2024-2025 Emerging Leadership Program

Nurturing Excellence in Arts, Culture, and Heritage Leadership

As part of our 50th anniversary programming, Business / Arts has launched the Emerging Leadership Program to empower 25 arts, culture, and heritage leaders from across Canada. Intended for those aspiring to hold senior roles in large cultural organizations, this program seeks to nurture a diverse talent pool and address leadership gaps within Canada’s cultural sector.

Key Components


From March 2024 to February 2025, this one-year program provides opportunities for career growth with an emphasis on co-learning for participants and advisors.

2024 Canadian Arts Summit Participation: 

The program launched in March at the 2024 Canadian Arts Summit at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where participants connected with their advisors and engaged in Summit programming and networking opportunities. 

Knowledge-Sharing Sessions:

Throughout the year, participants will engage in monthly one-on-one sessions with their advisors as well as a series of peer sessions with their fellow participants. These sessions are intended to facilitate reciprocal learning, provide leadership guidance, and create networking opportunities to enhance professional growth.


Aida Aydinyan
General Manager, Performing Arts
Royal Conservatory of Music

Alex Sarian
President & CEO
Arts Commons

Alisa Palmer
Executive Artistic Director of the English Section & Director of the Acting & Residencies Programs
National Theatre School of Canada

Anita Gaffney
Executive Director
Stratford Festival

Anne Chafe
The Rooms Corporation

Camilla Holland
Executive Director
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

Celia Smith
Luminato Festival Toronto

Cheryl Sim
Managing Director & Curator
PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art

Clyde Wagner
President & CEO
TO Live

Colleen Smith
FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

Elena Tupyseva
Executive Director
Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Gideon Arthurs
Executive Director
Soulpepper Theatre Company

John Dalrymple
Executive Director
Canada’s National Ballet School

John G. Hampton
President & CEO
MacKenzie Art Gallery

Kyle Fostner
Executive Director
Vancouver International Film Festival

Marc Stevens
President & CEO
Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

maxine bailey
Executive Director
Canadian Film Centre (CFC)

Maya Choldin
Executive Director
Theatre Calgary

Nathan Medd
Victoria Conservatory of Music

Paul Larocque
President & CEO
Arts Umbrella

Rich Coburn
Senior Manager of Community Partnerships and Programming Diversity
National Arts Centre Orchestra

Sarah Garton Stanley (SGS)
Vice-President of Programming
Arts Commons

Stafford Arima
Artistic Director
Theatre Calgary

Steve Bellamy
Confederation Centre of the Arts

Ulrike Al-Khamis
Director & CEO
Aga Khan Museum


The Emerging Leadership participants come from an array of arts, cultural, and heritage organizations across Canada. From art galleries like the Southern Alberta Art Gallery – Maansiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin, and Winnipeg Art Gallery, to performing arts stages such as Soulpepper Theatre Company, École nationale de théâtre du Canada, and Chor Leoni, and including multi-arts organizations like Nia Centre for the Arts, The National accessArts Centre, and Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, among others.

Participants hail from nearly every corner of Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Northwest Territories– a true celebration of the incredible work being done in the arts from coast to coast. 

Meet the Emerging Leaders

From left to right: Toyin Oladele, Jocelyn Tsui, Melissa Novecosky, Em Ironstar, Fawnda Mithrush, Alethea Bakogeorge, Alica Hall, Simon Ouellette, Yumi Palleschi, Rohan Kulkarni, Nelly Jourdain, Su Ying Strang, Jennifer Rae Forsyth, Jenn Brown, Emily McMahon, Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Kelly Wilhelm (Session Leader), Natasha McEwen, Stash Bylicki, Etienne Allard, Carlos Robayo, Joshua Dalledonne, Teresa Horosko, Julia Lafreniere & Andrea Boyd. not pictured: Mieko Ouchi. Photography by Philip Maglieri.