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Meet the Mentors

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Meet the Mentors

artsvest Mentors from across Canada volunteer their time to offer their expertise and support, providing meaningful capacity building and individualized professional development for small to mid-sized arts organizations. Mentors are professionals in their field and possess a diverse range of expertise including consultation, marketing, fundraising development, corporate philanthropy and board governance. Meet our mentors below! Interested in becoming a mentor? Click here to learn more.

Derek Fraser

President, Derek D. Fraser Philanthropic Advisors Inc.
President, Derek D. Fraser Philanthropic Advisors Inc.

Derek is President of Derek D. Fraser Philanthropic Advisors Inc., a fund development consultancy in Calgary, AB. The firm’s current clients reach across a broad spectrum of organizations from independent schools, professional association foundations, performing arts organizations, and social service agencies. Derek is also Principal at Osborne Interim Management, a leading provider of interim executives and senior advisors engaged to solve business challenges. Derek has worked in the non-profit sector since 1987 and has had the privilege of experiencing the width and breadth of fund development work with concentrations in annual giving, capital campaigns, major gift work both in Canada and abroad, Board development, strategic planning, alumni affairs, along with association organization and volunteer management. Derek is a part-time instructor with Georgian College with their online non-profit studies program. Derek was first worked in the Arts while working at the Shaw Festival in 1985, after completing an exciting year at Disney’s EPCOT Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Derek currently serves on the Board of  the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada as a director and committee chair. He served as chair of the AFP Canadian Council and is a past president of the Calgary & Area Chapter of AFP. Derek currently chairs the Fund Development Committee of Youth Central in Calgary and recently stepped-down from serving on the Board of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award -AB/NT/NU Division for the past 11 years.

Derek holds a B.A. (Hons) in Film Studies from Queen’s University and earned his Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2004 with re-certifications in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Ann Lewis Luppino

Former President and CEO, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
Former President and CEO, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Now retired, Ms. Lewis Luppino was the President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2016. A passionate arts lover and a strategic businesswoman, Ms. Lewis Luppino ran a sustainable, fiscally responsible arts company while continually raising the bar on artistic excellence. Under her leadership, the CPO raised over $3 million in sponsorship and donor support each year, and grew concert ticket sales to an all-time high, enabling the organization to operate without debt. She believed in building strong networks and partnerships with stakeholders. Community and education outreach were central to her vision.

Ms. Lewis Luppino was an entrepreneur and business professional with over 35 years’ experience in for- and not-for-profit management. She was a founding member of the Calgary Centre for Non-Profit Management, specializing in governance and strategic planning, and ran a successful national consulting business specializing in organizational effectiveness and interpersonal communications. While executive director of Alberta Ballet, she ran a sustainable company and was instrumental in growing the organization’s profile in the community.

In 2010, Ms. Lewis Luppino was named one Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She has held leadership positions on numerous steering committees and volunteer Boards including, the Springboard Society for Disabilities, Alberta Ballet, Orchestra Canada, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Seniors Resource Society and Western Sky Land Trust.

Trish Matheson

Strategic Development Consultant
Strategic Development Consultant

Trish is a charismatic leader with more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector in all aspects of fund development and organizational management. She brings strengths in strategic planning, fund development implementation, finance, human resource management and communications.

Known for empowering teams to new levels of performance, Trish is proud to have achieved positive financial results for the many charitable organizations for which she has worked. She has a demonstrated career history of building strong, positive relationships and encouraging loyal support from donors and sponsors.

Trish has demonstrated proficiency at establishing and maintaining the strategic direction of all fund development activities—major gifts, sponsorship, individual and corporate donations, grant writing, direct mail, special events, community fundraising initiatives and planned giving.

Trish holds her CFRE designation and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is passionate about the arts and committed to being a key contributor to a vibrant arts and culture community.

Most recently Trish was the Director of Development at Theatre Calgary where she managed a successful development program anchored in sponsorship and philanthropic support. Currently Trish is the Director of Development at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Environmental Design.  

Del Simon

Communications Consultant
Communications Consultant

Del is an Accredited Public Relations (APR) professional with two decades of experience managing numerous projects and partnerships at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). A former radio and television reporter, her aptitude for connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and communities, enables her to excel at building relationships with multiple stakeholders.

Del has served on several Boards including the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Coalition for Equal Access to Education and Calgary’s Cowtown Opera.

Michèle Stanners

Cultural Strategist
Cultural Strategist

With more than two decades experience in leadership, branding and development, Michèle Stanners is a long-time advocate and dedicated member of Calgary’s arts community, having founded, served with or consulted for several organizations. She held leadership roles with the Honens International Piano Competition and Alberta Ballet.

Michèle holds a Master of Business Administration/Master of Law combined degree from the University of Alberta and graduated from the Harvard Divinity School with a Masters in Theological Studies in 2012. While at Harvard University, she worked with faculty at the Kennedy School to design leadership courses and seminars on the integration of the arts for positive social movement and change.

Through creative, humanistic and artistic techniques,she is sought out for her unique capacity to identify gaps and leverage opportunities in complex cultural and operational challenges. Currently she is bringing decades of experience in the field of drug and alcohol recovery to the new Aurora Recovery Centre in Manitoba and practising specialized methodology in cross-cultural relations with the Tsuut’ina Nation. Broad national and international network of government, corporate and community leaders.

Dale Turri

Fund Development Professional
Fund Development Professional

Dale Turri is a fund development professional based in Calgary and has been involved with the arts community for over 25 years, both as an employee and a volunteer.

A respected mentor and advisor, Dale has worked with a variety of clients including One Yellow Rabbit, Inside Out Theatre, Arts Commons, Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre, TELUS Spark Science Centre and Lunchbox Theatre. Her specialties include fund development, strategic planning and board development.

Dale has served on the Board of Directors for Downstage Theatre, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Ghost River Theatre and Arts Commons. She is also a founding member of the board of Calgary Cinematheque and a member of the Calgary Stampede Community Projects and Development Committee.

As Calgary Arts Development’s inaugural Executive-in-Residence for Fund Development, Dale worked with over 30 arts groups to build sustainability, raise awareness and increase profile.

Miki Andrejevic

Principal Director, Arts Immensus
Principal Director, Arts Immensus

Miki Andrejevic graduated from the Law Faculty, University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and is a graduate of the Grant MacEwan University Arts Administration Program, Edmonton, Alberta, and the Banff Centre Arts Management Program, Banff, Alberta. He has had a distinguished career in arts management in Europe and Canada. He was the General Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and since coming to Canada has been the Executive Director of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, and the Executive Director of Alberta’s only professional choir, Pro Coro Canada. He also established LitFest – the Edmonton International Literary Arts Festival – Canada’s only festival devoted to creative non-fiction and was the Executive Director of the University of Alberta’s Festival of Ideas.

As the owner and principal director of Arts Immensus, he provides consulting services to arts and other non for profit organizations in the areas of interim management, strategic planning, board development and governance, festival production and fund development.

Mr. Andrejevic was one of founding members of the Edmonton Arts Council, jury member of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, jury member of the Edmonton Arts Council – Arts Operating Community Investment Grant and jury member of the Canada Council for the Arts – Touring Grants and International Performance Assistance. He is presently President of the Kamloops Symphony Society.

Mr. Andrejevic is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Citation Award.

Mary Blais

Arts & Culture Consultant
Arts & Culture Consultant

Mary Blais is an accomplished senior executive well known for cultivating and nurturing productive relationships with strategic partners and for empowering others through her energetic and passionate leadership style. Her 25 plus year career as an administrator and consultant has spanned the arts, post-secondary education and healthcare sectors and taken her across Canada. Mary has extensive experience in leadership roles in marketing and communications, donor relations, business development, stakeholder relationship management and strategic planning. During her time as Executive Director, Marketing and Communications at The Banff Centre she achieved significant milestones in community integration and partnerships and elevated the profile of The Banff Centre on the regional, provincial and national stage.

Mary continues her work as an independent arts and culture consultant, focusing primarily on fund development, audience engagement and the identification and development of strategies to enhance organizational capacity. She has served on a number of volunteer boards, including The Arts Project (London, ON), and The Banff Heritage Tourism Board (Banff, AB). She is a current board member of ArtStarts in Schools and chair of the Outreach Committee of the board (Vancouver, BC) as well as a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Calgary and Region Marketing & Communications Committee.

Jocelyn Macdougall

Fundraising Specialist
Fundraising Specialist

Jocelyn Macdougall is a development professional working in the non-profit arts in Vancouver. She was formerly the Development Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. With her infectious joyful energy, Jocelyn works to connect people with their passions, and then with brilliant organizations who are making those passions a reality. She believes that the arts are a price-of-admission component of a sane, healthy society, having a unique propensity to enable self and social reflection. She is also mighty proud to sing her heart out regularly with seven other exceptional musicians in Vancouver’s hottest funk and Motown cover band, Queer As Funk.

Jeff Sodowsky

Vice President & Senior Consultant, Global Philanthropic
Vice President & Senior Consultant, Global Philanthropic

A former performing artist, Jeff began his relationship with non-profit organizations more than thirty years ago. As both an employee and community volunteer, he has spent many years helping charitable groups to navigate changing landscapes and to positively impact their communities. He has served as a board member for dance organizations, an artist colony and a film festival. Jeff’s prior executive appointments include serving as the Chief Development Officer and Acting General Director for Vancouver Opera, Chief Development Officer for BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, VP Advancement for Thompson Rivers University, Executive Director for Opera Cleveland, Education and Development Specialist for American Ballet Theatre, Director of Development for Kentucky Opera, Director of Education for Louisville Ballet and Director of Finance for a US Congressional campaign.

Jeff has worked as a professional consultant and volunteer in the cultural, education and social sectors doing comprehensive planning, solicitor training and mentorship of fund-raising personnel. He is experienced with artistic planning, marketing, fundraising and finance. Jeff has been involved in developing strategic directions as well as managing through cutbacks and crisis, and he has aided organizations in establishing planned giving programmes. He has worked as a permanent and contracted grant writer as well as having produced scores of special events. Jeff is a member of the Canadian Association of Planned Giving, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition to his CFRE, Jeff holds a Master of Arts from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as well as a Masters in Business Administration.

Jim Wright led Vancouver Opera for 17 years, undertaking with VO’s board of directors and senior management, a bold, new direction for the company including an Opera Festival as part of its season in 2016/17, “redefining opera” for regional audiences and stronger collaborations with other arts organisations. 

Wright’s strengths include strategic planning, community engagement activities, and governance and general management experience. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for service to peers, community, and to Canada.

He sits on the boards of directors of The Nature Conservancy of Canada-BC, and the TELUS Vancouver Community Board, served two years on the board of the Vancity Community Foundation. Jim seeks other for-profit and not-for-profit board and volunteer opportunities with organisations that help improve the lives of British Columbians.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jeff Herd has nearly 40 years of experience producing and managing stage productions and companies across Canada, the United States and in Europe. He began his career at age 15 as an apprentice at Rainbow Stage, which then led to four successful years of freelance lighting design, production and stage management at theatres throughout Manitoba. In 1973 Herd joined the RWB as production stage manager, a position he held until 1980.

In the 1980s Herd traveled throughout Canada working in the field of design and production at a variety of organizations including Alberta Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, the Expo 1986 World Festival, the RWB and The National Ballet of Canada. In the 90s Herd’s career led him back to the RWB as Production Manager.

In 1997 Herd accepted the position of company manager for Cirque du Soleil’s O production based in Las Vegas. Herd’s work there led to an opportunity in Belgium and in 2007 he left Cirque to become general director at Dragone. From September 2008 to April 2016 he was Executive Director for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Darlene Van Ruiten has more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit and profit sectors, in all aspects of Marketing, Branding and Business Development.

Experience in the role of Business Development Professional for ALS Society of Manitoba, Big Brothers Big Sister of Manitoba, PBS Station – Prairie Public and Logix ICF. Her tender with PBS and Logix involved sponsorships, marketing and educational training sessions in both Canada and the U.S.

During these positions, she has focused primarily on nurturing sponsorships and networking opportunities between for-profit and not-for-profit partnerships, resulting in the creation of successful events, grants and long-term beneficial relationships between stakeholders.

Highlighting her skills in promotion, branding, business planning and performance measurement, Darlene brings effective, organized leadership and proven ability to work with multiple stakeholders in a high-energy and fast-paced environment.

Darlene has also been involved on various working Boards, such as Sustainable Building Manitoba (Vice Chair) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery Gala Board.

John Wong

Nonprofit Management, and Program & Fund Development Consultant
Nonprofit Management, and Program & Fund Development Consultant

John is a proven senior resource- and community-development professional passionate about empowering causes for social impact. Along with his Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential, he has extensive, entrepreneurial experience in business and product development, management, and sales and marketing. With 14+ years as a development professional, John is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is committed to upholding AFP’s Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice when serving his organizations, and the donors and funders who support them. For more information about his professional experience, visit John’s LinkedIn

Michelle Bussey

Director of Development at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Foundation
Director of Development at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Foundation

Michelle joined NSCC in December 2015. Michelle comes to NSCC from WorldSkills where she most recently served as Director, Communications, Marketing and Special Events. Over the past 16 years, Michelle has been leading the promotion of skills development and excellence through competitions around the world. With on the ground working experience in dozens of countries, understanding the difference culture brings to the business environment is a key competency that Michelle possesses. An integral part of her position was working closely with global industry partners and NGOs to build mutually beneficial partnerships.

Michelle has served as Executive Director of Skills Canada – Nova Scotia and was the Chief Event Coordinator for the Canadian Skills Competition held in Halifax in 2006. With a Bachelor of Business & Administration from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Master of Public Administration from Dalhousie University, Michelle believes strongly in lifelong learning.

With NSCC’s largest fundraising campaign on the horizon, Michelle will work closely with NSCC staff, volunteers and stakeholders to help match prospective supporters with emerging philanthropic and sponsorship opportunities at NSCC.

Gay Hauser

Arts Consultant
Arts Consultant

Gay Hauser has worked as an actor, director, designer and general manager in the non-profit arts sector for 40 years. Gay has appeared in many films and was a principal in the CBC TV series “Blizzard Island”. Currently an Arts Consultant for Strategic Arts Management, Gay has recently worked as the general manager of Live Art Dance and as a founding member of Eastern Front Theatre and Mulgrave Road Theatre. Gay continues to perform annually in Symphony Nova Scotia’s The Nutcracker and currently serves as the managing producer for Symphony Nova Scotia.

Gay has served on numerous boards including Theatre Nova Scotia, Upstream Music Association, Mocean Dance, Playwright’s Atlantic Resource Centre, The Masterworks Arts Award and 2bTheatre.

Gay is currently working as the Administrator for the Upstream Music Association.

Paula MacNeil

Director of Development, Cape Breton University
Director of Development, Cape Breton University

Ms. MacNeil has worked in the post-secondary education development field for more than 10 years. As a leadership professional, she is credited with overseeing numerous fundraising initiatives, having raised support for research centres, business school buildings, scholarships and research chairs.

An award winning event planner, she brings a degree of the unexpected to events and particularly likes to introduce a taste of Cape Breton culture to the world.

In 2014, she received the professional designation of Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE). CFRE is a title awarded to fundraising professionals who have achieved and maintained a mastery of fundraising criteria as outlined by the CFRE International organization.

In 2015, Ms. MacNeil worked with a group of local charity professionals to organize a Cape Breton Chapter of the international organization, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She currently sits as the organization’s inaugural president.

With a passion for helping others, Ms. MacNeil also provides fundraising mentorship to the Lifeline Syria Cape Breton organization.

Previous to her career in development, she worked in the communications field and for several years was an entrepreneur – owning and operating a floral shop.

Ms. MacNeil holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, NS and a Master of Education in Information Technology from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

In her personal life, Ms. MacNeil has a passion for the outdoors and can be found enjoying life in all seasons to include backpacking, camping, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. In the last number of years, she has found a love for long-distance running and has participated in eight half-marathons and a full marathon in 2017.

Being married to a touring Celtic musician, Ms. MacNeil has a love for music and credits her Cape Breton step dancing skills to her mother-in-law’s teachings.

Ms. MacNeil lives in the small community of Sydney Mines with her husband, Stewart, and two rescued kitties, Biscuit Henry, and Frances Alexander.

David Abel

Executive Director, Art of Time Ensemble
Executive Director, Art of Time Ensemble

David Abel is a 25-year veteran of the arts management industry, with significant experience in producing large-scale commercial and not-for-profit theatre, managing organizations both large and small, and consensus building within factions of the national arts community. In 2013, Mr. Abel was awarded the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in Canadian theatre, and is an inaugural Fellow of the Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Lab.

David is a graduate of the Economics program at the University of Western Ontario. He began his career with the then-fledgling Mirvish Productions in 1987, starting his producing career as Assistant Producer of the Canadian tours of LES MISERABLES. David was Associate Producer for The Who’s Tommy, Crazy for You among other productions. Joining Canadian Stage in 1996, David was appointed General Manager of Canadian Stage in 2007, and in 2009 was promoted to Managing Director, with responsibility for management of the $10M company’s business and theatrical affairs.

In 2012, David joined the Art of Time Ensemble as Executive Director, and is working in partnership with Artistic Director Andrew Burashko towards expanding the audience base for Mr. Burashko’s extraordinary artistic vision. David spent six years as Director and Executive Committee member of the Board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), with the Board portfolio of Labour Relations. He also consulted for and/or acted as an advisor to Young Peoples’ Theatre, Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts, Dreamwalker Dance Company, Collective of Black Artists, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Metcalf Foundation and the City of Toronto’s Major Cultural Organizations granting program among others.

Kathy Burke

Former Vice President, International Operations, Assurant
Former Vice President, International Operations, Assurant

Kathy lives in lovely Kingston Ontario where just looking through her window, the art of nature itself is framed. Now retired, Kathy was an executive in the finance and customer service industries where she often had the opportunity to sit across the table from organisations requesting sponsorship and funding. Kathy has had lots of coaching and mentoring experience through her work-life and many years of volunteering. She has a degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto, and has experience working as a volunteer and board leader across a spectrum of not-for-profit organisations ranging from arts organisations, health and educational institutions, and social agencies.

Loving the artsvest initiative and the impact it will have in moving organisations forward toward their goals, Kathy is excited by the opportunity to contribute by combining her own board membership experience with her first hand understanding of the corporate angles that organisations need to manoeuvre to get attention and results. There is no question that the Arts hold a special place in her heart, having spent many hours in dance studios working hard against her decidedly undanceworthy talents … but loving every minute!

Denis J. Bertrand

Audience Development Expert
Audience Development Expert

Over his 35-year career, Denis has held senior management and communication positions with non-profit organizations, government departments, as well as public sector agencies. He was the first National Coordinator of a joint Canada Council for the Arts/Canadian Commission for UNESCO/Canadian Conference of the Arts project called Arts and Learning: A Call to Action. He is a former Executive Director of Théâtre Action, a provincial arts service organization that supports professional and amateur French-language theatre in Ontario. He is also a former Chair of the Théâtre la Catapulte, an Ottawa-based professional theatre company.

As a consultant, Denis has helped organizations develop communications plans, strategic plans and to evaluate their performance. He has been interested in audience development for the arts and sports for more than a decade. By using his marketing and communication expertise, his work-related experience, personal interests and on-going research in the field, he has developed a practical approach to audience engagement that includes relationship building and the use of social media. He shares his knowledge through conferences and workshops, as well as his blog. He uses this approach while working on strategies tailored to the needs of his clients. They include theatre companies, performing arts networks, festivals and arts service organizations from across Canada.

Denis is a Commission des partenaires du marché du travail du Québec certified trainer. He is an associate of the Sudbury-based marketing firm 50 Carleton and a lecturer at Laurentian University and the University of Sudbury. He is a graduate of Ottawa’s Algonquin College Journalism Program.

Richard Friedman

Founder and Principal, Charged Up Marketing
Founder and Principal, Charged Up Marketing

Richard Friedman has been involved at the senior level working with non-profit and private sector organizations for over the past 15 years. He is a dynamic individual who understands the development/sponsorship selling cycle from an organizational and client perspective. He has been very successful in securing new funding and sponsorships from individual donors and national corporate sponsors. Richard has sold title sponsorship for 3 different events for three different national organizations. As Director of Corporate Sponsorship for Junior Achievement of Canada and the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, he led his team to raising over 9 million dollars for the organization.

Jane Hopgood

Director of Fund Development, Artscape
Director of Fund Development, Artscape

Jane Hopgood has been working with non-profits for over 15 years. Her specialty is creating meaningful and authentic partnerships between corporations and cultural organizations. During her career, Jane has created significant partnerships/sponsorships for the National Ballet of Canada, Evergreen, TIAF, JAZZ.FM91, Art Gallery of Ontario, Luminato, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to name a few. Originally from Nova Scotia, Jane now resides in Toronto and enjoys all the city has to offer. When not working she likes to swim, read, play tennis and take in the odd improv class.

Sherri Helwig

Arts Management faculty, University of Toronto Scarborough and Queen's University; President, S.L. Helwig & Associates
Arts Management faculty, University of Toronto Scarborough and Queen's University; President, S.L. Helwig & Associates

Sherri Helwig is the Program Director of the Arts Management Specialist Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where she acts as academic advisor and develops curriculum for and teaches practice- and policy-related courses. She has served as Scholar-in-Residence at American University in Washington D.C. and Senior Research Fellow with the Canadian Conference of the Arts in Ottawa, taught for York University, Humber College, and the Harris Institute, and lectured extensively across Canada and within the United States, Italy, Finland, Spain and The Netherlands on a wide range of subjects.

Sherri also continues her work as an independent arts consultant with S.L. Helwig & Associates, focusing primarily on evaluation and arts management-related research in recent years. She is proud to be a Founding Member of Arts Consultants Canada / Consultants canadiens en arts (ACCA).

Sherri’s teaching and consulting work are informed by more than twenty-five years of progressively responsible cultural management experience. This included eight years serving as Executive Director of national arts service organizations where she was responsible for delivering a wide range of membership, advocacy, and project initiatives, managing collective bargaining negotiations, leading presentations to federal and provincial tribunals, overseeing high-level partnership development plans, and securing record heights of public and private sector support.

Alicia Rose

Manager, Community Relations TD
Manager, Community Relations TD

Alicia Rose is Manager, Community Relations at TD. Prior to her current role, she was Manager Community Investment Programs at Toronto Pearson and worked more than 12 years in the arts and non-profit sectors. Alicia has held positions at Framework, Business / Arts, Pathways to Education, Harbourfront Centre, and co-founded the non-profit organization: Inspire Together. She is a graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs – Ontario and DiverseCity Fellowship programs. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario. Her life philosophy: Collaboration over competition

John Ryerson

Cultural Strategist
Cultural Strategist

Over the past 30+ years working in the cultural sector, John remained committed to breaking barriers, expanding participation in culture and integrating culture into the fabric of our economic, social and health care systems. Culture has the power to make a difference when it is integrated into our society and it focuses on excellence.

Through the Ontario Culture Ministry, he provided cultural capital funding across Ontario then became their Cultural Agency Liaison to eight cultural agencies including TVO, AGO and ROM. Next, working at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, he brought in bring significant investment to the gallery and was the gallery project manager for the acclaimed Carr, O’Keeffe, Kahlo exhibition. Leaving McMichael as its Chief Operating Officer John became Director of the Varley Gallery in Markham where he toured a major produced exhibition to the USA and secured a legacy gift of a $1.4 million plus art collection that went toward a gallery expansion.

As the first Director of Culture for Markham, he created its first 10-year cultural policy and plan and public art policy. Volunteer activity currently includes Board of the Arts and Letters Club, former Board Chair to Cultural Pluralism in the Arts (CPAMO), mentoring through the artsvest program of Business in the Arts, Artsbuild/Work in Culture Arts Facilities Mentoring Network, T2L Career Mentoring (Cultural Human Resources Council) and the Social Mentor Network for EDGE, (United Church of Canada) and a wide range of arts and social justice advocacy. Past volunteer activity includes Board of the Toronto Children’s Aid and community theatre stage management for youth theatre groups

Jennifer Shah

Director of Sponsorship Marketing, Hot Docs
Director of Sponsorship Marketing, Hot Docs

Jennifer Shah is the Director of Sponsorship Marketing at Hot Docs and is responsible for all areas of sponsorship marketing, activation and private sector development, as well as overseeing a development team of 6. For the past ten years, she has also led the sponsorship program for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, securing partnerships and sponsorships for the international television conference from across North America, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. Jennifer also oversees the sponsorship program for the Canadian Media Production Associations’ annual television and broadcast policy conference Prime Time in Ottawa.

Prior to joining Hot Docs in 2002, Jennifer was the Director of Development at Women in Film and Television – Toronto, where she helped hundreds of people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to advance their careers in the broadcast, film and new media industries. Her responsibilities included raising over $1 million from the public and private sectors, overseeing a membership and professional development program of over 800 film and television professionals, managing a roster of special events and creating and implementing the organizations first individual giving program.

Jennifer holds a degree in Mass Communications, Film Studies and English from York University.

Judy Slivinski

National Manager, Strategic Fundraising Initiatives at World Vision
National Manager, Strategic Fundraising Initiatives at World Vision

Judy Slivinski has over 20 years’ experience in leadership, management, research and training in Canada’s arts and cultural sector. Since 1995 she has directed EDGE Cultural Management, a consulting and research firm serving organizations in all arts disciplines from Vancouver to Montréal. She has provided development and marketing support for clients in relationships in the United States, Mexico and Europe. From 2010 to 2013, Judy served as Senior Director of Marketing and Development at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, strengthening the brand of the renowned company nationally and internationally. From 2013 to 2017, she was the Director of Development at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, where she managed productive partnerships and funding relationships during the WAG’s 100th-anniversary celebrations, followed by an active capital campaign. She is currently National Manager, Strategic Fundraising Initiatives at World Vision.

A former practicing lawyer, Judy is an articulate and engaging trainer for art professionals in areas of fund development, marketing and business management, and does so regularly for conferences, university classes and workshops in Canada and the US. Judy coordinated the Arts and Cultural Management Certificate Program at the University of Winnipeg in the program’s inaugural year, where she assisted with curriculum development. While a Board Member for the Cultural Human Resources Council in Ottawa, Judy chaired a pan-Canadian working group that developed The Art of Managing Your Career, a learning tool used by artists across the country. Judy was a founding member of Arts Consultants Canada (ACCA) in Toronto and the Arts and Cultural Industries Association of Manitoba (ACI).

In the summer of 2017 Judy moved to Toronto, where she continues her support of the arts from the center of the action at Bay and Bloor.

Jerry Smith

Senior Associate Business Development, Young Associates
Senior Associate Business Development, Young Associates

For thirty years, Jerry was active inside Humber College and beyond, as an educator, leader and trainer; Jerry established the professional theatre training program at Humber College, which he managed for close to a decade, as well as the college’s post diploma certificate programs (full time and part time) in Arts Administration/Cultural Management, which he coordinated.

Jerry’s experience includes a wide range of work on Boards of Directors: Past President of Theatre Ontario; Association of Cultural Executives and the Canadian Association of Arts Administration Educators, as well as Chairmanship of the South Etobicoke Cultural Plan, Presidency of Lakeshore Arts, Chairman of the Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra and service as Vice President with Community Arts Ontario; Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Assembly Hall; selected as a Volunteer of the Year as well as Cultural Champion, Toronto. Currently, Jerry is the past President of Arts Consultants Canada, and a member of the ArtsVote Toronto and Arts Day at City Hall campaigns.

As a freelance consultant, Jerry has carried out feasibility studies and program reviews for the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, the OAC, the former cities of York and Etobicoke (Metro), the Living Arts Centre (Mississauga), the Imperial Oil Centre for the Performing Arts (Sarnia), Arbor Theatre (Peterborough), Brampton Arts Council and the City of Brampton, Regent Theatre (Picton), Grey Highlands Public Library, and the City of Barrie. Additionally, he has facilitated numerous community and public consultations and delivered a series of workshops in the areas of Board Development and Leadership, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Fundraising and Sponsorship.

Arkady Spivak

Artistic Producer
Artistic Producer

Arkady Spivak attended York University, Glendon College until 2000, working on a BA in Theatre and Business. In 2000 he joined Barrie’s Gryphon Theatre in the capacity of Marketing and Development Coordinator.

In 2003 Arkady founded Talk Is Free Theatre. Since then the company has produced over 80 productions in Barrie and toured nationally and internationally. Talk Is Free Theatre won a prestigious Dora Award for its co-production of Assassins, which was also seen in Toronto and at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg.

While managing a very dynamic and successful arts organization, Arkady continues to be active in the community through various projects and associations. He has served as a Juror for the Theatre Projects Program of the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and for Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program.

Mary Ellen Davies

Director of Development at Confederation Centre of the Arts
Director of Development at Confederation Centre of the Arts

Mary Ellen Davies is the Director of Development at Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. Mary Ellen in responsible for sponsorship, membership and major events. She believes that stewardship is the key to a successful and ongoing relationship with partners. Although relatively new to the role in development and the arts community, Mary Ellen is a seasoned professional of 30+ years when it comes to partnerships. Her background as Director of Sales and Marketing in various roles in the PEI tourism industry serves her well as she proposes sponsorship opportunities to our local business community. Mary Ellen brings to the arts community valuable insight from the perspective of a corporate sponsor and is well equipped to propose and evaluate potential opportunities for both major events and community relations.

Mary Ellen has spent her entire life and career in Prince Edward Island, still living in the family home where she was raised.

Jane Needles

Arts Administrator, Consultant and Professor
Arts Administrator, Consultant and Professor

Jane Needles’ wide experience in the arts covers all disciplines of the cultural world, primarily arts administration and teaching administrative techniques. Born into a well-known theatre family, she learned from an early age, working hands-on, in almost every aspect of productions and latterly, of producing artistic events and theatre seasons. Throughout an extensive career, along with her regular employment, she has maintained an active role in the arts world as a volunteer lobbyist, board member, consultant, teacher and participant in many groups and committees, both French and English. Her involvement with both cultures has increased her awareness of their complex diversities. She is the Past Executive Director of the Quebec Drama Federation, having served in this position for six years, and was also a member of the Board in various capacities over the past fifteen years, past Vice President of the English Language Arts Network, Past President of the Centre d’activités récréatives et educatives de Montreal (C.A.R.E Centre), Treasurer for the CEDEC, recent Board member of the CQRHC, founding member and Board member of Diversité Artistique Montréal, Board member of the Conseil québécoise du théâtre, Regional Representative for the National Advisory Board of the Actors’ Fund of Canada and past Co-Chair of the Association of Cultural Executives, to name some of the volunteer activities she has taken on. She teaches Arts Administration at Bishops’ University as well as career management and administration courses for the various CEGEPs and training institutions in Montreal.

Michelle Hunter

Executive Director of the Friends of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum
Executive Director of the Friends of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Michelle Hunter has worked in the corporate, non-profit and government sectors providing communication, consulting and organizational expertise for more than 25 years. She has extensive experience in management, fund development, communications and marketing, as well as initiating and developing strategic relationships with corporate, governmental and community organizations.

Michelle is a dedicated community volunteer, noted for her involvement on many boards and committees, including the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Regina YWCA, the 2003 Grey Cup and the 2013 Juno Host Committee. Michelle currently sits on the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Board of Directors for the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, and the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce.

Michelle received the Saskatchewan Centennial medal and the Queen’s Jubilee medal for her extensive work in the community.

John Kennedy

Executive Director, Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society
Executive Director, Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society

John Kennedy has 30 years experience as a leader in the non profit sector. He has served as a board member on numerous non-profit and cultural organizations and has spent the last 22 years serving in various capacities in senior management roles with a variety of organizations. In his current role with the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society he is actively involved in the arts ecology in Saskatchewan.

He has experience in change management, government relations, partnership building, and a strong background in non-profit board governance.

He rarely shaves and is smarter than he looks.

Jeremy Morgan

Cultural Consultant
Cultural Consultant

Jeremy Morgan has been actively involved with the arts and cultural communities in Saskatchewan since arriving from Nova Scotia in 1988.

From 1988 to 1992, he served as General Manager of the Saskatchewan Council of Cultural Organizations, the non-profit organization then responsible for the governance, policy and distribution of lottery proceeds for culture through the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

In March 1992, Mr. Morgan joined Wanuskewin Heritage Park as its Chief Executive just prior to the Park’s opening in June and oversaw the growth of the Park and its establishment as a major international Indigenous arts and cultural interpretation centre and ecological model.

From 1999-2010, as the longest serving Executive Director in the almost 70-year history of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, he was responsible to its Board of Directors for the trusteeship, management and distribution of public funding. With a focus on increased public access to and funding for the arts, during this period the Arts Board supported artists, arts organizations and communities in a partnership-based approach to serving the people of Saskatchewan in the arts.

From January 2012 to May 2014, he served as Executive Director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, guiding the Gallery through a significant change process involving governance, program review, strategic planning and long-term sustainability initiatives.

Since retiring from the Arts Board, Jeremy has maintained an arts consultancy practice in such areas as strategic planning, leadership development, fund development and governance for a number of cultural organizations including SaskCulture Inc. and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild.

He has served on a wide range of various volunteer boards and committees, including the Citizen’s Advisory Council for the Saskatchewan Centennial and as Chair of the Minister’s Heritage Council and of the Saskatchewan Tourism Authority.

Jeremy is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Centennial Medal, the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Public Service and the Mayor of Regina’s 2014 Business and the Arts Award for Management Excellence and Service. In 2011 he was awarded a Diefenbaker Policy Fellowship at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

He has served on several committees of the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina and is currently a member of the City of Saskatoon’s Public Art Advisory Committee and Board member and Governance Committee Chair of the Saskatoon Open Door Society, an immigrant and refugee settlement agency.

Ruth Smillie

Artistic Director and CEO, Globe Theatre
Artistic Director and CEO, Globe Theatre

Ruth Smillie is a director, playwright, actor and theatre educator. She has been the Artistic Director and CEO of Globe Theatre since 1998. Prior to moving to Regina, Ruth was the Artistic Director of Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton for ten years and the Artistic Director of Persephone Youtheatre from 1981 to 1984. Ruth Smillie has directed more than 100 productions during the course of her career.

During her tenure at Globe Theatre, Ruth has overseen two major renovations and an expansion of Globe Theatre’s facilities in the historic Prince Edward Building. Globe Theatre’s annual operating budget has grown from $1.1 million to almost $4.5 million and audience attendance has increased from 30,000 to more than 70,000 tickets sold each year. Under her leadership Globe Theatre is currently raising $25 million in support of a complete redevelopment and refurbishment of the historic Prince Edward Building which has been Globe Theatre’s home since 1980. Construction is expected to be begin in 2018.

Ruth Smillie was presented with the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Award in 2000, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the YWCA Women of Distinction Arts Award in 2004, and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2005. In 2008, Ruth was named as one of ten Women of Influence by SaskBusiness Magazine. In 2011, Ruth Smillie received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the province’s highest honour.