Emerging Leaders: Committee

 Leen Al Zaibak (Chair) is an advocate for arts and culture in the city serving as Chair of the Emerging Leaders for Toronto Arts Foundation and is on the executive committee for Massey Hall and Roy Thompson’s Centre Aisle. She recently served on the planning committee for Business for the Arts’ Arts & Business Exchange 2019. Leen is a leader in supporting the success of Syrian refugees resettled in Canada and abroad, as both co-Founder and Director of Jusoor, an international NGO that helps Syrian youth continue their education through scholarships and mentorship including a focused scholarship program for Syrian women. Leen currently serves on the board of Lifeline Syria, an initiative to help sponsor and settle 1,000 Syrian refugees in the Greater Toronto Area. She served on the Telus Toronto Community Board (2015 – 2018) and is a Board Director at Samara, an organization focused on reconnecting citizens to politics. Leen holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, Trinity College and a Master degree in International Relations from the University of Manchester.

 Born and raised in central Etobicoke, Adam Kuhn (he/him or they/them)  is a proud alumni of the University of Guelph (Honours BA in Theatre Studies), the University of Wollongong (BEd in English and Drama Education) and OISE/UofT (MEd in Higher Education). Adam works in Student Life at the University of Toronto as Director of Student and Campus Community Development. Adam is excited to be part of the Emerging Leaders committee to build community in Toronto through the arts.


 

 Blair Francey is the Senior Designer at Trajectory Brands Inc. and Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Department of Imaginary Affairs. He holds a Masters of Art degree (Design: Critical Practice) from Goldsmiths, University of London as well as being a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Playwriting Program. He loves all things design, transit, art and technology related. In his spare time (haha) he enjoys sampling the latest cuisine in Toronto and traipsing off around the globe in search of new and enticing experiences.

 

 Michael Vickers is Co-Director of Akin, a Toronto-based arts organization providing over 350 artists low-cost studios across nearly 40,000sqft of space in addition to a year-round calendar of community programs. Michael also works in sculpture, installation and painting. His practice addresses the seductive and poetic qualities of form and text, while investigating the limits of different materials and presentation methods. Vickers holds an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History from the University of Toronto and a BA from the University of Ottawa. He has exhibited his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Mercer Union, Toronto; the Siena Art Institute, Italy; and Clark House Initiative, Mumbai. His multidisciplinary practice has been featured in publications such as Art F City, Esse Arts + Opinions, Canadian Art, The Toronto Star, and GQ Magazine.

 Clara Weng is the President of Emerging Young Artists Inc, a Toronto-based arts&culture NGO who has partnered with multiple international organizations to develop art exhibitions, music festivals, monthly art tour programs and recently launched Creative Coding programs designed for art-makers.Outside of running EYA, her full-time employment lies with HSBC as a Private Banker and Chartered Investment Manager downtown Toronto. Clara holds Honour Specialization degrees in Global Economics and Psychology from Western University. Her international background and profound interest in contemporary art practices impels her to investigate how art can strengthen and unite people from different walks of life. 

 Martha Haldenby recently joined the team at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity as Senior Development Officer. Prior to this new position, Martha worked as Senior Director of Development at TO Live in Toronto, and previously served for 10 year in roles on the Executive, Development, and Programming teams at the Luminato Festival. Martha recently completed a Masters in Arts Leadership at Queen's University, as well as the Cultural Leadership Program at Banff Centre. Martha is a Board member of the Summerworks Performance Festival and a member of the Toronto Arts Foundation's Emerging Leaders Committee. 
 

Samar Hejazi is a trilingual woman of Palestinian descent, born in the U.S. and raised in diverse communities in the Middle East and Canada, she uses her art to question ideas surrounding identity. Through meditations on traditional practices and her present environments, her work merges eastern and western styles to express how the crossing of cultures can form new identities. Her choice in medium follows the conceptual needs of the piece which has primarily been embroidery, but also includes works on paper and new media.

 

 

Todd Hofley, after having a 25 year career as an actor on stage and TV around the globe, is now Director, Property Relations at Beanfield Metroconnect. In an era of vertical density and social isolation, he founded the Liberty Village Residents' Association in 2011 to address this human-to-human disconnect. It has now become one of the largest residents’ associations in the world with more than 12,000 residents regularly participating in online and offline activities. By combining the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of business with the social responsibility of NGO’s, it is a model for 21st century community connection. For his city building leadership, Todd was named a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow in 2015 and has worked, written and consulted for businesses as varied as Airbnb, Molson Coors, blogTO, and First Service Residential. A graduate of the University of Winnipeg (B.A.) and Southern Methodist University (M.F.A.), he is thrilled to be using his artistic side to help drive philanthropic and cultural explorations.

 

Elyse Clinning is a communications professional who is passionate about supporting arts, culture, and those whose creative work has a positive impact on everyday life. She has a Bachelor's degree in Art History from Queen's University, and in 2014 she completed a Master’s degree in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Following this, Elyse has been an active member of the Toronto arts community in various capacities before beginning a career in fine art insurance. She joined Kriss Communications — an architecture and design communications firm — in 2017 to merge her love for writing with her passion for supporting the arts. In her spare time, Elyse has served on the Fundraising Committee for Gallery 44, and enjoys creative writing and storytelling.