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New Strategic Plan, New Board Leadership

June 22, 2021

Mark Schaan at OAG in 2019

Dear OAG Members, Friends, and Supporters,

As we embarked on the planning and implementation of the Gallery’s new Strategic Plan, Past-Chair, Vic Duret, compelled us to think big and think bold! Casting our minds into the future, we engaged thought leaders from Canada and around the globe to help us imagine what the world would be like in thirty-years. What strategies would ensure our relevancy as a cultural anchor in our city; would allow us to hold space as vital participants in the greater, global conversation?

This process was led by our incoming Chair, Mark Schaan, who encouraged us to move past a one-day session with sticky notes on a wall and, to instead, engage in an iterative and ongoing dialogue that included the board and staff, as well as established and underserved members of our community. What first emerged as a messy jumble of important threads, are now woven together into a strong and nimble Strategic Plan that will guide our efforts in the years to come.

One of the most important lessons gleaned from this planning process was that OAG must be a resilient learning institution that is listening all of the time.

To guide this work, Mark is joined by Vice-Chair, Vanessa Pilotte. These two dynamic and passionate professionals are adept at community consultation and leading change.  Mark hails from the Government of Canada, where he is now the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and has a strong belief in the fundamental importance of cultural institutions, particularly their role as community builders, provocateurs, and storytellers. As a public affairs and sustainability leader, Vanessa, is driven by connecting people, promoting social responsibility, and building strong and lasting relationships.

Four new board members will join Mark and Vanessa:

Althia Raj is an Ottawa-based political journalist and a member of the CBC’s flagship newscast The National’s “At Issue” panel. She previously served as HuffPost Canada’s senior editorial manager and its Ottawa bureau chief, from the news site’s inception in 2011 until its closure in March 2021. She is a past chair of the board of directors of, an award-winning not-for-profit arts and culture blog which she co-founded in 2008

Mike Manson is a global technology CEO, entrepreneur and venture capitalist – a veteran of Ottawa’s tech community. As a prolific art collector, Mike has been a patron and supporter of Ottawa’s art scene for over 20 years. 

Sylvia Dreaver is the Emerging Curator of Indigenous Art at Canadian Museum of History. She previous previously  worked at the Banff Centre, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Mentoring Artists for Woman’s Arts.

Deborah Duffy fosters a long-term interest in the visual arts by collecting Canadian contemporary art, museum going and serving on the Board of the Stonecroft Foundation for the Arts. Deborah served as in-house counsel for several corporations in the private and public sector. After retiring from the practice of law, she completed the Horticulture Technology program at Algonquin College and operated her own business as a landscape designe

As Director and CEO, and on behalf of the OAG team, we are excited to work with our excellent Board of Directors to enact a progressive and responsive set of Strategic Priorities. Please click HERE to learn more about our new plan.


Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer


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