About > Staff Bios

Our Team

Meet the book & gift team at Ampersand Inc.

Saffron Beckwith

President

    1. What book changed your life?

    A Prayer for Owen Meany.…that phenomenal book made me realize how truly powerful the written word was.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Always be kind; you never know who you will be working for!

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Coffee and my Blackberry…if only they invented a phone that I could get caffeine from…I’d be set!

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 1994. Once challenged Olympic figure skater Kurt Browning to a dance contest...and won.

Morgen Young

Vice President

    1. What book changed your life?

    To Kill a Mockingbird and A Prayer for Owen Meany.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    There are few things in life more important than good manners.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Laughter.

Fun Fact

Reading on her front porch while drinking a coffee is her favourite thing to do unless it is reading on her front porch while drinking a glass of wine.

Ali Hewitt

Sales Manager Western Canada

    1. What book changed your life?

    The Twits by Roal Dahl taught me the importance of taking your time to prank someone properly, and Big Sarah’s Little Boots by Paulette Bourgeois helped me realize that loving shoes is just who I am.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Always have a second helping of whatever is on offer.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Cheese and salt.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2007. Has so many shoes that she bought a Billy Bookcase from Ikea to store them all.

Tamara Mair

Operations Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    Corduroy by Don Freeman, I was one of the three 2nd graders to move from See Jane Run to Corduroy. At the tender age of seven I knew my calling was working with books.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Humor.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2011. Believes in the sacred balance of the three "Ch" food groups: chips, chicken wings, and cheese.

Lorna Macdonald

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    I'm pretty sure I haven't read it yet.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Hang on to your sense of humour at all times.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Potato chips - Miss Vickies preferred - olives would be a close second.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 1984. Once set a menu on fire in the Empress hotel (now the Fairmont Express) while squiring a big name author around. Absolutely no alcohol was involved.

Vanessa Di Gregorio

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and anything by Tamora Pierce, for writing stories that took me places, and for writing girls who are strong in more than just a physical sense.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Take risks, and never stop learning and trying new things.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    The internet. I mean, can you imagine? NO Google. No Twitter or Instagram. How would I figure out anythingand where would
    I get my daily cute puppy fixes? The horror.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2010. Is known to open a new box of cookies and eat the entire thing in one sitting, then open another box.

Jenny Enriquez

Administrator & Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Laughter.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2014. Has been caught talking to her food privately…on more than one occasion.

Judy Parker

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    There have been so many that have spoken to me and changed me at different times in my life that I can’t pick just one. Any book that introduces me to new people, new places and new ways of seeing the world can be life changing. I learned at a very young age reading Anne of Green Gables that a book is a door to endless possibilities.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Books have taught me that people are often much more than you see on the surface so don’t be in a rush to be judgmental! So my best advice would be to realize that friends can be found everywhere.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Quick answer - coffee. Real answer - my family.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2012. Her favourite place to read is in a very hot bathtub with a chilled glass of white wine. As long as you keep adding water you can stay in there all evening!

Dani Farmer

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    Many of the books that have changed my life have been children’s literature, but most influential has to be the Harry Potter series. I’ve been known to rock a Gryffindor scarf in winter.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “PLOT TWIST!” and then move on.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    My phone with its access to the entirety of human knowledge (and cat videos) at the touch of a screen. I tend to suffer from separation anxiety when it isn’t within arm’s reach.

Fun Fact

Joined Ampersand in 2015 is a super nerd who has named all her cars past and present, after Marvel superheroes.

Laureen Cusack

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    The Chrysalids – it didn’t really change my life but I discovered a genre that was fascinating: science fiction and fantasy.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Still thinking about that one!

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Music; I love listening to music – all day long! And of course my big family!

Fun Fact

I have lots of interests, but don’t always stick to them: Irish dancing, Tai Chi, Therapeutic Touch, learning a language….

Evette Sintichakis

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    I like to think that every book I read changes me in some way, but my childhood was definitely shaped by Kit Pearson’s Awake and Dreaming and The Sky is Falling trilogy.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Always try new things because the opportunity may not come again.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Tea, travel, and laughter – preferably all at once.

Fun Fact

Is known to smile at animals and often has fulfilling one-sided conversations with them.

Jessica Price

Account Manager

    1. What book changed your life?

    The Little Prince.

    2. What’s your best advice?

    Embrace the uncertainty. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.

    3. What is one thing you can't live without?

    Peanut Butter.

Fun Fact

Went skydiving while in New Zealand to overcome her fear of heights. It didn’t work. She’s still afraid of heights.