Board of Directors
Toronto Arts Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors. Directors are experts in their fields, passionate about the arts and share the Foundation's vision Creative City: Block by Block. One third of the directors also sit on the board of Toronto Arts Council. Kathleen Sharpe is the Chair of Toronto Arts Foundation and is a senior manager in government and the cultural sector. She has been Executive Director of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund since its inception in 1999. The Fund, a unique program established to support cultural tourism attractions through a combination of grants and loans, has committed over $61 million to more than 550 organizations around the Province. Prior to OCAF, Kathleen was Director of the Culture Division of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, a post she held from 1991 until amalgamation of the municipality into the City of Toronto in 1998. Kathleen’s leadership led to the adoption by Metro Council of its first comprehensive cultural policy, Metro’s Culture Plan, in 1994. She managed the transition of cultural programs and staff of 150 during the changeover from Metro to the new amalgamated City of Toronto. Kathleen has also held management positions at the Ontario College of Art and Design and The Banff Centre. Kathleen is president of the Canadian Conference of the Arts and past chair of Toronto Artscape. She sits on many advisory committees including those for Nuit Blanche, the Ontario Not for Profit Network, Canadian Pluralism in the Arts in Ontario and the City of Toronto’s civic theatre board.
Nova Bhattacharya is recognized as one of the leading dance artists of her generation. Nova Bhattacharya has been a member of Toronto Art Council’s Board of Directors and co-chair of the Dance Committee since 2011. She joined the Board of Directors of Toronto Arts Foundation as well as became TAC's President in 2014. An impassioned advocate for the arts, Nova is a founding member of South Asian Dance Alliance Canada; past treasurer and co-chair of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists – Ontario Chapter. Nova dedicates many volunteer hours to initiatives that promote the value of the arts in society. Bhattacharya began her career with the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company and as an independent dance artist appeared with a number of Canadian companies. Her powerful, humanistic dance works have been described as “transforming bharatanatyam dance vocabulary into stunning contemporary dance” (Globe & Mail). In 2008 she founded Nova Dance, the company’s productions have been presented from coast to coast in Canada and in Germany and Japan, they have garnered 5 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominations. Nova was the recipient of the 2012 Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement in dance.
Andrew Walker, Secretary, is a business, entertainment and media lawyer at Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP. He commenced his legal career at McMillan LLP and enjoys assisting not-for-profit corporations and charities with corporate governance and operations. As a passionate, lifelong resident of Toronto, he is committed to combating poverty and fostering arts and culture in the city.
Harold Chmara, Treasurer, is an experienced financial executive with over 25 years’ experience in a public company environment. His most recent focus is tax technology, tax process improvement, risk and governance. He previously moved through a series of progressive roles at Deloitte’s Business Tax Consulting group, Hudson’s Bay Company, last as Vice-President Tax and Risk Management. His areas of expertise are tax technology solutions, financial reporting, strategic planning, risk and insurance, acquisitions and disposals, tax, and pensions. He has served on the boards of Tapestry New Opera, Hudson’s Bay Charitable Foundation, and served as Director of Hudson’s Bay History Foundation. Mr. Chmara is acknowledged for his successful leadership of multiple teams of professionals working with complex issues.
Andréa N J Callà has over 30 years of experience in architecture, including residential, retail and commercial real estate development across Canada, the U.S., Caribbean and the Middle East. As a senior executive at TRIDEL, one of Canada’s largest and award winning real estate developers, he is actively involved in business development, land acquisition and project development. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Toronto, a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University, and an Executive MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western University. He is President of the Association of Ontario Land Economists, and a Board member of the Canadian Urban Institute. Andréa has also been a Board member of the Information Technology Design Centre at the University of Toronto and an active member of several organizations involved in urban development including BILD, the Building Industry and Land Development association, Urban Land Council, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Toronto Society of Architects, and the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Throughout his career, Andréa has been committed to improving the quality of life in urban regions and continually drives innovative, practical and effective change through his leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
Neera Chopra is a passionate supporter of the Arts, providing thoughtful leadership on several cultural platforms. Neera brings a global perspective to cultural integration issues we face in Canada, having travelled extensively across Europe, Asia and the Middle East with a keen sense for cultural linkages and parallels with Canada. She has been a pioneer in creating cross cultural awareness of South Asian art and culture through her volunteer work with various arts organizations including the ROM and Luminato and has chaired the Arts Parents Council and Parents' Organization at Upper Canada College. She currently serves on four volunteer committees at the ROM and is particularly proud of engaging the public as a Gallery Interpreter.
Susan Crocker, Past Chair, is a volunteer board leader and strategic advisor. She is passionate about community development and social justice, which she pursues through her involvement in education, leadership development and strengthening the cultural sector. Susan is Chair of the Toronto Arts Council. She sits on the Board of the Gardiner Museum, and has previously served as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Trustee of the ROM, Chair of the Canadian Stage Company and Chair of the Board of Management of St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. In 2011 – 12 she served on the City of Toronto Mayor’s Arts Task Force. Susan was appointed Chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University in November 2015. She is a past member of the Board of Governors of the University and serves as the Chair of the Advisory Board of Coady International Institute. In 2012 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. FX. Susan began her professional career in the global financial sector with CIBC. She joined Ernst and Young Management Consulting as a partner in 1995. She worked for the Toronto Stock Exchange as Senior Vice President of Equity and Derivative Markets before being named President and CEO of the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan. Upon leaving the financial services industry in 2001 she assumed a number of corporate board positions, and engaged in volunteer board leadership, strategy consulting and fundraising.
Maureen Dodig was born and grew up in the greater Boston area. She holds an AB in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard and worked as a publicist in the book publishing business in New York. A graduate of Boston Law School, Maureen clerked for Justice Ruth Abrams of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and was then an associate at the Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge working in litigation and subsequently, labour and employment. Maureen and her husband are long-time supporters of the Soulpepper Theatre Company and of the Cornerstone program at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto.
Dilshad Hassen is a Partner in KPMG’s Risk Consulting practice in Toronto with over 14 years of experience within the financial services industry. He has extensive experience assisting financial institutions manage their various financial (interest rate, foreign currency, credit), operational and regulatory risks, having advised front offices, treasury functions, finance and internal audit functions in these areas. Dilshad is a Canadian Chartered Accountant, certified as a Public Accountant in the US (Illinois) and a graduate of the University of Toronto (with distinction). Dilshad is also a volunteer with various charities including Habitat for Humanity, various United Way initiatives and is a supporter of the Princess Margaret Centre Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Hasan Makansi is widely acknowledged as a business expert within the corporate circles of the Middle East. He has spearheaded a series of entrepreneurial endeavors and contributed to the growth of several existing ventures. Recently, he was involved as a partner in the international business catalyst; Potential, where he developed innovative business programs and platforms aimed at supporting the growth of Start-ups, SMEs, and established organizations. His other entrepreneurial ventures include The Cellution; a boutique consultancy and business solutions entity which counts some of the most reputed global and regional brands among its list of clientele, including Dubai SME, Dubai Properties, Victory Heights, and Carrefour. Hasan’s most recent professional designation was Director of Partner Development at TECOM Investments of Dubai Holding where he is credited for establishing the Partner Development division and redefining the value proposition for the Free Zones concept in Dubai, which was a major factor in driving an exponential growth of its Flagship business entities in TECOM. During the early part of his career, Hasan worked with Bayt.com, where he played a key role in creating a pioneering online business model that established Bayt as the Middle East’s #1 Job Site. Hasan is a certified EFQM assessor, member of the Young Arab Leaders Top Talent Camp, and an advisor to a number of start-ups in the Middle East and North America.
John D. McKellar, C.M., Q.C., is past Chair of the Toronto Arts Council. A lawyer with the firm WeirFoulds LLP, Mr. McKellar is known for the many performing artists and arts organizations he has advised, counseled and supported. He is Vice-Chairman of the Ontario Arts Foundation and Chairman of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Chairman of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, an advisor to the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, and a board member of Tarragon Theatre, Off-Centre Music Salon, The Glenn Gould Foundation and Fundamentally Film Inc. He has, alone or with others, produced shows at ArtWord Theatre, Blyth Centre for the Arts, the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, the Princess of Wales Theatre, the Wintergarden Theatre, the National Arts Centre, The Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Kennedy Centre in Washington and has several other theatrical projects now in development. He is a past president of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and a past member of the Canada Council for the Arts Board of Directors.
Richard Paquet, Product Design and Development Consultant of Richard Paquet Inc, is a multi-lingual, strategic and intuitive, merchandising and marketing specialist who possesses a reputation for creativity coupled with a commercial knowledge and understanding directly impacting sales and profitability. With over twenty years’ experience in the retailing, wholesaling and manufacturing of Home Decorative accessories and Seasonal merchandise and a portfolio of clients in Canada, America and Asia. His scope of knowledge and expertise encompasses administering the entire life cycle of new products/opportunities – from establishing trend concepts to design and development to sourcing, manufacturing, importing/exporting and selling. When he’s not at the airport suffering through another security line, Richard lives in Toronto with his wife (also a frequent traveler). Richard is an avid runner and a Power Yoga enthusiast. He has been without a TV for the last 24 years enabling him to cultivate a passion for books, art, music (especially opera) and food. He is presently working on a Writing Certificate offered through U of T’s on-line curriculum.
Diana Bennett, Past Chair
Diana was an art teacher and Principal for fifteen years. In 1980 she joined the TVOntario team and developed programs to diversify the public television’s revenue streams. She became Managing Director of Corporate Affairs. In the middle of this sixteen year assignment, she was recruited to serve as Executive Director of the Zoological Society at the Toronto Zoo. During this period she was on a number of corporate and volunteer board including Canada Publishing, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Granite Club. Volunteer boards have had the celebration of the arts in Toronto as their primary mission. She has just completed two terms at the University of Toronto Art Centre, now the Art Museum at U of T involving three years as Chair. Her own art making and exhibiting became ‘front burner’ upon retirement from TVO in 1999. She is a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and is represented by Walnut Contemporary in Toronto and the Engine Gallery in Port Hope.