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Participants
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Carly McFadden

Artistic and Executive Director
Folk On The Rocks Music Festival
Folk On The Rocks Music Festival
Artistic and Executive Director
Carly McFadden is a professional artistic director with complementary experience in production management. She got her start in live events as the Production Manager for Eco Fashion Week Vancouver, while at the same time putting on small music shows with friends in the city. Music was always at the heart of her work and personal life so the progression to working in the music industry was a natural one. Since 2016 she has been the Artistic & Executive Director of Folk On The Rocks Music Festival in Yellowknife, NT. She also worked on the label side of the industry with DevilDuck Records Canada from 2018 to 2020 and recently began doing some freelance work with the newly formed, Victory Pool Artist Management and Label.

Jaime Martino

Executive Director
Tapestry Opera
Tapestry Opera
Executive Director
Jaime Martino is a passionate leader, producer, and award-winning choreographer. Currently Executive Director of Tapestry Opera, she was a member of the 2019 Opera America Leadership Intensive cohort and the 2020 TAC Leaders’ Lab. As co-founder of the Aha Dance Collective in New Zealand, she created works exploring movement through a queer feminist lens. As Director of Operations for Pride Toronto, she steered one of the largest celebrations of queer and trans communities in the world. In 2014, she was officially recognized by the City of Toronto for her contribution to WorldPride, and received a Rainbow Warrior award “for outstanding support for ... LGBT culture”. Jaime believes deeply in the power of art to transform lives and the world.

Lucy Eveleigh

Executive Director
Toronto Fringe Festival
Toronto Fringe Festival
Executive Director
Lucy Eveleigh has been at the Toronto Fringe since 2013, joining as the Managing Director and then becoming the Executive Director in 2017. Prior to this Lucy has worked at SummerWorks Performance Festival, Necessary Angel and as the Director and Founder of Zoofest, an alternative festival under the umbrella of Just for Laughs/Juste pour rire. Originally from Somerset in England, Lucy worked at the Pleasance in both London and Edinburgh, one of the largest venues at the Edinburgh Fringe. Lucy is also a certified life coach and has been a long time volunteer at the Distress Centre.

Lynda Trudeau

General Manager
Debajehmujig Theatre Group
Debajehmujig Theatre Group
General Manager
An Anishinaabekwe (Odawa) from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. The General Manager, since 2018, of Debajehmujig Theatre Group (Debajehmujig Storytellers) A multi-arts organization, located on Manitoulin Island. A former Board Director Debajehmujig Theatre Group (7 years), and Debajehmujig Enterprises; As well, a Debajehmujig alumni, as Box Office Coordinator for a mainstage production. Lynda has earned a Diploma of Business Administration, Business Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Management, A certificate in Indigenous Women in Community Leadership, as well as a Master of Environment and Business Degree. Aligning Indigenous Values, Principles, and Traditions, while balancing policies and process are Lynda’s goals.

Melissa Karmen Lee

Director of Education and Public Programs
Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery
Director of Education and Public Programs
Melissa Karmen Lee 李林嘉敏 was born on x?m?θk??y??m (Musqueam), Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish), and s?l?ilw?ta?? (Tsleil-Waututh) territories in Vancouver, Canada. She is the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she oversees public programs designed for diverse audiences of all ages to enhance the understanding of the Gallery’s over 12,000-piece art collection and of travelling contemporary and modern exhibitions. Before Vancouver, she was on the founding team to open Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art, Hong Kong—a UNESCO heritage site—serving as the Education and Public Programs Curator in 2016-2019. In 2016, she was the Scholar in Residence at the David Lam Centre, Simon Fraser University. She was on faculty as Senior Lecturer at the English Department of Chinese University of Hong Kong Kong from 2008-2015. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, she has co-founded and spearheaded such popular online digital initiatives as Art Connects, Art At Home and Virtual School to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s growing local and international audiences.

Melissa Tsang

Managing Director
Urban Ink
Urban Ink
Managing Director
As Managing Director and co-leader of Urban Ink, Melissa (she/her) supports work to uplift Indigenous and diverse voices through storytelling and performance. Melissa brings 15 years of experience as a cultural leader and administrator having worked with organizations from across performing arts disciplines, including Vancouver Opera, Arts Club Theatre Company, Music on Main, and Ballet BC. She holds an MBA from Durham University and a BFA in Theatre Production/Design and Music from the University of British Columbia. A daughter of Chinese immigrants, Melissa acknowledges the x?m?θk??y??m (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and s?l'ilw?ta?? (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples, on whose unceded land where she currently lives, and the Anishinaabeg, Ininew, Dakota and Metis peoples on whose territory where she was born and raised.

Robin Whiffen

Executive Director
Against the Grain Theatre
Against the Grain Theatre
Executive Director
An arts administrator and performer from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Robin Whiffen was appointed as Against the Grain Theatre's first Executive Director in September 2019 after spending three seasons with Opera on the Avalon. Inspired by a lifelong love of music, Robin is passionate about creating opportunities for all to see themselves reflected through opera and removing the barriers of entry that make opera inaccessible to many. Robin is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from The University of Toronto. In 2017, she represented the Association for Opera in Canada at the OPERA America Leadership Intensive in New York City and has been invited to speak across Canada in her capacity as an arts administrator and advocate of the operatic art form.

Sandra Laronde

Executive and Artistic Director
Red Sky Performance
Red Sky Performance
Executive and Artistic Director
Sandra Laronde is a champion of arts and culture. For almost 30 years, she has driven her passion forward to elevate arts and culture while playing a pivotal role in the ongoing Indigenous cultural resurgence in Canada. She is the Executive & Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance, a company that she founded in 2000. The company has grown to prominence as a leading contemporary Indigenous performance company in Canada and worldwide. Her work highlights the originality and power of contemporary performance, enabling new creations to expand the breadth and scope of Indigenous-made work in Canada. She also re-ignited the department of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for three terms (9 years) as the Director of Indigenous Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity where she provided a vision for a compelling future in the 21st century.

Tasleem Somji

Director, Development and Outreach
York Region Arts Council
York Region Arts Council
Director, Development and Outreach
A cultural strategist with a diverse and international career in the arts sector — from program and cultural institution development, to film and live event production, to content creation and digital transformation. Tasleem spent over a decade working with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a member of their Senior Leadership team as it transitioned from an annual festival to a prestigious, year-round film centre. Her work in the industry has been instrumental in shaping and aligning various public festivals and events across the globe — from the Dubai International Film Festival to the Vancouver Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Her local contributions also include the launch of the Aga Khan Museum and Park, and it’s inaugural two years of operation. An advocate for cultural heritage as a means for community development, Tasleem has served as a producer, creative consultant and Board Member for multiple arts projects and organisations, including the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF Toronto), the Indo-American Arts Council in New York, and a Jury Member for the inaugural Jubilee Arts Festival in Lisbon, Portugal.

Wesley J. Colford

Artistic and Executive Director
Highland Arts Theatre
Highland Arts Theatre
Artistic and Executive Director
Wesley J. Colford (they/them) is a Dora-Nominated playwright & theatre artist from Cape Breton who is currently based in Sydney, NS where they serve as the inaugural Artistic & Executive Director of Highland Arts Theatre (or HAT). After completing the Musical Theatre Performance program at Sheridan College, Wesley studied classical acting at George Brown College in Toronto. As a playwright, their plays have been produced in three provinces, won awards, been published, and been adapted for film. They were recently honoured as one of the Globe & Mail’s “Canadian Arts Heroes of 2020” for their work developing the HAT’s bold new funding model, Radical Access.
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