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Sheila Koop
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
Matt Ladner – A leader with 20 years experience in areas of senior management, project development and administration. Other areas of expertise include contract negotiation, project development, liaising with stake holders, agencies and suppliers. Currently an advisor to a First Nations wind farm, working on strategic planning and cash flow for this client. A graduate from Centre Wellington District High School, he holds a Bachelor of History degree from Queens University.
Berry Smith
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
Shelley Carter
Shelley has co-ordinated a few group art exhibitions. The Elora Tarot Project, was the collaborative creation of a tarot deck by sixty-five artists from Elora and surrounds. The project culminated in an exhibition of the original artwork at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in the fall of 2013, and the publication of the Elora Tarot deck. She also co-ordinated Death Perceptions, which was intended to promote open conversations about death and dying. It opened in the fall of 2016, and was accompanied by a book of the exhibition. She is currently working on an exhibition about The Tarot Lovers Card. Shelley has worked as an occupational therapist / psychotherapist for many years, and continues to do so. Shelley and her partner Mark have loved living in Elora for about twenty years. “Shelley has a knack for getting a group of people rowing in the same direction” ~ Tim Murton
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.
Sarah Shannon
Sarah Shannon grew up on a dairy farm near Harriston, Ontario, and always planned to return to the area after finishing her post-secondary education. She has been working in Elora since June 2010, first as an articling student and now as a lawyer. Sarah’s main areas of practice include real estate, wills and estates and business/corporate law. Sarah obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in French Studies with a minor in Spanish Studies from the University of Guelph in 2007. She then obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa in 2010. While in her third year of law school, Sarah volunteered with Ottawa Riverkeeper through Pro Bono Students Canada, mainly focusing on legal research for the organization. In addition to serving as a board member with the ECFTA, Sarah is also a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol, and skates on a synchronized figure skating team representing the Elora & District Skating Club.