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 (2019-2020)
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 (2019-2020)
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
APRIL MITCHELL BOUDREAU – Board Chair (2017-2020)
April Mitchell-Boudreau is a Niagara-based Indigenous designer, who is on a mission to awaken the creator that lives inside every person. Together with her husband Doug, April owns and operates BeadQueen, an innovative handmade jewelry company.
Passionate about empowering people’s natural creativity, April is the designer of the Lofttan Strandwear jewelry system, and is constantly challenging herself to create new tools for expression. More recently, April has begun offering Conscious Creation Workshops, where mindfulness is awakened through design, and stringing beads. When people “make” together, magic happens!
Now in it’s 11th year of business, BeadQueen operates as both a retailer and wholesaler out of Niagara; selling online, in museum shops and galleries across the country, and participating in select juried retail environments.
JOAN KING – Secretary (2017-2020)
Since retiring from over 30 years of teaching, Joan King has dedicated her retirement to bringing some of the most important elements of education to the community. Through her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, she has acted as a mentor in the lives of children benefiting from a consistent positive role model to help develop social skills and build a foundation and love for learning.
Joan has also spent the last 11 years growing the participation base for the NOTL Terry Fox Run. Not only has the run become a yearly event that’s brought the community together, it’s promoted a healthy physical outlet and raised over a quarter million dollars towards cancer research.
In addition Joan has offered her time to the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, which brings music and culture to the area and inspires a love of the arts across generations.
Anyone who knows Joan can attest to her contagious enthusiasm to enrich the lives of not only the children, but everyone around her.
RON CLAVIER – Vice Chair (2017-2020)
Dr. Ron Clavier was born in Montreal. Following his undergraduate studies at McGill University, he earned his Doctorate in Experimental and Physiological Psychology from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His Postdoctoral work focused on Biochemical Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. Ron served as Professor of Anatomy and Psychology in medical schools in Chicago and Vancouver. He has published over 30 articles in scientific brain science journals, and his laboratory work contributed significantly to the development of modern antidepressant medication. From 1982 until he retired to NOTL in late 2012, he ran a private practice in clinical psychology from his Toronto office.
In addition, Ron has consulted in the corporate, law enforcement, community, health, and education sectors. He worked for a number of years as a research consultant in psychiatry at the University of Toronto and was Senior Consultant to the Council on Drug Abuse until 2007. Ron’s television series, Adolescence: The Stormy Decade, was broadcast on Canadian Learning Television from 2001 until 2007. His book ”Teen Brain, Teen Mind” (2nd Edition, 2009) helps families cope with the difficulties of this phase of life. Ron is internationally recognized as an expert in the psychology of teens and young adults. In addition to Canada and The United States, he has brought his educational approach and clinical methodology to Italy, Germany, Scotland, Turkey, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Ron is also an accomplished artist. His mixed-media oil painting projects: “Awe and Humility and Joy: A Tribute to John Steinbeck” and “Pandora Revisited” can be previewed in his art website. Ron is also in development of a two-person play about life and success, which is being prepared for Toronto audiences.
Ron lives with his wife Lita in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario.