CAS 19 Speakers
Upkar Arora is CEO of Illumina Partners, an independent boutique advisory firm which he co-founded in 2002. He is a seasoned organizational leader who can effectively navigate complex, multi-stakeholder environments and a proven track record of delivering results at the board or C-Suite level. He has 30 years of experience working domestically and internationally (Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe) with public and private companies, on operations, capital markets transactions, acquisitions, dispositions, turnarounds and financings, as a senior executive, advisor or principal.
Upkar has previously served on the CAS Steering Committee for three years, including as Chair, has been Chair of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection for the past six years, serves as a director on the boards of Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Metrolinx and the Advisory Council of the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance, where he also teaches. In 2014, he founded Illumina Social Impact Partners to help NFP’s, charities and social entrepreneurs enhance their social impact and generate positive, scalable and sustainable change. Upkar is a CPA, CA and holds the ICD.D designation.
Gideon Arthurs is the CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada. He is currently a board member of OFFTA, of the Steering Committee of the Canada Arts Summit and will act as a juror for the 2015 Siminovitch Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Theatre. In the past, he served as the General Manager of Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, where he led several important projects to improve their facilities and reengage audiences. He was the Executive Director at the Toronto Fringe Festival during an important period of expansion for the organization. He is Past President of the Small Theatre Administrative Facility (STAF) and the former Vice-President of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). He was a member of the Labour Relations Committee at the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT). Mr. Arthurs is the founding Artistic Producer of the independent theatre company Groundwater Productions. Most importantly, he is the father of two amazing children and the husband of a genius playwright.
Lorna Brown is Associate Director/Curator at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and a visual artist, writer, educator and editor. She has exhibited her work internationally since 1984. Brown was the Director/Curator of Artspeak Gallery from 1999 to 2004 and is a founding member of Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, a collective of artists, architects and curators presenting projects that consider the varying conditions of public places and public life. She has taught at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and Simon Fraser University. Her recent curatorial projects include Digital Natives and Institutions by Artists. Brown received an honorary doctorate of letters from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2015, the Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts Award (1996) and the Canada Council Paris Studio Award (2000). Her work is in the collections of the Belkin, the National Gallery of Canada, the BC Arts Council, the Surrey Art Gallery and the Canada Council Art Bank.
Since 2003, Jasmine has worked as a set designer for theatre, dance, opera, and circus performances. She has worked with several well-known directors, including Robert Lepage in an Ex Machina–Metropolitan Opera co-production of The Tempest by composer Thomas Ades. In 2007, she co-founded the OFFTA, Montréal live arts festival that she still directs. From 2012 to 2015, she was artistic co-director at Usine C in Montréal, where she directed the Canadien programming. She also sat on the board of directors at the Conseil des Arts de Montréal as president of multidisciplinary presenting and new artistic practices from 2012 to 2015, and has sat on many juries, conferences and symposiums on topics related to live arts, new management models and interdisciplinary work. For the occasion of the Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture, she was appointed curator of a Montreal/Québec event in Belgium, which presented over 80 Québec artists across many artistic disciplines. In 2015, she co-founded LA SERRE_arts vivants, a structuring incubator for emerging artists. Her experiences have given her a unique global view of artistic creation.
As Director/Curator at SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art in Montréal since 2012, Pip has collaborated with numerous practitioners across disciplines to reconceive the institution, generating a program of exhibitions, actions, events and pedagogical platforms that confront the seemingly entrenched parameters of political life as we live and negotiate them. A commitment to the transformative potential of creative action lies at the heart of SBC’s programmes. Prior to coming to Montréal, Pip worked as an independent curator, writer and educator in the arts primarily in Mexico City, New York and London. In 2003 she founded teratoma the first graduate level curatorial studies program in Latin America and RIM, an international residency program for curators, artists and critics in Mexico City. There she also established el instituto, an organization dedicated to culture, politics, activism and research, which generated exhibitions and events such as Spatial Practices in Revolution and Talk Show. This work was partly supported through Pip’s Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship which she received in 2011. She has published numerous texts on art and culture, has taught in curatorial Masters programs at Bard College and at Goldsmiths College, and has lectured widely in university and other cultural contexts. In the late 90s Pip worked as Curator at Artists Space in New York. She obtained her B.A. in Art History from University of Toronto and her M.A. in Curatorial Studies from Bard College. Pip is a member of the curatorial team for the SITElines biennial in Santa Fe, taking place in July 2016.
Educated in business, Mo Dhaliwal began his career working in the technology sector, including software development and Internet marketing in Silicon Valley. As a patron of the arts and producer of cultural events, Mo has worked to shatter barriers between people and encourage cross-cultural understanding, most notably through the creation of the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society. As Director of Strategy for Skyrocket Digital, Mo collaborates with creative minds across the country and continues to create moving experiences for clients and community. Mo has been recognized for his contributions by Business for the Arts as the national recipient of the Arnold Edinborough Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and, most recently, a Mayor’s Arts Award for “Board Member of the Year”.
Roxanne Duncan has been Managing Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival since June 2014. She is a key member of the organization’s senior management team, and played a leadership role in the creation of the Festival’s new co-located facility.
Prior to joining PuSh, Ms Duncan was Managing Director of The Theatre Centre, where she was a key member of the management team responsible for the creation of its $6.2 million live arts hub in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood.
Her career began in Edinburgh in 2005 working with Aurora Nova and Paul Lucas Productions. She relocated to Toronto in 2007 where she worked with a range of remarkable Toronto-based companies including Volcano Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Dreamwalker Dance, Acting Upstage, Why Not Theatre, Company Theatre, and was a member of the Development Department at Soulpepper.
Adrian Ellis is the founding director of AEA Consulting and co-founder of the Global Cultural Districts Network.
AEA, established in 1990, is a leading cultural consultancy with offices in London and New York. Clients include foundations, government agencies and leading cultural organizations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas including Barbican Arts Centre (London), the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation (New York), the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the League of American Orchestras (New York …and…the Banff Centre (Alberta).
Adrian returned to his AEA at the beginning of 2012, after serving as Executive Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2007. Prior to founding AEA, he was Executive Director of The Conran Foundation (1986 – 1990), where he was responsible for planning the establishment of the Design Museum in London .
Adrian has served on the boards of the National Museum of Wales, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), and the Kaufman Center (New York). He was a Scholar in Residence at Teachers College, Columbia.v In 2012, he was named a “Jazz Hero of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association.
Adrian Ellis est le directeur fondateur d’AEA Consulting et le cofondateur du Réseau global et culturel des districts.
Rod Hunter, Gavin Ear, Desi Rider, Anders Hunter and Shanda Hunter formed the drum group Eya-Hey Nakoda. The drum group composes all original songs of their own. Whether it’s a big contest or a small traditional powwow, Eya-Hey Nakoda loves to sing and loves to make the dancers dance hard. At the powwows, before grand entry, a different member of the group will take their turn to offer tobacco to the drum and pray. They pray for dancers, the other drum groups and all the people that are there. They give thanks for the spirit dancer, the singing spirit, the drum spirit (grandfather drum), and most importantly, give thanks to creator for life. They would also pray and ask for blessing frim the drum so that when their dancers dance, or when the people listen to the music, they will be cured of any ailments. Eya-Hey Nakoda are predominantly Nakoda from the Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley First Nations in Morley, Alberta. They are, however, proud to have singers from different tribes such as: Siksika Nation, Cree, Muscogee, Tsuu Tina Nation, Aniyvwiya, the Dakota Nation, and Blackfeet. Eya-Hey Nakoda are a world class championship drum group that have been traveling for over 25 years to various powwows and will continue to do so.
As Executive Director, Anita Gaffney works alongside the Artistic Director in setting the strategic and operational direction for the Stratford Festival. With a budget of $58 million, the Festival earns 95% of its revenue through ticket sales as well as ancillary and fundraising activities, making it one of the most self-sufficient cultural organizations on the continent.
Ms Gaffney joined the Festival in 1991 and over the past 21 years has held a variety of positions including Director of Marketing during the theatre’s years of peak attendance. She designed the Festival’s customer relationship marketing system, which remains in use today and has been emulated by arts organizations around the world. In addition to her marketing expertise, Ms Gaffney is highly regarded for her skills in government relations, finance, change management and strategic planning, honed during her years as the Festival’s Administrative Director.
In 2008 Ms Gaffney was selected to participate in the Governor General’s Leadership Conference, and in 2006 she received a Business Excellence Award for Personal Achievement from the Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce. She has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University and has continued her executive education through Harvard Business School. She resides in Stratford with her husband, Kevin.
Dennis Garnhum has been Artistic Director of Theatre Calgary since 2005, presiding over the growth of the theatre’s subscriber base and the expansion of its education and new play development programs. He has directed nearly two dozen productions for Theatre Calgary, including the world premieres of The Little Prince – The Musical, Lost – A Memoir, Beyond Eden, and Timothy Findley’s The Wars. Other recent projects include King Lear (co-production with Bard on the Beach), The Philadelphia Story (in partnership with the Shaw Festival), and Major Barbara (co-production with American Conservatory Theater). Aside from his work at Theatre Calgary, Dennis has directed plays, musicals, and operas at companies across the country, including the Shaw Festival, the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Belfry Theatre, Neptune Theatre, and Theatre New Brunswick. His co-adaptation (with author Cathy Ostlere) of Lost – A Memoir was nominated for a 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award. Dennis is a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee and a Calgary Award for Community Achievement in Arts.
Meegan Guest is the Vice President of Communications and Planning at Cleveland Clinic Canada. As part of the clinic’s leadership team, she is responsible for brand awareness, patient education and growth for the organization. Fueled with a passion for helping people live healthy, active lives, Ms. Guest has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Canada, Ms. Guest championed the cancer cause as the Senior National Marketing Manager for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Brand Manager for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a network of cancer hospitals based in the United States. When she isn’t working in healthcare, Ms. Guest is actively involved with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection as a Director in Training for the Board of Trustees as well as a supporter of women in leadership through the Women’s Executive Network. Ms. Guest graduated from DePauw University in Indiana with a degree in Anthropology. After graduation, she completed a two year management training program with Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
CJ is an Executive Producer with the emerging platform content studio Secret Location. He has produced numerous new media campaigns for broadcasters and brands that have been honoured by The Emmy Awards, The Webby’s, SxSW Interactive Awards, Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
His career includes years spent in advertising and broadcast production where he produced television commercials for some of North America’s largest brands including Verizon, Comcast, AB/ImBev, Hilton Hotels, GM and others.
CJ holds a degree in Economics with a minor in fine art from the University of Western Ontario. He is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s New Media Lab a father of two, a long suffering Leafs fan and a street art addict.
Sue Hoyle has been Director of the Clore Leadership Programme in 2008, having previously been Deputy Director since the programme’s creation in 2003. Over the last 12 years, the Clore Programme has awarded over 300 Fellowships in cultural leadership and run residential courses for more than 1,200 experienced and emerging leaders, as well as a governance development programme for board members and senior executives.
Sue’s early career included managing a touring dance company, setting up the education department of English National Ballet and teaching English at the Université de Paris X. Sue was Director of Dance and subsequently Deputy Secretary General for Arts Council England, where she had responsibility for arts strategies, policy, research and planning. She has been Head of Arts for the British Council in France and Executive Director of The Place centre for contemporary dance, where she led a capital development and change programme.
Sue is co-author of a comparative study on funding for culture in France and Britain. In 2010, she was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her contribution to French culture.
She was formerly a Trustee of the British Council and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and chaired the Boards of DV8 Physical Theatre and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Theatre. She is Programme Adviser to the Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme at Hong Kong University and an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University.
Ravi Jain is a multi-award-winning actor, director, international producer and Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre. Under his leadership Why Not Theatre has become synonymous with innovative theatrical experiences which have toured the world. In recent years their RISER project, a unique producing models, which supports artists to make money from their art, has had a significant impact on the Toronto independent community. In 9 years Why Not has created over 20 collaborations performing on 5 continents, including the smash hit A Brimful of Asha, which stars Ravi and his real life mother (non-actor). Collaborations Ravi has fostered with Why Not Theatre include festivals such as Harbourfront’s World Stage Festival, Luminato Festival and The Pan Am Games Toronto2015 and international companies like The Tricycle Theatre (UK), Complicite (UK) and The SITI company (USA). Ravi was the inaugural Artistic Director in Residence at The Theatre Centre, and is currently a member of the Artistic Director’s Council at Soulpepper Theatre, and is also on the roster of clowns for Cirque du Soleil. Ravi was the director of the multi Dora nominated Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Soulpepper Theatre. This year Ravi will be directing, We are Proud to Present a Presentation of the Herero of Namibia (Theatre Centre), Salt Water Moon (Factory Theatre), Lisa Codrington’s A Black Girl in Search of God (The Shaw Festival), Like Mother Like Daughter (Espace Libre/Complicite Creative Learning/Koffler Centre), and The 39 Steps at Soulpepper Theatre. www.theatrewhynot.org
A lawyer by training, Mélanie Joly is passionate about her city of Montréal and the power of positive politics.
Mélanie worked at two major law firms in Montréal before making the leap into communications, as a managing partner of the Montréal office of the international communications firm Cohn & Wolfe. Founder of Le Vrai Changement pour Montréal party, Mélanie ran for mayor of Montréal in 2013.
A firm believer in the importance of community involvement, Mélanie has served on numerous boards of directors, including those of the Régie des rentes du Québec, Fondation du CHUM, and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. She has also served as a spokesperson for Logis Rose-Virginie and as an ambassador for Herstreet.
Mélanie’s hard work has been recognized on many occasions. She was selected by Elle Québec as the 2008 Woman of the Year in the “up and coming” category, and was later honoured as the first Quebecer to receive the Arnold Edinborough Award for her involvement in the cultural community.
Mélanie holds an Honours Bachelor of Law from Université de Montréal and a Magister Juris in European and Comparative law from the University of Oxford.
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Mr. Lassonde’s career spans more than 30 years. In 1982, Mr. Lassonde co-founded the Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation, the first publicly traded gold company, which was also recognized for its innovative business model. In 2002, the company merged with Newmont Mining Corp to become the world’s largest mining company. He led the start-up of both Metallica Resources and Enghouse Systems Ltd, for which he is a leading shareholder and Director of the company. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Lassonde also acted as Chairman of the World Gold Council. He is the author of The Gold Book: The Complete Investment Guide to Precious Metals, published in 1990 and was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in January 2013.
Mr. Lassonde is an active and engaged philanthropist in both Canada and the United States in the fields of Education, the Arts. He was the Chairman of Opera Colorado’s Board of Directors from 2003 to 2008 and is also currently Chairman of the Board of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) (since 2006). Over the years, he has generously donated to institutions such as the University of Toronto, College Marie-Clarac, the University of Utah, Ecole Polytechnique, the University of Western Ontario, Ryerson and York University as well as the MNBAQ.
Mr. Lassonde has a B.A., University of Montreal 1967, a BSc Electrical Engineering from Polytechnique, Montreal 1971 and an MBA, University of Utah, 1973. He received his P.Eng. Ontario designation in 1976 and CFA designation from CFA Institute, 1984. He holds honorary Ph.D’s in Engineering from the Universities of Toronto, Montreal and Ryerson, Doctor of Business, University of Utah and received an Honorary Doctor of Law from York University, June 2014.
He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2002 and Officer of the Quebec Order in 2008.
Pierre Lassonde has been appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts for a five-year term effective July 28, 2015 to July 27, 2020.
I believe that when we work together, incredible things can happen. We can change the world! No matter what industry or sector, our efforts ought to be focused on ideas that develop as many mutually beneficial initiatives for as many partners as possible. It just happens that I am a career arts administrator and for more than 25 years now I’ve had the chance to work with some pretty amazing people and have helped develop some outstanding companies, projects and events. Today, I am testing the belief that the performing arts can learn a great deal from how start-ups pivot and innovate and I am on a mission to prepare the arts & culture sector, the best way I can, to embrace the economic models of the 21st century.
My years of experience have culminated into a singular entrepreneurial goal of building Culture Creates, Canada’s first socially innovative and financially viable tech start-up for the non-profit performing arts sector. We can be resilient, even if only incrementally.
In January 2015, Christina led the pilot program, Lean Arts, in partnership with the Performing Arts Alliance, The Working Group and MaRS, with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Based on its success, she co-founded the Arts Accelerator (www.artxl.org) a new not-for-profit that supports innovation in the arts by equipping, empowering and activating cultural entrepreneurs with tools and strategies to build successful artistic enterprises based on validated audience feedback.
Christina also currently serves as Executive Director of Opera.ca, the association for opera in Canada where she has delivered change management programming for the sector along such themes as resilience and system thinking, capitalization, design thinking, and social innovation. Her 18 year career in the performing arts has encompassed senior positions in opera, music, and dance. Before Opera.ca, she was Managing Director for Danny Grossman Dance, Director of Touring for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Director of Marketing with Opera Ontario.
Ameet Mehta is a serial entrepreneur, business coach and innovation catalyst. His recent focus has been on innovation and collaboration capabilities within teams, large organizations and systems.
Through his role as mentor for the Lean Performing Arts pilot and co-founder of the Arts Accelerator (artxl.org), he is inspired by the potential benefits of cross-pollinating methods, ideas and networks from other sectors through experiential learning, mentorship and ecosystem development.
Ameet co-founded Rawlings Atlantic in 2001, a London/Toronto-based, global consultancy firm that provides C-level strategic and operational advisory services to large as well as emerging companies, focusing on business start-up and turnaround, strategic growth/business development, and transaction support.
He has worked or consulted with Deloitte, Bank of Montreal, Samsung, UK Trade and Investment, My Healthcare Innovation, MaRS (healthcare), Health Strategy Innovation Cell, Defcom Information Security Services, and Sun Microsystems on innovation-related projects. Ameet has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Emily Molnar, Artistic Director of Ballet BC since 2009, continues to steer the unique company of 17 dancers into an era of innovation and collaboration. Named The Globe and Mail’s 2013 “Dance Artist of the Year”. Molnar is a recipient of the 2015 BC Community Achievement Award and the 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Art, Culture and Design. She is a graduate of the National Ballet School and a former member of the National Ballet of Canada, a soloist with the Frankfurt Ballet under director William Forsythe, and a principal dancer with Ballet BC. As an internationally respected and critically acclaimed dance artist and choreographer, Molnar has worked and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Molnar currently serves as a Director on the Board of the BC Arts Council and is a committee member of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Arts Based Initiative. In addition to her work with Ballet BC, Molnar has recently been appointed sessional Artistic Director of Dance at The Banff Centre, a new position designed to guide and inform all Banff Centre dance initiatives throughout the year in collaboration with the Canadian and International dance community.
Sean O’Neill is the Associate Director of Adult Programming and Partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he oversees talks, screenings, performances, studio courses, cross-disciplinary programs and special events for adult audiences, along with special initiatives such as the Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence program and the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. In 2012, Sean led the launch of the Gallery’s successful First Thursdays program, which has drawn thousands of new visitors to the AGO.
In 2015, Sean hosted Crash Gallery, a limited-run series on CBC that takes a fun, irreverent look at the creative process through challenges inspired by movements in art history. In 2011, Sean co-founded the performance collective Events in Real Time with artist Liz Peterson. The collective has created multiple performance-based projects, including Express Yourself, which was presented in Toronto and New York and won the SummerWorks Festival Jury Prize for Risk and Innovation.
thousands of new visitors to the AGO. In 2015, Sean hosted Crash Gallery, a limited-run series on CBC that takes a fun, irreverent look at the creative process through challenges inspired by movements in art history. In 2011, Sean co-founded the performance collective Events in Real Time with artist Liz Peterson. The collective has created multiple performance-based projects, including Express Yourself, which was presented in Toronto and New York and won the SummerWorks Festival Jury Prize for Risk and Innovation. Sean sits on the board of Gallery TPW, and in 2014 was named one of the Canadian art community’s “Top 30 under 30” by ArtInfo. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto.
Artistic Director of KasheDance, choreographer, movement coach and Arts Marketing Consultant. The Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015) and The Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award 2014 recipient for outstanding achievement by a mid career artist, he has many interests in the creative practice and administration in dance, and has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States. Kevin is an adjunct artist with the Dance Exchange (Washington D.C), was a company member of Garth Fagan Dance (NY), the Assistant to the Artistic Director and Marketing / Outreach Coordinator for Ballet Creole, and performed in works by Marie Josee Chartier, Allison Cummings, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkur, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. He sat on the Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee (2012-2015), the Community Arts Programs Committee (2009 -2012), was Co-chair Performing Arts Committee of the Jamaica 50th Celebrations Steering Committee and is a Board Member at Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nia Arts Center and is Co-Vice President, Chair of the Dance Companies National Standing Council and the Pluralism Advisory Committee at Canadian Dance Assembly.
Janice Price became President of The Banff Centre on March 16th, 2015. She most recently served as CEO of the Luminato Festival, Toronto’s Festival of Art and Creativity, an organization she led since its inception in 2006. As the Festival’s Founding CEO, Janice helped Luminato become one of the world’s largest and most respected annual multi-arts festivals. The Festival reaches over 800,000 audience members annually, and in its first eight seasons commissioned 75 new works. Previous to Luminato, Janice was the President and CEO of The Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia from 2002-2006, and prior to that position she was Vice President of Marketing and Communications and then Interim Executive Director at New York’s Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts.
Prior to her professional engagements in the United States, Janice held senior positions at a number of Toronto arts organizations, including the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts and The Corporation of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. From 1992 – 1996, Janice was the Director of Marketing and Special Projects for the Stratford Festival.
Janice Price also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Festivals and Major Events (FAME) coalition of large Canadian festivals, and as a member of the board of Festivals and Events Ontario where she served on the advocacy and education committees. She is also a member of the National Board of Culture Days.
Ms. Price has served on numerous arts related Boards, and currently serves on the National Board of Culture Days, Business for the Arts, Govenor Generals Canadian Leadership Council, and the Council of PostSecondary Presidents of Alberta.
Penny has been the Citadel Theatre’s Executive Director since 2003. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, she worked for many years as a stage manager, production manager, tour coordinator and producer of theatre, dance and music productions, festivals and industrials, across Canada and the US. She later returned to NTS as Director of the English Production Section.
In the mid-80’s, Penny crossed over to film and television, producing several award-winning documentaries and dramas, with international coproduction partners, for the National Film Board, Great North Productions, and Alliance Atlantis.
Penny’s long and varied experience in the arts makes her a strong leader, able to appreciate and direct the many activities of a major arts organization and a large facility. She has received the Maclab Enterprises Award for Excellence in Arts Administration, the Rozsa Award for Innovation and was nominated for a Women of Vision Award.
Penny is a passionate participant in and advocate for the arts in all their forms and has served on numerous juries and committees. She is currently a member of the Executive Council for TRG Arts.
Alicia is an arts administrator, workshop facilitator and Managing Director of Framework. At Framework she leads a team in delivering Timeraiser events across Canada, which invests in the careers of emerging artists. She is passionate in developing methodologies of inclusion to engage the voices of the next generations to bolster the arts sector. Some of the organizations she has worked with include: Business for the Arts, Harbourfront Centre and National Arts Centre. She is currently on the fundraising committee for the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario and on the Board for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario as well as Literature for Life. She is currently a 2015/2016 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.
A rocket scientist who once developed jet propulsion systems at age 16, Michael is known as a serial entrepreneur who has built multiple transformative technology platforms across several industries, with over $1B of exits.
Michael Serbinis is the CEO and Founder of LEAGUE, a new digital health benefits platform that is set to disrupt the world of insurance. Prior to LEAGUE, Michael was the Founder and CEO of Kobo, a global leader in ebooks, and docSpace, a pioneer in cloud storage. Michael got his start building one of the first search engines, Zip2 at the start of the Internet boom.
A member of the Perimeter Institute’s Board of Directors, MaRS Discovery District Board of Directors, Board of Trustees at the Ontario Science Centre, a member of the Creative Destruction Lab Board and YPO. Michael is also a mentor & investor in new technology companies through his company Three Angels Capital.
Russell Willis Taylor, President and CEO of National Arts Strategies from January 2001 to January 2015, has extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and all areas of operational management. Educated in England and America, she served as director of development for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to England in 1984 at the invitation of the English National Opera (ENO) to establish the Company’s first fund-raising department. During this time, she also lectured extensively at graduate programs of arts and business management throughout Britain. From 1997 to 2001, she rejoined the ENO as executive director.
Russell has held a wide range of managerial and Board posts in the commercial and nonprofit sectors. She received the Garrett Award for an outstanding contribution to the arts in Britain, the only American to be recognized in this way. Russell currently serves on the boards of the Salzburg Global Seminar, the Arts Management program at American University, the British Council’s Arts & Creative Economy Advisory Group, Fractured Atlas, The Charlottesville Albemarle Community Foundation and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2013, Russell was honored with the International Citation of Merit by the International Society for the Performing Arts, presented in recognition of her lifetime achievement and her distinguished service to the performing arts.
Jesse Wente is the Director of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox, overseeing New Releases, series and TIFF Cinematheque programming and scheduling. Some of his contributions to programming since the opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox in September 2010 include retrospectives on Roman Polanski, Paul Verhoeven, David Cronenberg, Oscar Micheaux, Studio Ghibli and Michael Mann. His first major curatorial project at TIFF Bell Lightbox was the landmark film programme First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition and its accompanying gallery exhibition, Home on Native Land, which took place from June 21 to August 11, 2012. In the summer of 2013 he curated TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, which brought cast and crew members of Animal House together for an onstage reunion. In 2014, Wente co-organized the Canadian premiere of the immensely popular travelling exhibition Stanley Kubrick, and programmed the accompanying retrospective that brought Kubrick’s key collaborators, members of the Kubrick family, and leading critics and scholars to TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Prior to his appointment as Director of Film Programmes, Wente served as one of the Canadian features programmers for the Toronto International Film Festival, and also programmed for the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival. Well known as a film critic and broadcaster in Toronto and across Canada, he is a weekly contributor to CBC Radio’s Metro Morning and has covered film and pop culture for 20 other local CBC Radio programs. He has also been a regular guest on CBC Newsworld’s News Morning and Weekend Edition, as well as Q. Wente is the former president of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest Indigenous Performing Arts Company.
Dr. John Young began his role as President and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on August 17, 2015. Prior to accepting his position with the Museum, Dr. Young was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), where he excelled as both an educator and administrator. During his time at UNBC, Dr. Young served as Interim Provost and Vice President Academic and prior to that was the Dean of the College of Arts, Social and Health Sciences. Recognized by UNBC for his teaching excellence, he has been a visiting professor in the United States and Japan and has lived and worked in Germany and Russia. Dr. Young has also worked with the Canadian Parliamentary Centre, as a director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and on the CMHR Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2015.
Laura Nanni is an interdisciplinary curator, artist and producer, interested in cultivating unconventional and innovative ways of experiencing story and space. As a producer and curator she is known for her successful leadership of initiatives focused on artistic experimentation, community building and collaboration. Numerous projects she has supported through mentorship, development workshops and residencies have gone on to receive prestigious presentation opportunities and awards.
Recent roles include Program Supervisor and Exhibition Manager for Nuit Blanche Toronto (2014 & 2015); Producer for the Luminato Festival (2014) and four seasons as Rhubarb Festival Director for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (2010-2014). From 2008-2010, for Harbourfront Centre, she was Curator and Coordinator for HATCH residency and mentorship program, Artistic Associate for World Stage and Producer of The Culture Congress, an annual arts and culture forum.
Her performance and installation work has been presented across North America, the UK and Europe, including 7a*11d Festival of Performance Art (Toronto), Galapagos Art Space (NY) and London International Festival of Theatre (London). Laura also actively mentors and provides consultation for emerging producers, curators and organizations across the globe. www.laurananni.com
Jim has worked at The Banff Centre for 33 years. Hired by President Paul D. Fleck, Jim spent the first 15 years producing Management and Leadership Seminars. Since 1996 Jim has served artists, leadership and conference guests. Jim has served at every Canadian Arts Summit held in Banff. One of his many roles is “presenting” The Banff Centre through guided tours of the creative spaces of the mountain campus. Jim’s “behind the scenes” tour Saturday morning will include historical anecdotes, descriptions of our programming and glimpses of hidden creative spaces on campus.
Corleigh Powderface (Guiding Feather Woman- Wa-thu-thna-ge Wiya) is a Banff Centre Cultural Advisor and Stoney Nakoda (I-ya-hre Nakoda) from the Morley reserve. She is a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and has a passion to teach others about ancestral history, traditional protocols as well as traditional spirituality. The greatest advice she ever received was from Sykes Powderface: You can walk both worlds but never forget who you truly are. Walk with the four teaching of our ancestors; honesty, trust, respect and honor. For if one of these are broken then the rest do not work.