Board of Directors


Nichola Reddington, City of Victoria, BC

Nichola is the Senior Cultural Planner at the City of Victoria.  A graduate of Queen’s University and Grant MacEwan’s Arts & Cultural Management program, Nichola’s passion for arts stems from her experience working behind the scenes at various film and theatre productions including the Grand Theatre in Kingston and Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.  Prior to her position at the City of Victoria, Nichola worked for The Works Art & Design Festival and the Art and Design in Public Places Program in Edmonton, Public Dreams Society in Vancouver and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby. Facilitating cultural projects and building capacity within the local arts community has been the focus of her work over the last several years.  This includes managing the City’s revitalized Spirit Square, coordinating public art projects, liaison with the Poet Laureate position and facilitating the completion of the cultural mapping project Victoria Arts Scan.  Working with the arts community, developing audiences, and engaging people in participating in cultural activities is what continues to inspire her.



Elena Bird, City of Toronto, ON

Elena is dedicated to enhancing the cultural and creative life of the city. She is passionate about maps and developing municipal cultural planning best practices and strategies. Elena works as a Senior Policy Advisor, Economic Development & Culture, at the City of Toronto. Elena has worked for the City of Toronto since 2002 on cultural planning and cultural mapping projects including the Culture Plan for the Creative City (2003), the Creative City Planning Framework (2008), From the Ground Up: Growing Toronto's Cultural Sector (2011) and Placing Creativity, a partnership that explores mapping and the intersection of culture, economy and place. Elena completed a Master of Arts in Cultural Economics and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2007. Before this, she studied Economics at Ryerson University and Arts Management at the University of Toronto. Elena has contributed to the cultural sector community through her work on the board of the Creative City Network of Canada (CCNC), the University of British Columbia Centre for Cultural Planning and Development Advisory Committee, and the board of WorkInCulture, an Ontario based non-profit that supports people who work in the cultural sector through life-long career development and business skills training.



Kelly Jerrott, City of St. Albert, AB

Kelly Jerrott has more than 25 years’ experience as a leader in the arts and cultural sector in Canada, and holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University, in Victoria, British Columbia. She is currently the Director of Cultural Services with the City of St. Albert, in Alberta, Canada, known as the “Botanical Arts City”. She serves at the national level as Vice President of the Creative City Network of Canada, and has been a Board Member since 2013. Ms. Jerrott chaired the 2015 Creative City Network of Canada Summit in Kelowna, B.C., bringing cultural professionals together to learn from each other, and be inspired through keynote speakers, sessions and study tours. Active in the arts community she is also a member of the Academic Advisory Council for the Arts and Cultural Management Program at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta; and has served as a board member with organizations such as Events Edmonton, producer of the Taste of Edmonton Festival, the Western Canadian Music Alliance, and the JUNO Awards/Canada’s Music Awards Host Committee. Working with a dynamic team in St. Albert, Ms. Jerrott oversees the management and operation of the City’s cultural facilities such as the Arden Theatre, Art Gallery, Museum and Historic Sites, as well as the City’s Public Art Collection. She was instrumental in the development of the City’s Cultural Master Plan, and Heritage Management Plan, taking significant steps in recent years towards the implementation of both plans; including producing the Northern Albert International Children’s Festival of the Arts, launching the new Amplify Youth Festival, and St. Albert LIVE YouTube Channel to highlight and celebrate culture in the community. Before joining the City, Ms. Jerrott served as the Executive Director of Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Executive Director of Music Alberta, and General Manager of the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, N.S.  Ms. Jerrott is a values-based leader who creates a positive culture that empowers others to strive for excellence, fostering a high level of employee engagement and productivity through innovation and creativity.



Ali Sabourin, City of Hamilton, ON

Ali is a senior project manager for the Love Your City project at the City of Hamilton. Ali is leading the development of a city-wide cultural planning initiative which includes identifying and mapping cultural resources, engaging citizens and stakeholders in the development of a Cultural Policy and Plan and embedding a cultural lens into all City business. Ali has an MBA in Innovation from McMaster University and is a certified enterprise architect and marketing research professional. Ali's previous experience has included positions in the public and private sector in planning and quality management, marketing and marketing research, and total customer experience. 



Sarah Douglas-Murray, Town of Oakville, ON

Sarah Douglas-Murray is the Senior Manager of Cultural Services for the Town of Oakville. In her role as senior manager, she oversees the cultural services division which includes cultural planning and outreach, special events, and the direct operation of the town’s cultural facilities — the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, Oakville Museum and Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre. Sarah’s cultural services team is working to implement the Town of Oakville Cultural Plan 2016-2021 and has been successful in exponentially growing cultural programs, outreach, and the capacity of cultural groups within the community. Sarah is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a degree in Art History, Anthropology and Sociology, is a graduate of the Cultural Careers Council of Ontario’s Income Managers Program, and has a Certificate in Cultural Planning from the University of British Columbia.



Gillian Hards, Town of Richmond Hill, ON

Gillian Hards currently serves as the Cultural Services Coordinator at the Town of Richmond Hill. In this role, Gillian is responsible for the implementation of Richmond Hill’s Cultural Plan, a ten year plan to build a more vibrant Richmond Hill. In this role, Gillian has undertaken the development of many projects and initiatives including the Richmond Hill Community and Cultural Grant Program, Culture Map, Cultural Summit and Celebrated Stories program. Prior to joining Richmond Hill, Gillian completed an MA in Public Policy and Administration at Ryerson University with a focus on cultural policy. Gillian has also received a postgraduate diploma in Arts Management from Humber College and an undergraduate degree in Cultural Studies from Trent University. As an Arts Administrator, Gillian served as the Producer/General Manager for Crow’s Theatre from 2004-2010. Gillian has also worked as an Administrator for the Music Gallery and Marketing Intern at Nightwood Theatre. Additional work experience includes roles at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport as a Tourism Policy Assistant and Program Coordinator at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Gillian has served as a Board Member for the York Region Arts Council, Canadian Drama Foundation and Praxis Theatre and as an advisor to the Uth Ink: Playwrights in the Community program, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, York Region Arts Council and the Creative City Network of Canada: Awards Program.


Karen Hasselfelt, City of Vancouver, BC

Passionate about the value of arts and culture to our society, Karen has extensive experience in the field through a variety of positions in non-profit organizations, the private sector and government. Since 2001, as a Cultural Planner at the City of Vancouver, Karen has been responsible for the major exhibiting institutions and civic collections, as well as building relationships with over 70 other museums, visual arts and music non-profit organizations in the city. Karen worked on the Steering Committee for the department’s cultural grants program review, which led to new cultural grants policies and programs. Karen was also part of the staff team that hosted the inaugural CCNC conference in Vancouver with Burke Taylor and Nancy Duxbury. Previous to her position at the City of Vancouver, Karen led the Surrey Art Gallery through transformative change to become a leader in community cultural engagement, was instrumental in founding the Art Gallery of Calgary, created the BC government’s visual arts program during EXPO 86, and worked for the former Ministry of Culture in Ontario. Karen has a post-graduate certificate in Museology from the École du Louvre in Paris and an Honours BA in Art History from York University, Toronto.


Lisa Hickey-Besserer, City of Calgary, AB

For almost 20 years, Lisa Hickey-Besserer has worked in the arts and cultural sectors through her positions with municipal government, commercial galleries and not for profit organizations.  Her professional experiences include the management of performance and visual arts festivals, cultural programming, community engagement, volunteer management, strategic program development, arts education and project management. She obtained her Honours BA specialist degree in Arts Management with a major in Fine Art History from the University of Toronto. In 2014 she completed the University of British Columbia’s Certificate in Cultural Planning. Lisa has been with the City of Calgary’s Culture division since 2007, when she joined the Public Art Program as a coordinator. In this position she has been responsible for implementing and managing over 25 public art projects, and has been the lead on the development of a number of program initiatives including the creation of an arts education portfolio and the launch of Calgary’s first city-wide public art map. Prior to her career in public art, Lisa held positions with the University of Toronto, Arts Etobicoke, the Glenbow Museum and the Lonsdale Gallery. She has also consulted for several commercial galleries in Calgary, Alberta and Invermere, British Columbia. 

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, City of Humboldt, SK

Jennifer is passionately involved in the arts, culture and heritage in Humboldt as the Director of Cultural Services for the City of Humboldt.  Jennifer manages the civic museum in a 1912 national historic site, the city’s new public art gallery which opened in 2014, the Original Humboldt site, which is an 80 acre parcel of land with public archaeology and art installations to depict its history, and the Humboldt Public Art Program.  Jennifer has a degree in Anthropology from the University of Saskatchewan and a Diploma in Cultural Resource Management from the University of Victoria.  Jennifer was part of the municipal team who created the “Our Humboldt Culture-Led Growth Plan” which continues to guide the creative life of the city.  Jennifer also is a member of the Humboldt Area Arts Council, bringing in visual and performing arts to the gallery, and is part of the Humboldt Downtown Business Improvement District who are working on new initiatives for the historic downtown core. 


Brent Oliver, City of Spruce Grove, AB

Brent Oliver is one of the most earnestly dedicated champions and patrons of the Arts in Alberta. For over 25 years Brent has devoted himself to developing and promoting Alberta arts initiatives, events and artists. This life-long calling grew from Brent’s passion for culture. While earning a Music Degree from the University of Alberta, Brent worked as a talent buyer, booking local bands and touring acts at the Rev Cabaret, then at Sidetrack Café, two of Edmonton’s most iconic live music venues of in recent history. Guided by his confidence in the strength of Alberta’s music community, and his desire to help it grow, Brent established (and became Director of) Foundation Concerts, an Edmonton based concert and arts event promotion company which brought some of the most prominent touring acts to Western Canada. In 2014, Brent brought his wealth of expertise to the City of Spruce Grove as Director of Cultural Services, a position he accepted in August of that year. His responsibilities include management and operation of the Horizon Stage Performing Arts centre, city liaison to the Allied Arts Council and Spruce Grove Library, as well as development of art policy for the future of the City. Brent continues to consult and volunteer on countless cultural initiatives. In September 2013, Brent was elected as a Director on the board of the Alberta Music Industry Association and currently sits as Vice-Chair of the board, and Chair of the organization’s Community Engagement Committee.


Alejandro Romero, City of Saskatoon, SK

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico (USA) of multicultural heritage, and moved to Saskatchewan, Canada in 2002. Alejandro was Artist in Resident for the Cultural Capitals Project 2006-2007, working with newcomers to Saskatchewan and later with Inner City neighbourhood at King George Community School in 2007-2008. As a guest artist for the Live Arts program in 2009-2011 he had the opportunity to connect with youth across Saskatchewan through internet workshops. His work interconnects photography, poetry, and painting with the concepts of identity, post-colonialism, prophecy, construction and perceptions of  reality, world, emotions, myths and legends. Some of his work is in private collections in Bolivia, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States. He has exhibit independently in different galleries in Puerto Rico and Saskatchewan.


Elizabeth Taylor, Halifax Regional Municipality, NS

Elizabeth joined the Halifax Regional Municipality in 2012 as the Manager of Events and Cultural Initiatives. Elizabeth has an extensive career working in senior management roles in municipal government in both Canada and Europe. As an innovative leader she is skilled in developing and delivering strategic Marketing and PR plans within corporate, non -for -profit, government agencies, and retail sectors. Elizabeth is committed to her philosophy that municipal bureaucracy and process should not thwart innovative thinking and creative action. Elizabeth is developing an new event granting policy to further entrench Halifax as a national and international destination for large scale events as well as creating the environment of equity and access for community events. Elizabeth is also delivering the Halifax’ first funding program for professional arts in a strategy that will be fulfilled with the city’s first Municipal Arts Council. Elizabeth also manages the Municipal Conservation project that is reviewing for the first time the cultural artifact collection to ensure it is preserved and accessible to the public. Elizabeth manages the Special Events Task Force, the Public Art Collection, Film, and serves on strategic committees for municipal economic development as well as sponsorship. Elizabeth is originally from Toronto where she worked for the AGO and has spent the past 12 years in Dublin, Ireland working on the creation and delivery of a events and culture strategy for the Docklands.


Emily Trottier, City of Greater Sudbury, ON

Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, Emily Trottier returned to her hometown after living, studying and working in Tuscany, Italy for five years. With over a decade of experience working with not-for-profit organizations, she has applied her background in business administration (MBA) during their start up, development and expansion phases. Since 2012, Emily has been the municipal staff lead for arts and culture in her role as Business Development Officer and Film Liaison with the City of Greater Sudbury. During this time she has worked to develop processes and policies that support the booming film industry - over the past three years alone Sudbury has hosted over 30 films and six television series - as well as manage funding programs dedicated towards innovation, creativity and economic impact of local arts and culture initiatives. With a solid appreciation for community engagement and collaboration on both international and homegrown levels, Emily has built strong stakeholder networks. Sudbury’s cultural offerings have been growing and a renewed Cultural Plan was unanimously endorsed by City Council last year.


Michael Tunney, City of Mississauga, ON

Michael Tunney is a Cultural Planner at the City of Mississauga where he leads strategic planning and cultural infrastructure projects, oversees the culture research program, and works with a dynamic team of cultural planning professionals to apply a cultural lens to community and city-wide planning initiatives. Michael has been with the Culture Division since 2011, where he first joined as the inaugural Cultural Researcher and was instrumental in the development of the city’s first cultural resource map and the establishment of its research and data collection program. Current projects include co-leading an update to the City’s 2009 Culture Master Plan, leading the development of a cultural infrastructure and creative spaces strategy, project managing the conversion of a designated WW2 heritage building into a community cultural hub, and serving on cross-departmental working teams to develop new communities and a vibrant downtown. Michael holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo where he studied geography, economic development, visual arts and tourism planning.  In 2008 he completed a post-graduate certificate in Museum Management and Curatorial Studies from Fleming College which lead to internships opportunities at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum and School of Visual Arts in NYC. Prior to joining the City of Mississauga, Michael’s previous experience has included working in the municipal planning departments of the City of Oshawa and the Town of Whitby, and in the commercial art sector for an international artist agency. Michael first became involved with CCNC in 2014 when he delivered a P2P presentation on cultural research at the Hamilton summit.  He has since presented at the first CCNC Ontario member regional meeting in Barrie, served on the Ontario Culture Strategy Working Group, currently serves on the 2016 Summit organizing committee and the Cultural Statistics Consortium, and is co-leading preparations for Mississauga to host the 2018 CCNC Summit.


2017 Board Nominations


Background Photo Credit:
Fort York National Historic Site, Toronto, ON - Photo by Karen Mills