Meet our Team
Nichole Anderson, President and CEO of Business for the Arts, holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and a Masters degree in Art History from the University of Toronto. She joined Business for the Arts in 2006 and has worked with an ever-growing team of volunteers, Board Members and colleagues to develop programs and events of national scale that stimulate business volunteerism and investment in the arts.
Prior to her role at Business for the Arts, Nichole managed the corporate art collection at Hbc, which included Ken Thomson’s beautiful Canadian Art collection, and helped develop museum programming and exhibits for the company’s new museum sites and community events across Canada.
Nichole holds a number of volunteer positions, including Board Member of the Arts Access Fund, which gives full-year scholarships for children and youth from underserved communities to take lessons in the arts discipline of their choice. She is a Member of the Canada 150 Advisory Committee for the City of Toronto, and an active volunteer in the community.
She is a past Member of the Toronto TELUS Community Board (4 years); Board Member of the Art of Time Ensemble (6 years); Member of the Steering Committee for the City of Toronto’s Creative Capital initiative (3 years); and Vice President of the Health Arts Society Ontario (5 years). She studied music seriously from the age of three, with a focus on the violin, and plays informally now with family and friends.
Shannon Litzenberger is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, creative facilitator, arts consultant and advocate. Through the umbrella of her company Shannon Litzenberger Contemporary Dance, she creates innovative multi-disciplinary productions that explore timely social issues using contemporary dance in concert with other mediums like storytelling, film, visual art and poetry. She has been an invited resident artist at Banff Centre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Atlantic Ballet Theatre. Shannon also designs and facilitates movement-based workshops on embodied leadership within the community and corporate settings. As a programmer, strategist and cultural policy thinker, Shannon works with many organizations including Business for the Arts, the Canadian Arts Summit, Metcalf Foundation, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, University of Toronto, and Humber College, among others. Shannon is a recipient of the Jack McAllister Award for accomplishment in dance, the recipient of a 2019 Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a twice-shortlisted finalist for the prestigious KM Hunter Award.
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.
When I’m not working, you can typically find me at the library. If I were stuck on a desert island, I’d bring the following three things. A boat, water and food. One thing not many people know about me that I play piano. One quote that really resonates with me. “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe” – Anatole France. A book that has really influenced me is Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In.