Mayor announces her staff appointments.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 6th, 2018



Marianne Meed Ward today announced who will staff the Office of the Mayor.

She has done away with the title – Chief of Staff, which was a little pretentious when her predecessor created the title.

Victoria Hughes Alsamadi

Victoria Hughes-Al Samadi will work as Chief Communications and Strategic Advisor

Victoria Hughes-Al Samadi will work as Chief Communications and Strategic Advisor and will start January 7. Hughes-Al Samadi is a South-East Burlington resident with what is described as a wealth of experience in communications and strategy. She has toiled with senior executives at Manulife and Sun Life on their internal and external communications. She is said to have helped create innovative new corporate policies in the highly regulated financial industry.

She joins the Mayor from her most recent role as AVP at MD Financial Management where she oversaw content, social media and digital marketing.

Hughes-Al Samadi is the co-author of a book on inheritance planning, and spent time over the years partnering with many local Burlington business owners through the Burlington Downtown Business Association as well as Burlington Tourism to create digital content and strategy.

In the media release Meed Ward said: “A key role for the mayor is building relationships toward shared goals and Victoria has the background and experience to make it happen.”

Meed Ward has followed a path Rick Goldring walked when he poached the city hall reporter from the Burlington Post. Tina Depko Denver spent two years at City Hall and moved on to McMaster University.
John Bkila is taking the role of Media Specialist and Community Liaison starting December 17th.

John Bkila

John Bkila is taking the role of Media Specialist and Community Liaison for the Mayor.

Bkila is an award winning journalist with nine years’ experience. He gained some additional experience working communications during a brief volunteer stint with Engineers Without Borders.

He has an Honours degree in Political Science and a deep interest in all levels of politics, particularly municipal. John’s previous work kept him connected to the pulse of the community and made him eager to assist the public with their issues and concerns.

Annemarie Cumber has taken the role of Constituent Assistant. Raised in the downtown core of Burlington, Annemarie brings strong dedicated city experience having worked in various departments within the city. Prior to coming to the City of Burlington, Annemarie worked for senior executives at Ontario Hydro and Electrical Safety Authority providing executive assistance support.

Annemarie also has experience working in the community’s fitness industry helping others keep healthy. In the few weeks we have worked together since the election, Annemarie has been compassionate and dedicated in serving residents and getting results, often going above and beyond the call of duty.

Until the Mayor’s Office will be fully staffed, in the interim please direct all inquiries for scheduling, proclamations and media requests to Annemarie.


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1 comment to Mayor announces her staff appointments.

  • D Walker

    I like the focus on communications hires, given the complaints many in Burlington had that the previous council often failed to adequately communicate with residents. Perhaps these communications specialists will find new and innovative ways to reach out and properly engage the community. Maybe it will take some of the pressure off the Planners so they can focus on reviewing applications too.