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Board

2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Sheila Koop
Co-Chair
Sheila is keen to offer her skills in administration, organization and communication to the interim board for the Elora Centre for the Arts. In her work life Sheila has held the post of General Manager for the Mariposa Folk Festival (including coordination of arts programs in Toronto schools during the academic year); General Manager of Sheep Focus, an annual weekend promotional event for the Ontario Sheep Association; and an educator with the Upper Grand School Board for 25 years. In her role as a teacher her leadership was recognized through receipt of the Humanitarian Teacher Award (ETFO, 2003) and the Mike Elrich Environmental Award (Upper Grand District School Board, 2011). Volunteer work in Centre Wellington has included support of visiting Katimavik and Canada World Youth students, a founding member of the Centre Wellington Project Ploughshares chapter, a liaison person with Centre Wellington District High School for student and public meetings with Stephen Lewis and Maude Barlow, and helping with set-up and program delivery in the early years of the Elora Centre for the Arts.

Sheila lives in Elora with her husband, Al, who has a small business, Older Voices, that is rooted in the history and heritage of Centre Wellington. She believes she is a particular asset for future programming.
Matt Ladner
Co-Chair
Matt Ladner is a proven leader with over 20 years’ experience in the areas of senior management, project development, project management and administration. Through his consulting company Beausoleil Consulting Group, Matt is currently collaborating with and providing consulting services to various First Nations in Ontario. Current professional areas of focus include working on strategic planning, cash flow forecasting, project management and business development. Prior to opening his consulting firm, Matt was the Canadian Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Engie, a global independent power producer, utility and asset management company.

Matt has managed due diligence on large infrastructure transactions and corporate transactions, led business development initiatives for multiple projects in Canada and the United States, acted as Project Manager for a $280 million energy project and secured regulatory approvals on projects across the country.

Matt was instrumental in the organic growth of AIM PowerGen Corporation, a start-up renewable energy company which was acquired on three separate occasions – ultimately becoming the renewable energy presence in Canada for Engie (formerly known as GDF Suez). During his ten years with this organization Matt was a key contributor to the development, construction and operation of over 580MWs ($2 billion Canadian) of new renewable energy projects in Canada.

Other areas of expertise include; contract negotiation, project development, liaising with various stakeholders, agencies and suppliers, management of project construction activities including adherence to schedule, quality, environmental requirements, cost, and ensuring office and site safety.

Matt resides in Elora with his family and has a Bachelor of History degree from Queen’s University.
Berry Smith
Secretary
Berry received his bachelor and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, England. He joined the University of Toronto where he was a professor of Zoology and then Cell and Systems Biology until his recent retirement. He considers himself multi-faceted, having been successful in research, teaching and university administration during his career, while also helping raise two sons and pursuing interests in music, photography, gardening, old houses, computer programming, dogs, wine and craft beer.

He brings considerable creative and administrative experience to the board, having served while at the University of Toronto as Vice-Dean, Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Interim Chair of his Department, Director of the undergraduate Human Biology Program, and Vice-Dean, Students in the School of Graduate Studies, as well as numerous University, Faculty and Departmental committees. His creative achievements include rescuing the Faculty Club from financial ruin, establishing a major undergraduate computing facility, introducing computerisation to the Dean’s Office in the Faculty of Arts and Science, redesigning the 2000-student Human Biology program, and establishing a new program in professional skills development for graduate students.

Retiring to Elora in 2012, he helps his wife Gail Richardson foster golden retrievers, gardens, and works on various projects at home and cottage. He is also honing his photography skills; his portfolio may be seen at Berry Smith Images.
Berry Smith Images
Renate Karger
Owner, President of Karger Gallery, Elora, Ontario — 1993 to present (23 years) . Responsible for all buying, merchandising and operations of the business, with a focus on connection with individual and companies with ethical manufacturing practices leaving a softer foot print on the environment. Franchise consultant, assistant to the buyer, Supervisor of 18 stores across Canada. Previously worked at Angelo Retail Corporation — 1985-1992 (7 years). Education: Sheridan College, Toronto — Business and Retail management, Retail Management and Design. Studied fine art and silver smithing with various artisans across Ontario.
Jon Ralston
Jon is the President, Artistic Director and one of the owners of Riverfest Elora. He has been growing the festival from its modest beginnings in 2009 on the ECFTA grounds since its founder, Marilyn Koop, passed away in April of 2012.

Music has been a huge part of Jon’s life. He studied music from the age of 8 and continued these studies at Humber College before deciding to shift directions academically. Aerospace engineering was followed by Political Science at Carleton University. After obtaining his degrees, Jon returned to Elora in 2008.

He is an active member of the Elora community, running and participating in music, fundraising, and awareness events on top of the growing Riverfest and its winter counterpart, Ice Jam. He brings a strong ability in project management as well as creative thinking concerning fundraising and programming. As a local business owner he is able to help highlight the concerns of the community. Additionally, coming from a musical background and working with artists and musicians on a daily basis, Jon has a first hand view of the needs and concerns of the music and artist community, which will be helpful in shaping the conversation related to the future of the ECFTA.

You will find Jon, in his spare time, scuba diving, canoeing, enjoying a pint at the Shepherd’s Pub or Elora Brewing Co. or having breakfast at Box Social!
Melissa Seagrove
Centre Wellington is my home and I know it well. My husband and I have kept our roots here to raise our family because we believe this community has so much to offer. With Wellington County surrounding us, we have the best of both worlds: rural and urban. We have so many vibrant programs, schools, events and people! I have been fortunate to have lived in Elora, Fergus, and for a short time, Guelph since 1986. I have 2 children, Chloe 15 and Ethan 13. They have been involved in many programs over the years and I believe have benefited from growing up in CW.

I have been working as a Real Estate Professional in Centre Wellington for 10 years. I started my career with young school-aged children. I found my schedule full yet rewarding. Taking care of clients during any hour of the day and managing a functional, happy, family life with my partner, Terry, who also runs a local business. This was a busy time for us!

My dedication, work ethic, knowledge of Real Estate and love for this community will I believe contribute much to the Board.
Karen Davis
Karen brings to the Board more than 35 years of expertise and knowledge gathered in the healthcare, social service and government sectors. She has most recently held Chief Executive Officer positions in hospitals and health care systems both in Ontario and in British Columbia, and continues with her own consulting business that specializes in building leadership capacity and leading change. Karen has been an innovative and visionary leader with knowledge and experience in all aspects of organizational practice including financial and human resource management, program development, leading capital projects, marketing and branding, and public/ media relations.

She brings extensive experience working collaboratively with community partners. She has worked extensively with foundations and fundraising committees, providing leadership in areas such as economic and community development. Keen to be an engaged and contributing community member, she has held volunteer/ board director positions in economic development committees, community planning councils, hospice palliative societies, women’s shelters, and senior’s residential homes.

After a highly satisfying career, Karen recently felt it was time to move on to the next chapter of her life and retire. She is currently enjoying new adventures, new opportunities and new connections, and especially the added playtime with her 3-year-old grandson in Toronto. With a recent relocation to Fergus in Centre Wellington and a complementary lifelong passion for the Arts, she is excited to bring her wide range of skills to the Board!
Danielle Marks
Since her call to the Bar in 2008, Danielle has worked extensively in the areas of commercial litigation and tort law, including personal injury. She has represented clients at all levels of court in Ontario and before various administrative tribunals, including the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Divisional and Superior Courts, the Health and Professional Discipline Proceedings, the Ontario Child and Family Service Review Board, and Coroner’s Inquests. She is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Advocates Society and the Wellington Law Association. Danielle is experienced in Employment Law and the preparation of employment or independent contractor agreements. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Wellington Law Association.

Now an Associate at SV Law in Guelph, Danielle is co-chair of the civil litigation practice group at the firm. She moved to Elora with her family in October of 2017 and is looking forward to being more involved in the community.
Julianna Cox
Julianna Cox is co-owner of the Gorge Cinema and also an artist and animator. She has a passion for arts and culture that serve the community. Her own creativity was fostered in after-school art programs she attended as a child in Brooklyn, New York. Here she developed fabrication skills that helped set her on a path leading to her career as an animator. Her credits include Coraline, Creature Comforts and Shaun the Sheep. Julianna knows first-hand how access to the arts and creative programming leads to well-being. She and her husband Payton (co-owner of The Gorge Cinema and fellow animator) live in Elora and plan to carry on the tradition of the Cinema while also contributing their own creativity and exploring avenues that encourage independent film and animation in the area. Julianna has also followed in her mother’s footsteps as a landscape painter, and has been capturing her environment in oils and watercolours. The Elora Centre for the Arts has provided Julianna with inspiration and a sense of artistic community. As a board member, she hopes to give something back by sharing her energy, passion and experience.
Lee Bonnell
Lee Bonnell is currently the co-founder of Transformation Labs, a technology consultancy focused on software product management. Lee has been in technology his entire career, successfully developing, launching, and marketing & selling technology products.

After obtaining a Bachelors and Masters degree in Applied Physics & Engineering, Lee started in high technology by building a lab that researched, designed and manufactured specialty optical fiber at the National Optics Institute in Quebec City, and then went on to design and build a new automated manufacturing system for optical fiber components at Alcatel Canada. After obtaining an MBA, he went on to sales and marketing at Hewlett-Packard Canada, and then to m-Cube Canada, a company developing mobile-based storefronts. When the software sector boomed, he moved to the software space, launching numerous consumer and enterprise software applications at Blackberry, Nuance Communications, and PTC.

Lee has extensive experience developing new products, go-to-market strategies, competitive positioning, and building business relationships. Lee has built up expertise in Enterprise & Consumer software, Product Management, Product Marketing, Agile Processes, Market Research, and Competitive Analysis.

Lee is driven by innate curiosity, and a desire to build new things. Creativity as a key element of these endeavours, and he sees the ECFTA as a wonderful environment where creativity can be nurtured and inspired for the community and its visitors.

Lee first discovered Elora while studying for a Bachelor in Applied Physics at the University of Waterloo, and was a continual visitor until he moved to Elora permanently with his family in 2008.