James Ducommun
Founder and President

James is a natural born leader. That much is obvious. And behind the charm and the banter, the generous vibe and the bright shirts, is a laser focus, and a sharp understanding of what you, the client, really needs. Not to mention a clear view of the road ahead. James is deeply passionate about a lot of things. Breathtaking design that moves people, molds trends, and motivates markets is pretty much first on the list. We love working with him. We trust him. We know you will, too.

James Ducommun

Karen Marshall
Karen Marshall
President, Connected Solutions

As a small girl, Karen amassed a huge stack of fashion magazines under her bed, filling the space, often spending her allowance on more (usually the international versions), much to her mom’s chagrin. That obsession with editorial fashion has paid off handsomely: in the past 25 years, Karen has gathered an impressive professional resume in publishing and digital media, working with some of the biggest brands in Canada and the world, including Vanity Fair (UK), Chatelaine, Maclean's, Flare, LOULOU, Canadian Business, Hello!, Today's Parent, Western Living and many others. Needless to say, this has allowed Karen to develop a thorough understanding of multi-media integration and engagement. And today, she doesn’t so much hoard magazines as covet knowledge: forever curious, Karen is always watching for emerging trends in the shifting media landscape, finding new ways to present new value to brands in today’s marketplace. Best of all, all her books and magazines now go on shelves.


Jon Shanahan
Brand Strategy & Communications Director

When Jon was ten, he typed out a two-page fantasy story about a mystical cat. He clacked it out on an old typewriter, and brought the raggedy pages to Mrs. Woods, his 4th grade teacher – whom he loved deeply. She told him to be a writer. He obeyed, and never looked back. Nowadays, his strategies and stories have more to do with real business results than magical meows, but they still have that fantastic passion. Luckily, they also now come without whiteout on the page.

Jon Shanahan

Laura Denton
Laura Denton
Director - Integrated Projects

Laura's career in the creative arts started at around age three. She'd draw and colour until the tabletop ran out - and then continue her frescoes along the floor. (She still gets scolded for a set of carvings in her family's log house). And she often packed up friends' clothing for roving fashion tours - a distinct foreshadowing of the travelling shoots that would soon dominate her career. Laura followed this early passion for fashion and design out of her tiny Northern BC town, all the way to LA (where she studied at FIDM), then on to Toronto to work with some Canada’s largest media brands, including Chatelaine, Flare, LOULOU, Elle Canada and Citytv. Today, we’re certainly thrilled to have her back in BC. And so far she almost always avoids carving up the furniture!


Niko Potton
CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Yeah, he rides rough. After all, this Kiwi grew up playing rugby in the Polynesian stronghold of South Auckland. But Niko also wears a pink helmet: he understands tenderness, and caution, and is very careful with client sensibilities. So Niko rolls through life with the surgical precision of a German engineer, tempered by the jolly good nature of a New Zealand country boy. His holy grail is the ideal arresting juxtapositions – which you'd never guess from seeing a tough guy in a pink helmet.

Niko Potton

Martin Riess
Martin Riess
Creative Director

As a bold young boy in Switzerland, Martin and his friend, ­­­­Hans-Peter, knew their home well. They sought adventure throughout the countryside all year long. They'd hunt through nearby woods, climb trees, explore riverbeds, and scour the wild for treasures. They'd also reenact Hollywood scenes, with a certain Swiss flavour to them. (What that means, only Martin can tell you - but presumably it's not Emmental.) In any case, he definitely brings some of that incomparable Swiss flavour – perhaps precision is more accurate - to his seriously best-in-class creative concepts. 


Kala Mackay
Kala Mackay
SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Kala has a very diplomatic way with people. It's been that way ever since she thanked the "nice man" at the hospital who suctioned the popcorn out of her nose when she was tiny. (How it got in there is a whole other story.) She's also got a great nose for detail, so to speak, and pretty incredible creative instincts as well. She loves hitting deadlines, answering clients' questions, and keeping their brands on track. She also loves taking off to Barcelona for three weeks. It's all about balance.


Victoria Whyte
ACCOUNT MANAGER

Victoria has always had an instinct to roam. As a five-year-old, in response to a withheld dessert, she harrumphed loudly, packed up her pink suitcase, and trudged across the street to the park. There, she sat for what she thought for a good long time (it was three minutes) and planned her next move. Which was, ultimately, to go back home and go to bed. Still, Victoria's wanderlust rages on – in recent years, she's touched down in the Carribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Today, she helps brands take flight through social media campaigns that transport target audiences – but usually from her desk here in Vancouver.

Victoria Whyte

Shardé Belland
Shardé Belland
ACCOUNT MANAGER

As a young grasshopper, Shardé studied kickboxing and jiu jitsu with great focus and dedication. To gain her green belt, she had to pass a trial – a full tournament. When competition began, Shardé warmed to combat quickly. She won match after match, and in the tournament final – the moment of truth – she unleashed a flurry of slaps and chest-kicks that left her opponent crying on the mat. Shardé was shocked. After helping him up, and accepting her gold trophy with a heavy heart, Shardé turned to her father, and quietly vowed to never again make another person cry. Noble path, indeed. Today, Shardé brings that same ferocious focus – and very warm heart – to every client interaction at Toolbox, where she’s dedicated to leaving everyone completely happy. Best of all, that means no one gets kicked in the chest.


Faye Houston
Account Manager

Faye moved around a lot as a kid. Cadiz, Norway, Qatar for a few years. And right from age two, wherever she was, she loved to shop. She always had a quintessentially English style, so it was inevitable that she would find her way back to England, where she trained and bloomed into a consummate marketing, design, and fashion professional. Just in time for us, because her ultimate destiny was right here on the shining/grey shores of Vancouver. Cheerio.

Faye Houston

Catherine Bourdon
Catherine Bourdon
Senior Designer

When Catherine was around 3, she was always centre stage. She would tinkle her glass during dinner, stand on a chair, and sing out at the top of her lungs, demanding that everyone clap and sing along. Later, she got serious about ballet. Today, Catherine is still pretty passionate about her artistic impressions, channeling all that creative energy into showstopping visual communication strategies. But don't worry. She'll stay seated during her presentation, and you won't be made to clap at the end.


Erin Meikleham
SENIOR PRODUCTION & DESIGN

Erin's happy place is standing bundled up on a soaked Kitsilano soccer pitch, drinking a coffee and watching her son Ben play his heart out. But make no mistake: She also crafts some of the most refined, lush, evocative fashion-focused creative we've ever feasted our eyes upon. She's worked with some marquee brands through the course of her career, and she always knows what small cues will elevate her work to the next level. Now if she could just improve young Ben's defence.

Erin Meikleham

Mariko Whitley
Mariko Whitley
Designer

When Mariko was a small girl, she spent countless hours drawing hundreds of rabbits. All on the bottom of a single table. This obviously wouldn’t do. Her parents, recognizing a tender artist in the family, gently raised her from the floor, sat her in a chair – and made sure she had a sketchpad from then on. Today, Mariko's focused a lot more on the computer screen, drafting concepts and executions that consistently impress us with their freshness and emotional depth. We’re very happy she's in the studio with us. Then again, we haven’t yet flipped over any desks in a while...


Sami Christianson
Senior Designer

Sami has incredibly discerning taste. She always has. As a young girl, she would only eat certain things. Mostly beige things. And definitely NO FRUIT - AT ALL. Not even chocolate chip cookies - she just couldn't trust that those chips weren’t some vile berry or raisin. She's still incredibly picky, but these days she applies that discrimination in positive ways - to incredible designs, and breathtaking calligraphy. But she still doesn't eat fruit. Like, at all. How weird is that?

Sami Christianson

Markus Wreland
Designer

Markus is a pretty put-together guy. Which is funny, because as a kid, all he wanted to do was take things apart: coffee makers, bikes, instruments, clocks, mopeds, you name it. Tons of broken down parts, all over the homestead. But eventually, it also resulted in things getting put back together. Man-sized kites. Mopeds that zipped at staggering speeds. A Stjärngosse-disco-hat (whatever the hell that is). Anyway, you get the picture. A Swedish genius was born. Now, Markus mostly just puts together layouts - beautifully engineered as they may be. But we do see him in the server room from time to time, pawing his screwdrivers.

Markus Wreland

Karie McKinley
Karie McKinley
Production Manager

When Karie was 11, she began studying design through a correspondence course. That same year, she got a set of drums. It was a crossroads in her life. For a few months, she rocked her rec room so hard that the McKinleys were sure she would lead a rock lifestyle - or nothing at all. And while she watched a veritable pantheon of rock gods stomp onstage throughout her teenage years, she too felt she was destined to play the stadiums of the world. Luckily for us, though, this Rock Lord came back to earth. And she now puts that same energy into her design work, with a divine attention to detail - which is much quieter.


Mark Taylor
Senior Interactive Developer

Mark has always moved in a, well, let's say more original direction. To wit: As a young boy of 2.5 years, he managed to give his mother the slip at the old North Van library. A massive search ensued, involving library staff, his frantic mom, and the police. The cops said kids always, always go downhill, so they focused their search at the bottom of Lonsdale. Hours later, Mark was finally found at Safeway, looking for snacks. At the top of the hill. Today, this against-the-grain thinking helps Toolbox create more rigourous, more luminous websites. Best of all, the police are rarely involved.

Mark Taylor