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. A third of the directors also sit on the board of Toronto Arts Council.

Portrait of Sara Diamond

Dr. Sara Diamond, C.M., Order of Ontario, ICD.D, RAC; Chair -  Dr. Sara Diamond brings a deep knowledge of the relationships of human practices, culture, and technologies. She has consulted with governments, industry, boards and institutions on digital media, the use of data, inclusion, and equity. She holds a doctoral degree in computer science, a master’s in media arts and undergraduate degrees in history and communications. Diamond is President Emerita of OCAD University, where she served from 2005 to 2020, leading it through its transition to become a unique creative practice and research institution with a focus on digital futures, Indigenous knowledge, inclusive design, design for health, and culture and diversity. She remains an OCAD U faculty member. Diamond was an award-winning artist and documentary producer during the 1980s and 1990s who explored social histories through media art. She then moved on to create an early affective computing artistic neural network and wearable technology with the CodeZebra project. At The Banff Centre (1992 – 2005) she founded the Banff New Media Institute, an international think tank, incubation and production centre and led Media and Visual Arts and research. She is an Expert Panelist with the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation and Associate Consultant and Thought Leader wih Lord Cultural Services.

Her board experience examples include serving as Vice-Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities and on the boards of Canadian Women in Communications and Technology and ORANO. She is co-chair of Toronto’s ArtworxTO, Year of Public Art, and the incoming chair of the Baycrest Academy for Research and Education and of the Toronto Arts Foundation boards. Diamond pursues research in data analytics and visualization applied to urban and cultural planning, wearable technologies and wellness, and is an historian of media and technology. She is currently designing qualitative analysis tools to assess the impact of screen media with a focus on wellness, diversity and inclusion. She is co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Eric Miller University of Toronto on iCity 2.0: Urban Data Science for Future Mobility” which aims to improve accessibility, affordability and mobility by advancing the design of urban transportation systems and complete communities through generative design.

Her research publications are available at ResearchGate and Additional recognitions include a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Simon Fraser University, 2020; the 2020 Exceptional Women of Excellence, Women’s Economic Forum; two Media Pioneer awards: Inspiring 50: Advancement of Diversity in STEM and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to Canada.

Portrait of Susan Wortzman

Susan Wortzman, Secretary – Susan Wortzman is a partner in the Toronto offices of McCarthy Tétrault and leads the firm’s e-Discovery and information management division, MT>3. One of Canada’s most respected e-Discovery lawyers, Susan’s creativity, legal and business acumen, and commitment to innovation and technology ensure that her clients receive cutting edge services. Susan is an active writer, speaker and educator in the legal community.

In her free time she is a lover of the arts and theatre. Susan was formerly on the boards of Tarragon Theatre and Canadian Stage.  She is a member of the Ontario Cabinet - Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Susan served as the Co-Chair and a committee member of the Art Toronto Opening Night Committee for several years. She is currently a member of the AGO’s Curator’s Circle Committee, and serves a Board Member of the Toronto Biennial of Art.

A picture of Michael Herrarra

Michael Herrera, CPA, CA; Treasurer –  Michael Herrera has spent a career in service to the not-for-profit sector and public sector, joining George Brown College in 2019 as their Chief Financial Officer.  Prior to joining George Brown,  Michael was the Vice-President, Finance at United Way Greater Toronto for nearly a decade.  He has held similar positions at the Anglican Church of Canada, YMCA of Greater Toronto and National Ballet of Canada. Previously, Michael was a manager at EY and, as an independent consultant, supported arts and heritage organizations through the development and delivery of financial and governance training to a variety of organizations throughout the province.  Michael's community involvement includes past governance roles with organizations such as Crow’s Theatre, Social Planning Council, Toronto Foundation, and Ontario Museums Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Theatre Museum Canada, and Making The Shift - a youth homelessness social innovation lab.  Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Ontario since 1996.

Bob Blazevski oversees and manages daily operations at DiamondCorp. Bob is responsible for the creation and execution of land development strategies, acquisition activities, and leads the development approvals process for a number of key DiamondCorp land assets, helping to position the company as an industry leader in city building. With over 28 years of land development experience, Bob has led teams in securing municipal approvals for over 60 major land development projects in the GTA, working with some of the industry’s foremost developers.

In his commitment to social and professional responsibility, Bob has served on various industry committees, including Building and Land Development Industry (BILD) Board of Directors, and Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Board. Most recently Bob joined the Hold ‘Em for Life Charity as Co-Chair for 2020, a non-profit organization that has raised over $31 million to fund cancer research and other initiatives.

Portrait of Danielle

Danielle LaBossiere Parr is a Managing Principal at Navigator, where she leads high-stakes public affairs and strategic communications mandates across a variety of sectors.  Danielle is also the executive lead for people and culture, and chairs the firm’s senior leadership and management teams. Previously, Danielle spent 8 years as the Executive Director of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. As the chief spokesperson for the video game industry in Canada, she was a frequent commentator on industry issues and established the industry as a thought leader and as a key player in the federal debate on copyright reform and the national digital strategy. She also grew the influence of the Canadian video game industry internationally, including as the feature country at Germany’s gamescom, the world’s largest video game conference, held a seat on the Global Association Heads council, and served as lead spokesperson as part of an international industry effort on trade classification with WTO negotiators in Geneva.

Danielle has served on the Board of Directors of the Kids Internet Safety Alliance (Kinsa), the Canadian Advisory Committee to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network and the Ministerial Advisory Committees on Video Games in both Manitoba and Ontario. She also spearheaded Kinsa’s annual Spring for Kids Fundraising Gala, and was recognized by the organization as a “Hero of the Fight” in 2012.

Danielle worked in communications and public affairs at both General Motors and Investors Group. She also spent several years as a political aide in provincial and federal governments across the country, including the offices of two provincial premiers, two provincial cabinet ministers, and a federal party leader in addition to numerous provincial and federal campaigns. She has been featured in Maclean’s magazine as one of Canada’s top 25 “Leaders of Tomorrow”, and recognized as one of the Top 100 Lobbyists in Canada by the Hill Times, Canada’s Parliamentary newspaper.

Sage Paul is an urban Denesuline woman based in Toronto and an English River First Nation member—her ethos centres on family, sovereignty and resistance for balance. She was raised in Toronto at Gabriel Dumont native housing before relocating to a co-op in downtown Toronto with her family as a teenager. She grew up making fashion and craft with her family and community members. Sage is now the founding Executive & Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Arts, a multi-platform arts organization she co-founded.

Sage has been instrumental in establishing and leading projects for Indigenous artists working in fashion, craft and textiles through several projects with Indigenous Fashion Arts, White Milano (Italy), Inland, Ikea Canada, the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week, Setsuné Indigenous Fashion Incubator, the Canadian Trade Commissions in Italy, New York, South Africa, Mexico and London, Artscape Launchpad and Canadian department store La Maison Simons. 

Sage is interested in repositioning fashion as an artistic and cultural expression first, not a commercial commodity. However, she is realistic about fashion mobilizing Indigenous economies in urban, on-reserve and rural communities. Thus, Sage’s written, advisory and advocacy contributions to the fashion and art sectors focus on nation-to-nation practices, institutional evolution and change, and communicating Indigenous values and practices through her personal and professional experiences in her community, fashion and the arts. 

Sage has contributed to InStudio Magazine (Banff Centre for the Arts), Walker Reader (Walker Arts Centre) and TEDx Toronto and has provided advisory to Toronto Metropolitan University, Canadian Art and Fashion Awards, Harbourfront Centre, World Intellectual Property Organization, Canadian Heritage and several others, including Indigenous artists in the art and fashion sectors. She has also presented keynote presentations to Aritzia, Memorial University, Toronto Metropolitan University and other institutions. This aspect of Sage’s work invites and asserts reverent, robust thought and urgency for policy and social amendments. The intention and opportunity are to build greater protection, understanding and celebration of our traditional knowledge and cultural expressions through fashion, craft and textile works.

Sage’s artistic practice in fashion and costume design primarily uses up-cycled and natural materials like thrifted sheets, rawhide and antlers to demonstrate conceptual ideas through dress and performativity. In addition to designing for screen and stage, Sage’s work has been exhibited in art and fashion shows across Canada. Sage started as an artist and designer. She is now on a hiatus from her artistic practice to build long-lasting fashion art spaces for Indigenous artists and designers in Canada and beyond.

In 2022, Sage was one of two inaugural recipients of the Changemaker Award from the Canadian Art & Fashion Arts. Sage also received two nominations for the Premier’s Award in Creative Art and Design (2019, 2022) and was recognized as “… leading Canada’s Indigenous Fashion Movement” (En Route Magazine, 2019). Sage received the Design Exchange RBC Emerging Designer Award (2017) and was honoured by the Ontario Minister of the Status of Women as a trailblazing woman transforming Ontario (2017). 

Sage works collaboratively to instigate sectoral change and create and disseminate innovative works in fashion and the arts that benefit or include Indigenous communities. Her ideas and processes in creating fashion and the platforms supporting Indigenous fashion advancement reflect her urban Denesuline experience – resourceful, intentional and resilient.

A portrait of Jesse Ryan

Jesse Ryan – Saxophonist and composer Jesse Ryan grew up in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago surrounded by a rich heritage of music. Perhaps, it’s no surprise that he has steadily earned his place as one of Trinidad’s bright, young stars, being the grandson of one of the islands’ calypso veterans, Clifton Ryan, aka the “Mighty Bomber”. Jesse is the 2020 recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Jazz Artist Award - an award that puts a spotlight on emerging jazz musicians with a keen sense of the grand tradition behind jazz music, while putting their own stamp on the genre and the Toronto music scene with their unique style

and approach. His Bridges project is an emerging, eclectic quintet that bridges both the jazz and Afro-Caribbean traditions - A true celebration of the cultural, rhythmic and expressive connections between North America and the islands. With this project Jesse is anticipating the release of his debut album on December 4, 2020. His compositions are ambitious and his enchanting sound telling, that he is set to take Caribbean Jazz out of its niche of ethnic fusion, and into the mainstream.

As an arranger/producer he has worked with a variety of jazz, gospel and world music artists including: Sarah Thawer, Jide Adeoye, Anne Ugobor, Stephen Lewis and Karen Jewels. Jesse’s soulful sound continues to capture audiences all over, as he reflects on his source - God, “the Great Musician”. Ryan say’s, “I consider myself to be bilingual; music is my second language and is the universal language of the soul. Nothing else moves people like music does” For more info:

Portrait of Devyani

Devyani Saltzman - Devyani is a Canadian writer, curator and arts leader with a deep practice in multidisciplinary programming at the intersection between art, ideas and social justice. She was most recently Director of Public Programming at the AGO, working across all disciplines, where she significantly increased engagement across broad and diverse audiences and shaped the museum as a forum for discourse, reflecting community and the narratives of Torontonians. Saltzman was previously the Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre, as well as a founding Curator at Luminato, North America's preeminent multi arts festival. She is a published author and her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Atlantic and Tehelka, India's weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She is the Vice Chair of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries and Nova Dance. Saltzman has a Masters Degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Oxford and currently consults across the sector.

Portrait of Surranna

Surranna Sandy - Surranna is an award-winning nonprofit executive, currently CEO of Skills for Change, a multiservice social services charity that helps 16,000+ Immigrants and Refugees resettle in Canada annually. Surranna has an MA in Leadership and Management, (Anglia Ruskin), an MBA in Human Resources Management (Wales), and a Hons B. A in Leadership and Management (Northumbria); Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (Western University), Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Certificate (Harvard) and a Certificate in Human Resources Management (Ryerson) and a Diploma in HR Management.
Surranna is currently completing a Master of Liberal Arts degree at Harvard University in Global Development Practice, concentration on Environmental Policy and International Development focused on understanding how policy instruments, social complexities, human health risks, ecological system dynamics, technological innovations, and financial models can advance sustainable development.
She is an Advisor for Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Digital Resilience; Member Stakeholder Committee LMIC / CIMT; Chair of Communications Committee for International Women’s Forum- Canada Toronto Chapter; Chair Board of Directors of the Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada; Deputy Director of Communications and Global Engagement Harvard University Extension Student International Relations Club; Co-Chair of the Global Task Force on Environmental Action for Masters in Development Practice Student and Alumni Advisory Committee (Global MDP SAAC).  She is a former inaugural member of the City of Toronto’s Partnership & Accountability Circle (“PAC”) for The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-black Racism, completing a 2.5-year term in Spring 2021. 
She sits on various boards and committees related to sustainability and the environment, anti-oppression & anti-racism, immigrant and refugee services, women leadership & empowerment, decent work, and digital equity & literacy. She has received multiple awards for her nonprofit leadership and community development work including from the Federal Government of Canada and 100 Accomplished Black Women.

Orit Sarfaty - Orit leads the leadership and governance of the ESG portfolio and oversees all Marketing & Communications for Choice. Her mandate includes positioning sustainability and social impact at the forefront across all lines of business and amongst stakeholders at large.

Orit is a veteran in urban development and placemaking, with a career spanning multiple sectors. Previously, she served as the Chief Program Officer at Evergreen, where she provided oversight and direction to Evergreen Brickworks, leading their placemaking efforts on a national scale. She led high impact initiatives that encompassed smart cities, cultural planning, affordable housing, and projecting sustainability needs for both larger and smaller municipalities.

One of her most notable projects to date includes developing a comprehensive cultural plan for the City of Chicago, which involved extensive research into the potential for communities strengthen their cultural assets for long-term development. An instrumental part of her plan included developing pathways to bridge barriers inclusive to transportation, infrastructure, and neighbourhood investment.

Orit is passionate about designing and activating spaces as to provide a holistic experience, and aims to incorporate an ESG lens into the communities we operate in. She holds a B.A. with Honours from Harvard University and a Master in urban planning from The University of Washington.

Portrait of Brigitte

Brigitte Shim - Brigitte was born in Kingston Jamaica and immigrated to Toronto in 1965. She studied architecture and environmental studies at the University of Waterloo, Canada. In 1994, Shim and her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe founded Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in Toronto, Canada. Their design practice explores the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape, furniture and fittings. Shim-Sutcliffe have realized built work in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia focusing on place-making. 

To date, Shim and Sutcliffe have received sixteen Governor General’s Medals for Architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and an American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Award along with many other professional accolades for their built work. In January 2013, Brigitte Shim and her partner A. Howard Sutcliffe were both awarded the Order of Canada, “for their contributions as architects designing sophisticated structures that represent the best of Canadian design to the world.” In 2021, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada awarded Brigitte Shim and A. Howard Sutcliffe, the RAIC Gold Medal for their “tireless commitment to advocacy, teaching and mentoring along with their commitment to craft, tectonics, site and ecology in their built work and its lasting impact on Canadian architecture.”

Professor Brigitte Shim has been a faculty member at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto since 1988. In 2019, she was the Louis I. Kahn Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University’s School of Architecture and has been a visiting chair and lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), The Cooper Union’s Chanin School of Architecture, The University of Auckland, and others. She has served on numerous international, national and local design juries as an unwavering advocate for design excellence.

Jonathan Simmons, FCPA FCA - Jonathan is a seasoned financial services executive with deep expertise in pensions, investment management, and insurance.  He is currently Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at OMERS, one of Canada's largest pensions plans with approaching $130 billion of net assets as of December 31, 2023. Prior to joining OMERS in 2013, he was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for more than a decade, where he led the firm’s Canadian insurance practice. 

Jonathan is an experienced director for both profit and not-for-profit organizations.  He currently serves as a director and audit committee chair of Economic Investment Trust (TSX: EVT) and as co-chair and founding member of the Canadian Chapter of the CFO Network of A4S, His Majesty The King's Accounting for Sustainability project, which aims to inspire finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy.  Past directorships include United Corporations Limited (TSX: UNC), Chair of the Board of The Giles School, and Treasurer of Futurepreneur, which provides start up financing and mentoring to young entrepreneurs across Canada.

Jonathan is avid theatre goer and supporter of the arts.  He believes that inclusion and culture are essential ingredients for building a vibrant and thriving Toronto.

Mike Yorke - Former president of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario, Mr. Yorke has over 25 years of experience in Ontario’s unionized construction industry. As former president, he has extensive knowledge of collective bargaining and arbitration issues and is involved in numerous political, community and training initiatives. Mr. Yorke has a solid background in workplace health and safety issues, from both training and site representation perspectives. He is a strong community supporter of outreach to “youth at risk” training programs with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) highly regarded CHOICE and CRAFT programs and he plays an active role on the Local 27 College of Carpenters and Allied Trades Board of Directors. He sits as an editorial advisory board member of the Daily Commercial News, Toronto. Mr. Yorke is also the recipient of the Wood Works Ontario Wood Champion Award in 2016, and the Harry Jerome Award for Diversity in 2018. He holds certificates in labour studies from George Brown College and human resources management from Ryerson University. 

Director Emeritus

Diana Bennett headshot

Diana Bennett, Past Chair  Diana was an art teacher and principal for 15 years before joining the TVOntario team in 1980 to develop programs to diversify the public television’s revenue streams, later becoming Managing Director of Corporate Affairs. In the middle of this 16-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 boards, including Canada Publishing, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Granite Club. She has completed two terms at the University of Toronto Art Centre, now the Art Museum at U of T, including three years as Chair. Her own art-making and exhibiting were put on the frontburner upon retirement from TVO in 1999. She is a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and has served recently as President and Vice-President. 


Portrait of Kathleen Sharpe

Kathleen Sharpe, Past Chair – Kathleen 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 OCAF, 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.