Past Speakers

Keynote Speakers

2017 - Mike Stevens

Mike Stevens is a harmonica virtuoso who has released nine albums from traditional bluegrass to acoustic blues, free jazz, Canadian fiddle, and rcoking expirmental music. With over 300 shows ont he World Famous Grand Ole Opry stage and countless performances around the world, Mike continues to breath in the World and Breath out Music. In 1999 Mike began working with and establishing instrument lending libraries in Northern Canadian communities. Eventually, Mike founded ArtsCan Circle, a non-profit organization dedicated to youth at risk across Canada’s North.

2016- Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award winning playwright, novelist, journalist and filmmaker. Born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation, he has done practically everything from performing stand up comedy at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts.  He is the proud author of 29 books, the most recent being TAKE US TO YOUR CHIEF AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of Native themed science fiction short stories published by Douglas & McIntyre.

2015 - David Rogers and David Hogan    

 “It’s Just One Customer at a Time”

David and David shared stories on how they got to where they are and why they think they have a following with such loyalty. Their approach to developing audiences helped take the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia Theatre from a 1/4 million deficit into the black in just two years. Come to learn how they did it and see what you can do to increase interest in your presenting.

2014 - Kate Reid

Kate Reid taught youth and children in a variety of settings for over 25 years before becoming a professional recording artist and touring musician in 2006. She has four critically acclaimed albums to her credit: Comin’ Alive (2006), I’m Just Warming Up (2009), Doing it for the Chicks (2011) and Queer Across Canada (2014). She holds a B.A., a B. Ed, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree at UBC where she is researching the nexus of folk music, education and queer activism.

Download Kate’s speech

2013 - INGA PETRI, President Strategic Moves

Inga has designed and implemented strategies for organizations throughout the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. Applying a creative, collaborative approach, she consistently rallies teams around common objectives and inspires action, leveraging her experience on both the client and agency sides of marketing practice.

With experience in diverse sectors – from the performing arts, museums and arts services organization to international trade promotion organizations, national membership associations and technology companies – clients benefit from an uncommon breadth of experience and expertise.

Inga helps organizations reach their customers where they live—connecting online, by traditional media or in person. She provides strategic counsel based on solid research; she develops brand, web, communications and marketing strategies; and she is committed to achieving results. During her time as an account executive within a creative agency, Inga became intrigued by her clients’ business challenges and the opportunities she saw to help them effect lasting change. That fascination inspired her to launch Strategic Moves.

Inga led the Value of Presenting: A Study of Arts Presentation in Canada initiative. This two-year study generates broad consensus on the value and impact of presenting and the role of the performing arts presenter in the creative chain, in their communities as well as their contribution to society at large.

Inga presents at national conferences focused on research, marketing and the arts. She regularly gives talks on evolving contemporary marketing practice and Action Research as a framework for change and innovation to a variety of professional meetings and in post-secondary institutions.

2012 - Rod Regier - Integrating the Arts in Your Community

Rod Regier is the Executive Director of the City of Kitchener’s Economic Development Department. He will be discussing the role of the arts in helping a city support an entrepreneurial culture attracting skilled dreamers and innovative talent. Working from the City of Kitchener’s vision of a City where dreams become growing business ventures, thriving careers and economic success stories, his department has created a strategy to move the City forward towards its vision. The City seeks to create a supportive climate, through fostering competitive clusters and collaboration, leveraging investments, re-branding and establishing the downtown as one of the coolest downtowns in North America. Rod will stay to participate in the Hot Topics that will follow his Keynote Address giving you an opportunity to speak directly to him.

2011 -Katherine Carleton - Being the Change You Wish to See in the World

When you’ve got a show to put on or a business to run – or both - it’s hard to find the time required to advocate for the things you believe in. And isn’t it someone else’s job, anyway? Well, more or more, we are learning that it isn’t someone else’s job: if the change we want is going to come about, it’ll happen because we took the time to engage meaningfully in the political process, and to bring others along with us. During this highly interactive session, you’ll get:

  • A lightning-fast set of perspectives and predictions on federal and Ontario arts and culture policy;
  • An analysis of opportunities for the arts and culture sector;
  • A suggested framework for analysis and action;
  • Tips on where to look for the facts and arguments that bolster your case;
  • The opportunity to develop your own framework – with the support and encouragement of your colleagues in the room.

Katherine Carleton is currently the Executive Director of Orchestras Canada/Orchestres Canada, and volunteer co-chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition, a non-partisan arts lobby movement spearheaded by a group of national arts service and membership organizations. A committed collaborator, she consistently looks for opportunities to work with others on issues of shared concern. Katherine holds a Master’s degree in Management from McGill University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from the University of Toronto. During her 27 year career, she has worked as a clarinetist, teacher, academic administrator, granting officer, orchestra manager, consultant and association executive – and in her next life, she would like to be a political commentator.

2010 - Thomas Wolf - Brave New World: Presenting Performances in the 21st Century

Wolf’s talk focus on the major trends that will impact the work of presenters in the years ahead.  Drawing on a lifetime of experience and offering entertaining anecdotes, he will suggest how we can build on the best of the past while being ready for the challenges and opportunities in a changing world around us.  There will be ample time for questions in what should be a lively give and take with one of the most entertaining presenters in the business.      

Thomas Wolf has had a distinguished career as musician, educator, consultant, author, and administrator.  A soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of sixteen, he spent sixteen seasons as the principal flutist and company manager of his Uncle Boris Goldovsky’s touring opera company.  The founder of Bay Chamber Concerts, a music festival in Rockport, Maine, he continues to serve as its Artistic Director in this, its 50th year.  He has served as the Executive Director of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and established one of the leading consulting firms in the uited States in 1983 to assist arts organizations, foundations, government agencies, and corporate giving programs.  He and his associates have worked in throughout the United States, in Canada, Europe, and Great Britain.

Thomas Wolf holds the Ed.D. degree from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard and Boston Universities.  He is the author of many books including: Managing A Nonprofit Organization in the 21st Century; Presenting Performances; And the Band Stopped Playing; The Search for Shining Eyes; and, with Dennie Wolf, The Arts Go to School and Academic Preparation in the Arts.  Wolf serves as an Overseer of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is listed in the International Who’s Who of Musicians.