have international, national and local experience and expertise in identifying, producing and packaging great stories through a range of mediums. Collectively, this team comes together to form a world-class newsroom for clients.

The AHA Brand Journalism Team works with clients to identify and tell compelling and credible stories about their organizations in a way that engages their target markets.

Ruth has developed, managed and implemented highly successful traditional and social media communications campaigns locally, nationally and internationally. She brings extensive media experience to her role at AHA. A former journalist, she has written for many national publications including Maclean’sChatelaineFlare and The Globe and Mail.

Ruth’s ability to think creatively and act strategically is a powerful combination of skills that provides a strong foundation for the work done by AHA Creative Strategies. Ruth has the rare ability to focus on the core of the objective while supporting the big picture. Her always developing and evolving skill set allows her to work with clients to create a road map that provides a well-developed strategy supported by innovative and effective tactics with measurable results.

Ruth has spent the past decade immersed in online communication. As a specialist in this exciting and expanding area, Ruth balances a never-ending curiosity and interest in what is new and innovative online with a strategic approach.

In her spare time, Ruth is writing a trashy novel and likes to cook and entertain.


Charlotte Empey is an experienced, well-respected storyteller known for her ability to create powerful narratives that inspire, move and motivate.

In her role as AHA Toronto Bureau Chief, Charlotte helps to lead the agency’s brand journalism and branded content service areas. She works with clients to define communications goals and objectives and identify the audience’s psychographic, which is key to understanding who the audience is and and what type of stories will move them most. Then she develops a strategic plan and manages a team of cross-platform professionals to create stories that cut through the clutter and capture hearts, minds and the collective imagination.

A former magazine and newspaper journalist, as Editor-in-Chief of Metro English Canada, Charlotte managed seven daily newspapers across Canada, as well as the associated websites serving 15 major markets.

Prior to her role with Metro, Charlotte held the leadership roles of Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Living magazine for seven years, as well as Editor-in-Chief of Homemakers magazine, where she was responsible for redefining the editorial content of both brands over print, digital and broadcast platforms. Charlotte was Founding Editor of Modern Woman magazine and has held senior positions at Chatelaine and Flare magazines.

Other highlights of her illustrious career had her in the roles of creative director at MacLaren Advertising (now MacLaren McCann) and in academia, as Associate Dean, School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber College.

Charlotte sits on the Canadian Board of Free the Children, and the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

At age 10, Ryan Dawson set up a studio in his mother’s basement using her table lamps and an old VHS camcorder.  Since then, he has remained behind the lens, learned his craft and become a highly sought-after professional videographer. The bonus to that: he has seen a great deal of the world doing work he loves.

Ryan began his career shooting local news in Vancouver. This led him to the South Pacific where he covered breaking news for networks worldwide. There, he was witness to a coup in Fiji, a tsunami in the Solomon Islands, the Holi festival in India, and a lahar in New Zealand, among many other incredible events. Currently, Ryan continues to pursue his dream. He shoots television shows, world sporting events, corporate videos, current affairs documentaries and Brand Journalism videos for clients all over the globe.

Ryan graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s broadcast communication program. When not working, Ryan plays beach volleyball and is still trying reach his goal of tasting every beer on Earth.

Erika Hinze kick-started her career as a freelance journalist in Auckland, New Zealand, where she worked as a writer and reporter for a national radio station. In her spare time she developed a keen interest in covering breaking news events. With the help of a couple of seasoned scanner chasers and a fast driver, Erika quickly learned how to beat emergency crews – and more importantly, competing media outlets – to fire, crime and accident scenes.

In addition to working in radio, Erika has written numerous freelance articles which have appeared in The New Zealand Herald, Concrete Wave magazine, and She has also worked in some exotic areas of the world. In 2009, Erika travelled through India with a small crew, helping to field produce stories for New Zealand’s TV3. Most recently, she ventured to central Kalimantan on the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo to associate produce a segment about the depleting wild orangutan population. “Jungle Survivors” aired on Global TV’s 16X9: The Bigger Picture.

Along with her role as video producer/editor with the AHA Brand Journalism Team, Erika works as a freelance news writer for Global BC. On occasion, she also fills in as a traffic reporter, flying high above the Lower Mainland in a helicopter – providing reports for television and AM radio. Erika is a founding partner at Liquid City Productions, where she spearheads the production of corporate videos for public and private organizations. Through a range of corporate assignments, Erika has proven her ability to produce, report and edit video news releases in a quick turnaround, meeting tight deadlines and budgets.

Paul’s expertise in corporate communications provides AHA clients with a solid and well-thought-out approach to each facet of an event, project or campaign. With his editor’s attention to detail, analytical mind and strong commitment to exceeding expectations, Paul adds value to each project. A critical thinker, he examines every angle of a plan to ensure that each tactic being used will meet the specific objective of the initiative.

Paul brings a business perspective to creative projects, which allows the crew at AHA Creative Strategies to provide innovative public relations services to our clients, while working within the budget and other organizational constraints. Paul’s project management skills are world-class and deliver exceptional value to AHA clients.

An avid Karaoke buff, Paul also loves sports and gardening.