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Helen Lebeau

Helen Lebeau

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Media Arts

Year of graduation: 1982

Helen Lebeau’s impressive career has paralleled the growth of one of the most successful entertainment companies in Canada. Lebeau is fully immersed in the kids and family entertainment business in her role as Vice President of Production at Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio where she oversees all animation and production operations for Corus’ 24 specialty television networks. Nelvana’s content is seen in over 150 countries and has received over 70 major international entertainment awards, including Emmys®.  Helen is part of the team nominated for a 2013 Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Award in the category of Outstanding Pre-school Animated Program for Bubble Guppies. 

During her years with Corus and its animation production division Nelvana, Helen received five Corus President’s Awards for her leadership on a variety of projects including the hit television series The Backyardigans and Bakugan. Before joining Nelvana in 2002, she was a senior member of TSN’s (The Sports Network) core operational team, managing post production audio and video facilities. 

Helen continues to support Sheridan as Director of the Networking Committee on the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design Alumni Board. She currently sits on the Toronto Animated Arts Festival International board and has been instrumental in shaping the future of this festival. 

She reflects on her career and what brought her to Sheridan. 

What are the most challenging aspects of your work? 

Time management and convincing people that change is good. Our business is all about change – technology change, process change and even creative thought change. Simply put, we need to adapt and change to keep ahead of the marketplace. 

Blocking out time in my day to work independently allows me to do some much needed strategic thinking. Practicing yoga at the crack of dawn gives me strength to manage all the demands of the day and replenishes my energy. 

What are the highlights of your career so far? 

Being part of the start-up of TSN in 1984 was very exciting. Equally rewarding was my involvement as a team leader in transitioning the Broadcast Operation’s to Corus Quay in Toronto. Our vision was to create a fully digital facility that provided flexibility to all our clients’ needs. It was also important that we create a space to encourage creativity and artistic thought, so, yes, we have a slide in the building. After all, we are an entertainment company! 

What led you to study Media Arts at Sheridan?

Growing up in the small town of Dundas, Ontario, I used to tag along with my father who was an amateur photographer. I assisted in setting up shots, arranging props and looking into the viewfinder to understand composition. My Dad was a great teacher and a creative inspiration. It was the love of documenting events, and my curiosity about technology that led me to the Media Arts program. 

What advice would you give to a new graduate? 

To learn, you must push your limits, experiment and work hard. I’m a big believer in developing strong collaborative and interpersonal team skills. Whether you are running a company or creating art, you will always need to lean on others.
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