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Board

ECFTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Deepti Celetti
Co-Chair
Deepti Celetti brings a passion for volunteerism and community building to the ECTFA. Born and raised in India, she came to Canada at age 12. She brings an immigrant’s global perspective in everything she does. She is a strong proponent of social justice, equity and human rights, especially as they pertain to Canada’s indigenous people. Deepti obtained a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies from the University of Guelph and her B.Ed. from the University of Prince Edward Island. She taught Early Childhood Education courses to adults in P.E.I. and Alberta and worked as an Executive Director at an Inner-City Community Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan. As secretary on the board for the Immigrant Women’s Group of P.E.I., she helped women who were new to Canada understand the myriad rules and regulations. In her role as the Resources Coordinator for the World Citizen’s Centre in Lethbridge, she recruited, trained and supervised volunteers to help with fundraising activities. In Ontario, she taught all grades from Kindergarten to grade 6 before retiring. Having lived, studied and worked in four provinces, she has a good understanding of the diversity in our vast country, and as an educator espoused values that she believes make Canada a great, inclusive country. She presently volunteers at the New to You shop to help our community maintain a first-class hospital. Deepti lives in Elora with her husband Mike and is a proud mother to two daughters. She’s loving her role as a first time grandparent! Deepti hopes to apply her values, knowledge and organizational skills to help the Elora Centre for the Arts to be an agent of change for our growing community!
Kathryn Giffen
Co-Chair
Kathryn has had a number of careers and has served on several boards throughout her life-long learning journey. She completed a Masters Degree in Psychology and holds a Juris Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School. After practicing Civil Litigation in Kitchener for several years, she became in-house counsel for an insurance company and later served as President of a life insurance company. She subsequently held senior positions in the financial services industry including head of the strategy and performance management team at a major Canadian bank. She received an ICD.D designation from Rotman School of Management and has served on several financial services boards and as Chair of Women's College Hospital in Toronto. She is the Past Chair of the Canadian Sports Institue of Ontario, where she served for 11 years. As part of her "retirement" career, Kathryn is the owner/operator of Oz Farms, an equestrian facility in Wellington County, where she rides, boards horses and hosts equine facilitated learning sessions. When she has some leisure time, she enjoys traveling, including bareboat sailing in the Caribbean, and of course, horseback riding. The ECFTA plays such an important role in bringing the Arts and Community together in Elora and Wellington County, and Kathryn is very much looking forward to bringing whatever experience and talents may be useful to ensure its continued success.
Ellen Helps
Secretary
Ellen hopes her epitaph reads "Lover of good food, good drink, good fun and good grammar” (although she also hopes that won't be soon). As a life-long fan of the arts - music, fine art, ballet among others - Ellen is pleased to have been asked to join ECFTA's Board. In addition to her quirky sense of humour, she brings to the organization over 20 years of experience with the Ontario government developing, implementing and delivering policy and programs. She has also sat on on several volunteer boards, including a term as co-chair of the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. Ellen holds a BSc (Agr) in Agricultural Economics and a M.Ag. in Agricultural Business Management, both from the University of Guelph, and is a graduate of the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program. As a lover of travel, horses and wine, Ellen considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to take several exotic vacations that have allowed her to incorporate these passions. Locally, she and her Scottish Terrier Archie - named after the somewhat obscure Scottish folk singer and songwriter, Archie Fisher - can often be found at the Fergus Dog Park, where Archie has become famous for his unlimited energy and feisty personality.
Lee Bonnell
Treasurer
Lee Bonnell is currently Manager, Strategic Pricing at OpenText, a software company based in Waterloo. Prior to that, he co-founded 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.
Kyle Dietrich
Board Member
Kyle is an Investment Advisor and Portfolio Manager with BMO Nesbitt Burns and his role allows him to help families achieve their financial, retirement and estate planning goals. His extensive knowledge of investments, insurance and tax planning allows him to tailor individualized plans for each of his clients to help them achieve their goals. Kyle’s investing career began at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan where he was exposed to the various investment approaches adopted by one of Canada’s largest pension funds. Kyle has earned his Bachelors Degree in Economics and Financial Management from Wilfrid Laurier University and currently holds his Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) and Professional Financial Planning (PFP) designations from the Canadian Securities Institute. Kyle lives with his family in Elora and is a community-minded person who contributes to the Board of the Elora Centre for the Arts with his financial wisdom, and loves supporting and enhancing his community through his volunteer work at the Centre.
Verne Harrison
Board Member
Verne has a lifelong passion for the arts and brings over 3 decades of public art gallery experience to bring to the table at the ECFTA. As a recent retiree from his long career with the A.G.G. (Art Gallery of Guelph), he jumped at the chance to join this great group of people on the ECFTA board as a way to serve the community and continue his passion for the arts. Verne graduated with an Honours Fine Art degree from the University of Western Ontario. While there, Verne co-founded the first ever student art gallery. Upon graduating, Verne and a couple of fellow fine art graduates expanded their focus to start up a gallery project in London, with a mandate to provide exhibition space for new artists or artists having difficulty getting their artwork exhibited. In 1987, Verne headed to Toronto to begin a new job at the newly opened Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront. As installation officer, Verne worked directly with leading Canadian and international artists, designers and architects. In 1992, Verne moved to Guelph to assume the role of Gallery Coordinator at the A.G.G., then the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre. Verne’s position at the gallery was a conglomerate of managerial responsibilities including collections, leading the installation of exhibitions, building and grounds management (which was specifically related to the permanent outdoor sculpture installations). In 2004, Verne became a co-founder and coordinator of A.G.O.G. (Art in Guelph and Outside Guelph) in Guelph and surrounding region, with the vision to bring an increased awareness of all the great art being done in and around Guelph. Verne has been a member of Guelph’s Public Art Advisory Committee for the past 7 years and is currently holds the position of Chair. He has also been a practicing artist throughout his career and continues to produce his own work in his basement studio, which he refers to as the “The Hot Mess Art Lodge”.
Brad Henderson
Board Member
Brad brings a depth of experience in risk management, finance, customer service and market research. His past career at companies like the Ontario Treasury Board, Guelph Hydro, Ontario Power Generation and the Auditor General of Ontario have given him a breadth of knowledge and expertise to contribute to the Board at the Elora Centre for the Arts. He has also volunteered on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Paraplegic Association and the Centre Wellington Social Justice Group. Brad lives in Fergus and holds a BA in Management Economics from the University of Guelph, as well as a CPA, CA designation from the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Spencer Shewen
Board Member
Spencer is a community-minded Artistic Director and Festival Manager at Riverfest Elora. He is well-versed in the events services industry, the not-for-profit and municipal sectors. He is skilled at talent acquisition, marketing, sales, media relations, live event production, volunteer management, hospitality, artistic direction and technical production. Spencer's strong operations and project management experience and his community-building mindset is an asset to the Board at the Elora Centre for the Arts. He is also the Community Development, Culture & Special Events Coordinator at Township of Centre Wellington. Spencer has previously volunteered for 5 years on the elected board of directors for the Hillside Music Festival and Advisory Committee and Executive Committee.
Melissa Watkins
Director
Decidedly bureaucratic by training and experience, like many of us, Melissa finds joy and creative relief in the arts from the structure and order of her day-to-day. Her role on the ECFTA board combines her personal interest in the arts, volunteerism and local community-building with organizational skills acquired over a career in conservation, environment, agriculture, and research. Melissa currently works at the University of Guelph as Project Director of Food from Thought: Agricultural Systems for a Healthy Planet, ensuring this $76.6-million-dollar research program meets its core compliance and deliverables requirements. Previously, also with U of G, Melissa managed the operation and delivery of $10 million of research funding programs annually and nurtured key relationships between the University and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and across the agri-food and rural sectors. Melissa brings organizational operations experience to ECFTA and has led two start-up charitable organizations, FarmStart and the Ontario Farmland Trust, through their establishment years and has been called upon to provide support and guidance to various not-for-profits, charities, and businesses at critical transitional stages. She also volunteers for many other community food initiatives, enjoys gardening, and has dabbled with a small shiitake mushroom operation in Elora. Melissa holds a BSc in Natural Resource Management and an MSc in Land Resource Science from the University of Guelph, as well as Certificates in Not-for-Profit Governance and Management from Carleton University and Not-for-Profit and Charity Finance Leadership from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.
Geoffrey Wild
Board Member
With 20 years of experience spanning 4 continents Geoffrey has successfully managed multicultural teams in many of the most competitive resort and luxury hotel markets in the world. Seasoned in hotel openings Geoffrey has opened new hotels in 4 different countries to critical acclaim, achieving financial success whilst maintaining excellent levels of customer and employee engagement. Setting service trends in global hospitality has always been at the forefront of Geoffrey’s operations, this drive and commitment to innovation and has led to Tripadvisor number 1 rankings in three major tourism hubs. Guest acclaim culminated in winning Best Hotel in the United Kingdom for two successive years. In addition to fantastic guest reviews scores Geoffrey has also won critical acclaim in the forms of multiple Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Worlds Best awards, most notably listed as one of the 100 Best New Hotels in the World as well as recipient of Best Serviced Apartments in the world. Geoffrey attributes most of these successes to his teams, he strongly belies in driving innovation through employee engagement. This drive to engage and create an innovative work environment helped in being ranked number 2 in the Sunday Times best 100 companies to work for in the UK. Geoffrey recently completed the opening of the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa setting up the hotel service standards setting the hotel on the path of becoming the premier boutique resort destination in South Western Ontario. Following the successful opening of the Elora Mill, Geoffrey purchased the former Secret Garden Tea house building and set about creating The Wild Tart, a European Patisserie in the heart of Downtown Elora.