BPAC now has a New Board and an Agenda that will need a lot of Hard Work; no stage performers on the team

By Pepper Parr

June 9th, 2024



The Burlington Performing Arts Centre announced the following nine people as Directors bring the Board size to 13 people.

Stephen Bell, Anna Danielova, Carrie Gervais, Max Honiball, Kari Pimentel, Jim Sweetlove, and Jim Thompson. Youth Ambassador Mark Mazuco was also announced.

Detailed bios appears below.

This Board now has to tackle some serious problems.  They have to upgrade their strategic plan; they have to hire a new Executive Director after experiencing the very abrupt resignation of Tammy Fox and determine just what the relationship with the Sound of Music is going to be.

In the past two years BPAC has been financially successful.  The Governance issues that plagued the previous Board have been resolved; unfortunately the report that was produced has yet to be made public.

The inclusion of a student on the Board was a good idea.  If he proves to be as effective as some of the Student members of the Halton District School Board it will be a positive contribution.

Unfortunately there were no stage performers added to the Board; these are the men and women that are why we have a Performing Arts Centre

One would hope that Chair Ken Smithard will stress the need for both transparency and accountability and ensure that they deliver on the promise.

Ken Smithard, a recent retiree from his role as President of Cogeco Connexion in Burlington. Ken has over 25 years of Business experience of which 19 of them have been spent in the Telecom and Cable industries. Ken led a Senior Management team of professionals focused on planning and performance, process improvement, enterprise project office and information technology (Internal systems support, development, infrastructure, operations and project delivery).A longtime resident of the Burlington/Hamilton region, Ken has also served on the Board of Directors Cable 14 Board since 2009. He’s also been involved in fundraising for the Paws for Cause charity which raises funds for a cure for canine cancer. Ken has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and Masters Business Administration from Concordia.

Peter W. Van Dyk is a third generation Insurance Broker with PV&V Insurance Centre, a Burlington based brokerage. Born and raised in Burlington, Peter spent time performing music locally and touring around Ontario & Canada prior to starting his career in insurance. Peter currently serves as Vice Chair of YEP Hamilton, as a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Committee, and is involved with volunteer initiatives at YWCA Hamilton, and his local church. Peter graduated from Mohawk College in 2010 and spent 3 years with Aviva Canada prior to joining PV&V in 2014.

Deirdre Flynn is a hands-on, results oriented leader who is now enjoying early retirement and is working freelance. Deirdre’s career path led her to become a Senior Retail Executive with cross-functional expertise across multiple core business including Marketing, Merchandising, and Operations. Most recently, she held the position of Senior Director, Canadian Retail at Crate and Barrel Canada Inc. for a nine year term, ending in 2017. Deirdre is a strong believer in achieving success through collaboration, and recognizes the power of an engaged team working towards common goals.

Stephen Bell is the hard-working owner of Pepperwood Bistro in Burlington, and has been a proud sponsor of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre for many years. Stephen has over 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry, in both restaurants and hotels, and has owned and operated multiple restaurants and catering companies in and around the Burlington area.A longtime resident of Burlington, Stephen serves on the Boards of Directors for both Tourism Burlington and Burlington Downtown Business Association. Pepperwood Bistro’s charity efforts have raised thousands of dollars for Cystic Fibrosis of Canada as well as other local charities.

Angelo Bentivegna and his family have lived in Ward 6 for over 35 years. Educated in Montreal at Loyola University and McGill University. Angelo had a successful career as a self-employed executive and consultant in the hospitality industry. His family owns and operates a very successful gift and gourmet business in Burlington.

He was first elected as Burlington’s Ward 6 City & Regional Councillor in 2018 and re-elected for a second term in 2022. During his first term of office, Angelo served on various City Committees and Boards including Accessibility, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Inclusivity, and the Art Gallery of Burlington.

In his second term of office, Angelo has been appointed to the role of Deputy Mayor for Recreation and Community Services, and the City’s Board representative at Joseph Brant Hospital. These responsibilities build on his decades of volunteerism in our community, including with the hospital, sports clubs, and the Gift of Giving Back. This also builds on his experience with the Accessibility and Inclusivity Advisory Committees.

When Angelo is not in Council, he spends as much time as possible with his growing family, loves the outdoors and hockey. He supports and attends many local community events and activities. In 2022 he was a recipient of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Community Service Award.

Kelly Gleeson is a Senior Wealth Advisor with CIBC Wood Gundy in downtown Burlington where she and her team manages over $250 million of clients’ wealth. She has over 29 years of business and investment experience, and entered the investment industry in 1993 with one of CIBC’s predecessor firms. Kelly provides wealth management and planning expertise to a select group of clients and their families. She and her team believe in “giving back” and are actively involved in fundraising efforts for local and national charities. Kelly moved to Burlington in 1992 with her husband and they have two children who are 23 and 20.

Emilie Cote: As the director of Recreation, Community and Culture, our team works to provide inclusive recreational and cultural programs for all ages and abilities. Over the last 15 years, I have worked in number of operating departments within the City, including Manager of Business Services and Manager of Recreation Services in RCC, and Manager of Fleet, in Roads, Parks and Forestry. I am consistently energized and honored to work with such passionate staff. They inspire me to “show up every day.” To me, leadership is about empowering people to become the best version of themselves. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says in one of my favourite quotes about leadership: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” In my free time, I like to stay active doing yoga, skiing, and spending as much time outdoors as possible with my kids.

Dr. Anna Danielova is currently the Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs and Accreditation at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Previously she has held many different teaching and research positions in financial management, corporate finance, investments and valuation at McMaster as well as prominent universities in the US and Armenia. She has also served as a journalist and editor. Among her long list of awards and accomplishments, Anna was honoured with the prestigious McMaster University President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning in 2017. She has contributed to many peer-reviewed journal articles.Anna holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Business, Master of Arts, Master of Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Technical Translation. She is a Member of the American Finance Association, Financial Management Association, Western Finance Association an Southern Finance Association.
Carrie Gervais is an experienced financial executive, with a focus on accounting and finance,. She is currently the VP of Finance at MetriCan Group of Companies, where she has worked for the better part of two decades. With a solid reputation for providing strategic financial solutions to assist business growth, Carrie is a trusted advisor and leader, with a focus on building relationships and effectively collaborating with senior executives. An exceptional communicator who uses integrity, credibility and experience to work effectively with all levels of an organization, Carrie is able to adapt quickly in dynamic business environments, while maintaining her focus to meet and exceed strategic goals and objectives. Throughout her career, Carrie has demonstrated an ability to build, lead and support a team by motivating and coaching.Carrie holds a CPA and a CGA from CPA Canada, an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian, as well as HR Management and Business Accounting and Managerial Economics certificates from McMaster, Mohawk College and University of Guelph respectively.
Max Honiball is an Associate Lawyer at Frederikse Law, practicing across all of the Firm’s practice areas. Max was born and raised in Buckinghamshire, England and moved to Exeter in the south-west of the country for his undergraduate studies. After a rigorous dual law degree studying both the British LLB in Exeter and the French ‘Maîtrise en Droit Européen I’ in Rennes, he continued his legal studies with a Master’s Degree in International Law, Conflict and Security.While enjoying extra-curricular activities in University, Max became involved with the University Rifle Club, Army Officer Training Corps, and the University Big Band. After falling in love with Canada after five summers working for Ontario Camping Ministries in Huntsville, Max emigrated to the province in 2020, and completed the National Committee on Accreditation’s ‘challenge exams’ for foreign-educated law graduates while quarantining from the COVID-19 pandemic.Max loves travel and is an avid musician; two hobbies which are serendipitously supported by his role as a British Army Reserve Musician. Since moving to Canada, Max has obtained a foreign detachment to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry band, and looks forward to representing both his home and adoptive nations in public performances.
Kari Pimentel is an Associate Vice President, Human Resources at TD Bank. In this role, she leads a team of HR professionals in reinforcing strong company culture, building talent development strategies and creating large-scale employee engagement initiatives that support the achievement of business goals and objectives. A 25-year HR veteran, Kari is known as a strategic and pragmatic leader, adept at balancing business realities and employee experience while cultivating strong and collaborative relationships. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, she shares her views with conviction and confidence. Kari sets a positive example by putting words into action as an effective change champion, supporting organizations as they change and evolve. Before her current role at TD, she honed her skills in HR at Bell, Rogers and Ford.Kari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Employee Relations.
Jim Sweetlove and his family have called Burlington home for over 50 years. Formerly a lawyer with Ross & McBride, Jim’s practice focused primarily in the areas of estate administration, planning and litigation. Jim was also an instructor with the Law Society of Upper Canada and an Examiner and Instructor, Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario for Estates Law.Jim holds a law degree from Western ad was called to the bar in 1972. He retired in 2015. Formerly he was a Member of the Ontario Bar Association, Estates and Trusts Section as well as a Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.Since his retirement Jim has put his skills to good use and loves to volunteer in his community. As such, he has Chaired, Vice-Chaired and currently sits on a number of Boards, including Burlington Community Foundation (Founding Member and Former Board of Directors Member), Halton Women’s Place, Conservation Halton, Aldershot Community Recreation Association, Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation, Anglican Church Ministries, Niagara Foundation, Burlington Public Library, Burlington Museums Board and Burlington Curling Club among others.
Jim Thompson and his family have lived in Burlington for over 30 years. A retired executive business leader, Jim spent 40 years working in management, operations and real estate for the world’s #1 retailer, Walmart. Jim’s experience working in North America, Central America and Asia has provided him with a unique and broad global perspective. A balanced and influential leader, Jim is known as a trailblazer who spearheaded Walmart Canada’s biggest year of expansion and growth, developing and launching the Supercentre one-stop shopping experience and heading its successful roll-out North of the border. Jim is known as a kind, inspiring and collaborative leader, consistently reminding his team that the customer is the one they are all working for. He has a reputation of high values and integrity, and was recognized as a Corporate Cultural Champion by his peers.Jim has stayed busy in his retirement and it is clear he has a passion for working collaboratively. He is currently a Board Member, Consultant, Mentor and Speaker. Jim’s Not-for-Profit activities keep him very busy – he sits on the Boards of Children’s Miracle Network, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation, President’s Advisory Council for Toronto Habitat for Humanity, and for the last seven years he has been the Executive In Residence for Ivey Business School IFP.
Mark Mazuco has been named BPAC Youth Ambassador, Burlington’s Youth Voice for the Arts. A 13-year-old student, Mark brings a youthful perspective and a vibrant energy to BPAC. His passion for the arts is evident through his dedication to music and dance for the last seven years. Beyond his artistic talents, Mark demonstrates a strong commitment to his community: Through his online presence, Mark engages with local issues, focusing on current events and topics that impact Burlington and the Halton region. He isn’t afraid to be a vocal advocate for positive change, sparking important conversation and fostering dialogue.Mark’s leadership potential has been recognized through his participation in the Canadian Cadets program, as well as his selection to represent Burlington at the 2024 Ontario Model Parliament. These experiences honed his teamwork, communication, and diplomacy – all important skills he will bring to the Youth Ambassador role.Mark is dedicated to working hard on behalf of Burlington’s youth, particularly in driving the agenda of development and growth in the arts. He understands the importance of a thriving arts scene for fostering creativity, self-expression, and a sense of community. His youthful perspective and passion for making a difference will make him a valuable asset to BPAC. He is excited to work collaboratively to ensure Burlington’s vibrant arts scene continues to flourish for generations to come.
This group has the potential to change the quality of the way the Performing Arts Centre is governed.  The next challenge is to find an Executive Director that has the skill set Tammy Fox had, but with a better understanding of just where the lines that should not be crossed are located.
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