Meet the Team

Lila Karim

Executive Director

Meet Lila

Lila is the founding Executive Director of North York Arts. Over her 17-year career in the cultural sector, Lila has worked for several non-profit arts organizations including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, ReelWorld Film Festival and The Harold Greenberg Fund. Lila has held various roles including artistic producer and programmer. Through community and commercial partnerships, Lila has helped generate upwards of 500,000 cultural patrons and has created opportunities for artists and cultural-leaders to thrive. Lila is a digital photographer with a B.A.A. in photographic arts from Ryerson University. Her work has been exhibited in Toronto, and she regularly serves on visual arts juries.

Contact Lila at


Melissa Foster

Program & Outreach Director

Meet Melissa

Melissa joined North York Arts in 2014 and has since worked on numerous initiatives to provide opportunities for artistic participation within the community. Melissa has over 10 years working in the public sector. Throughout her career, she has collaborated on several community arts projects and facilitated arts programs both abroad and within Toronto. Her primary focus is on the development and implementation of public art and community driven, arts-based programming. Melissa holds a BA (hons) in Theatre Studies as well as a Community Arts Practice Certificate from York University. She also holds a post-degree diploma in Arts Management from Western University.

Contact Melissa at


Cecilia Garcia

Program & Volunteer Manager

Meet Cecilia

Cecília holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film studies from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil and has built a diverse portfolio working in the Brazilian film industry. After arriving in Canada, she was fascinated by the Canadian cultural landscape; her experience as a volunteer for London Community Players drew her to pursue a career in arts management. Cecília received a diploma in arts management from Western University and has since volunteered with Airsa Art & Thought and Regent Park Film Festival, and has worked as a gallery assistant at Queen Gallery in Toronto. In 2016, She completed an internship with North York Arts where she further developed her skills and passion for arts programming and volunteer management. She is thrilled to be at NYA and to help to build communities through the arts.

Contact Cecilia at


Rachel Birnberg

Development & Communications Manager

Meet Rachel

Rachel has always had a passion for art and all things creative. As a graduate of the Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) program at Western University, she was able to foster these passions though various creative courses, a semester abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as well as a four-month internship at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario. Now, Rachel holds a post-graduate diploma in arts management from Western Continuing Studies. Through this program (and an internship at NYA), she learned to effectively apply professional management skills to the arts (taking specific interest in marketing and communications), and she has become interested in the importance of art and creative expression as a catalyst for community development.

Contact Rachel at


Joe Borowiec

Board Chair

Meet Joe

Joe Borowiec is an arts enthusiast who is seeking to support and promote the arts and artists in Toronto. Joe was a corporate policy and management consultant at the City of Toronto where he facilitated problem solving and policy implementation with City agencies and corporations. He also managed the recruitment of the boards of City corporations and was the policy lead in the public appointments process for the boards of City agencies. Prior to that, he was a budget analyst where he analysed and processed operating and capital budgets.


Kristopher Dell

Board President

Meet Kris

Kristopher Dell has been working professionally in the Arts since 1994. He is presently the Director of Production and Facility Services at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Attending York University in 1991, Kristopher graduated with a BFA in Theatre specializing in Production. Working as a freelance designer, technician and production manager, Kristopher has worked at theatres and festivals such as Buddies in Bad Times, the Tarragon, Factory Theatre and the Luminato Festival.  Kristopher joined the Toronto Centre for the Arts as a Production Manager in 2002, and has immensely enjoyed working with all the different acts, artists and organizations that have appeared upon the TCA’s stages. His duties have gradually expanded to include facility services, but it always comes back to the shows.


Jason Ho

Board Treasurer

Meet Jason
Jason is a finance professional with over 10 years of experience working in the financial services industry. He currently serves as a Director in Enterprise Risk Internal Audit with RBC, and is a Canadian CPA, CA. Jason started his career in the Assurance & Advisory practice of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where he focused on the Consumer Industrial Products and Services sector. He obtained his CA designation while at PwC, and then joined BMO Capital Markets Securitized Structured Products Group, working in both in Toronto and Chicago.  Upon his return to Toronto, Jason held various audit and governance leadership roles within the financial services sector. Jason has a Master of Management Professional Accounting degree from the Rotman School of Management.


Susan Karnay

Board Secretary

Meet Susan

Susan Karnay is an entertainment lawyer with over 20 years of experience. She is the co-founder of Bob Lake Productions, involved in the development and executive producing of film and television projects. Susan has worked as in-house counsel at Canadian media companies, and started her career in the entertainment group at Goodmans LLP. In addition to her Honours B.A. and LL.B. degrees, Susan has a M.B.A. from the Schulich School of Business. She teaches business and entertainment law at Ryerson University and Centennial College, and currently sits on the Board of Directors and Programming Committee of Women in Film & Television. A long-time Leaside resident who is passionate about the arts and community involvement, Susan is delighted to bring her legal expertise to NYA.

Umair Jaffar

Board Member

Meet Umair

Umair has been involved in the Arts sector since 2000 and has extensive experience in curating, art administration and management. He has an MSc in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford, UK and an MBA from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Umair migrated to Canada in 2014 (from Pakistan) and since then has worked in senior roles at major cultural organizations such as the Aga Khan Museum and Harbourfront Centre. In 2017 recognizing his contributions to the Toronto Art sector he received the prestigious ‘Leaders Lab’ fellowship by the Toronto Arts Council and Banff Centre. Prior to arriving in Canada, he founded the Institute for Preservation of Arts & Culture (also known as IPAC), the first non-profit organization in Pakistan that focused on developing sustainable solutions for promoting traditional performing arts and livelihood / welfare services to marginalized artist communities.


Kirsten Kamper

Board Member

Meet Kirsten

Kirsten Kamper is a dedicated fundraising and operations professional, passionate about the social and financial impact of arts and culture. She has had the privilege to work for over 18 years in the non-profit sector, currently as Vice President, Operations and Campaign with the Royal Ontario Museum Governors. Kirsten has worked in progressive fundraising positions for 13 years at the ROM, most recently as Vice President, Annual Giving. Prior, she worked in membership and communications with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres. Kirsten has an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Toronto, and a graduate diploma in Non-Profit Administration from Concordia University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Millean Kung

Interim Programming & Events Committee Chair

Meet Millean

Born and raised in Toronto, Millean has always been an advocate for the arts. After graduating from university with a B. Mus. and a B. Ed., she became an educator in the Toronto school system.

Millean discovered Pottery and Glass Fusing a number of years ago. She was able to share her enthusiasm for the arts with other educators and a variety of special-needs students. Since retiring, Millean has devoted much of her time to her passion: Pottery and Glass. She is the sole proprietor of her business “1 in a Millean”.

To keep her schedule filled, Millean is President of the North York Visual Artists and she volunteers at the Toronto Botanical Garden. As well, she enjoys cooking and baking.

David Oliver

Governance & Nominations Committee Chair

Meet David

David Oliver has extensive senior executive experience in the investment and wealth management industry. He is currently President of Oliver Advisory, an independent consulting firm, and recently served as National Lead and Vice President at MD Financial Management, heading MD Private Investment Counsel and MD Management. Prior to joining MD Financial Management, Mr. Oliver was Chief Portfolio Manager, Vice President and Executive Director at CIBC, as well as Vice President and Portfolio Manager at TD Bank. Mr. Oliver started his career as an economist at the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

David Oliver currently serves on the Board of Directors of Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO), where he sits on the Risk Committee and Investment Committee. Mr. Oliver also serves on the Board of Directors at the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, where he sits on the Finance, Audit and Human Resources Committee. Previously, Mr. Oliver served as a member of the Canadian Medical Association Pension Plan Investment Committee, as well as the Investment Dealers Association Regulation 1300 Review Committee.

David Oliver graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Master of Arts in Economics. Mr. Oliver holds the Chartered Director, Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Investment Manager, and Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute designations.


Diana Panagiotopoulos

Board Member

Meet Diana

Diana Panagiotopoulos has been a principal in the TDSB for nearly 10 years.  Currently, she is the principal of Don Mills Collegiate Institute, which is known for its CyberArts program.  She completed her B.A. Honours and Bachelor of Education at Glendon College, York University and her M.Ed. in Administration and Policy Studies at McGill University.  Ms. Panagiotopoulos is on the board of Expect Theatre, an award-winning, Toronto-based company who create original multi-disciplinary productions that explore modern urban life.


Kathleen Sloan

Marketing & Fundraising Committee Chair

Meet Kathleen

Kathleen Sloan is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, contributing to the success of organizations in both the non-profit and commercial sectors. Her significant experience in the arts and culture industry began with marketing roles at Roy Thomson Hall/Massey Hall and then at Livent, where she developed and managed advertising initiatives across North America for award-winning theatrical productions including The Phantom of the Opera, Fosse and Barrymore. Kathleen was Director of Marketing for CAPA/Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, before returning to Toronto and joining Luminato as Director of Marketing, building the brand of the premier annual arts festival. From 2011 – 2016 she led the marketing and communications for Canada’s Walk of Fame, and is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for Villa Charities Inc. Kathleen holds a Chartered Marketer designation.


Bill Stephenson

Board Member

Meet Bill

Bill Stephenson is a senior finance professional who assists clients who are undergoing transition to solve problems, improve processes and systems, implement internal controls, execute and transfer knowledge.Bill believes that a finance professional should not only measure value but serve as a business partner who helps create value and drive strategy. Bill is a CPA, CMA and holds a business degree from the University of Toronto. He has worked in many industry sectors and has worked with organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Bill has always enjoyed and supported the arts. He has been an active member in many community musical organizations over the last two decades and feels that arts organizations not only enrich the lives of artists and residents in the community but offers them the opportunity to connect with others. He is thrilled to be able to serve on the board of North York Arts and put his financial knowledge and experience in community- based arts organizations to use.


Nina Zaslavsky

Board Member

Meet Nina

Nina Zaslavsky has a MA in Journalism and Communication (Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel). Nina began her career in Canada as a constituency liaison for local councilor in Ward 10, York Centre.  In her position, she organized a multitude of events: the Earl Bales Art and Music Festival, Russian Arts Night (in cooperation with Nuit Blanche), the Antibes Multicultural Festival, the Toronto Russian Film Festival, Youth Media Club and many other national and international events.

Nina is an experienced special project organizer and fundraiser with a specialization in cultural events and she has proven ability in working with diverse stakeholders to achieve objectives. Demonstrated success in building relationships with stakeholders in the arts and culture community. Nina is owner of her PR company and she is sill working as a the freelance journalist writing in English, Russian and Hebrew.


Committee Members

Julian Carvajal
Sandra Huh
Mira Lax
Chhavi Malik
Aitak Sorahitalab
Cindy Wan 

Susan Wright


About Us

North York Arts (NYA)  collaborates with artists, arts organizations, and partners to develop, strengthen, and promote cultural programming and initiatives for North York communities

Contact us 

North York Arts
5040 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 6R8

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

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