Maggie is the program director for the Canadian Arts Summit and a senior strategic adviser for Business/Arts. Having worked in the U.K, the U.S. and Canada, most recently as an SVP, client leader with global communications firm Weber Shandwick, (in New York, Minneapolis and Toronto), Maggie brings extensive global communications and project management experience. Her greatest strength is her ability to build strong relationships and to problem solve, a skill she has honed through her agency work as well as in-house experience in the not-for-profit sector, where being resourceful was a necessary asset. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Maggie worked at Kraft Foods in the U.K as well as a UK government-run charity and at National PR in Toronto.
During her tenure in communications, Maggie has led awarding-winning campaigns for public awareness and reputation management that have garnered awards from the industry establishments including IABC, SABRES and the Holmes Report.
A theatre geek and lifelong supporter of the arts, Maggie has volunteered on a number of arts boards including, Crow’s Theatre and the Art of Time in Toronto, and the Alliance of Resident Theatre Companies in New York.
Born in Guyana, got a tan in the Bahamas, learned about life in New Jersey, drank a cup of tea in England, now cycling through Toronto. When I am not pushing out exceptional designs, I can be found taking photographs, cooking, and drinking craft brews… often at the same time. Instagram
With over fifteen years of professional experience, I am dedicated to making space for creative, critical, visionary thinking in support of the arts and their fundamental contribution to our society. Born in Calgary, raised in southern Ontario, rebounded west to Banff, Calgary, Edmonton and now landed in Toronto, I have an affection for both east and west. When I am not building capacity in the arts & cultural sectors through our artsvest program, I can be found at arts events around the city or curled in a chair listening to records, reading a book, or stringing words together in a notebook or cocktail napkin. I chose this line of work because as one of my hero’s Patti Smith said “Make your interactions with people transformational, not just transactional” and I believe the arts can do that better than anything.
I am an artist, arts advocate and administrator working in the cultural sector for 20 years focusing on community engagement, collaboration, pluralism, inclusivity and accessibility. I chose this career path because I believe that creativity is a vital part of our lives, allowing us to learn, grow, share and communicate. I’ve been fortunate to live in all across Canada from Whitehorse to Toronto, Huntsville to Montreal and in the UK. When I’m not working, you can find me developing my art practice, using craft to connect with others, telling our personal and collective stories with a needle and thread. www.jessicavellenga.com
The arts have been a constant thread throughout my life, and every time I try to run away, they pull me back in. The arts are messy, colourful, raw and grounded in bringing people together. They are a necessity in our world and I am proud to be part of the force that keeps them alive. When I’m not working, I’m usually out doing something active, drinking wine and eating food with friends, or dreaming up the next adventure.
From the words of my friend and artist, Suzanne Northcott, “it’s simple, spend your life doing the things that you like doing, with the people you like doing it with”.
I joined Business for the Arts in the summer of 2012. I have ten years of experience working in accounting in both small and medium companies and various industries including retail, constructions, and not for profit. When I am not crunching numbers, I enjoy going on long drives equipped with an exhaustive playlist of 90s Tamil songs, and exploring and tasting various mouthwatering cuisines.
Although I’m an accountant, my heart lies in the arts. I didn’t have any access to the arts growing up until I got a part-time job in high school and finally took music lessons- I decided to learn to play the violin. This is why I’m particularly excited about getting to work for a non-profit that helps contribute to art programs.
Violinist, pianist, all-around supernerd, and lifelong advocate for the arts. I have a background in music and education, and was fortunate enough to live in China researching those subjects. When I’m not working I’m probably playing in an orchestra, practicing music for fun, or volunteering with a charity video game marathon.
Growing up I wanted to be a teacher. I have a healthy balance of both arts and business in my life – I grew up with entrepreneurs as parents, and they encouraged me to be an artist and participate in many arts and culture activities. I chose this line of work because I believe that the visible and invisible work that artists produce impacts our lives. I now have the privilege of working with dozens of arts organizations across the province that make our communities more vibrant and liveable.
One of my favourite quotes is, “Art is not meant to answer questions. It’s meant to demonstrate possibilities.” I am a passionate arts champion who over the past 15 years has cultivated relationships in Calgary’s arts community through marketing, fundraising and the creation of programming that supports local artists. I’ve enjoyed working on the teams of Glenbow Museum, Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, Downtown Calgary and previously volunteered with B/A’s artsScene Calgary and boardLink. Always representing a blend of business and the arts, I hold a Bachelors of Commerce Honours Degree from the Queen’s University with a minor in Art History. Currently I’m also the Wonder Woman behind the scenes directing the Parade of Wonders for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. When not working I can be found attending local drag performances, sharing my love of Iceland or travelling internationally. I’m honoured through artsvest to now champion the incredible arts organizations across the province of Alberta.
Born and raised on the Saskatchewan prairie, I live in the small community of Shaunavon (less than 2000 people!) with my husband and two teenagers. When I’m not working you can find me on the curling ice (in the winter, at least!). One book that has influenced me is The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, where he challenges readers to treat their work as a form of art. A perfect day for me consists of sipping tea in the summer sunshine while my cat naps on my lap, going for a walk, reading a book, baking some treats and enjoying a relaxing dinner with my family (which I DID NOT cook!)