Team & Board
Vanessa Herrick (she/her/hers) is a writer, photographer and videographer with a strong passion for advocacy, community development and capacity building.
Vanessa is already known to many ELAN members and partners through her work with Just for Laughs, The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, and The Montreal World Film Festival. Vanessa was also the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Centaur Theatre Company in the early 2000s, and worked in production on major films such as The Bone Collector, Battlefield Earth, and Rollerball.
In 2008, Vanessa enrolled at Concordia University to study journalism. She was awarded the Don McGillivray Memorial Prize for Explanatory Journalism for “Bombs and Diplomacy” in 2009, and in 2010 Vanessa received the Canadian International Development Agency’s Journalism and Development award. After graduating from Concordia, Vanessa pursued further studies in a masters program in International Communications and Development at City University, London, England.
Vanessa then worked in international development, journalism, and communications in places such as Afghanistan, Kosovo and dozens of other countries.
In 2019, Vanessa turned her focus back to Quebec became the first Executive Director of Seniors Action Quebec, a Quebec-based not-for-profit focused on advocacy and community-building for English-speaking seniors.
Deborah Forde (she/her/hers) director, dramaturge, playwright arts administrator.
In 1999, after over 20 years in community development, Deborah’s work led her to the practice of professional community engaged arts through the study of Theatre for Development at Concordia. Emerging first as a director, with Bryan James’s Terminal,Terminal and Rahul Varma’s State of Denial, Deborah went on to spend two years supporting other emerging artists through Black Theatre Workshop’s YouthWorks, and 3 years serving the English-speaking theatre community as Executive Director for the Quebec Drama Federation. She has also recently directed the inaugural production of Canada’s first Muslim theatre company, inaugural production of Canada’s first Muslim theatre company, Silk Road Institute, and is the former coordinator for Teesri Duniya Theatre Fireworks program. Currently, Deborah is director of operations for ELAN and freelances with the goal of continuing to support emerging artists and facilitate community connection to, and through, theatre.
Swati (she/her/hers) has two decades of TV and Film production experience in India, working on everything from scripting, shooting, costumes, direction and postproduction for TV shows, studio films and indies. As a Creative Director for a number of entertainment channels, her focus was non-fiction programming. Swati helmed super-hit reality shows like the Indian syndicated versions of Dancing with the Stars, Fear Factor, and Bachelorette. She also produced a number of live award shows. At NDTV (English language news) and MTV India, Swati produced entertainment news shows and worked as on-air talent.
In Canada, Swati has worked for a number of arts and entertainment organizations, including the Teesri Duniya Theatre, The Fringe Festival, Just for Laughs and the South Asian Film Festival. Her work has spanned events production and management, as well as more creative pursuits. She served as a creative producer for educational short films about Bollywood for Concordia University’s Media Studies program. She also designed costumes for plays produced by Silk Road Institute and was critically appreciated for her work. Currently, she is the Program Manager at ELAN where she oversees the ArtEd and Arts2U projects.
Iso (they/them/theirs) is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in Tiotià:ke/Montreal since 2017. Utilizing moving images, text, and textiles, their work addresses questions of visibility, sense and memory in documentary film. Their current research focuses on eruvin as an installation of Jewish life and queer orientations in urban space. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Iso received a BA in Political Studies and Electronic Media Arts from Simon’s Rock in 2017, and an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University in 2021.
Lauren Katherine Clinton (she/her/hers) is a singer, performer, songwriter, and writer. In Toronto she studied music theatre at Etobicoke School of the Arts before heading west to the University of Victoria for a BFA in Creative Writing. In Montreal she completed an MA in English Literature with a creative writing thesis at McGill. Lauren has built a career performing as Lou Laurence. In 2016, she sang lead vocals and co-wrote songs on DJ Champion’s album, Best Seller. She has self-released four EP’s, toured Canada and the UK, and performed on TV specials such as, Belle et Bum, Gala Artis, and Gala Célébration. She has a background in working with adult English language learners and has worked with francophone musicians in studio as an English pronunciation coach and supported a number of visual artists with English language arts applications. Currently, Lauren is the Communications Coordinator at ELAN.
Nick Maturo (he/him/his) holds an M.A. in Communications Studies from McGill University and a B.F.A. in Electroacoustic Studies from Concordia University. His ongoing research considers musician labour and the role of institutions within the rapidly evolving field of online music distribution. As an artist, Nick has been active in Montréal’s experimental music community for over ten years and has performed at the Suoni Per Il Popolo and MUTEK festivals.
Francisco Gonzalez-Rosas (he/him//they/them) is a performance and new media artist established in Tiohtià:ke / Montréal since 2016. He holds a BA in Acting from Finis Terrae University, Santiago, Chile and a Master in Fine Arts in Intermedia, from Concordia University. His practice integrates sound, image, performance, video and installation. Questions of representation, gender, race, digital culture, image and technology are at the core of his work.
IT Coordinator and Consultant
Andre Athanasiadis (he/him/his) has come to be known as the go-to IT professional of the Montreal arts community. With a breadth of experience in computer systems and networks since 1996, Andre has brought his expertise to numerous technical schools, universities, and arts organizations. Over the years, his work has been trusted by, among many others, McGill University, Teesri Duniya Theatre and the Quebec Drama Federation. ELAN is proud to have Andre as one of our longest contributing staff for over ten years.
Naj Sumar (he/him/his) is a process consultant, strategic thinker, and pop culture diva. With a background in community development, learning design, and change management, Naj lives at the intersection of people and culture. He defines himself by the gifts of facilitation and re-framing.
Maria (she/her/hers) moved to Montreal in 2016 to pursue studies in Human Relations and Law and Society at Concordia University. Through her desire to encourage and uplift others, Maria has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations to support various initiatives across Canada and as far as China, India and Laos. Her enthusiam for the arts and passion for people has brought her to ELAN as the Research Coordinator for the State of the Arts on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion project.
Guy Rex Rodgers
ELAN Founder, Waves of Change Project Manager
A graduate of the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada, Guy Rex Rodgers has worked in film and television, and specialized in writing large-scale multimedia productions for museums and special events across Canada, as well as the US, Europe and the Middle East. He has also worked in television, interviewing artists for the Montreal International Jazz Festival and writing TV specials. He recently wrote a pictorial history book for Montreal’s Welcome Hall Mission to commemorate their 125th anniversary. He is also a musician and has recently performed in several editions of Tim Brady’s symphonies for 100 guitarists. In 2015 he was appointed to l’Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec.
A long-time arts activist, Guy Rex Rodgers was co-founder of the Quebec Drama Federation (QDF) and the Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF), was a member of the founding board of le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), and was Executive Director of the English-Language Arts Network from its inception in 2004 until 2021.
Christie Huff helps organizations in the arts, community and education sectors to align with the needs of the people they aim to serve to achieve measurable social impact. Her goal is to empower the people she works with to approach their challenges as collaboratively as possible so that their change efforts may be successful and sustained. Before completing her Master’s degree in Human Systems Intervention (2012, Concordia), she had undergraduate degrees in economics and commerce, a Certificate in Adult Training & Development (OISE), and experience working with for-profit, government, and non-profit organizations and social enterprises. Christie currently oversees ELAN’s strategic approach to connecting Artists with Educators through the ACE Initiative and the soon-to-be launched Micro- Grant program.
Digital Solutions, ARTS2U
A 30 year veteran of the music industry Dan has led projects in digital distribution, sales and marketing, ticketing, artist development, and festival development. Dan is currently managing ELAN’s (English Language Arts Network, Quebec) research on Digital Solutions, and managing the ELAN’s ARTS2U prototype development. In 2019 Dan will lead a Canada Council – DSF funded project that develop connections and collaborations among digital initiatives. In 2018, the music company Dan founded ‘Greenland Productions’ celebrated 25 years in business. In 2014 Dan created TIXZA, a ticket solution for small venues. Dan is co-founder of Osheaga Music Festival and the creator of the Green Stage at Osheaga. Dan’s early work in co-creating the peer to peer file sharing technology FLIPR in 1999 was his first foray into offering a solution for artists to self-distribute music in the internet age.
Betty Esperanza has been building communities worldwide for two decades through her passion to unite people of all cultures to champion causes in the philanthropic and arts and culture spheres. She studied diplomacy and business development and marketing while juggling careers as an artist, musician and entertainment manager of Canadian Jazz Musician, Vic Vogel for 10 years, as well as an avid street photographer participating in over 30 International exhibits where some of her black and white series “A BOOK ABOUT DEATH” are archived in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA NY and MoMA Wales), American Art at the Smithsonian Institution and Musee des Livres de Paris to name a few.
She is part of the TED Talks brand and a recent Radio Canada documentary “L’Esperanza de Cuba” tells her story in Cuba about her non-profit, Skateboards For Hope which empowers youth using skateboarding as a tool to break the cycle of poverty. It brought her attention to meet Oprah in 2013 and most recently received the Maria Brown Humanitarian Award for her commendable community work. Betty is also the Founder of 100 Thousand Poets 4 Change Festival, an annual open mic poetry event in its 10th year providing a safe space for inclusion and diversity. Her latest endeavour is working as Project Manager on ELAN’s Waves of Change documentary project which will shine a spotlight on English Speaking Quebeckers, artists and communities.
Born in Damascus in 1987 and based in Montreal since 1995, Youssef Shoufan is a photographer, author, filmmaker and initiator of multiple projects active in the artistic, cultural and social communities in Montreal. His interests in minimalist aesthetics and his values of social justice and representation of marginalized narratives are at the heart of his work.
Observer and explorer, curious and creative, Youssef uses his professional and personal communication skills as vectors of positive change for local and international projects for short and long term impacts.
Youssef loves traveling, meeting other human beings, playing chess and water polo, snowboarding and water slides. Mediator and agnostic, he likes reading and playing with words, eating fresh pistachios, listening to and singing to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and enjoying photography, cinema, design and art that transforms positively our planet.
In 2020, Youssef joined ELAN’s Waves of Change team, and is responsible for directing and editing the video documentation of the project.
Bobbi Jo Hart is an award-winning filmmaker and community outreach consultant who passionately harnesses the power of storytelling to amplify the voices of disadvantaged and marginalized members of our society. By building bridges of understanding through her documentary films and community engagement initiatives, she is dedicated to celebrating our shared humanity. Bobbi Jo has created many community projects utilizing art and music therapy, be it to engage schoolchildren, senior citizens or at-risk youth. Her career has taken her to countries as diverse as Pakistan, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, the United States, Russia, Australia, Poland and Guatemala. Bobbi Jo’s favourite quote is by Thich That Hanh: “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way”.
State of the Arts – 2019
Farah is an arts manager, performer and artist who for over 15 years has been using the arts as a mechanism to teach about equality, rights, personal histories, self-actualization and community bridging. She is rooted in working with cross-cultural populations to promote the arts to a diversity of communities and to outreach to new audiences to overcome emotional and cultural barriers. Farah co-founded, with Julio Hong, Le Groupe Herencias, whose mandate is to use the arts for the promotion, exchange, and acceptance of identity, culture and heritage through creation, art education, training, and creative arts therapies. Farah is also a public speaker for organizations who use the arts as a means to strategize for economic development, goal setting, re- visioning, or for those who want an experience simply for the love of the arts.
Arts Alive! Québec (2017 – 2018)
(Arts Alive Québec summer 2017 and 2018) — Following a long career as a professional stage manager, Concordia University lecturer, and subsequently General Manager of Geordie Productions, Anne now free-lances in a variety of administrative roles, currently with Centaur Theatre, McGill University, and ELAN.
Performing Arts Market Access Project Manager – Workshops (2017 – 2019)
June is an arts consultant, writer and cultural connector based in Montreal. She has worked in Montreal for several arts organizations including Youtheatre, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal and RUBBERBANDance Group. She sat on the Executive Board of the Quebec Drama Federation as Treasurer and was Director of Marketing for Opera Ontario/Opera Hamilton, and Development Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum. She continues to work with various groups committed to increasing the visibility and integration of culturally diverse artists from all disciplines. June has her M.A. from the University of Toronto, B.A. from U of Calgary, and studied arts management at the University of Waterloo, Cultural Careers Council of Ontario. She is currently finishing a manuscript while working as a freelance grant writer, agent, and arts administrator.
Emilia has worked in the professional international performing arts community as a producer, administrator and agent both for independent artists and for festivals including FTA, CINARS and Pop Montréal. In 2015, Emilia was the Performing Arts Market Access Coordinator for ELAN, where she researched and proposed over a dozen touring strategies for the anglophone performing arts community in Québec, which are now being partly implemented through the PAMA workshops and showcases projects. Her expertise lies in international contemporary performance touring networks. Emilia studied Photography and Mathematics at Concordia University, and is starting a doctorate in Mathematics in the Fall.
Performing Arts Market Access – Showcases Assistant (2017-2019)
With a Marketing degree from Concordia University and an avid interest in arts and culture management, Mariam has been working in the arts, mostly in music, since 2008. She has worked for festivals, associations promoting local talent, managed bands, and organized many concerts and events for both local and international artists.
Project Manager – Visiting Curators Series 2017
Stephen Lawson is a multidisciplinary artist who continually crosses the boundaries of theatre, music, television, performance art, curatorial practice, radio, print and video. He has worked in various capacities as a cultural worker and organizer, and since 2001 he has been collaborating with artist Aaron Pollard as 2boys.tv, creating and touring transmedia performances, installations and videos internationally.
Project Manager – Visiting Curators Series 2017
Ximena Holuigue works as a curator and facilitator for interdisciplinary projects which has allowed her to create a cultural bridge with Cuba through diverse cultural exchanges, among them, working as assistant-curator to the director in the Havana Biennial 2015 Edition. Since 2016, she is the project manager of the Montreal-Havana art exchange, funded by the Montreal Arts Council and led by the RCAAQ institution in Montreal. She is also the creative producer for Para Todos For Todos, a documentary about El Mejunje, an LGBT performance venue and community center based in Santa Clara, Cuba (out in 2018). She continues to work as a facilitator, project manager and fixer in various art, film and music related projects in Cuba and abroad.
Richard “Bugs” Burnett
Project Manager – Digital Shift Project 2014
Dubbed “Mr. Montreal” by CBC Arts, Richard “Bugs” Burnett is an arts and culture journalist and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. He is also a pop culture pundit on radio and television. His pioneering column Three Dollar Bill is the only syndicated LGBTQ column in Canadian publishing history, and is now archived in Toronto’s The ArQuives (formerly the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives), the largest independent LGBTQ archive in the world. Bugs has interviewed everybody from Cher to Justin Trudeau, and got the last-ever sit-down interview with the late James Brown. Bugs knows his hometown like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter. Tourisme Montréal says, “As Michael Musto is to New York City, Richard Burnett is to Montreal.”
ELAN’s board consists of representatives from the various artistic disciplines that ELAN serves, representatives of the regions outside Greater Montreal, and representatives from sister organizations – the Quebec Drama Federation (QDF), the Quebec Writers Federation (QWF) and the Association of English Language Publishers (AELAQ).
Li Li (Theatre) is a first generation Canadian. She spent her childhood living in different continents, finally settling in Quebec. She has a BFA major in Digital Image & Sound; with a Minor in Theatrw from Concordia University. Li Li has worked in theatre, TV/film, and video games. Behind the camera, Li Li has worked a range of jobs including being a fixer, translator, casting director, co-producer as well as selling finished projects to broadcasters. Li Li served as ACTRA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s co-chair and as part of the ACTRA Montreal branch council. She is part of the following unions: ACTRA, CAEA and UDA. Li Li is a mother and has a strong interest in gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
Angie Cheng (Performance). Originally from Ottawa, Angie Cheng is a Montreal-based dance artist. Collaborative creation processes ground her ongoing research in performance; investigating the liminal space between creative process and performance event, between spectator and performer. The embodied and specific understandings that arise from these investigations shape her current questions and engagements both in her own work and with others. What other platforms are available for presenting work and examining how we present the different states of work and the influence it plays with what we create. She has also been actively engaged in the dance community in the conversations of inclusivity, diversity and accessibility. She was a member of the now defunct inclusivity vivre ensemble committee of the RQD.
Quinten Sheriff (Visual Arts / Music). Growing up in Zimbabwe gave Quinten the experience as a citizen in a democracy that since deteriorated into the chaos that stains the country as of this moment. Throughout his youth he was thrown into the strife that tore the country apart and went through much violence surrounding the farm invasions. It is these marks and scars of his past that have moulded him and given him a place to ground himself, and project into the future.
Kakim Goh is a Singaporean-born Montreal-based visual artist, curator, and cultural worker who creates interdisciplinary painting, performance and video installations.Kakim has been exhibiting in Quebec and Mexico since 1993. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University.He has a long history of community engagement helping to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in the education, arts, and culture sectors. Kakim served as Curator of the Visual Arts Program at Festival Accès Asie from 2014 to 2016 and was Vice-President on the festival’s Board of Directors from 2014 to 2019. From 2019 to 2021, he lead The ABILITIES Project in inclusive practices that provided adapted training, professional development and accommodation for an artist with cerebral palsy to help her integrate into the professional arts community in Montreal. He is Treasurer of the Board of Directors at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) and an appointed Member of the Evaluation Committee for New Artistic Practices and Multidisciplinary Sector at the Conseil des arts de Montréal. Kakim is active as an Executive Member of the Board of Directors (Treasurer 2019 – 2020 / Vice-President 2020 – 2021) and Co-chair of the Inclusion Committee at the English-Language Arts Network (ELAN) since 2018.
Members at Large
Dr. Alexandra Fol (Music). The music of Dr Alexandra Fol (DMus McGill University, MMus Eastman School of Music, BMus Boston University, CTh Princeton Theological Seminary) has been performed by ensembles such as the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Symphony, the orkest de ereprijs, the Orchestre de la Francophonie, the New Score Chamber Orchestra, the Sofia Wind Orchestra, the Orchestre à vents non-identifié (OVNI), Ensemble Paramirabò, El Perro Andaluz, the CYE ensemble, thingNY ensemble, the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra, among many others. She has composed music for documentary movies, including “Ancient Thrace – Door to Immortality”, sponsored by the NetHeritage fund of the European Union, and for various Thracian rituals. Since 2017 her music accompanies annually the restored Thracian summer solstice ritual at the Cabyle rock-cut sanctuary. Her works have appeared in CDs released by Gutenberg Publishing (Bulgaria) and Disques Benedictus (Canada) Winner of the 2021 Roberta Steven Award, Fol lives and works in Montréal as a composer, organist, pianist and conductor. She is the Music director and titulair organist at St James United Church and servs on the board of LAUDEM, the Association of Liturgical Musicians of Canada. Her music is available through the Canadian Music Centre. In 2019 she was awarded a coat of arms by the Canadian Governor General. For more information, click here.
holly Greco (Theatre/QDF). holly Greco is a collaborative dance/theatre creator, originally hailing from Toronto. She has worked in the Montreal dance and theatre community for ten years as a performer, choreographer, administrator and producer. She is a co-founder and former Assistant Producer at the Bouge D’ici Dance Festival. She has also worked as an Associate Producer for the St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival, overseeing 3 years festivals, and is proud to be on the Board of Directors for the Revolution They Wrote Festival. Greco has also worked with several community, professional and independent companies, such as MainLine Theatre, Repercussion Theatre, Segal Centre and Geordie Theatre. Greco is honoured to serve the #weareQCtheatre community and will proudly continue to provide support, resources and development opportunities in her new role as Director of Programming.
Simon Wayland (Music) is a musician, writer and entrepreneur. In 2001 he founded Finite Music, a studio that specializes in music for film and television. As a composer he was nominated for the 2002 Jutra Award for Best Original Score. As a Music Supervisor he licensed hundreds of songs for films and for TV shows on YTV, Netflix, CBC, IFC, Showcase, Universal etc. A veteran of Montreal’s electronic music scene, he performs under the moniker GUAPO as a guitarist, DJ and electronic musician. He played at festivals like Glastonbury (U.K.), Telerama Dub Festival (Paris), Montreal International Jazz Festival, Bal En Blanc, Pop Montreal, Eclipse etc… At the Just For Laughs Festival he was the Musical Coordinator & DJ for marquee events like fashion icon Jean Paul Gaultier’s Pinkarnaval and Guy Laliberté’s TerraKarnaval. As a member of the S.A.T. Mix Sessions collective within La Société Des Arts Technologiques, he has been creating & performing at multi-disciplinary events there since 2004. Additionally, he has worked closely with cutting edge multimedia innovators like Moment Factory and Graphics Emotion. Simon’s collaborative art projects have been shown at galleries like the Darling Foundry and Espacio Mexico. He is currently co-writing two fictional TV series The Last Tribe and The Devil’s Road. Which marks a return to his first passion of story telling, a craft he has quietly nurtured as a lyricist, journalist and poet throughout his successful music career. Over the years Simon worked for record labels, music publishers, recording studios and as a tour manager. His eclectic tastes led to working in musical styles like Indian Raga, Dub Reggae, Afro Beat, House, Drum n Bass, World Beat, Hip Hop, Punk, Metal and Alt Rock. He had the pleasure of collaborating with international artists like 15 time Grammy Winner Luisito Quintero (Venezuela), 4 time Juno Winner Alpha Yaya Diallo (Guinea) and world beat pioneers Suns of Arqa (England).
Deanna Smith (Writing) is a 5th generation Canadian who experiences othering on a regular basis. Thinking in two colonial languages is becoming increasingly burdensome so I hope to one day discover what my mother tongue should have been. I love words and believe in their power to bring people together. I write poetry and stories for children, hoping that if they get the truth earlier enough, it will stay with them in strong opposition to everything to the contrary. I am a poet, married to a poet, surrounded by poets.
Louise Abbott (Writing/AELAQ) is a writer, photographer, and documentary filmmaker based in the Eastern Townships. She has dedicated her career to exploring the culture, heritage, and natural environment of often overlooked communities in outlying areas of Canada as well as the social and environmental challenges facing these communities. She is the author of The Coast Way, The French Shore, The Heart of the Farm, Eeyou Istchee: Land of the Cree, and Memphremagog: An Illustrated History (volumes 1 and 2). She has directed and produced numerous documentaries, including, most recently, The Sugarmakers, which was televised by PBS in February 2022, and CRUX: The Transformation of AnneBruce Falconer, which was screened at the International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal in March 2022. Louise is a founding member of Studio Georgeville and established a literary press for the gallery in 2019. She has overseen the production of three books by Townships writers since then. She is pleased to represent the Association of English-Language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ) on the board of ELAN.
Dr. Blair MacKay (Music). Blair’s career over the last 40 years has been in the performance, direction, management, outreach/education and production of music. Since 1976, Blair has performed and recorded on percussion and drum-set in a variety of musical contexts – from contemporary chamber music with the ARRAYMUSIC ensemble, Ensemble Contemporaine de Montreal (ECM), and Societe de Musique Contemporaine du Quebec (SMCQ), to orchestral music with the Toronto Symphony and the Esprit Orchestra, through to free jazz with Barry Romberg’s Random Access, world music with The Ritual Party, pop jazz with Kim Richardson, and blues/rock recordings with artists such as Serena Ryder and Myles Goodwyn, and many diverse avenues in between. I have been a featured soloist with ensembles and as a solo artist, at festivals in London, Paris, New York, Kyoto, Jakarta, Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, and on CBC national radio.
Deirdre Potash (Regions) is a Working Artist with a diverse practice including a specialty in cultural mediation. Introducing and establishing art programs, working with a diverse clientele, from children to seniors in public and private institutions from elementary to university, community groups, business environments and health and mental health institutions. Acting as curator, organizer and manager. Her mixed media art works can be found in public and private spaces through out Quebec. Deirdre lives her dreams.
Victoria Sanchez (Film/Video) has been a part of the Canadian film industry for over twenty years. Since graduating from the Professional Theatre Program at John Abbott College in 1996, Victoria performed in over fifty Canadian productions (Theatre, Film & TV) starting with Canadian hit teen show Student Bodies to most recently Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan for Amazon, where she played John Krasinski’s CIA branch chief. Victoria has also been writing, coordinating and producing with her company Just Believe Productions Inc. for several years. Some of her most recent productions include, the shorts The Accident and Vision Stains in the Theatre Bizarre anthology, her feature film adaptation of her favourite childhood ghost story, Wait till Helen Comes, and Adam MacDonald (Backcountry writer/director)’s second feature film, the now critically acclaimed psychological horror Pyewacket starring Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead). Pyewacket went on to make over 50 TOP 10 HORROR lists in the last two years, and The New York Times called it an indie gem! Victoria is currently developing several new projects, from shorts and feature films, along with both scripted and realty series.
Roger Sinha (Dance) was born in England to an Armenian mother and an Indian father and later moved at the age of eight to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After graduating from Toronto Dance Theatre, he settled in Montreal and quickly became involved in several collaborations within the blossoming local artistic community. In 1991, he formed his company Sinha Danse and began developing his distinct choreographic language based on an intermingling of his Indian background and Canadian culture. More than 30 shows were on tour across Canada and overseas. His creations unite Bharata Natyam, a dance originating in Southern India, martial arts and contemporary dance. This unique fusion of influences has given birth to hybrid choreographies that are unquestionably distinctive.
Bettina Forget (Visual Arts – Past President) is a visual artist, gallery owner, art educator, and researcher living and working in Montreal. Bettina owns and runs Visual Voice Gallery. Located in downtown Montreal, Visual Voice Gallery presents contemporary art exhibitions, which create a dialogue between art and science. In 2018 she joined the Convergence – Perceptions in Neuroscience Initiative as Director of Fine Art, where she aims to foster interdisciplinary thought and push the boundaries of what is considered science and art. Since 2016 Bettina is the art/science researcher for the SETI Institute’s Artist-in-Residence program. In this capacity, she investigates idea translation between collaborating artists and scientists, and investigates different models of knowing. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Art Education at Concordia University, Canada. Her research project examines the re-contextualization of art and science, and how women and girls may connect to STEM subjects through MakerEducation. Bettina’s creative work focuses on space sciences, inspired by her avid engagement with amateur astronomy. She has exhibited her artwork in the USA, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Singapore, and Nicaragua.
Alex Gravenstein (Film/TV) has been acting professionally since 2015, but has been on stage and quite smaller screens well before that. Originally from Virginia, he moved to Montreal to study mechanical engineering and psychology at McGill. It was during these years that he fell even more in love with theater and film. He wanted to learn everything he could about the industry, and while he was already an editor, he learned camera work, vfx, coloring, sound, mixing, (basic) lighting, and even on and off in casting offices since 2016.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, he merged his two acting workshops (cold reading and in-person/self-taping workshops) into one, online format with his business partner, Maxine Denis. The workshop, called isolACTION, was intended initially as an escape from the pressure of the lockdowns as well as an audition gym and social space. After half a year, it officially became a comprehensive, adaptable, yet affordable professional service and still is today.
As an actor, he has been in an assortment of features, tv shows, video games, and more: most recently appearing in Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall(Lionsgate) and starring as Eric King in the video game House Of Ashes. Outside of the industry, you may catch him rock climbing or playing in the water. He hopes to use everything he has learned and continues to learn to give back to the acting community to make this enchanting world more accessible to others.
Jessica Greenberg (Corporate) Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec where she is currently based, Jessica’s interest in the entertainment industry was sparked at a young age, and is reflected in her education and career trajectory. Holding a B.A. in Human Relations from Concordia University and with experience in a variety of production roles ranging from production assistant to coordinator to assistant director, once Jessica became involved in casting she never looked back. By incorporating the knowledge she learned on set and behind the scenes, mixed with her creative thinking, intuition and empathy, allows for her unique approach to each project. Throughout her creative career, Jessica has successfully worked on studio features to low-budget indie shorts and everything in between. She has also collaborated with a multitude of talented directors and producers, and knows how to adapt quickly, be efficient and exercise solid judgment in decision-making. Dedicated and hard-working, Jessica consistently gives her all in everything she does.
Emilee Veluz (Regions) Emilee Veluz is a Canadian born Filipina, honour graduate of Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program (Dome Theatre). She has been working as a professional theatre, film and TV actor for over 20 years. She has toured eastern Canada and USA with Geordie Theatre and is best known on stage for her role as June in the Governor General Award winning play, Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring and Twinkle in the Montreal hit play, Miss Orient(ed) by Nina Lee Aquino and Nadine Villasin; both produced by Teesri Duniya Theatre. Miss Orient(ed) was voted Montreal Mirror’s (now MTL Blog) Best Play and Emilee was voted 2nd Best Local Actress. She was recently seen on stage (virtually) in Talisman Theatre’s production of Habibi’s Angels et la commission impossible. Selected Television and Film credits include, Clouds, The Moodys, 19-2, Nine Lives, Broken Trust and The Lottery. Emilee was recently seen in CTV’s Transplant, Canada’s number one Drama TV show. When she is not acting, the mother of 3 is a busy entrepreneur at Les bouchées mauves Inc. (www.lesboucheesmauves.com). Her online bakery highlights the flavour of Ube, the popular native yam from the Philippines and other Asian flavours. Her company is less than a year old and has already won the Local Commerce award at OSEntreprendre, appeared on the front page of the La Voix de l’Est and was featured on local radio and TV in the Haute-Yamaska region.
Pamela Hensley (Shadow Member / Writing) has published fiction in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, EVENT Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, The Antigonish Review, The Fieldstone Review, Montreal Writes, and elsewhere. She holds degrees from Western University (London, Canada) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA) and for many years worked overseas as an engineer and management consultant. Now an active board member with the Quebec Writers’ Federation, Pamela is engaged in writing fiction. She lives in Montreal.
ELAN board members are welcome to join any of the committees, and may join more than one committee if they have the time and interest.
Non-board members are also welcome to join committees. This is a good way to develop relations with future board members. People with expertise in specific areas (eg. communication, membership, inclusion, corporate planning) may also be invited to join committees.
The ACH Working Group meets once a year with federal departments and agencies (Canadian Heritage, Canada Council, CBC, TELEFILM, NFB). Community members nominated by ELAN represent the full range of arts and culture interests. Attendees nominated by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) represent heritage. ELAN board members also serve as co-leaders for bi-monthly follow-up meetings to develop project ideas and exchange information.
Two committees merged in September 2019. Assisting staff with communication policies and with membership outreach.
This is a new committee that was previously chaired by the president. It was created to provide support to ELAN staff with annual reviews and to serve as a mediator if conflicts should arise among staff that cannot be resolved by the Admin Manager or the Executive Director. The HR committee will also actively participate in the succession plan for change of Executive Director in 2021.