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

How to apply:

  1. Fill out the application form by Monday, March 29 2021!
  2. We’ll be in touch with next steps.

*If you’re over 35 but NextUp! Leaders Lab is for you, let’s talk!

Contact for more info.


Introducing our NextUp! Leaders Lab 2021 Facilitators & Mentors!

(keep checking back for updates!)

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 Israel – 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.