Christianne Wilhelmson is currently the Executive Director of Georgia Strait Alliance, a regional marine conservation organization. She leads their government and media relations efforts, along with supporting their strategic campaigns and programs. She has a deep passion for social change and connecting with people across sectors to build a better future for our communities. A strong supporter of the performing arts, Christianne grew up in Ontario amidst seasons at the Shaw Festival and Stratford and trips to Toronto to enjoy the National Ballet of Canada and many other performances. In 1995 she moved to BC to pursue a M.Sc. in ecology at UBC. In addition to being an aunt and godmother, she loves yoga, cooking, baking, kayaking, gardening and sailing with her husband.
Vice-President Internal Communications
Michael Stevenson is President Emeritus of Simon Fraser University. His academic career was an improbable plan C following an undergraduate preoccupation with the dramatic society and student government, twin passions stifled under South Africa’s Apartheid regime. He is delighted after a lengthy detour in scholarship and university leadership to devote much of his energy to the support of the arts. He is particularly thrilled to be engaged again with politically acute theatre of the kind that makes PuSh festivals so exciting.
Annette Grot joined Royal Bank of Canada as Senior Commercial Account Manager in RBC’s Media & Entertainment, Knowledge Based Industries team in March 2014. She has 15 years experience working with entertainment companies in a financial capacity, previously serving as account manager at the National Bank of Canada’s T.V. and Motion Picture Group in Vancouver from 2009, providing film and television project financing and other financial services to both domestic and international media producers. Annette started her industry experience in 1998 at Equicap Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of Alliance Atlantis Communications, to provide interim production financing to independent Canadian producers, serving as the group’s head from 2000 to 2003. She also served as Vice President at Imperial Capital Bank Entertainment Finance in Los Angeles in 2004. From 2005 to 2009, Annette was VP, Finance of Knightscove Media Corp., a publicly traded company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, where she spearheaded the company’s business strategy in the acquisition of film and television assets. Earlier in New York, Annette was an Associate with Smith Barney where she worked on a number of corporate finance transactions including various private placements and equity offerings. Annette holds an MBA from the University of British Columbia.
Frances was born in Vancouver and has grown up immersed in the theatre. She acted in, directed and stage managed various high school theatre productions and won the Point Grey Theatre Company award. She continued stage managing while completing an Arts degree at McGill University. In Montreal, Frances discovered her interest in psychology and health care. Her path shifted course and she returned to Vancouver to complete a degree in Nursing. In between her degrees, Frances traveled through Northern India for three months, visiting many of the places she studied in World Religions at McGill. Frances is now a nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital on the Palliative Care Unit. As a palliative care nurse, she uses skills learned from the theatre such as creativity and attention to detail to help patients achieve their goals, big or small. When Frances is not working, she sings in a community choir and participates in a book club. She attends the film festival, local live music and has been attending the PuSh festival since 2005. Frances is interested in promoting and advocating for the arts and further connecting her generation to the feelings of inspiration and imagination that she gets from the PuSh Festival.
Jane E. Brindley is a clinical psychologist and adjunct faculty member at the University of British Columbia. Prior to coming to Vancouver, she was Director of the Centre for Psychological Services at the University of Windsor. She has held a number of administrative positions in post-secondary education as well as working as an independent researcher, writer, and consultant in Canada and internationally. Jane holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Ottawa, and an M.A. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Jane is a long time supporter and participant in the arts. In Vancouver, she has served on the Board of the Arts Club Theatre Company where she initiated and chaired the Fundraising Strategy Committee. In Ontario, she was President of the Art Gallery of Windsor, founding President of the Sudbury Fringe Theatre Festival (Fringe Nord), Advisor to the inaugural Windsor Fringe Festival, International Governor with the Shaw Festival, and member of the Board of the Ontario Arts Council. In Edmonton, she completed the Arts Administration program at Grant MacEwan University and served as a Board Member and special events organizer for Phoenix Theatre. Jane received the “Spirit of Philanthropy” award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in recognition of her volunteer and fundraising achievements, and in 2009, the Art Gallery of Windsor honoured her with a named space at the Gallery (the Jane E. Brindley Creative Space) in recognition of her leadership and volunteer contribution to the Gallery.
Kent has over 25 years of experience working for arts and cultural organizations and currently holds the position of Performing Arts Manager for the City of Surrey. He has worked for the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, served a one-year term as the Interim Managing Director for the 2011 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and prior to that was Outreach Manager for MusicFest Vancouver. Kent was the Production Manager for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for 11 seasons, which included coordinating the annual Symphony Under the Sky Festival. He also served as community festival liaison on the Edmonton Arts Council for 4 years, chairing peer juries administering municipal grants to Edmonton festival organizations.
Margo Harper’s distinguished career spans over 25 years in broadcasting, mainly in BC. During her tenure at CTV BC, Harper fostered vibrant and mutually beneficial partnerships with the Jazz and PuSh festivals. A graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism, she began her career at the Vancouver Sun as a print reporter and has since held positions as a reporter, editor, senior producer and news director at: BCTV (now Global), CBC, VTV News at 6 (now CTV News at 6), CTV National News in Toronto and CTV BC. Harper was the recipient of the prestigious Canadian Journalism Foundation fellowship, the Jack Webster Foundation journalism fellowship and has been nominated twice for a Gemini award.
Paul Hecht has been working in digital media and marketing for nearly 20 years. His work has taken him across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. His extensive travels have taught him to appreciate working with diverse team members from around the world and to value all opinions.
Paul moved to Vancouver from London (UK) in 2010 and has worked with national and international organizations including: Glacier Media, Disney, Visa, the NHL, and Tennis Canada. He has also volunteered extensively and his work for Athletes for Africa took him to Uganda in 2009.
Paul is currently working with local start-ups in Vancouver, as well as pushing forward on a start-up of his own. He is also presently mentoring local tech companies on behalf of the BC Innovation Council (BCIC).
Michael Heeney, is an Architect and Principal at Bing Thom Architects (BTA) where he has practiced for over two decades. He has played a leadership role on many of BTA’s projects including the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (UBC), Central City/SFU Surrey, Arena Stage (Washington, DC), Tarrant County College (Fort Worth, Texas) and the new Surrey City Centre Library. One of Michael’s earliest passions was the theatre and he draws a connection between producing great theatre and creating great architecture. The need to understand human nature and the energy and intensity required to see a project through are similar in both disciplines and, as Michael says, “In many ways, architecture is a stage set for life.”
A Vancouver native, Jessie took a decade-long detour around the world before returning in 2008. This Bryn Mawr College graduate then continued her publishing career, begun at National Geographic Traveler magazine. After working as website editor for a Cultural Olympiad project, Jessie completed SFU’s Master of Publishing degree. Now with Agentic Digital Media, she works as a project manager developing websites for social change organizations. Raised in Vancouver’s theatre community, Jessie rebelled by seeking non-theatre creative outlets: she sings in the City Soul Choir, takes hip hop at Harbour Dance, and plays her rickety piano. When not mucky in her garden or rapt at a local show, Jessie spends down time exploring the globe and visiting her many homes away from home.
Jill Macgillivray is an associate lawyer in Denton’s Vancouver office and is a member of the firm’s Financial Services and Entertainment Practice Groups. Jill has worked on a variety of financing transactions as well as corporate and other transactions for clients in the entertainment and other industries. Prior to attending law school, Jill was an independent marketing consultant specializing in sporting and special events.
Mira Oreck is the Director of Public Engagement at the Broadbent Institute. Before 3 joining the Institute, Mira was a senior strategist and organizer on high profile campaigns in the United States and in Canada. As Vice President at Moore+Associates in New York City, Mira managed the production and launch of several campaigns, including the award winning pro-Obama video’s Wake the F*ck Up and Let My People Vote. Previously, Mira served as the Director of Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific Region and played an instrumental role in the campaigns of current Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson. Mira currently serves on the board of the Jewish Refugee Action Network and as a member of the City of Vancouver Renter’s Advisory Committee. Mira holds a Master’s degree in Urban Policy from The New School and a B.A. in Sociology from McGill University.
Paula Martin is accountable for ensuring awareness of Vancity’s values-based approach to banking and leveraging its relationship with the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, as well as other national and international organizations. Previously Paula served as Senior Vice President of Member Engagement overseeing Marketing, Communications, and Digital and Community Engagement and as VP of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, providing communications counsel to the Vancity Group’s Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors.
Prior to joining Vancity, Paula was Director of Public Affairs for the University of British Columbia, where she oversaw internal and external communications, issues management, media relations, and community relations. Paula also has a background in journalism—as a producer for CBC Radio national current affairs and a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press. She studied journalism for four years at Ottawa’s Carleton University School of Journalism and is professionally accredited through the International Association of Business Communicators.
Stephanie Mayor is an associate lawyer with Black Gropper, a boutique labour law firm.
She provides specialized and strategic legal advice on labour and employment, human
rights and administrative law matters, and represents clients before courts and
administrative tribunals. She has also previously acted as in-house counsel for the
British Columbia Employment Standards Tribunal and the British Columbia Labour
Relations Board. Stephanie received her law degree from the University of Victoria and a
Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies and English from Queen’s University. During school,
she worked as Pro Bono Coordinator for the Victoria chapter of Pro Bono Students
Canada, and volunteered with the University Association of Women and the Law; the
University of Victoria Anti-Discrimination Committee; Together Against Poverty Society;
Pivot Legal Society; and the West Coast Legal Education Action Fund. Outside of the
law, Stephanie has been active in the arts community. She joined a community-based
chorus staging original musicals, acted in the Lawyer’s Show, and performed as lead
singer for a local band.
Alexandra is a senior leader in the not-for-profit sector with extensive experience in arts and culture. She joined Tides Canada as it first Vice President of Philanthropy in April 2013. Alexandra led the Gardiner Museum in Toronto for fourteen years and oversaw its award-winning capital expansion. She is on the Advisory Council of the Arts Management MBA Program at The Schulich School of Business.
For over 30 years, Gayle has been in design and advertising in Los Angeles and was Saatchi & Saatchi’s first female ACD on the Toyota account. She’s developed creative campaigns for many global brands through ad agencies and her own production company. Before moving to Canada, as Creative Director for Catapult Marketing, she successfully rebranded Pedigree Dog Food and all other Mars Pet Brands. Gayle spent the majority of her life in Los Angeles and called that home until moving to Vancouver’s West End four years ago. In Vancouver, Gayle has been an active member on the board of the West End Community Centre Association. And, as an avid skier, skater and outdoor enthusiast, enjoys all BC has to offer.
Cherie Payne brings 15 years of experience in policy and advocacy communications for public and private sector clients in Vancouver, nationally and abroad. She holds a BA from McGill University and an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School. Cherie served as Trustee on the Vancouver School Board from 2011-2014 as part of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver team. In her personal time, she is active in promoting opportunities for children and youth to explore reading, story telling and music, and in encouraging young adults to participate in civic life.
Bill Richardson is a writer and broadcaster. For CBC Radio he hosted Richardson’s Roundup and Bunny Watson. His books include Bachelor Brothers’ Bed & Breakfast, and After Hamelin, a novel for children. “The First Little Bastard to Call me Gramps: Poems of the Later Middle Ages,” will be published by House of Anansi in September. With Veda Hille and Ami Gladstone, he created Do You Want What I Have Got: A Craigslist Cantata. Awards include the Leacock Medal for Humour, the Silver Birch Award, and a National Magazine Award for fiction.
Niki Sharma is a lawyer that practices aboriginal law. Her practice focuses on aboriginal rights and title, governance, environmental conservation and residential school claims. From 2011-2014, Niki was elected as a Park Commissioner for the City of Vancouver, where she served as Chair of the Board. During her term in office, she acted as the Park Board liaison to the Arts and Culture Policy Council that advocated for policies to support art and culture in the city. Niki is excited to serve on the Board of the PuSh Festival, a festival responsible for delivering such thoughtful, beautiful and profound performances to this city.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Rodger possesses all of the attributes for a career in the performing arts except for talent and a tolerable singing voice. Having accepted these (minor) shortcomings, he now spends his working days crunching numbers and analyzing spreadsheets. A Chartered Accountant, Rodger is currently Senior Manager, Tax Services at the international accounting firm, Ernst & Young LLP. Originally trained as an economist, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts from the University of Victoria.
- Festival 2015