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Dancing to Leadership in Winnipeg

April 26, 2023

3 minute read
Post Contributed by Martin Wayngarten, Franchisee, Booster Juice
Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2022-2023



Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2022-2023 had an informative and exciting day on April 21, despite the chilly weather. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet was the location, and our classmate Chris Turyk was the host.

We began the day with an overview of the history and operations of the RWB by Chris Turyk and Kate Hodgert-Fennell, both Managing Directors at the RWB.

The next session was a panel discussion about Arts Governance, featuring seven distinguished guests. These included Don Leitch, Chair of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Nick Logan, Chair of the Winnipeg Art Gallery / Qaumajuq; Laurie Speers, Chair of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre; Camilla Holland, Executive Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre; Larry Desrochers, General Director and CEO of Manitoba Opera; Judith Chambers, Chair of Manitoba Opera; and Nick Slonosky, Board Vice-President of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. They shared their insights and experiences, providing valuable knowledge for leadership in the arts industry and their challenges adapting to these new times.

A few insights shared by some of the panelists were:

“There should be good representation at the Board level for Board Governance to be effective.”

“Organizations need to be financially successful to be artistically successful.”

“Passion is a requisite to be an effective Board member, if you are not ‘in it’ it is difficult.”

“Be Brave, everyone has something to say at the Board table.”

“Bring your whole self to the conversation, that is when the magic happens.”

We then had the privilege of touring the RWB facility, which is world-class, and even got a sneak peek at the rehearsal of the Peter Pan show. It was a fantastic experience to see the dedication and hard work that goes into a production of this scale.

After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the RWB cafeteria. The chicken penne maybe wasn’t to die for but certainly was to dance for.

The afternoon session continued with two more panels.

The first was on Arts Festivals in Winnipeg, which included Teresa Cotroneo, Executive Director of Folklorama; Eric Plamondon, Chair of Festival du Voyageur; and Lynne Skromeda, Executive Director of Winnipeg Folk Festival. They shared their experiences and knowledge of managing arts festivals in Winnipeg. Did you know that the Festival du Voyageur is the largest French cultural event west of Ottawa? Or that the first Winnipeg Folk Festival was in 1974 as a one-time celebration to mark Winnipeg’s 100th anniversary? Or that Folklorama was first held in August 1970 and now counts with over 20,000 volunteers?

The last panel was about the Film Industry in Manitoba, with Adam Smoluk, Managing Director of Film Training Manitoba, and Rod Bruinooge, CEO and Film Commissioner of Manitoba Film and Music. They discussed the importance of the film industry in Manitoba and its potential for growth.

Overall, the day was a great success, providing valuable insights and experiences for the Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2022-2023. The panels and tours were very informative, and if “life imitates art” as the saying goes, life in Winnipeg can continue to make waves as one of the top world travel destinations as featured on the cover of TIME magazine for 2022, provided good leadership and governance is maintained.

Despite the chilly weather, the warmth of the hospitality and the passion for the arts of the distinguished slate of panelists and our hosts made the day unforgettable.

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