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Board of Directors

Devin Santos

Devin Santos is a municipal lawyer, with a broad range of professional experience. In his current role as legal counsel, he oversees a busy real estate practice and assists clients with social and economic development initiatives. Born and raised in Waterloo Region, Devin holds degrees from the University of Waterloo and Osgoode Hall Law School. With a keen interest in contributing toward the vibrancy of his community, Devin volunteers with a number of organizations locally and sits on the board of the Portuguese Centre of Kitchener-Waterloo. Devin is passionate about the arts, and is proud to contribute his expertise toward The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery’s mission of fostering creativity, culture, and community.

Samantha King

Currently Director, Data Analytics Best Practices at Equitable, Samantha has over a decade of experience in data analytics, project management, and team leadership. She excels at tackling difficult problems, finding creative solutions, and explaining complex concepts to audiences of all skill levels.  Outside of work, Samantha spends her time either with her pets or volunteering with a variety of KW community organizations. A creative at heart, she is thrilled to be a part of the the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery as both a supporter and a board member in order to help build a community for artists and art lovers alike.

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.

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 interested 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.

Stephen Curtis

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 twenty years in Waterloo Region. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from University of Waterloo and a Master of Fine Arts from Western University. Esfahani is an award-winning visual artist and recipient of numerous 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. She is a recipient of 2016 Waterloo Region Arts Awards and was nominated for the Jameel Prize at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK in 2015. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Aga Khan Museum, Canadian Cultural Centre Paris, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Cambridge Art Galleries among others, and has been collected by various public and private institutions, including the Canada Council’s Art Bank.  She is an Assistant Professor at Western University in London, Ontario and is a member of the Red Head Gallery 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.

Renato Foti

Renato Foti has both an Engineering degree as well as a Fine Arts major, with glass art and sculpture coming a bit later in his life. Initially, he started a glass company called Trio Design Glassware, deciding that technical expertise and craftsmanship are key elements to ultimately  creating great art. Over the years, he enjoyed expanding his art form and learning more about making his own ‘cabinet of curiosity’-type pieces. He loves colour, precious objects of many materials, and mixing things up. Known for his “RetroMesh” pieces, he was always a builder of things.  He loves objects, travel  and history. Through his travels and learning about cultures including different art forms – including glass art and sculpture – he began to sculpt with mixed media to create a variety of experimental pieces.  During this exploration, he discovered glass as a medium and began casting.  This led to 30 years of styles and new art forms to share with the world. In his spare time, he also helps run a family business with his wife Tania, called Rapid Gear.

Astero Kalogeropoulos
Arts & Culture Manager,
City of Waterloo

Mary Lou Roe
City of Waterloo Councillor, Ward 6