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.
Growing up in a small Northern Alberta francophone town (Jean Côté) Jason strived for a career that would make a difference. To his fortune, he discovered his career of choice when he was hired to do door-to-door fundraising for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The fire was lit and he has stayed true to his passion, serving over 25 years in the non-profit sector. Today he is the Director of Development at Theatre Calgary, a role he has enjoyed since January of 2022.
Daiva Jocius is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) (since 2015) with extensive experience in public relations, marketing and communications who has been working in the not for profit sector in Alberta for the last twenty years. Daiva has held senior capital campaign and operational fundraising leadership roles in social service, arts and culture and health nationally and is currently the Director of Resource Development for YW Calgary. Originally from Toronto, she is an honours graduate of Ryerson University’s Arts Administration program.
Daiva feels a deep passion for serving the community and helps build relationships to bring resources to causes. Daiva is a self-starter, who is highly goal-oriented and driven by results. Daiva thrives in change environments and will naturally look for ways to innovate and challenge the status quo where appropriate. Her approach to leadership is to facilitate a consensus and build team while leading from behind. She maintains a forward-looking and future-oriented mindset and is creative and innovative in her approach to problem-solving.
Particular recent highlights have been leading a comprehensive campaign for $50M at YW Calgary, working with national arts organizations to lift the lifetime cap on the Federal Endowment Incentives Program, working with philanthropist Jenny Belzberg to build the new 650 seat Jenny Belzberg Theatre at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, exceeding fundraising targets for the past seven years including during COVID and leading a vital endowment redirection campaign at the height of the pandemic. She also raised transformational gifts for cancer research in Alberta while working at the Canadian Cancer Society – another cause she feels very passionate about.
Daiva lives in Northwest Calgary with her partner and daughter and enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, dancing and adventures with friends and family. Daiva also serves her community through volunteer service with her daughter’s school, Business for the Arts, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Calgary Folk Music Festival among many others.
Toyin is a Calgary-based multidisciplinary artist, curator, arts manager, and culture consultant. Amongst other involvement and engagements, Toyin is the founder and director of the Immigrant Council for Arts Innovation, a nonprofit society whose goal is to connect newcomer and immigrant arts workers to the community in Alberta. She is also a project manager with the City of Calgary for the northeast public art initiative.
Graduating with a Bachelors of Arts, Toyin focuses on creating arts with diverse Communities and keeping community spaces connected. When not working Toyin gives back by serving on the board of Calgary Young People’s Theatre and Contemporary Calgary, CARFAC Alberta and Chromatic theatre.
Expertise includes governance, strategic planning and implementation, curating, grant application and fundraising, budget and finance management, staffing and resource management, Diversity and inclusion, Community engagement and event planning etc
Professional experience includes municipal Councillor service and 30 years service on non profit groups includes executive roles on Dance groups, Music Festivals, and arts alliance groups. Training in the arts includes creative process post professionally with OPERA NUOVA, Theatre Alberta and Banff School of the Arts.
Alyssa Berry has 18 years of marketing, communications and public relations experience in municipal government, recreation, culture, and tourism.
In 2015, Alyssa launched Alyssa Berry Communications, a boutique marketing & communications firm specializing in creating and implementing full-service strategies for clients in the tourism and culture sectors. Alyssa has been part of developing experiential tourism marketing strategies for Travel Drumheller, HeliCat Canada and Alberta Food Tours. Alyssa was part of the project team at Tourism Calgary that created and implemented the “YYC is Open” campaign after the 2013 floods that went on to win a Travel Alberta ALTO Award for marketing excellence and a Tourism Industry Association of Canada award. This campaign was also a key component to Strategy Magazine’s designation of Calgary as the “comeback brand of the year.”
Alyssa’s proven track record for communications excellence also led to receiving a 2014 Ad Rodeo award for ‘Best Catalogue’ for the high design retrospective publication of Calgary’s year as Cultural Capital of Canada. Working for the Town of Okotoks, Alyssa worked closely with the Art & Culture department to launch a new brand for the Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks Museum & Archives and Rotary Performing Arts Centre, created the Town’s first three-time yearly Culture Guide publication and created the full marketing and communications plan for the breast cancer charity event “For the Love of Shoes.”
Dedicated to her city, Alyssa volunteers with various community initiatives including sitting as Director, Sponsorship with IABC Calgary, board member of the Dinner Optimist Club of Calgary, and stylist for My Best Friends’ Closet with Making Changes Society.
Adam Zawadiuk is an experienced fund development professional with over seventeen years of experience in a variety of sectors. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a degree in English, Adam entered the world of fund development as a Jump Rope for Heart Coordinator with the Heart and Stroke Foundation in 2002. While this was never an imagined career path for Adam, he quickly discovered his talent and passion for fund development. Adam achieved his CFRE designation in 2010, and was an active member of his local Association of Fundraising Professionals Chapter, wrapping up 10 years of service on the Board in June of 2019. Adam is also excited to have joined the AFP Canada Board of Directors in 2018. In addition to serving as an instructor for many AFP courses, Adam has also taught at MacEwan University in the Arts and Cultural Management diploma program. Adam currently works at the YMCA of Northern Alberta as the Manager, Individual Giving. Adam is passionate about continuing education opportunities for fund development professionals, with the goal of creating a stronger sector for all.
Originally from Lethbridge, AB, Derek began his career in the arts as a performer, appearing in over twenty-five theatre productions across Southern Alberta, while pursuing a combined degree in Finance and Theatre at the University of Lethbridge. Following graduation, Derek joined the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge to work on various community projects including Lethbridge Arts Days, 2012 Alberta Summer Games, Performing Arts Centre Advocacy, and the grand opening of Lethbridge’s new community arts centre, Casa. After seeing this project to completion, Derek was one of 14 students accepted into the second cohort of the Masters in International Arts Management program offered jointly by the Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas), HEC Montreal (Montréal, Québec), and the SDA Bocconi School of Management (Milan, Italy). Derek focused his studies on sustainable models for municipalities to fund arts and cultural organizations. Upon completion of this program, Derek worked as the General Manager of Lethbridge’s only professional theatre company, New West Theatre. In his time as the GM of New West Theatre Derek initiated several successful new projects, fundraisers and has helped guide the company through many challenges and hurdles. Following 3 years with New West Theatre Derek began working with the Rozsa Foundation as the Arts Leadership Manager teaching/facilitating professional development courses in arts management education programs. Derek recently began another new path as a Culture Banker at ATB Financial and is looking forward to continuing his career supporting the arts through the ATB Financial Branch for Arts and Culture.
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
After a successful career in the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, Ms. Lewis Luppino retired in 2016. Most recently, she served as the President and CEO of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and before that as the Executive Director of the Alberta Ballet. In 2010 Ann was named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. She has served on a number of boards in the past and currently is the Vice-Chair of Calgary Seniors Resource Society and a board member for Western Sky Land Trust. She also serves as a member of the Mount Royal University, Conservatory Advisory Committee.
Trish has more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector in all aspects of fund development and organizational management. She is proud to have achieved positive financial results for the many charitable organizations for which she has worked.
Trish has a demonstrated career history of building strong, positive relationships and encouraging loyal support from donors and sponsors. 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 School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.
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 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.
With a career in the arts spanning nearly twenty years, Kathy has had the opportunity to work in both in Toronto and Vancouver. Following a BFA in theatre at UBC and a post graduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College, Kathy began her career as Communications Manager at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and then moved to the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts which gave her an appreciation of the issues and challenges facing the broader performing arts community. In 2007, Kathy moved to Vancouver where she took on the role of Manager of Corporate Sponsorship and Foundations at the Arts Club Theatre Company. Since then, she has moved through various positions and has led the Fund Development Department since 2014. Kathy now serves as the Managing Director, overseeing a number of departments within the company. Outside of the arts, Kathy spends her time volunteering as President of NatureKids BC, a small not-for-profit committed to getting families outside and taking action for nature. She is deeply grateful to live in the beauty of North Vancouver with her husband John and three kids.
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.
Crystal Kolt is the Cultural Coordinator of the Flin Flon Arts Council. She served on the founding task force committee for Culture Days, on the Manitoba Arts Council Board of Directors (2014 – 2017) and was on the International Council for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Crystal received the Lieutenant Governor Award for Volunteerism (2007), the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award (2022) and was invested into the Order of Manitoba in 2012. Crystal has produced numerous musical theatre and classical masterworks productions, including collaborations with the Winnipeg and Saskatoon symphony orchestras and original musical theatre works such as Bombertown and Three Brides for Kasos. Other signature initiatives include facilitating the Flin Flon Community Choir’s performances in Carnegie Hall (2002 and June 2015), the Lincoln Centre in 2013 and commissioning Aboriginal caribou-hair-tufting artist Theresa Wride to create a Diamond Jubilee Anniversary tufting to present to Queen Elizabeth II. In 2020 she guided the Flin Flon Arts Council in the founding of the Uptown Emporium www.uptownemporium54.com which was created to support the economic development of northern artists and artisans. Crystal is presently the chair of the Executive Council for the proposed North Central Canada Centre of Arts and Environment www.ncccae.ca with the goal to support all creatives in the north and to explore the commonalities between the arts and healthy built environments. She is also on the imagiNorthern project committee. The Flin Flon Arts Council was awarded $250,000.00 in 2022 by the Canada Council for the Arts Strategic Innovation Fund to support imagiNorthern project with the mission to develop six ‘depots’ in Northern Manitoba guided by regional Northern Champions.
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.
I am former university professor and adult educator with a long interest in small groups dynamics, conflict resolution, non-profit leadership and governance. I have spent more that 20 years helping executive directors (CEOs) and boards improve their organization’s governance practices. This work, mostly done in Nova Scotia, has included facilitating adult learning in a continuing education classroom context and online, and currently focuses on coaching executive director-board chair pairs. I have worked mostly with small non-profits and charities including literacy groups, environmental organizations, family resource centres, and agencies serving people with intellectual challenges. I blog about non-profit governance (www.governinggood.ca) and tweet about it @governinggood. I have developed a range of practical resources for EDs/CEO and boards and have serves on the boards of a range of capacities in various capacities.
Michelle joined NSCC in December 2015. Michelle came to NSCC from WorldSkills where she most recently served as Director, Communications, Marketing and Special Events. Over the 16 years in the WorldSkills movement, Michelle led 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.
Recently, she was the Director of Development, leading NSCC’s largest fundraising campaign to date, successfully raising $33 Million. Michelle works closely with NSCC staff, volunteers and stakeholders to help match prospective supporters with emerging philanthropic and sponsorship opportunities at NSCC. In April 2019, Michelle assumed the role of Executive Director and is now leading the team through stewardship and the next fundraising initiatives of the College.
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.
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
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 past president.
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. 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, Mr. Duffy and MacTavish.
I am a strategic advisor with deep experience in education and culture in public policy, politics, communications, and governance. I provide counsel to government and not-for-profit sector leaders on how to deliver real, measurable results for the communities they serve.
My first career was as a public school teacher, which led me to professional governance at the Ontario College of Teachers. From there, I expanded the scope of my impact as Communications Advisor to Members of Parliament at the House of Commons. That opportunity led me to serve several federal Ministers of Canadian Heritage as speechwriter, policy advisor, and, eventually, Acting Director of Policy. At the Minister’s Office, I oversaw a large portfolio of files that included film, performing arts, visual arts, museums, copyright legislation, diversity and inclusion, and over 10 Crown corporations and agencies. I also led the Minister’s pandemic response strategy, including devising and rolling out stakeholder outreach plans, crafting messaging, reorienting funding programs, and collaborating with arts funders, cities, provinces and territories, federal ministries and public service, and the Prime Minister’s Office to secure over $2.6 billion in new arts funding, which has enabled the survival of tens of thousands of arts businesses, organizations, and cultural workers across Canada. Most recently, I served as Chief of Staff and Corporate Secretary at the National Gallery of Canada to support the implementation of the organisation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion-centred strategic plan.
With my non-traditional career path, I bring a broad, down-to-earth perspective to arts leadership. My approach to mentorship is based on building understanding and being a thought partner. I look forward to working with new mentees and the opportunity to learn and grow together.
Naomi Johnson, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Bear clan from Six Nations, has worked in the arts for over fifteen years as a curator, arts administrator, professional artist, and community arts facilitator. Naomi served as Artistic Director for seven years and then as Co-Executive Director (2018) of the Woodland Cultural Centre, where she curated and programmed annual exhibitions and performance art events. In June 2019 Naomi accepted the position of Associate Director for imagineNATIVE – the world’s largest Indigenous media arts festival. Enjoying the unique and rewarding opportunity to be mentored by then-outgoing Executive Director Jason Ryle. Additionally, in 2020 Naomi was mentored by Michele Maheux through the inaugural Business / Arts Executive Leadership program. In June 2020, Naomi assumed her role as Executive Director of imagineNATIVE, guiding the organization through two+ tumultuous years of navigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. She continues to serve in this role as the administrative lead for imagineNATIVE, whose mission is to showcase, promote, and celebrate Indigenous filmmakers and media artists globally.
Victoria Steele is a bilingual management consultant with 40 years’ experience in arts management, presenting, community engagement and advocacy. She is passionate about the power of the arts to connect communities and works with clients and stakeholders to research and develop strategies, realize innovative projects, and mentor careers. She is an experienced facilitator and workshop leader, a member of Arts Consultants Canada, the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, and a graduate of the Queen’s School of Business.
Victoria has worked with artists and arts organizations of all sizes across the country from mainstream, independent, indigenous, culturally diverse and francophone. Recent clients include Ottawa Festival Network, Culture Outaouais, the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts project, PAL Ottawa’s Senior Arts Live-Work project, Youth Infringement Festival, l’Association des théâtres francophones du Canada, Gladstone Theatre, Théâtre français de Toronto and Skeleton Key Theatre.
She is committed to supporting the next generation of arts leaders. Over the past decade, she has created the online Contemporary Management for Arts and Culture program at University of New Brunswick, taught part-time in the Master’s in Arts Leadership program at Queen’s University and with Carleton’s Sprott School of Business and the University of Ottawa Theatre Department. She mentored in the CHRC Talent2Lead programme and the LEAN initiative assisting arts leaders with financial management issues through the COVID pandemic.
Her past management experience includes 19 years as Managing Director, English Theatre at the National Arts Centre where she partnered with three artistic directors to produce and coproduce seasons with over 50 world premieres of Canadian work. Prior to joining the NAC, she held general management positions with three theatre companies in Toronto, London (Ontario) and Muskoka. In the past decade, she served for over four years as Executive Director of Arts Network Ottawa while the organization rebranded to serve the Ottawa region, and in this capacity facilitated over twenty community arts projects for Canada 150 and chaired the Ottawa Cultural Alliance as it undertook two major cultural development research projects culminating in the Ottawa Cultural Roadmap for 2019-2022.
Victoria currently serves as Chair of Arts Consultants Canada and Treasurer of Cultural Human Resources Council. Past contributions include service on the boards of Canadian Arts Presenters (CAPACOA), the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, the Association of Cultural Executives, Federal Cultural Trade Advisory Board, PAL Ottawa and Théâtre Catapulte.
Kim Blackwell is 4th Line Theatre’s Managing Artistic Director and is a veteran 4th Line director/producer – 2021 marks her 27th season with 4th Line Theatre where she has directed 25 productions including 13 world premieres. Selected credits include: Artistic Director (2014 – Present), Artistic Producer (2009 – 2014), Artistic Associate (2001-2009), directing: Bedtime Stories and Other Horrifying Tales (2020); The Fool of Cavan: A Christmas Caper, Bloom: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fable (2019), The Other: A Strange Christmas Tale (2018), The Shadow Walk of Millbrook (2016, 2018), Who Killed Snow White? (2018), The Hero of Hunter Street (2016), The Bad Luck Bank Robbers (2015, 2016), The Real McCoy (2013), Queen Marie, St. Francis of Millbrook (2012), The Berlin Blues (2011), The Right Road to Pontypool (2009, 2010), Schoolhouse (2007, 2008), The Art of Silent Killing, That Summer, Crow Hill, The Cavan Blazers, Attrition, Gimme That Prime Time Religion and many development workshops. She directed plays across Canada and the US. Her play A Daughter had its world premiere in 2020 as a part of the Open Spaces Theatre Festival and has been selected to be a part of the International Rural Women’s Studies Conference hosted by University of Guelph in 2021.
Kim directed Maja Ardal’s HER2, a Nightwood/Buddies in Bad Times Theatre co-production, Pocket Rocket (Lost and Found Theatre), Les Soeurs (The Sisters) at Erring 2014 and Chicken Grease is Nasty Business at the Summerworks Festival for which she received a NOW Magazine nod for Outstanding Direction. Selected other directing credits include Once A Flame, Fire in the Stable, The Shadow of Genius (Heritage Pavilion); Getting Lucky (Rhubarb!, 2005); Unlucky(Summerworks, 2003); The Ugly Man; Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet); Poor Super Man; Unidentified Human Remains… She also directed a sold-out run of Freedom 85! in the 2008 Fringe Festival and at the 2009 New York City Frigid Festival where it received excellent critical attention and the Audience Choice Award and the See It Twice Award. She was nominated for the John Hirsch Award for Directing Excellence in 2009 (Canada Council) and 2014 (Ontario Arts Council). She was the winner of a 2013 KETS Award for “People Who Rock Our World.” She was the only Canadian invited to train with Felix Barrett, the renowned Artistic Director of Punchdrunk (Sleep No More) in his immersive and promenade theatre style. Kim was inducted into Peterborough’s Pathway of Fame in September 2016. In 2020 she received Toronto theatre critic Lynn Slotkin’s Jon Kaplan Mensch Award.
As a playwright Blackwell has written several plays for the stage including Bedtime Stories and Other Horrifying Tales (co-wrote with Lindy Finlan, 4th Line Theatre); A Daughter (Open Stages Theatre Festival); Les Soeurs (verbatim theatre, Erring on The Mount); Aaron and the Energy Conservation Dream (Ontario Hydro). Blackwell is currently writing her memoir entitled Adopted. She is also working on a new play called The Auction based on her complicated relationship with her father; Canada’s place in the development of nuclear power; and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Kim is a Peterborough native who loves her community and knows how to present it to the world, its passions, its foibles, its sense of humour. She has been doing this for almost 30 years serving in various capacities at the 4th Line Theatre.
After graduating from Adam Scott Collegiate, Kim attended University of Alberta and Trent University where she studied History and English Literature. She worked in various capacities with the Union Theatre in Peterborough for ten years and directed plays which were presented at the Market Hall Performing Arts Centre and the Gordon Best Theatre. For more information on the Union Theatre, visit the following: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Theatre
Kim then went on to form her own theatre company, Black Well Productions where she produced several plays in Peterborough and Toronto. She has worked for some of the top arts organizations in the country including the Canadian Stage Company, Nightwood Theatre, Tapestry New Opera and Dancemakers and is a member of Maja Ardal’s Contrary Company.
Kim was the Founding Executive Director of Celebrate Canada in the Kawarthas, a marketing collective, where she worked with 140 eco-tourism and arts and culture organizations from 1997 – 2001. She has put her networking, administrative, marketing and publicity skills to good use at 4th Line Theatre over the past 26 years where she oversees all operations, administrative and artistic. She has also spearheaded the Emerging VOICES Program (Volunteer opportunities unique in the nation – linking young people to the company’s professional artists and community elders; Outreach in providing an immersive and integrated experience working with our renowned artistic team in a rural, artistic setting; Innovation and experimentation resulting in productions that entertain, educate and enthrall and created through our unique artistic processes; Community commitment to encourage rural youth to participate in the arts and develop their own voices and stories; Education that allows participants to gain an understanding and insight into the history of their community; and Skills developed through practical, hands-on application that young people rarely have access to) which pairs young people from the region with professional theatre artists as they work together on projects related to 4th Line Theatre’s annual productions.
A respected and awarded performing arts manager with more than 35 years of international professional experience, Tim Jennings is a passionate social advocate known for his creativity, financial acumen, leadership skills and energy. He joined the Shaw Festival as its Executive Director in the fall of 2015 and has increased revenues and attendance by over 25% in his first 4 seasons (from $27 Million to $34 Million per annum between 2015 and 2019 Year end and erased $10 Million in historic debt and deficiencies over that same time period.
Beginning his career in theatre production and management, Mr. Jennings was appointed managing director of Toronto’s Roseneath Theatre in 2000. In 2008, Mr. Jennings was asked to assume the role of managing director at Seattle Children’s Theatre and, in 2011, was recruited to the Tony Award-winning Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis (CTC) – the world’s leading family theatre – as its managing director.
During his time at these organizations, Mr. Jennings increased revenues, built endowments, created new business alliances to enhance the reputation and scope of the companies, improved artist and artisan working conditions and supported the visionary work of his artistic partners.
In addition to his management accomplishments, Mr. Jennings has taught Theatre Production and Management at Toronto’s Ryerson University and Humber College. He has served on more than a dozen industry boards, including the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) – the national organization for the American theatre – where he held the position of Treasurer until July 2018 and was a founding member of TCG’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Institute (established in 2013). Currently, he is a member of Theatre Sheridan’s advisory board the treasurer of the Boards of Tourism NOTL/Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce, a member of COVID-19 recovery taskforce for TCG and appointed to the LordMayor’s Covid recovery advisory group and is a regular participant in many additional such groups in both the arts and tourism across North America.
An astute move by Mr. Jennings and his CFO to purchase pandemic insurance in 2015 allowed the Festival to keep most of The Shaw’s artists and workers employed during last year’s COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, with the assistance of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), he created the Education and Community Outreach Specialists (ECOS) program and rehired many of the Festival’s independent contractors as summer employees who worked the remainder of the season as ambassadors for The Shaw and creators of online content and community outreach programs.
A non-profit management professional with 15 years experience in the arts, Diana Weir has a successful track record in building strong organizations, supporting great art, and promoting access and inclusion values through programming, policy, and organizational practice. As a seasoned performing arts executive with experience in the opera, theatre, and orchestral worlds, she has served as Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and worked for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships. Currently, Diana is Interim Managing Director for Toronto Dance Theatre.
Diana studied piano in her undergraduate education and has a Master’s degree in Communications Management. In 2020, she was the recipient of the YWCA Hamilton Women of Distinction award for her contribution to the arts and culture sector, and was honoured with the Canada Council for the Arts’ John Hobday award in 2019. Her professional commitment to supporting the advancement of vibrant, artistically relevant, and financially healthy arts institutions is evidenced both in her work life and volunteerism. She is a volunteer mentor for the Business/Arts artsVest program and an adjudicator for the Loran Scholars Foundation.
Following a career in advertising and two decades as a partner at Rhombus Media (SLINGS AND ARROWS, THE RED VIOLIN, YO-YO MA: INSPIRED BY BACH), Sheena Macdonald’s most recent position was Chief Operating Officer at the Canadian Film Centre. For the last 15 years she was responsible for fundraising for training programs and capital campaigns; creating and expanding upon content, distribution and co-production strategies; as well as developing new initiatives that support the strategic growth of the CFC. Macdonald also played a key role in furthering the reputation of the CFC in the international marketplace.
Along with her three partners at Rhombus Media, she received a Doctor of Letters (H.C.) from York University in 1998. In 2009, she was awarded the Honorary Golden Rose at the Rose d’Or festival in Switzerland. Macdonald is also currently a board director of the Victoria Film Festival, Theatre Kingston, and sits on the Canada Committee for Human Rights Watch.
Over 15 years of experience in cultural events and close to 10 years experience in corporate sponsorships. I worked with the Just For Laughs organization for close to 12 years and have had the chance to work on some amazing partnerships with great clients in my professional journey. I’ve also produced a gaming festival called “Mondial des Jeux”, which hosted a massive esports event in Montréal in 2015. I’m also a part time emcee and voice-over actor.
Joanne is a senior sponsorship leader with over 20 years of experience and a record of strong results across a variety of cultural, music and sports marketing programs. After spending her career in Financial Services focusing on Marketing Communications, Brand Strategy and Corporate Sponsorship, Joanne spent the last two years in various mentoring and consulting roles and most recently served as Executive Director, Artists for Peace and Justice Canada. As a proven professional in the sponsorship industry, she has a track record of creating partnerships that drive results. Many of her activation programs have received industry recognition including the JUNO Awards, music festivals, and the TD Music Access program. Recognized as an expert in sponsorship Joanne has participated in several industry events as a speaker or panel member. Known for her positive and genuine attitude, Joanne is an excellent relationship builder and manager with the ability to motivate and inspire others. As a passionate volunteer, she has served on the Board of Artists for Peace and Justice Canada as Secretary since 2018, and currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Canada’s Music Incubator.
Zainub Verjee, currently the Executive Director of Ontario Association of Art Galleries, Toronto, is an accomplished leader in the art and culture sector and has shaped culture policy at all levels of governments and contributed to building of cultural institutions and organizations in Canada and internationally. She is the laureate of 2020 Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. With over three decades of experience in art and culture sector, she is an accomplished art administrator, art critic and adept at cultural diplomacy. Given multiple public appointments, she has decades-long experience of Board governance and Board memberships.
Jewell Goodwyn, Principal of J R Goodwyn Consulting has been working in the not for profit arts sector for almost three decades, with 20 + years dedicated to serving the artist run centre community as the founding Executive Director of Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO), a provincial arts service organization based in Ontario. Goodwyn grew Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario (ARCCO) from an informal alliance with no funding to an incorporated provincial arts service organization, which gained recognition from all levels of government and the national arts community, as the official voice of artist-run centres in Ontario.
During her tenure with ARCCO, Goodwyn established alliances and networks regionally, provincially and nationally in order to build support for the artist run centre community.
Inspired by the work of La MAL in Quebec, Goodwyn also initiated a cross discipline coalition with fellow provincial arts service organizations in order to strengthen and increase public investment to the arts in Ontario.
Jewell’s areas of expertise include organizational development, board governance, strategic planning, profile building and creating networks.
Currently I serve as Chair of the Board of Directors of national Culture Days and on the Steering Committee of the Canadian Arts Coalition. As the former President & CEO of Business/Arts, I designed and piloted the artsvest program, co-founded the Canadian Arts Summit and developed boardlink, before moving west to accept the position of Vice President responsible for Arts and Leadership at the multi-disciplinary Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. In that role, I was responsible for the development and delivery of programs that met the needs of mid-career artists, and performances and festivals that reached both the local market and tourists who visit Banff. Following Banff I led the development of the first Cultural Plan for Calgary as the Manager of Arts & Culture for the City of Calgary. Early in my career I helped build the Ontario Arts Foundation’s endowment as the founding administrator, and worked as Manager of Developmental Services at the Ontario Arts Council. Having spent 15 years in Alberta I have now returned to Ontario and spend my time between Toronto and the Blue Mountains.
Adam Kirkham has worked with non-profit arts organizations for over 15 years. He is currently Associate Director of Sponsorship Marketing at Hot Docs where he plays a lead role in the sponsorship program for North America’s largest documentary festival and other initiatives such as the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and Hot Docs Podcast Festival.
For the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, Adam supports global stakeholders develop formal bids to host future editions of the event which include cross-sector funding commitments.
Adam managed sponsorship for the CMPA’s national conference, Prime Time in Ottawa from 2013 to 2017 and led development activities at the Toronto Fringe from 2008 to 2012.
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 2019, David joined the National Arts Centre as Managing Director, English Theatre. In 2012, David joined the Art of Time Ensemble as Executive Director, and is worked 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.
Denis J. Bertrand
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 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.
T. Anne Frost
Anne Frost began her arts management career in the 1980s at Keyano Theatre, Fort McMurray, Alberta. Moving to Toronto, she worked at the Toronto Theatre Alliance on the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and at Jeunesses musicales as Ontario Executive Director.
After earning her Master’s degree in Arts Policy and Management from the City University, London, UK (1987-88) Anne returned to Canada and worked at Harbourfront as Coordinator for the Festival of Authors; then as General Manager at Theatre Direct Canada and Mixed Company Theatre. She also taught in the Humber College post-graduate Arts Administration – Cultural Management program since its inception in 2000.
In 2002 Anne moved to Owen Sound and worked on revenue development at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, then at the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, a major facility on the Lake Huron shore. In 2003 Anne began to teach in the undergraduate arts management program at University of Toronto, Scarborough (UTSC). In 2008-9, Anne co- ordinated the Humber program. From 2011-13, Anne taught post-graduates in the Culture and Heritage Site Management program at Centennial College.
Now back in Toronto, Anne continues to teach at UTSC, consults with Young Associates, and has also re-assumed her role as Program Coordinator for the renewed Humber arts management post-graduate program, which was re-launched in September 2014.
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 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.
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 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.
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, Talk is Free Theatre was recently acclaimed as a 2020 Canadian Arts Hero by the Globe and Mail. Arkady founded Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) in 2003, which tackles the cross-section of repertoire, in traditional and immersive mediums. Since TIFT’s founding, he’s produced 101 works in Barrie, Canada, and toured nationally and internationally. Talk is Free Theatre won a prestigious Dora Award for its co-production of Assassins.
Prince Edward Island
Mary Ellen Davies
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.
I have been working in the sponsorship and marketing fields for 15 years. I began my career managing sponsorship projects for major festivals, such as the Jazz Festival, the Francofolies and Montréal en Lumière, as part of the Spectra team. I joined Sun Life Financial, Quebec, in 2013, where I currently hold the position of Senior Advisor, Donations and Sponsorships. In this role, I am responsible for donations and sponsorships strategy, as well as developing strategic partnerships and sponsorship activations to promote the brand in Quebec.
Coming from a film background, I have been working in this field since my teenage years thanks to my family, aiming to be a Producer one day. This passion was then channelled into the event industry where I found great inspiration through its dynamics and the people shaping the industry. I then continued to diversify my experiences by participating in major film projects, as well as doing representation for television channels.
At a younger age, I became an entrepreneur by investing in the young company Fresh Air Events, which offered artistic event experiences where I acted as a producer. At the age of 21, nearly 40 events later, I was finally making my mark on the Montreal event scene. This earned me the recognition of the Apollo Woman in Business “Up-and-Coming Event Manager” award alongside Danielle Henkel in 2013.
It was certainly because of my dynamism, professionalism and involvement that the multinational E & J Gallo Winery approached me to offer me a position as brand marketing specialist. When I was hired, at the age of 22, I noticed that I was the youngest person to work for the company in Canada. For almost 4 years I had the chance to develop the portfolio brands and manage partnerships with over 600 events and institutions, ranging from fundraising galas to major festivals (Soirée Élément/ Bal du Mont-Royal/ Piknic Électronik / Fierté Montréal / Bal du MAC / Ottawa Police Gala and more) in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa.
From 2015 to 2021, I was the Sponsorship and Business Development Manager at LNDMRK. As Director of Business Development and Partnerships, I participated in multiple projects including the MURAL Festival, working with major brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Hennessy, Reebok, Adidas, Molson, Aldo, Louis Vuitton and many others. This position also involves managing a team of development officers in addition to the resources mobilised per project.
All of these funding efforts have enabled the realization of numerous impactful cultural initiatives and have supported more than a hundred artists from here and abroad, in addition to making public art accessible. I have also been a member of the executive committee since the founding of the Mural organization in 2013.
Over the past few years, our export intentions have led me to position the MURAL event property in other markets such as Toronto.
As part of the MURAL Festival in Toronto in September 2019, I participated in Elle Canada’s panel as the official producer of the event.
Alie-Clarence is an instigating member of the Gala of the young philanthropic organization “Live For the Cause”. After meeting the founder of the organization, Alie-Clarence convinced her to launch a program of fundraising galas to maximize donations to the various organizations she supports. She has served as team leader and artistic designer for the galas, and has put her partnership development skills to good use. To date, the organization has raised over $120,000 in support of five worthy causes: the Donald Berman YALDEI Development Centre, the MUHC Patient Education Office, Myeloma Canada, MacKay Centre School and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.
We also proudly participated in school conferences to raise awareness of philanthropy among youth. One such event was held in front of the then Governor General of Canada, the Honourable David Johnston in 2017.
Dr. Gagnon’s career in the arts is best summed up in three terms: performance, pedagogy and management. With a career spanning 20 years of independent artistic work, 15 years of teaching and over 10 years of management experience, this seasoned professional has dealt with the complexities of the cultural sector in every possible way. Fostering culture and promoting arts from the stage to the classroom to the boardroom, this lifelong academic and real-world problem solver currently serves as the Executive Director of the Cultural Human Resources Council, as the President of the Ottawa Guitar Society and as the Treasurer of Guitare Outaouais. In all of his roles, he strives to make others thrive.
With an education profile representative of a passionate involvement with arts and management (Doctorate in Music, Masters in Public Administration and Masters in Business Administration) coupled with extensive experience in the non-profit, education, public and private sectors, he has helped many towards professional success and change management through audience growth, community involvement, effective fundraising, improved public profile and strategic planning. All of the above made possible by a solid knowledge of inner (HR, finances, budgeting, project management and conflict resolution) and outer (recruiting, client services, partnership management and charity funding) workings of professional and amateur arts work with individuals and organizations.
Nadine Medawar’s experience is diverse and comprises work in administration, public policy, arts and public mobilization. As Political advisor and Head of public appointments to the ministers of Canadian Heritage, she has recruited some of the most talented executives and cultural leaders across the country. She surpassed given objectives of diversity, parity and Indigenous representation on boards and general management of national cultural agencies. Nadine also contributed to policy development including the continuing challenges and opportunities in this digital era.
As the one responsable for the operations of offices of all Quebec federally elected officials, she developed corresponding effective communication strategies, analyzed high risk issues and put in place crisis-prevention strategies in addition to field mobilization. Nadine also worked in the media sector for several years, specifically in strategic planning.
Her masters degree in Conflict Studies has equipped her with the skills to identify paths to solutions and common ground. Her bachelors in commerce and her experience as a producer within the Arts and as an artist bring her closer to the reality of cultural organizations and practitioners. As an entrepreneur and an initiator, Nadine embodies a positive and inclusive leadership. She thrives in managing teams of multiple talents and regions. She is now a consultant in the cultural and startup sectors, supporting and guiding organizations in remaining relevant and impactful.
A specialist in communication, project management and contemporary Quebec visual art, Dominique has been working in public administration for more than fifteen years. In addition to guiding Loto-Québec’s cultural program, she develops and negotiates partnerships. In particular, she has participated in the conception and realization of more than 30 exhibitions and public art projects. Trilingual, she holds a Master’s degree in International Public Administration. She helped organize Canada’s presidency of the 2018 G7 Summit and carried out an exceptional mandate for the federal government at the heart of the VIDOC-19 health crisis. Engaged, she is active in various community organizations and teaches at the Université de Montréal.
Jozef’s experience managing creative projects and engaging with a variety of audiences has propelled him into the creative industry. Working on projects related to audience experience offers a perfect opportunity to combine his management strengths with his passion for using the power of creative collaboration to revolutionize social environments with experiences that captivate our audience.
Having completed a Masters in International Arts Management program offered jointly by the Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas), HEC Montreal (Montréal, Québec), and the SDA Bocconi School of Management (Milan, Italy). He has founded his own agency, held positions, festivals, concert halls and communication and marketing agencies, in three continents. Through his work experience, he was able to work with both community organizations that are either underground or on the fringes of arts and culture and fine arts institutions. This allowed him to bridge divides, expand collaboration, and begin to transform arts and cultural systems at the local, regional, and global levels.
Jozef also enjoys giving back to his local and global community. He is a University of Ottawa Alumni Regional Council member, and is a Director on the Board of the The Canadian Music Centre which is the catalyst that connects Canadians to the ever-evolving world of Canadian musical creation through performance, education, and promotion.
Ms. Courville is a recognized expert in communications and marketing, specializing in B2B and B2C partnerships, in the field of culture and events, where she has been operating for nearly 34 years. Ms Courville founded two communication agencies and held various strategic positions in cultural and events organizations over the years. She now offers strategic consulting services in addition to teaching to students, various groups of sponsees, associations and event organizations of all types. So far, she trained thousands of students and professionals to develop skills in private financing in Canada and Europe.
Ms. Courville is associate professor at the Chair of Arts Management at HEC Montréal and is a guest lecturer for DESS and Master’s level classes in Management of Cultural Organizations. She had been teaching for 15 years.
Since she is also a guest lecturer in event management, marketing and event financing at the Institute of Higher Studies in Social Communications in Brussels (IHECS), she will now be based in the European capital to operate. She will combine this teaching to a mandate for various festivals and event organizations in Swiss, France and Belgium.
Her first book, “Creating Winning Partnerships, from Sponsorship to Strategic Alliances”, was published in August 2015 by Transcontinental.
Jay has been active in communications and marketing for over twenty years. As a sponsorship specialist, he worked for a long time in the agency world, where he was able to put his advanced knowledge of marketing and sponsorship to good use. Jay also served as Director of Sponsorships at BMO Financial Group. His work has also been recognized twice by the Sponsorship Council of Canada. He is currently the head of consulting services at Elevent, the only agency in Quebec that offers strategic consulting, research and evaluation services in the sponsorship sector and works with more than one hundred and fifty clients in Canada, United States and Europe.
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.
I’m Lyanne, owner, consultant, marketing strategist and mastermind facilitator of blue dragonfly Marketing Strategies Ltd.
To start with sharing about me, join me in reminiscent memories taking me all the way back to my young, formative years (I won’t even share how many years ago that was!).
From my earliest memory, business has been an integral part of my mindset and upbringing. My father was a long-tenured employee within the credit union system and left that career of 24 years to embark on his dream of being a business owner. I was 6 years old at the time. Seeing the perseverance, hard work, ingenuity, and vision that both my parents brought to growing a hobby business into a large, provincial business instilled a deep-set mentality of focus and strategy. Growing up with such hard-working role models meant a lot of sacrifice, but far outweighing the sacrifice was the many rewards – and so many of those were intangible.
I too, have a rich, 28+ year history with credit unions. Throughout this tenure, I served and specialized in front-line member service, consumer and residential mortgage lending, mutual funds, sales and service training, leadership and management, data and analytics, and of course, marketing.
I remember so many years back when I began in marketing and dreaming of having marketing tactics, campaigns or collateral that could be strong enough to be recognized and awarded. That was a respectable goal, and in 2006 it was achieved. That was the first of many years of national marketing award recognitions where I was the creator of the material and/or leading a winning team.
I’ve always aspired to be well educated in areas of expertise and over the years have obtained numerous designations including the Chartered Marketer designation offered through the Canadian Marketing Association.
I believe learning is life-long and am confident that I’ll learn and know more tomorrow than I do today.
On a personal side, I previously held a certified aquatic instructor designation (inspiring people to come out, work hard and get sweaty, all while wearing a bathing suit!). From 2011-2021, I had a side business where I taught/led aqua-fitness classes. Although I am no longer teaching, I continue to inspire physical fitness and active living.
I have a unique perspective, a lifetime of understanding and experience and a deep-set desire to help mentees succeed in a very human, collaborative way.
A devoted expert in cultural diplomacy and change management, Jeff Erbach has served the arts and cultural sector in Canada for more than 30 years. His profound work in arts education, reconciliation, equity and accessibility, and mutually beneficial partnerships within the nonprofit and government sectors has resulted in stronger cultural networks, higher resilience across institutions, and more inclusive programs. Creatively animating the economic, social, and cultural vitality of public spaces, he supported transformative placemaking initiatives and opportunities in municipal government with the City of Hamilton, as Manager for Placemaking, Public Art and Projects, and with the City of Regina, as Manager for Community and Cultural Development. A talented leader and accomplished cultural specialist, Erbach served as Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie and as Creative Manager for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, where he championed developing platforms for Indigenous artists to address Canada’s residential school history, legacy, and its remaining impacts. Erbach was a practicing media artist for 15 years, producing a recognized body of film and video work on gender identity and expression which garnered a retrospective at the Canadian Film Institute in Ottawa. He is currently an Associate Vice President with Arts Consulting Group, providing client service in areas of arts and cultural management.
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, as well as on the Boards of SaskAbilities (President), Easter Seals Canada, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute and the Regina Humane Society, as well as chairing a $25M capital campaign for the Regina Humane Society.
Michelle received the Saskatchewan Centennial medal and the Queen’s Jubilee medal for her extensive work in the community.
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.
Lisa is from southern British Columbia and is a member of the Nlaka’pamuk Nation of Merritt B.C. Her immediate roots are in the Interior Salish and Okanagan Nation but also has ancestry tied to Mexico through her Great-Great Grandfather, Jesus Garcia. Lisa, the youngest of 7, was raised in the countryside of Aspen Grove where her love for horses and the outdoors began at a young age. For the past 30+ years Lisa has lived in the small community of Teslin, Yukon. It was in the Yukon that Lisa met and married her husband Darcy, who was born and raised in Teslin. Together they have 2 children. With Darcy’s traditional Tlingit upbringing and Lisa’s sense of adventure, their children were raised on the land. Family outings to the trapline began at a young age for the children and continue today, as well as other traditional activities such as hunting, fishing and berry picking. Cultural events and practices such as potlatches and Clan obligations tie this family to important Tlingit roots. Lisa was adopted into the Kukhhittan Clan (Raven Children) and her Tlingit name is Keis.ey, which refers to the time just before the dawn breaks.
Lisa worked outside of the home while raising the children, but for the past 12 years, she began focusing on Indigenous Cultural and Tourism in the Yukon. She has been a dedicated Manager and leader of 10 + years for the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre and has excelled in public relations and coordination of events and programming.
Lisa has become a steward and leader in the cultural and tourism industry for her community and Yukon Territory. Through visioning, developing and implementing, she has become a part of establishing one of the leading cultural centers within the Yukon and has contributed to the new Yukon Tourism Strategy which was released in Nov. 2018.
Besides enjoying her home on the shores of Teslin Lake with her husband, 2 dogs, 2 horses and 1 cat, (while her children are off pursuing their own education & careers), Lisa also enjoys, meeting new people, riding her horses, pursuing her artistic hobbies of painting and beading and practising well- being through meditation and diet.