Mentorship Program

Designers attending ProtoTO are encouraged to participate in the ProtoTO mentorship program. Mentors connect with their Mentees before the convention and also check in with them at ProtoTO to give advice and support. Mentees can sign up with a Mentor using the form below.

Questions? Email

“The ProtoTO mentorship program is great. My mentor was Daniel Rocchi and he gave me a lot of good feedback before, and during, ProtoTO. I highly recommend designers of all levels take advantage of this program.”

-Grace Lee, designer and mentee


Mentees must be registered to attend ProtoTO as a designer.

Sign up with a mentor using the form below. Note: Mentees can only sign up with ONE mentor.

Scroll down to view Mentor bios.

ProtoTO Mentorship Program sign up

All spots have been filled.

Available Spots
Carla Kopp (Mentor)#1: Filled
Christopher Chung (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
#3: Filled
Jonathan Lavallee (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
Daniel Rocchi (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
David Van Drunen (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
Shannon McDowell (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
Christos Doulis (Mentor)#1: Filled
David Diaz (Mentor)#1: Filled
Earl Aspiras (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled
#3: Filled
Tom Volpe (Mentor)#1: Filled
#2: Filled

Mentorship with Carla Kopp is open to women and gender non-conforming folks, email to sign up. (Spots are still available, even though it says Filled)


Mentors must be registered to attend ProtoTO as a designer or publisher.

Mentors must commit to speaking with their mentee(s) (in person, online or by phone) at least once before ProtoTO to discuss the game(s) the mentee wants to test and answer any questions they may have about the playtesting process, the design or presentation of their game, etc.

Mentors must commit to meeting with, and checking in on, their mentee(s) in person at ProtoTO

Email to sign up as a mentor (include a short bio, photo of yourself and number of mentees you can take on)

Mentor bios

Carla Kopp

Carla Kopp is a designer, developer, and publisher who owns Weird Giraffe Games and co-owns Galactic Raptor Games. She specializes in solo design, developing for accessibility, and wide player counts, while usually working with some weird themes.

Mentorship with Carla open to women and gender non-conforming folks, email to sign up.

Christopher Chung

Chris is the designer of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Spell Smashers, both awesome games you should definitely play. He can never win at Yinsh, he hasn’t played Pandemic Legacy yet (so don’t spoil it for him!), and he won’t touch Food Chain Magnate with a 10-foot pole.

Jonathan Lavallee

Jonathan has been working in and around games for the past fifteen years. He started out working with the line license of CyberGeneration but gave that up to start focusing on his own individual projects. Currently he produces his own games with his company Firestorm Ink, and acts as freelancer for both hobby and video game industry companies. His latest projects are called We Used To Be Friends (a collaborative teenage detective drama game) and Awoke a cyberpunk game about community.

Daniel Rocchi

Daniel is a Toronto area high school teacher, husband, and father of two who is shocked that he actually has time to design games. He is also a member of the Game Artisans of Canada, a support group and sounding board of game designers across Canada, who work together to make games the absolute best they can be and get them in front of publishers. Daniel’s first game, Bomb Squad Academy (with Josh Cappel) was published by Tasty Minstrel Games in 2015. Daniel has two new games coming out next year, The Artemis Project (with Daryl Chow) from Grand Gamers Guild, and Scoundrels (with Dennis Ku) from Keymaster Games. Daniel’s approach to game design is player experience first, but perhaps second to a really cool font.

David Van Drunen

David Van Drunen designed Gnomes at Midnight, published by Analog Game Studios.

“I design games to explore new ways to bring people together and to have fun. I love the way communities grow around games and let us experience new and exciting thing together.”

David lives and works in Toronto; often seen at Snakes & Lattes Designer Nights, Breakout Con, and TABS con. “I love living in Toronto with so many great designers and board game fans. Their generosity of time and expertise has really helped me grow as a designer. I really appreciate this amazing community.”

Shannon McDowell

Shannon McDowell is a board game and puzzle designer with a passion for streamlined and iterative design. She works at the Wilfrid Laurier University game design and development program where she researches escape rooms and is a member of the design team for the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship.

Christos Doulis

Christos Doulis is CEO of Canstar Resources, a junior exploration company focused on VMS exploration in central Newfoundland. When not thinking about rocks, his passions are history and gaming, the confluence of which has resulted in “Sons of York,” a strategy game for 3, 4 or 5 players set during England’s War of the Roses.

David Diaz

David Diaz is the designer of upcoming family game Fossilis being published by Kids Table Board Gaming.  It was signed at Proto T.O. 2018.  He has been designing games for almost 3 years and this is his first published design.  By day David is a creature and character animator in the visual effects industry.  He is an avid board gamer and loves most to play them with his wife and 2 sons.

Earl Aspiras

Earl is a graphic designer and animator currently working on several game prototypes in his spare time. He’s a Toronto local and can usually be found at events like the monthly Designer Nights, as well as Breakout Con and Fan Expo. His design approach focuses on constantly researching topics for inspiration, and building mechanics that support the main theme. He’s always interested in joining a Sidereal Confluence game.

Tom Volpe

Tom is an avid board game enthusiast who plays anything from light party games to heavy strategy games, and everything in between. He has been co-designing games for the past five years and enjoys sharing his own prototypes and playtesting games from other designers, as well as sharing design tips and knowledge. Outside of board games he runs a monthly D&D group, takes care of a hyper puppy, and obsesses over Toronto sports way too much.