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Board of Directors

L-R: Nick Burke, Joanna Woo, Rachel Smith-Spencer, John Motz, Valarie Boucher, Patrick Jocsak, Jane Adams, Linda Fabi, Robyn Burns and Barbara Assiginaak.
Absent from photo: Michael Callaghan, David Dame, Julia Goyal, Amy Kavanagh, Kristina McDougall and Michael Murray.

Rachel Smith-Spencer

Rachel Smith-Spencer joined the Stratford Festival as Senior Director of Advancement in October 2003.  In that role, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Festival’s fundraising activities including annual support of $14 million, endowed giving, planned giving and special projects including its current $12 million Relaunch campaign addressing the challenges faced during the pandemic.

In 2020, under her direction, the Festival completed a $100 million campaign to build and support ongoing operations of its new state-of-the-art Tom Patterson Theatre.

Prior to coming to the Festival, she was the Assistant Dean, Alumni and Development for the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and participated in the completion of Canada’s first $1 billion campaign in support of the university.

She spent over 17 seasons as Director of Development for symphony orchestras in Canada, including tenures at the Toronto Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (1985 to 1998).

She was born and raised in Preston, Ontario and received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Waterloo.

John Motz
Vice Chair

John Motz was born in Toronto in 1960. His parents moved to Kitchener while he was still an infant, and he has lived in Kitchener-Waterloo ever since. John attended Saint Jerome’s High School in Kitchener, then went to the University of Waterloo, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences. He worked at the family business, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, during weekends and summers while attending high school and university. After graduating from university, John worked at the Cambridge Times newspaper in Cambridge, first as a reporter and photographer, then as news editor. When the Motz family sold its share of the Record in 1989, John returned to his studies at the University of Waterloo, achieving Master of Science and PhD degrees in Earth Sciences. He then worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Waterloo. After John and his business partners sold a precision-manufacturing firm they owned in Guelph, John decided to pursue interests in volunteering and travel.

John grew up in a musical household where classical music was frequently in the air. He took clarinet lessons while in elementary school and played in a youth orchestra. His love of wind instruments lead him, as an adult, to study oboe with James Mason and bassoon with Cedric Coleman. John has also received voice training.

John volunteers at the University of Waterloo Earth Sciences Museum and the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum. His hobbies include watch and clock repair, camera collecting, photography and dabbling in a variety of wind instruments, from the harmonica to the didgeridoo.

John and his wife Heather travel extensively and consider New Zealand their favourite place in the world, outside of Canada. They have four adult children who are pursuing successful careers across Canada.

Jane Adams

Jane has more than 40 years of tax experience serving clients in Canada and in the Caribbean. As a former tax partner with one of the Big 4 firms and a Tax Director in the Caribbean, Jane brings a wealth of both domestic and international experience to her clients. Jane is also a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Canada (2014) and a Fellow of the Society of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of Canada (2009). Besides tax, Jane’s background in Canada includes a former role as a Director of Finance for a large regional hospital and advising many owner-managed businesses. Jane has published many tax and workers’ compensation articles over the years and has co-edited both Carswell’s GST Guide for Business and the Ontario Workplace Insurance, Claims Management and Return to Work publications. She is also known for her many speaking and training sessions on the HST when it was first introduced in Ontario including co-presenting with the former Ontario Minister of Finance. Jane has successfully managed tax appeals up to the Tax Court level as well as effectively managed tax audits and avoided many proposed assessments for her clients.  Jane has a history of community involvement including Women’s Crisis Services, former treasurer of the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, former treasurer of the International Women’s Forum (Waterloo Chapter), former chair of the Waterloo Region Catholic Community Foundation, and numerous other board roles in the non-profit sector.  In 2012 Jane was recognized by her firm for her community work and was awarded the National Community Leader award for the Eastern Canada Region.  While Jane loves her classic rock’n’roll music, she grew up in a home where her mother taught classical piano and organ and helped her gain an appreciation of the arts.

Robyn Burns

Robyn is currently the Corporate Counsel at Vidyard, a tech company located in Kitchener. After completing a joint law degree / MPA at Queen’s University in 2015, she worked at two national firms in Toronto and Waterloo in the corporate transactional and competition law practice groups. She has regularly advised clients in the areas of corporate governance, privacy law, corporate restructuring, M&A and regulatory compliance.

Having grown up in Calgary, Robyn is an avid skier and volunteers with the Track 3 disabled skiing club at Chicopee. A former cellist, Robyn has completed the Royal Conservatory exams and continues to foster an appreciation for live music of all kinds.

Nick Burke

Nick is currently the Director of Development for the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth.  He leads a team that focusses on fundraising through events, legacy giving, major gifts and grassroots fundraising. Prior to working in philanthropy, he gained experience working in media sales, sports and major events and business development. Nick also spent 18 years as an on ice official for minor hockey and multiple junior & minor professional leagues as well as national and international assignments as a Level 5 referee.

Nick was born, raised and still lives in Kitchener with his wife, Michelle, along with their pets, Fitz and Fionnigan. In their spare time they love to travel, explore new places but still enjoy the culture and attractions that Waterloo Region has to offer.

Linda Fabi

Linda is the retired Director of Education and CEO of the Waterloo Region District School Board. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University in addition to teacher, principal and supervisory officer qualifications, and certification in the areas of Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Social-Emotional and Team Intelligence. The recipient of numerous awards in the community, nationally and internationally, Linda currently serves on a number of non-profit boards in Waterloo Region including St. Mary’s General Hospital, THEMUSEUM, Strong Start, the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada Regimental Council and Regimental Trust, and she is the past-president of the International Women’s Forum, Waterloo Chapter were she currently sits as an executive member. Additionally, Linda serves as a public appointee on the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Council reporting directly to the Minister of Education. She also contributes as an advisor to the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University. Linda is a resident of Cambridge and has long been a supporter of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Patrick Jocsak

Patrick is a lawyer with Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP, practicing exclusively in business law. Patrick’s practice includes assisting a wide range of Canadian and international clients with commercial and residential real estate transaction, commercial and residential leasing, secured lending, and other corporate law needs including mergers and acquisitions, the creation of joint ventures, partnerships, and corporations.

Prior to joining Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP, Patrick obtained a BA from Wilfrid Laurier University, an MA from Royal Halloway and Bedford New College at the University of London in the UK, and JD in Law from the University of Windsor. Patrick has been a lifelong fan and supporter of live music, theater, new and emerging authors, and the arts generally, and this has included volunteering and board membership on cultural and community service organisations.

Amy Kavanagh

Amy Kavanagh is an experienced Information Technology professional and leader with over 20 years of focus on IT services for the financial industry.  She is currently an Assistant Vice President of Technology at Manulife, supporting Canadians in achieving their dreams and aspirations.  She is highly experienced in strategic planning, team building, financial and general management, vendor partnerships and IT service management.  Amy is passionate about technology as an enabler, IT as a profession and delivering great operational results through high performing and highly engaged teams.  She has an Advanced Executive Certificate in General Management from the Queen’s School of Business.

Amy and her family have lived in the region for more than 15 years and her community service is motivated by a desire to give back and to support Kitchener-Waterloo as a world-class place to live and work.  Amy spends as much time as possible in the great outdoors and is a believer in music as a force for bringing people together.

Kristina McDougall

Kristina is an entrepreneur and executive recruiter. She is the founder of Artemis Canada, a boutique recruitment firm that connects tech companies with leaders and innovators.

She has spent more than 20 years as a partner to a variety of technology companies, helping them attract rare talent and build strong leadership teams.

Originally from Northern Ontario, Kristina has an MBA from Laurentian University and lives with her family in Waterloo.

Joanna Woo

Joanna Woo is a Certified Human Resources Leader and a tech enthusiast. As a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Joanna understands how important innovation is and strives to bring a fresh perspective to best practices as an HR leader. She has worked with several local companies such as the City of Kitchener, BlackBerry, Manulife, Shinydocs, Mappedin, and D2L.

Giving back to the Kitchener-Waterloo community is important to Joanna and she has volunteered with over 30 local organizations focused on youth, education, and DEI.

Joanna grew up playing the piano and singing in choir. In school, she played the oboe in concert bands and electric bass in jazz bands. Joanna has also trained vocally and performed at the Sydney Opera House during a backstage tour and at the Harrogate Music Festival in the UK.

Joanna was born in Hong Kong and currently resides in Kitchener. She enjoys travelling the world, from scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef to climbing Kilimanjaro. She loves how music can transport you anywhere in the world through space and time.

Michael Callaghan

I advise wealthy Canadian families, professionals, business owners and executives on solutions for banking, lending and cash flow management that help them reach their business and personal financial objectives and save them time so they can dedicate more time to the activities they value most.

As their dedicated Private Banker, I take time to listen and get to know and understand each client’s circumstance and their financial needs and goals – for now and in the future.  Then, with the support of a customized team of BMO Private Banking specialists, we look at the client’s entire financial picture. From managing their day-to-day banking needs to arranging specialized lending solutions, we take a holistic approach to designing a customized and integrated financial plan for each client. I regularly revisit this plan and adapt it for transitions throughout their lifetime.

By using this approach to exceptional personal service with my clients, we develop relationships that are trusting, comfortable and long-lasting.

Barbara Assiginaak

Composer and musician Barbara Assiginaak is Odawa (Mnidoo Mnissing, Ginew Dodem), with two decades of experience in environmental outdoor education rooted in traditional Anishinaabeg teachings, and work with Indigenous at-risk youth on intergenerational artistic projects with community Elders. Barbara was a recipient of the Glenn Gould Award in Composition at the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Music in Composition), studied at the Glenn Gould School/Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and holds diplomas from the Hochschule für Musik in München, Germany (Meisterklassendiplom) and Centre Acanthes (France). For 2019-20 Barbara has been Artist-in-Residence and Cultural Advisor for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. A sun dancer for many years, Barbara is regularly involved in traditional ceremonies with Elders in her community and outside of Ontario.

David Dame

Dave is a leadership coach, enterprise agile leader and trainer with over 20 years of product management and leadership experience, which he leverages to drive large-scale transformation in complex organizations. Dave’s practice focuses on scaling change by building up high-performing teams through training & empowering workforces – over the course of his career he has trained over 600 professionals in product management, leadership and agile delivery practices. He has worked with technology companies such as OpenText, PTC, and MCAP; in many cases improving delivery times by over 150%. Dave also spends a significant portion of his time coaching well-seasoned executives, and is very proud that he has played a role in the development of nearly 20 SVP-level and C-level executives. In his role as the Global Enterprise Agile leader at Scotiabank, Dave has built up an agile organization across 5 countries in North and South America with the goal of engaging technical and non-technical Scotiabankers across the organization to embrace agility and change.

Julia Goyal

Julia Goyal is an Affiliate at the Global Labour Research Center and a member of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. Ms. Goyal is a member of the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health Board of Directors. She also sits on the Canadian Mental Health Association, Waterloo-Wellington Board Governance Committee. Ms. Goyal’s past community leadership and board memberships have included serving as Chair of the University of Waterloo Graduate Studies Endowment Fund, Senator on the University of Waterloo Senate and Governor on the University of Waterloo Board of Governors. Ms. Goyal holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology from McMaster University and a Master of Science in Public Health and Health Systems from the University of Waterloo. As a singer herself, Ms. Goyal is a strong supporter of the arts and has a love for musical performance.

Mike Murray

Mike Murray is a senior executive with extensive public, private and not-for-profit sector experience, including significant leadership roles in municipal government. Over his career, he has focused on helping to create inclusive, thriving and sustainable communities, and he currently has a private consulting practice providing strategic advice to a variety of organizations.

Mike spent much of his career with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, including 16 years as the Region’s Chief Administrative Officer, reporting directly to the elected Regional Council.  In his role as CAO, he led a team of over 3,000 people, with a budget of over $1 billion, serving one of the fastest growing regions in Canada.  He had overall responsibility for all of the Region’s functions including Social Services and Public Health; Transportation and Environmental Services; Planning, Development and Cultural Services, and all related corporate support functions.

Throughout his career Mike has fostered collaborative working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups, and has been a strong supporter of arts and culture in Waterloo Region.  He has worked to increase government funding for arts organizations, and to strengthen the capacity of the arts and culture sector in he Region.  He was a founding member of, the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Creative Enterprise Initiative, and the Waterloo Region Immigrant Employment Network.  Mike also served on the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel, and on the Boards of numerous industry associations and not-for-profit organizations including The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation, Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc., and the Canadian Urban Institute.

Before joining the Region, Mike worked as a consulting engineer, mainly in northern and western Canada where he was involved in the planning, design and construction of numerous water and wastewater treatment facilities. Mike has also been involved in several international projects including projects in Brazil (groundwater protection), China (environmental sustainability) and Ukraine (regional governance development).

Mike has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University and a Master’s Degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the University of Toronto.  Mike loves all things outdoors, and one of his greatest passions is wilderness whitewater canoe tripping.

Valarie Boucher

As Operations Manager for North America with Howspace, Val provides her expertise and diverse experience in policies, contract management, human resources, financial management and administration. Her love of start-ups and scaling companies comes from being a previous entrepreneur herself several times over and at Howspace she assists the team with growth in both Canada and the USA.

Prior to Howspace, Val worked with ProNavigator, as part of the management team in the Waterloo region where she provided her experience in the human resources and recruiting functions of the company.

Val ran a consulting company for many years which provided sound knowledge to architects, engineers, graphic and industrial designers, and construction personnel. During this time, Val volunteered with the Hamilton Arts Council, Canstruction, Big Sisters/Big Brothers and an animal shelter rehabilitating animals back to their natural habitat. She was also President for two years and an active board member for over seven with the Society for Design Administration.

Growing up with a family from the East coast, music was always an important way of connecting to others and she is looking forward to connecting with the KWs Community.