PETER GILL – Chairman of the Board (2015 – 2018)
Peter Gill was born and brought up in Toronto, lived for 7 years in Vancouver and then relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake, 14 years ago. His work career was in Claims and Risk management with the Corporation of the City of Toronto and latterly managing claims with a private insurer in Vancouver for seven years. While there he started a consulting business in the same field with clients in BC and Ontario, continued that business from NOTL, but has now retired.
Fundraising has become a sort of hobby for him. His first independent fundraising was for the 1980 Terry Fox original run when he organized a very successful multi-departmental challenge at the City of Toronto. Subsequently he has organized events and raised funds for Gillian’s Place, the NOTL Cancer Society, the new St. Catharines hospital, the Red Roof Retreat, the Shaw Festival Guild, the latter three while on their Boards, and other charities. Peter and his wife Judy are both music lovers, in particular jazz, and have taken various opportunities to see some of the jazz greats over the years and played trumpet for many years in his teens.
When the Niagara Jazz Festival was formed the attended many events in both 2014 and 2015. When he heard a new Board was being created, he contacted Juliet Dunn and also the Chair of the 2015 Board for more information, and subsequently applied to be on the Board, where he was nominated and accepted the position of Chair for 2016-17.
SUSAN KELLY – Secretary (2015 – 2017)
Susan grew up in St. Catharines, and in 2011 after a career in the hotel industry, she joined the Four Seasons Hotels marketing team and was responsible for positioning Four Seasons Yorkville. Following that she was transferred to open Four Seasons hotels in Philadelphia and LA. With interests in researching new markets and strategic development, Susan opened a niche consulting practice specializing in opening and repositioning fine hotels. Career highlights include: Hotel Manager of Hotel Bel-Air, LA; CEO and GM of Poets Cove Resort, Spa & Marina, Pender Island, British Columbia; and VP Marketing Sea Island Company, Sea Island, Georgia. As a hotel manager, Susan was fortunate to enjoy the performances of many renowned musicians and to meet the artists when they were guests in the hotel. Susan and her husband, Ernie Kister, have enjoyed living while working in many vacation destinations and decided to continue the tradition by retiring to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Both are members of the Shaw Guild. In 2013 Susan became a member of the Executive Committee and is beginning her fourth year as Secretary.
LAILA SRIGLEY- Director (2019 – Present)
Laila is the definition of a social butterfly and has a natural ability with helping business find their voice. A highly motivated professional with over 7 years experience in Public Relations and Events. Currently Laila works with Bombinate Creative, as a Buzz Ambassador. She brings superior communication and media relationship experience including events, social media strategy, media relations, and copy writing. She works judiciously to become an expert in all assigned projects, and is known to set and maintain high standards while delivering high-quality work. An enthusiastic team player, Laila thrives on exceeding expectations and building long lasting relationships with media and clients. Her passionate, positive attitude ensures top-notch work is delivered on time in a fast-paced environment. Laila finds inspiration to continue to evolve her craft as she travels, practices yoga and pushes herself outside her comfort zone routinely.
CHELSEY JOHNSON – Director (2019 – Present)
Chelsey is a member of the Bear Clan of the Oneida Nation. Growing up in Six Nations of the Grand River, Chelsey was able to develop a strong connection with her people and her Haudenosaunee culture. As a result she has dedicated much of her life to improving education outcomes for Indigenous youth; whether through her volunteer work on the Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council (2014-2015), or her career work at Six Nations Polytechnic (2015-2019). Chelsey believes that education is the key to a successful future, not only for Indigenous youth, but for all Canadians.
Her connection to her culture and interest in education led Chelsey to write a Major Research Paper titled “Empathic Traditions: How Indigenous Knowledge and New Media can Save the Earth,” in which she explored the myriad Indigenous cultures that demonstrate a unique way of relating to the natural world and how these relationships can help society shift their perspective when it comes to interacting with Mother Earth. Chelsey is passionate about protecting and preserving the environment and has been active in her home community advocating for more sustainable practices.
Chelsey completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at McMaster University. She holds a Masters in Communications and New Media, as well as a Combined Honours BA in Communications and Theatre & Film. As such she has always been a proud supporter of the arts and was raised in a very musical and artistic household. Chelsey took vocal, drum, and piano lessons throughout her youth and has been an avid listener of jazz music long before she was able to program the jazz station into her car at the age of 16. Chelsey also grew up taking dance classes and has over ten years of combined experience in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, ballroom, and latin dance styles.
Chelsey currently lives and works in Toronto as the Marketing Coordinator for Indspire; a national Indigenous charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. Chelsey continues to explore and expand her interests in music, language, art, and literature and looks forward to exciting new opportunities to share her knowledge and experiences