Arts Leadership

NextUp! Leaders Lab

Welcome to NextUp!

What is NextUp! Leaders Lab?

NextUp! Leaders Lab is a 12-month pilot co-learning initiative beginning April 2021 involving training, mentorship, and skills exchange that supports young racialized arts leaders and managers age 18-35, with a priority on those identifying as Black and Indigenous, strategically leading their own arts initiatives and preparing for senior-level positions in the arts & culture sector.

2021 focuses on 3 areas: Strategic Planning, Financial Management & Money Mobilization.

Who is NextUp! Leaders Lab for?

20 young people (age 35 and under):*

  • leading their own arts initiative and seeking to take it to the next level
  • holding coordination or management-level positions in an arts organization seeking to step into executive leadership in their own or other arts & culture organization

NextUp! Leaders Lab Pilot Goals

  1. To support increased skill development in art leadership and management
  2. To build shared critical analysis and sense of belonging amongst a new generation of arts leaders
  3. To create new connections and networks between people and organizations

Applications have closed for our 2021 Pilot. Stay tuned for updates.

Introducing our NextUp! Leaders Lab 2021 Facilitators & Mentors!

Shadi Mogadime – Strategic Planning & Experience-Informed Leadership Facilitator







Shadi (pronounced so it rhymes with buddy) moved with her family to Canada as refugees from Apartheid South Africa. Because of challenging early childhood experiences and family dynamics, she became a student of many modalities in an over 30-year spiritual and personal growth exploration. Her deepest dive is in esoteric Buddhism and in the practices of meditation, yoga, and qigong as well as other wellness technologies.

For the last five years, she has used these experiences and the knowledge she developed to mentor organizations and coach individual clients from around the world. Shadi feels fortunate to have spent her 25-year professional career in the charitable sector fundraising and marketing for the missions of crucial humanitarian causes, arts & culture non-profits, and social change organizations.

Her current focus is a company she launched in December 2020 in response to requests from clients and community members called Conversations for World Change. Its mission is to help people realize and thrive as they live their mission in life and work. Conversations for World Change includes coaching for individuals, organization mentoring and special events.

Eric Plato – Financial Management Facilitator






Eric Plato was born in Niagara Falls and graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in accounting. After becoming a CPA,CMA he held many finance roles in the nonprofit sector. Over the past 30 years he has worked with organizations with budgets ranging from under $100,000 to over

$100 million. He has also served on several nonprofit boards as Treasurer. In addition, Eric is an excellent trainer, speaker and facilitator in nonprofit financial management. He currently teaches financial management for NGOs at Centennial College. Now self-employed with his own consulting business, Eric’s goal has always been to support the nonprofit sector to feel more confident and comfortable with matters of financial management.

Sheila Sampath – Mentor




Sheila Sampath (she/they) is an artist, activist designer, and educator living and working in Toronto. She is the Principal and Creative director at The Public, a community-centred design studio founded on principles of social justice and anti-oppression, the Editorial and Art Director of Shameless magazine, a national feminist magazine for teen girls and trans youth and a Professor in the Digital Communications Program at Humber College. In 2020, she was named a YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction, for her work in transforming the lives of women and girls through the arts.

Omer Ismael – Mentor




Omer Ismael is a Program Manager, Strategist, and person committed to addressing community change through arts, technology, and entrepreneurship. For over a decade Omer has led programming at several non-profit organizations, museums, festivals, municipal agencies where he has designed training programs and strategic partnerships that serve newcomers, youth, and young professionals. More recently he has led entrepreneurship programs at Digital Main Street, OneEleven, and Artscape Daniels Launchpad. Throughout his career, Omer has leveraged the power of arts and culture to address complex issues in his community ranging from community safety and youth unemployment. Omer is a 2019 Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow, and BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. 

charles c. smith – Mentor





charles c. smith is a poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited fourteen books. He studied poetry and drama with William Packard at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios, drama at the Frank Silvera’s Writers’ Workshop in Harlem. He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada,

edited three collections of poetry and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry Canada Review, the Quille and Quire, Descant, Dandelion, Fiddlehead and others. He has received grants for writing from the Toronto Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

charles is the Executive Director of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and Artistic Director of the wind in the leaves collective. His recent books include: travelogue of the bereaved, The Dirty War: The Making of the Myth of Black Dangerousness, and whispers (2014) and destination out (2018). His next book of poems, Searching for Eastman, will be released at the end of 2021/early 2022 by Mawanzi Publishing House.

Kevin A. Ormsby – Mentor





Artistic Director of KasheDance and Program Manager at Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Kevin A. Ormsby has performed with companies in Canada, USA and the Caribbean. Recipient  of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award and TAC Cultural Leaders Fellow, he has been a Guest Artist at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts – University of the West Indies (Mona), University of Wisconsin – Madison and Northwestern University.

Kevin’s research and creative practice through his company’s technical approach to dance exists in a space of constant interrogation and navigation of Caribbean cultural nuances towards, a methodology of understanding space in creation, research, and presentation. He is on the Boards of Dance Collection Danse, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and has served on the Boards of Canadian Dance Assembly, Prologue to the Performing Arts and Nia Centre for the Arts.

Jordan Baylon – Mentor





Jordan (they/she/he) is a second generation PilipinX artist, critic and community worker imagining justice and abundance for equity-deserving peoples within the spaces of all our relations, personal, communal and societal. Jordan is the General Director of Chromatic Theatre, which is focused on supporting the incubation and amplification of racialized voices and stories within theatre. With a decade of experience working as a grantor in the non-profit arts sector in Mohkinstsis (Calgary), Jordan advocates a collective, grassroots approach to dismantling and rebuilding organizational structures, processes and relationships with values of anti-racism and social justice. Jordan is a proud associate of CommunityWise’s Anti-Racist Organizational Change program, and co-authoried RE-Tool, a handbook on equity-driven grantmaking as part of Equity in the Panel Room working group. As an artist, Jordan’s work gnaws at the intersection of queer identity, race, colonialism, food, ritual and the deep dark places that represent our possibilities for pleasure and liberation.

Janine Manning – Mentor




Janine Manning (she/her) is Anishnawbe and a member of the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation (Neyaashiinigmiing, ON), who calls Toronto home. As a mature student, Janine graduated from York University with an Honours BA in Environmental Studies. Prior to attending university, Janine obtained 10 years of managerial experience in the private service sector and since graduating in 2013 has dedicated herself to Indigenous relations & community development efforts through the public and philanthropic sectors in close proximity to social services organizations. She became an accidental arts administrator in her former role of Manager, Indigenous Culture Fund, at the Ontario Arts Council where she developed a passion for grant making. Currently, as Senior Manager, Indigenous Collaboration, United Way Greater Toronto, Janine applies a collaborative approach and equity lens to partnerships and programming.


Janine is a dedicated volunteer whose recent commitments include Laidlaw Foundation (Board Member, Granting Committee Chair), Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund (Granting Committee), Toronto Public Library (Indigenous Advisor), York University Indigenous Alumni Network (Co-Chair), FoodShare Toronto (Indigenous Advisor).






Jessica Lea Fleming is a Wiisaakodewinikwe (Métis) / Scottish-settler cisgender woman originally from Penetanguishene, Ontario. She is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, producer and performer. Jessica has directed for TV Series Amplify on APTN, Couleurs du Nord pilot for TFO, as well as music videos for multi-award winning artists. Her work has been featured locally and internationally to critical acclaim.

As a Programmer and Arts Manager, Jessica has previously worked with Native Earth Performing Arts, Talking Stick Festival, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Regent Park Film Festival as well as Toronto Public Library. In 2015 she was a Featured Leader for the Ontario Ministry on the Status of Women and in 2017 she was one of twenty Invited Contributors to the 20th Canadian Arts Summit.

In 2020, Jessica was part of Luminato’s Fall Artist Residency and was short-listed for Canada’s Prism Prize. Currently, she sits on the Aanji Bimaadiziwin Toronto Museums Indigenous Programming Advisory Group and the Independent Media Arts Alliance Working Group. Jessica is the Associate Director at imagineNATIVE, the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at Theatre Aquarius, and is creating new works for stage and screen with MM Collective, New Harlem Productions and Signal Theatre. She lives in Toronto with her partner and son.

Amoye Henry – Money Mobilization Facilitator




Amoye is an entrepreneur and small business consultant who is on a mission to help scale growth-based businesses led by unique founders, usually the underdogs. In 2018, she was named one of Canada’s top 100 Accomplished Black Women.

Through enticing pitches and building strong brand partnerships, she secured approximately $5M in funding for local entrepreneurs, start-ups and community organizations. In addition to running Pitch Better, she is the co-founder and Executive Producer of the AfroChic Cultural Arts Festival. She is currently completing her Executive MBA at Ivey Business School where she is on track to graduate in June 2021.