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.

Kathleen Sharpe, Chair
Kathleen Sharpe, 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. 


Richard Paquet
Richard Paquet, Vice-Chair – Product designer and development consultant Richard Paquet is a multilingual, strategic merchandising and marketing specialist with over twenty years’ experience in the retailing, wholesaling and manufacturing of home decorative accessories and seasonal merchandise with a portfolio of clients in Canada, America and Asia. His scope of knowledge and expertise encompasses administering the entire life cycle of new products and 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.


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 recently joined George Brown College as their Interim Chief Financial Officer. He provides senior level leadership and comprehensive financial technical expertise relating to the financial operations of the College. Michael has spent a career in service to the not-for-profit sector, having worked with social services, religious and arts organizations. Most recently, Michael was the Interim Treasurer at the Anglican Church of Canada. He has held similar positions at 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 Social Planning Council, Toronto Foundation, and Ontario Museums Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Crow’s Theatre and on the Finance and Property Committee of Sherbourne Health Centre. 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.


A picture of Neera Chopra
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.


Portrait of Mark Cote
Mark Cote is a senior real estate executive at Oxford Properties Group, the global real estate arm of the OMERS Pension Fund. Mark manages Oxford’s Canadian Development and Construction Team, overseeing the planning and execution of large-scale office, retail, industrial, residential and mixed-use projects in Canada’s major urban markets. Oxford has completed more than $5.0 Billion of real estate development projects in Canada over the past 15 years and is currently focused on a wide range of exciting opportunities, including several significant master-planned communities with a potential mixed-use density of over 50 million square feet. Mark is committed to advancing community-based arts programming and has also been responsible for commissioning several notable public art installations across the Country as part of Oxford’s city-building initiatives.

Mark is the Co-Chair of the fundraising committee for the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts and serves on the Board of Directors for RWDI, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm located in Guelph, Ontario.


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 College 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 in labour and employment. Maureen and her husband are longtime supporters of the Soulpepper Theatre Company and of the Cornerstone program at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. 


A picture of Hasan Makansi
Hasan Makansi is a distinguished business leader with a significant track record of launching and growing operations, and managing multidisciplinary teams, most notably establishing and managing the Partner Development Division at the TECOM Group of Dubai Holding, a role in which he spearheaded a set of strategic initiatives aimed at radically redefining the Free Zone concept in Dubai. Since moving to Canada, Hasan established Innavera, a boutique consulting agency focused on driving growth for government, corporate, and start-up clients. Hasan also led several start-up focused government initiatives in the Gulf region in collaboration with local and international partners. Besides his professional endeavors, Hasan is an adviser for the Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship program at Queen’s University and a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto. Hasan is board Chair at the Prologue to the Performing Arts. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from University of Sharjah and an MBA from the American University in Dubai. He also holds a certificate in Business Innovation from the University of Toronto, and a certificate in Quality Assessment by the European Foundation for Quality Management.


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.


Terry Nicholson headshot
Terry Nicholson is a cultural strategist, most recently serving as Interim CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto. He was the Director of Arts and Culture at the City of Toronto where he facilitated the inclusion of arts and culture events in the celebration of Toronto as the host city for 2015 Pan-American Games, proposing and receiving Council approval for a $7-million, 22-day festival at Nathan Phillips Square and a $2-million public art lighting installation on the Prince Edward viaduct. Most notably, Nicholson achieved a $10.5-million increase in arts and culture funding in Toronto. Nicholson was Manager of Cultural Affairs from 2000-2012 and Cultural Affairs Officer from 1990-2000 at the City of Toronto. He was a founding member of Creative City Network of Canada, a national non-profit organization.


A picture of Caroline Robbie
Caroline Robbie, ARIDO  Quadrangle principal and Head of Interiors. Caroline has delivered on many of the studio's high-profile projects including Corus Entertainment, 60-80 Atlantic Avenue, Artscape Daniels Launchpad and OCAD's Campus for the Connected World. Inspired by her artist mother and architect father, Caroline studied lighting design, costume design and fine arts, before shifting her focus into top-down conceptualization for interiors and leading the narrative of design thinking at Quadrangle. Caroline has a Bachelor of Interior Design, Interior Design and Fashion Design, Theatre Design from Ryerson University, and a Diploma in Fine Art, Drawing and Painting from Ontario College of Art & Design. Caroline was a CUPE Instructor at the School of Interior Design at Ryerson University from 2001-2012 and a Sessional Instructor at Ontario College of Art and Design in 2008. She is a member of Partners in Art and is an advisory board member for Creative Cities International.


Photo of Gillian Smith
Gillian Smith - Gillian is senior, bilingual leader with broad experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Known as a strong team-builder, problem-solver and fundraiser with an extensive network who thrives on transforming organizations. Deep public policy and communications strategy expertise. Her previous roles include CMO at Toronto Region Board of Trade, Executive Director and CEO of Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Head of Communications at RBC Capital Markets, and roles at Aeroplan, Edelman Public Relations.  Gillian currently sits on the boards of the Ontario Science Centre, TO Live, Business and the Arts, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and The Walrus Foundation. 


Portrait of Gaetane Verna
Gaëtane Verna is the Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art since 2012. Before taking up the post at The Power Plant, she was Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d'art de Joliette in Lanaudière, Quebec for six years. Prior to this appointment, from 1998 to 2006, she was the curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, while also teaching in the Art History department of both Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Gaëtane Verna holds an International Diploma in Heritage Administration and Conservation from the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris, France; received a DEA and a Master’s degree in Art History from the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne; and prior to that a Bachelor in Commerce from Concordia University.

She has years of experience in arts administration, curating, publishing catalogues and organizing and presenting exhibitions by emerging, mid-career and established Canadian and international artists such as: Kader Attia, Vasco Araújo, Yto Barada, Ydessa Hendeles, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Kapwani Kiwanga, François Lacasse, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Maciá, Ed Pien, Penelope Stewart, Gabor Szilasi, Javier Tellez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola and YOUNG HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, and Franz Erhard Walther to name just a few.

In January 2018, Verna was presented with the insignia as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Canada to recognize her significant contribution to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Gaëtane is also the current President of Toronto Arts Council. 


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.