The day’s presentations, panel discussion, and breakout sessions will focus on emerging leadership in all cultural disciplines and sectors, with dynamic conversations across the spectrum of career stages, from founder/pioneer through mid-career and just beginning, as we discover what each has to teach and learn from the others.

Here are our presenters and panelists.




Addressing these themes will be our guest keynote speaker Emiko Ono, a program officer with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program. Ms. Ono is the author of a recently released study, “Moving Arts Leadership Forward: A Changing Landscape”, which tackles head-on many of the issues we will discussing at re:generation. You can find her report here.

Among the key findings the report examines are: 

  • Higher educational attainment among emerging arts leaders, coupled with higher debt levels, are creating greater demand earlier in individuals’ careers for sustainable compensation;
  • Degree programs and certifications in arts administration and nonprofit management now produce more formally trained early-career arts leaders;
  • Economic pressures have contributed to long-term leaders’ decisions to defer retirement;
  • With late-career leaders staying in their positions longer and greater numbers of early-career leaders entering the workforce, there are more cross-generational workplaces and distinct work styles;
  • Rapid demographic change has created unprecedented diversity, but this diversity is not yet represented in the executive and board leadership of the nonprofit arts sector.


Emiko Ono has served as a program officer in The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program since 2011. In this role, she manages project, operating, capital, and capacity building grants that support more than 80 arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she manages a cluster of grants that promote cross-generational leadership in the arts and serves on the Hewlett Foundation’s Building an Inclusive Culture working group. Emiko has 15 years of experience developing and leading museum education, professional development, and grantmaking programs. Prior to joining the Hewlett Foundation, she served as the director of grants and professional development at the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. Emiko began her career in the arts and cultural sector at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where she supported docent and volunteer programs and helped to establish a multi-disciplinary arts partnership program. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She currently serves on the advisory council for Talent Philanthropy Project, which works to ensure funders invest in a well-supported, diverse, and sustainable nonprofit workforce.



What We Have Learned

The Alliance’s annual conference traditionally opens with a session titled “What We Have Learned” where we hear report-backs from other recent conferences and initiatives. 

This year at re:generation we will begin with four brief presentations:

Presenter Biographies

Gillian Wood is the Executive Director of the Arts and Cultural Development Branch in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. The position combines responsibility for the strategic direction of the BC Arts Council with the development of policy and new initiatives in the creative sector for the Province of British Columbia. Most recently, Gillian led her colleagues in the development and implementation of B.C.’s new Creative Economy Strategy, launched by Minister Peter Fassbender in February 2016.

Gillian held a number of positions during her long career with the BC Arts Council, including Performing Arts Officer, Senior Policy and Program Advisor, Associate Director and Executive Director. Prior to joining the public service, she worked in the U.K. in theatre, visual arts, dance and festivals. Gillian also managed the Hong Kong Arts Festival and worked as a consultant.  She holds an MBA from York University and an undergraduate degree from UBC.

Roxanne Duncan has been Managing Director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival since June 2014. She is a key member of the organization’s senior management team, and played a leadership role in the creation of the Festival’s new co-located facility, The Post at 750.

Prior to joining PuSh, Roxanne was Managing Director of The Theatre Centre, where she was a key member of the management team responsible for the creation of its $6.2 million live arts hub inToronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood.

Her career began in Edinburgh in 2005 working with Aurora Nova and Paul Lucas Productions. She relocated to Toronto in 2007 where she worked with a range of remarkable Toronto-based companies including Volcano Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Dreamwalker Dance, Acting Upstage, Why Not Theatre, Company Theatre, and Soulpepper.

Liz Shorten has been working to build capacity in the film, television and digital media sectors for the past 20 years. Liz has held senior positions at the Ontario Film Development Corporation, British Columbia Film, CBC Television and Mediaskillset Consulting. She is currently Managing Vice-President, Operations and Member Services at the Canadian Media Production Association, BC Producers' Branch. In her role at the CMPA-BC, Liz advocates for BC companies, creates policies and strategies to assist in industry growth, and organizes industry development initiatives.

She sits on the National Board of Directors of the Cultural Human Resources Council, Reel Canada and is President of Women in View. In BC, Liz is Secretary/Treasurer for the Crazy8s Film Society, a member of the Screen Based HR Sector Council, is active in the Motion Picture Production Industry Association as Co-Chair of its Education and Training Committee and member of its Executive and Government Affairs Committees, and is a member of the Advocacy Committee of Women in Film and Television Vancouver. She sits on the Film Industry Advisory Committees of Capilano University and Praxis/Simon Fraser University. Liz is recipient of the Women in Film and Television “Wayne Black Service Award” in honour of her behind-the-scenes work in support of the film and television industry in BC.

Mitchell Saddleback is Plains Cree from Maskwacis Samson Band in Central Alberta.  In his teens and early twenties, Mitchell attended film programs, developed a love for stand-up comedy and realized art is a creative medium to talk about First Nations’ and other issues. Mitchell starred in MISCELLANEOUS Productions’ Haunted House (2015) and went on to become a Youth Leader touring throughout BC giving workshops to diverse at-risk and experiential youth with MISCELLANEOUS Productions. In 2016, the company was awarded a First People’s Cultural Council grant to mentor Mitchell as an artist and cultural worker. Mitchell has struggled with addiction and homelessness in the past, and looks at this as a blessing and a foundation to help others.   


Panel Discussion:
Engagement + Support / Transition + Legacy

Setting the stage for a day of deep thinking and lively conversations will be a morning panel discussion focusing on the twin themes of "Engagement & Support" and "Transition & Legacy."

Taking part in this conversation, moderated by BC arts and culture opposition critic Spencer Chandra Herbert, will be:

South Asian Arts and Diwali Fest Artistic Producer Rohit Chokhani; Creative BC CEO Prem Gill; SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit Director Howard R. JangVancouver WritersFest founder Alma Lee; joined by Mitchell Saddleback and Roxanne Duncan.


Panelist Biographies

Rohit Chokhani is an award-winning mid-career arts producer and cultural leader. He is currently the 2015/16 Producer in Residence at the National Arts Centre – English Theatre and is Artistic Producer for South Asian Arts and Diwali Fest based in Vancouver/Surrey, BC. 

He recently launched a sector development initiative called Project SAT (South Asian Theatre project) to create a network for developing, touring, producing and presenting national and international South Asian themed theatre projects in Canada. Previously, he worked as a General Manager for Vancouver’s Touchstone Theatre and urban ink productions. His credits include: Nirbhaya (Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award), The Romeo Initiative (4 Jessie nominations), Night, The Concessions (3 Jessie nominations), 2014 Lawyer show – Legally Blonde: The Musical, Hirsch and Late Company (4 Jessie nominations), Mrs. Singh & Me (2015 Pick of the Fringe Award winner), Sal Capone (5 Meta Award nominations), Siddhartha: the Journey Home (2011 Talk of the Fringe Award) and Women In Fish at Katzie Nation.

Rohit has been involved in partnerships with PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Chutzpah! Festival, DOXA Festival and Music on Main and helped deliver an award-winning season at Touchstone Theatre that featured more than 50% of its programming through women playwrights. Rohit grew up in Bombay (Mumbai), home to Bollywood, the centre of the Indian subcontinent’s vibrant performing arts industry. He is highly passionate about making performing arts equitable and sustainable.


With over 20 years of experience in creative industries including film, TV, media, communications and digital technology, Creative BC's CEO Prem Gill is a passionate leader with a proven track record of fiscal responsibility, strategic thinking, and inspired employees. Prem’s commitment to the creative economy in BC can be seen through her work as Director of Production & Original Programming with TELUS and previous experience in the broadcast industry with CityTV and CHUM. Prem is Vice-Chair of the board of directors for the National Screen Institute, holds a board of director position with the Vancouver International Film Festival and an advisory position with Women in View.

With many accolades to her name, Prem was named one of The Globe and Mail’s 10 Women Who Matter in Film and TV. Prem believes whole-heartedly in the advocacy and advancement of the BC creative industries to position BC as a global leader in innovation and creativity.


In August 2014, Howard R. Jang joined the Simon Fraser University faculty as Professor of Professional Practice in the School for the Contemporary Arts, and is the Director of the SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit. 

Howard has been an active member of several volunteer boards and committees, most notably for the Canadian Arts Summit, Orchestras Canada, Manitoba Arts Stabilization, Tourism Winnipeg and Vancouver, Canada Council Theatre and Dance, BC Arts Council Music, Alliance for Arts and Culture, and Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, and the Vancouver Foundation’s Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee. He served as Chair of Tourism Vancouver in 2011/2012. 

He is a founding board member of PAL Vancouver, a past member of the executive committee of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and served on the Theatre Advisory for the Canada Council for the Arts. Howard was appointed to the Board of the Canada Council for the Arts in 2012 and currently sits on the TELUS Vancouver Community Board. Howard also serves as a member of the BC Culture Days Task Force and is a lifetime Honourary Governor for the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation. Trained first as a musician, he has served as the Executive Director for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Ballet British Columbia, and was the Orchestra Manager for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke's (NYC).

Howard has completed the Stanford University Graduate School of Business/National Arts Strategies Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders in the Arts as well as the program of Leadership with the Shannon Institute in Minneapolis, MN. He also recently completed the Executive Director Learning Circle and Mentorship program with Vantage Point.

He recently finished a 14-year tenure as Executive Director with Arts Club Theatre Company. During that time revenues grew from $4M to exceeding $14M and the organization has established the largest subscription base in Canada for a professional theatre company, exceeding 17,000 subscribers.

Born in Edinburgh, Alma Lee came to Canada in 1967 and since her arrival has made her mark in the literary community of this country. She was the founding Executive Director of the Writers’ Union of Canada and of The Writers’ Trust. After moving to the West Coast, Alma was the founder and former Artistic Director of the Vancouver International Writers Festival.

She has also received several awards for her service to the book community and to Canada’s writers, one of which is the Award for Distinguished Contribution from The Writers’ Trust. Alma was named a Woman of Distinction in 1998,  She served on the juries of the BC Book Prizes, Canadian Authors Non-Fiction Prize, Reading Program jury of The Canada Council, Literary Committee for the BC Arts Council, Kiriyama Non-fiction jury, the Charles Taylor Non-fiction Prize and the National Prize for Non-fiction. She has also served twice on the Lieutenant Governor’s Prize for Literary Excellence.

She recently re-entered the festival world by producing CUFFED a festival of crime writers.

Alma is on the Board of Trustees of Granville Island and was Vice-Chair of the BC Arts Council. In 2005 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Simon Fraser University and has been invested into the Order of Canada and has also received both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals from the Queen.

See the What We Have Learned section above for biographies of Roxanne Duncan and Mitchell Saddleback.

Panel Moderator

Spencer Chandra Herbert was re-elected MLA for Vancouver West-End in 2013 and serves as the Official Opposition Critic for Tourism, Arts, Culture, TV and Film. 








We're pleased to have Sam Bradd onboard for our conference again this year, to guide our dialogue leaders and to draw ideas in real-time so we can all see the bigger picture. Sam is a graphic facilitator, specialist in information design and the principal of Drawing Change. He uses visuals to help groups be better at what they do. In the last 15 years, he's collaborated with the World Health Organization, Google, indigenous organizations and researchers on three continents. Sam has a Masters in Education (UBC), and this spring his side project the Graphic History Collective published a new book of comics because how we tell histories can change the world. 


Dialogue Leaders

Pictured (L-R)

Greer Attridge
Membership & Programs Coordinator,  CARFAC-BC

Dawn Brennan
Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance

Elaine Carol
Artistic Director, MISCELLANEOUS Productions

Megan de León Solís
Intern, MISCELLANEOUS Productions

Dani Fecko 
Founder & President, Fascinator Management

Sarah Kim
Development Manager, ArtStarts In Schools

Lynda Lafleur
Community Relationships Manager, Columbia Basin Trust

Kenji Maeda
Program Manager, artsVest B.C. 

Elfred Matining
Program Manager, ArtStarts in Schools

Britney Quail
Director and Alumni Program Coordinator, BC Heritage Fairs Society

Lindy Sisson
Executive & Artistic Director, The ACT Arts Centre