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Board of Directors

Devin Santos

Devin Santos is a lawyer at Miller Thomson LLP in Waterloo, where he brings a pragmatic and considered approach to the practice of family law. Before embarking on his legal career, Devin lived, worked and studied in Singapore, Italy and France. Devin has degrees from the University of Waterloo and Osgoode Hall Law School, and brings to the board varied experience in business, real estate, and the arts.

Amanda Strathearn

Amanda Strathearn is a business leader with 20+ years of Banking and
Finance experience. A Waterloo native, she has a diverse background in
HR, Business Development and management, as well as many strategic
initiatives in the corporate world. She inspires and influences teams to execute with excellence and deliver superior results, while providing an exceptional client experience. Amanda is currently Branch Manager, Waterloo/Owen Sound at ScotiaMcLeod in the Scotia Wealth Management group. She worked at TD Bank in similar management positions for over 10 years and was involved in the community as Chair of the TD Inclusion and Diversity Committee for Metro Ontario. Amanda is passionate about the arts, and interesting in making the arts part of the education system. She is interested in community education and increasing awareness of the arts, and has been involved in volunteering with a number of community organizations in the past.

Rebecca Fernandez Short

Rebecca Fernandez Short has a degree from Trinity University, Texas, USA and a post-graduate from University of East Anglia, UK. She has volunteered in the arts community as Chair, Arts Awards Waterloo Region; founding Board Member, Region of Waterloo ARTS Fund and on Economic Development Advisory Committee, City of Kitchener. She serves on the Board of Advisors, Waterloo Region Small Business Centres. Her business career in Canada, UK and US was in market research and marketing at Conoco Chemicals, Uniroyal Tires, BFGoodrich and Geon. She is a co-founder of Machteld Faas Xander, a marketing communications firm, and Axonify, an online training SAAS company.

Samantha King

Samantha King is an information management professional with a strong
background of team leadership, project and program management, and
business and data analysis. Samantha is currently Data Product Owner, Canadian Retirement, at Manulife Financial, where she has worked for the past 8 years. Her skills include leadership and resource management;
database management & SQL; Big Data technologies; client relationship
development; and process management and improvement. Samantha is an excellent communicator and a skilled public speaker, with the ability to explain complex technological concepts to a variety of skill levels.

Michael Thomson

Marilyn Allen

Marilyn Allen holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. After training as a chartered accountant and working in several sectors, Marilyn began a 30-year career as a school board financial administrator and senior executive. During that time she was involved in local and provincial educational initiatives as well as in training and advisory roles. Her volunteer activities have included several positions in the arts arena such as gala organizer, director, treasurer, and president. Now retired, she continues to work with Kitchener Grand River Rotary Club and with the Gallery.

Diego Almaraz de la Garza

Originally from Mexico City, Diego is a passionate urbanist who is inspired by finding opportunities to transform cities into joyful and inviting places. In 2008, he decided to move to Canada to pursue his passion and study Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo. He has more than 10 years of professional experience as Planner and Urban Designer in the public and private sectors. Diego is currently Program & Placemaking Manager at the Uptown Waterloo BIA. He also consults on urban design and placemaking initiatives through his firm Shared Places. Diego has been an Uptown Waterloo resident since 2010 and has always looked for opportunities to contribute to the community, such as serving as Chair for the Uptown Vision Committee from 2019 to 2021. As Chair, he led the creation of the Uptown Vision 2030 document which aims to inspire the continued evolution of Uptown into an inclusive and vibrant community. At the Uptown Waterloo BIA, Diego is responsible for the implementation of placemaking projects and improving the urban experience.

Naudia Banton

Naudia Banton is an innovative force. With a background in
entrepreneurship and talent management, she has worked across
industries such as publishing, health care, insurance, education, and
manufacturing. Known for her energy and drive, she helped build Waterloo Region’s first Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp. She currently serves as a
Entrepreneurship and Technology Advisor with the City of Kitchener.
As a woman of colour and mother, Naudia is an advocate for diversity in
the workplace; in particular – advocating for the economic success of
underrepresented minority groups. Committed to ongoing learning and professional development, Naudia holds a Masters of Technology Management from the Lazardis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a sought-after interviewee and speaker, including travelling to the Caribbean to speak on behalf of the World Bank.
Naudia has served on the Gallery Board since September 2020. She is a
member of the Development and Community Garden Committees.

Soheila Esfahani

Soheila Esfahani has practiced as an artist and educator for more than fifteen years in Waterloo Region. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario and her BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. Esfahani is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Esfahani’s work is represented in public and private collections including the Canada Council’s Art Bank. She is a recipient of 2016 Waterloo Region Arts Awards (Visual Arts category) and was nominated for the Jameel Prize at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK in 2015. Currently, she is a lecturer at the University of Waterloo and teaches in the school programs at the Art Gallery of Ontario and is a member of the Red Head Gallery, an artist–run centre in Toronto.

Sarah Schilbe

Sarah Schilbe has spent the past 20 years of her career in the Financial Services industry and is currently the Director of Inside Insurance Sales at Manulife Financial, where she has worked since 2008 and in her current position, since 2013.  She volunteers on their Employee Engagement Committee and has enjoyed other volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity & St. Mary’s Hospital.  She is a graduate of the Financial Services program at Fanshawe College and attended Laurier University for Honors Communications.  Her passions lie in art, animal welfare and embracing any opportunity to design & build projects around the house.

Indira Singh

Indira Singh is a ceramic artist. She has been involved in ceramics for over
20 years, working and teaching as a studio potter. Her work has been featured in fine art galleries and museum shops across Canada and the U.S. and in collections in Germany, the UK, Japan and India. For Indira, it is important that the pieces she creates can be enjoyed not only by collectors but for daily use. In addition to her artistic sensibilities, Indira’s strengths lie in communication and organization. She is active in the Indian community
within Kitchener Waterloo, hosts a weekly Hindi show and has organized
for the Kitchener Waterloo Hindu temple for many years. Indira has served in leadership roles with Waterloo Potters Workshop and the Hamilton Potters Guild. Over the past year, she has organized online demonstrations with potters across North America and India. Indira has been involved with the Canadian Clay and Glass as a volunteer for many years, on projects such as “Empty Bowls”.

Astero Kalogeropoulos
Arts & Culture Manager, City of Waterloo

Mary Lou Roe
City of Waterloo Councillor, Ward 6