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Ontario Arts Council
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Board of Directors

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) is directed by 12 volunteer board (council) members, who come from various regions of the province. They are appointed by the government of Ontario for a three-year term. For more information on Government Appointees please visit the Public Appointments Secretariat's website at www.ontario.ca/page/public-appointments.

The OAC's board is responsible for setting OAC policies and overseeing the organization's operation. Board members play an important role as advocates for the arts in Ontario and as representatives of OAC in communities across the province.
 
Rita Davies, CM, Chair

Rita Davies was first appointed Chair of the Ontario Arts Council’s board of directors on July 22, 2015 and reappointed for a third term on July 29, 2021. Rita is well-known in Toronto’s arts community in her former role as Director of Culture for the City of Toronto from 1999 to 2012. Among many initiatives during her tenure at the city, she oversaw the development of a first-ever culture plan, establishment of the wildly successful Nuit Blanche annual festival, and the first major increase in the city’s support of the arts in more than a decade.

From 1984 to 1999, Rita was Executive Director of the Toronto Arts Council, during which significant reports were commissioned, including the Cultural Capital report, the Cultural Diversity report and No Vacancy, the affordable live-work space report, which also led to the creation of Toronto Artscape.

Rita heads Culture Capital, a consulting service that provides cultural planning and policy strategy, and non-profit arts and culture board and governance development. She has sat on a number of not-for-profit arts boards, including the Art of Time Ensemble, Fall for Dance and Theatre Passe Muraille.

In December 2020, Rita Davies was named to the Order of Canada in honour of her leadership and dedication to the arts in Toronto and in the province of Ontario.


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Dani Peters, Vice-Chair
Toronto-based Dani Peters was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) board of directors in May 2019 and appointed Vice Chair on October 7, 2021.
 
Dani is the President of Magnet Strategy Group, a public affairs consulting practice with a presence in Toronto and Washington, D.C.  Dani’s community involvement includes serving as Co-Founder of Cross-Border Health, a US based non-profit organization dedicated to fostering Canada-US dialogue on common priorities in health, a Health Leader-in-Residence for the World Health Innovation Network (WIN) within the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business, and Co-Chair of the Women in Politics Mentorship Program through the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC).
 
She also serves on the Industry Advisory Board for Bloom Burton & Co., a healthcare investment advisory firm in Toronto. Dani earned her undergraduate degree from McGill University and a Master of Arts in International Trade Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California.
 
 A life-long lover of the arts, Dani studied both music and dance in her youth and regularly attends theatre performances throughout the year.  She and her husband actively encourage her young children in their arts activities.
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Alexandra De Gasperis
Toronto-based Alexandra De Gasperis was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) board of directors in July 2019.
 
Alexandra’s community involvement began at a young age when she co-founded and became Executive Director of the Burgundy Brick Foundation (BBF) in 2007. The BBF supports affordable housing and initiatives to combat youth homelessness in Ontario. In 2011, BBF was chosen to be a Women’s Build Ambassador by Habitat GTA – something for which Alexandra is very proud since she is a dedicated supporter of Habitat for Humanity. 
 
Alexandra graduated with a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies from Western University in 2010 before obtaining her law degree from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom in 2013.
 
She practiced in the area of municipal and land-use planning law for six years prior to entering the development industry. She is currently the Vice President of DECO Communities, a real-estate development firm committed to building complete, sustainable and livable communities in Toronto and the GTA.

In her youth, Alexandra studied music and dance and has carried her love of the arts into all aspects of her life. She regularly frequents musical performances, theatre, and art galleries and she and her husband enjoy collecting art from young emerging artists. Alexandra is passionate about city building, art and design and firmly believes that these disciplines must interact to create vibrant communities.
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Robin Jones

Robin Jones, mayor of Westport – one of Ontario’s smallest and prettiest municipalities – was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council board of directors in March 2021.
 

Robin brings a passionate interest in ceramics and enjoys time spent on the pottery wheel in her studio. She also has a love of music enhanced by her years as a chorister in several choirs.


Robin has a deep commitment to social justice issues informed by her years working as a police officer and in Indigenous communities in northwestern Ontario. She is the co-founder of the Leeds & Grenville human trafficking task force.


Prior to entering political life, Robin spent 33 years in policing, holding senior positions with Waterloo Regional Police and the OPP. In 2007, she was seconded to the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and was the provincial negotiator for First Nations police services throughout Ontario. She finished her policing career as chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service. Robin then taught leadership courses across North America to police officers on behalf of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).


Robin is a board member of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and was recently elected chair of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA).


Robin is active in her church and a member of the executive board of the Anglican Diocese of Ontario. She is  chair of the Westport Arts Council and enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with friends and family.


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Mary Meffe, CPA, CA
Toronto-based Mary Meffe was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) board of directors in October 2019. 
 
Mary has more than 20 years of financial expertise developed in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, with demonstrated success advising leadership teams in fast-paced, dynamic environments.
She is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), responsible for overseeing the organization’s financial planning and operations, data governance, information services and facilities management.
 
Before joining MPAC in 2018, she was Chief Financial and Administrative Officer at the Ontario College of Trades, where she provided strategic financial and operational guidance to the leadership team of a newly formed organization. Prior to that, she served as Chief Financial Officer at Planet Energy and Just Energy Group.
 
Mary has had a long-standing passion for the arts since childhood when she pursued ballet and drama lessons. That passion has continued through her daughter, who is enrolled in many arts programs including, musical theatre and dance. Mary is an active volunteer in her daughter’s school, promoting the arts through its annual ARTucate event
 
Mary has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and holds the CPA, CA and Chartered Director designations.
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Kyan Nademi
Kyan Nademi of North York, Toronto, Ontario, was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) board of directors in June 2019.  Canadian of Iranian heritage, Kyan says she is firmly anchored in both cultures.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Since then, her professional career has been in the financial sector. She is currently an Index Analyst at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
 
Kyan has also built a parallel career in the arts, with appearances in films and music videos. She has served as emcee and host for various cultural events. She has also been on the planning committee of the CineIran Festival, the Phoenix Comedy Film Festival and the Tirgan Festival. In 2015, she was a contestant in the Miss Universe Canada competition.
 
Kyan is an activist for One Free World International, a non-profit organization that gives voice to minorities persecuted for their beliefs. She speaks about human rights issues and has participated in international conferences about freedom of religion, the rights of minority groups, and women’s rights. Kyan is the organizer of an annual event in support of Operation Smile, successfully raising more than $10,000 for the charity each year.
 
Kyan grew up in a family where arts and culture played a central role. Despite her youth, Kyan has been a major supporter and advocate for arts. She frequents art galleries, operas, ballets, musical performances and local theatre. She believes strongly that participation in the arts brings out creativity and productivity in everyone. Kyan advocates for the benefits of the arts for participants, especially for the value they bring to mental and emotional well-being.
 
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Lilly Obina
Ottawa-based Lilly Obina was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council board of directors in February 2021. Lilly’s more than 17 years of experience in both the public and private sectors have been focused on security operations, business continuity, disaster recovery, IT software and project management. Currently she is a project executive for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) passport program modernization initiative.
 
Lilly is also very interested in public service, having run for nomination as a candidate in the 2015 federal election for the Conservative Party of Canada. She also put her name forward as a possible candidate for the Ottawa municipal elections in both 2010 and 2014. As a Uganda-born Canadian, Lilly is particularly interested in ensuring that new voices be added to the Canadian political discourse.
 
She is a supporter of the Uganda Association of Ottawa and is active with the African-Canadian Children's Choir, an after-school program for children. She also teaches traditional African dance to children in her community. Lilly is a former board member of the Black Women Civic Engagement Network (BWCEN). She has a personal interest in photography, culture and travel.
 
In 2003, Lilly received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Dalhousie University. She holds a diploma in Applied Information Technology from the Information Technology Institute.
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Geneviève Painchaud

Geneviève Painchaud of Ottawa, is a bilingual communications and real estate professional who was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council board of directors at the end of May 2020.
 

Over her career, she has had several senior marketing and communications roles, notably in the entertainment industry with Bell Express Vu (Bell Canada) and in the investment world with Trimark Mutual Funds (Invesco Canada). Geneviève has also taught marketing at Collège La Cité in Ottawa.
 

She is an active community volunteer and sits on the boards of Ontario 211 and the Law Society of Ontario among others. She also serves as an adjudicator with the appeals division of the Law Society of Ontario Tribunal.
 

Geneviève holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a specialization in Marketing from the University of Windsor, a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Economics) from the University of Ottawa and is pursuing the Public Leadership Credential course at the Harvard Kennedy School in the U.S.
 

Growing up in Québec City, Geneviève’s parents owned an art gallery. As a result, arts and culture have played a formative part of her life.
 


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David Tsubouchi
David Tsubouchi of Baltimore, Ontario, was appointed to the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) board of directors in mid-December 2018.

David is a former Ontario cabinet minister and MPP for Markham. Notably, he served as Ontario’s Minister of Culture under Premier Ernie Eves in 2003, having previously held several other cabinet posts. Prior to his work in the legislature, David served as a councillor for the Town of Markham, and was the first Japanese Canadian person elected to any public office in Ontario. David has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and many honours for his work as an advocate for diversity and inclusion. His memoir Gambatte: Generations of Perseverance and Politics was published by ECW Press and was nominated for a Speaker’s Book Award. He also lectures on leadership and diversity at the Directors College (McMaster University) and at York University.

David currently sits on the board of directors for the OMERS Pension Fund and Women’s College Hospital. He has served on boards for a variety of arts, culture and heritage organizations – such as the Markham Museum, the Varley Art Gallery, and the National Ballet of Canada – along with organizations in the fields of health, business and education.

David holds a B.A. from York University, a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School, an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LL.D.) from Assumption University in Windsor, an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Letters (D.S.Litt.) from Huntington (Laurentian) University in Sudbury and a Chartered Director (C. Dir.) from the Directors College, McMaster University.
 
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