Board Members

Ed Chwyl, Honourary Governor (non-voting), has over forty years of business experience, primarily in the energy industry in Calgary and currently serves on the Board of three companies. The Chwyl family have been residents of Victoria since 2001 when Ed retired after a long career in the Calgary oil patch. Their two children have benefited from music lessons, theory and history, and the Collegium program at the Conservatory. Ed previously served as a Vice-President of the Board (2005/06) and is a graduate engineer (University of Alberta, MSc 1968). Ed has served as Chairman of the Calgary YMCA, Chairman of the Petroleum Society, plus various other volunteer positions with Not for Profit organizations in western Canada.

Gary Karr, Honourary Governor (non-voting), is acclaimed as “the world’s leading solo bassist” (Time Magazine) and the first solo doublebassist in history to make that pursuit a full-time career. Since his debut with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1962, Karr has performed as soloist on six continents with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and with all the major orchestras of Australia. One of Karr’s proudest achievements is the Bronze Medal he received from the Rosa Ponselle Foundation which recognizes him as an outstanding lyrical musician. Gary is the proud holder of the 1997 Artist/Teacher of the Year Award from the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA). He also holds the Distinguished Achievement Award (1995) from the International Society of Bassists (ISB).

Shannon von Kaldenberg, Chair, is a highly respected and regarded advancement professional with extensive experience in fundraising, strategic planning and people management. She has twenty five years of senior management experience, successfully leading small and large staff and volunteer teams.  Her diverse career incorporates the education, social service, health care, consulting and the corporate sectors.  Shannon has been Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Heart and Stroke Foundation since 2010, and previous roles include Associate Vice-President Alumni and Development and Chief Development Officer, UVic, Assistant Dean External Relations, UBC Sauder School of Business, University Director of Development, UBC, President of the Vancouver Hospital Foundation and Vice President of Development and Communications, United Way of the Lower Mainland. She is a frequent speaker and lecturer with the Association of Fundraising Professionals where she also served on the Board and as Chair, and was a VCM Board member and Chair of the Development Committee from 2008-2010.

Hon. Roy Cullen, Past Chair, earned his B.A. in Business Administration, and a Master of Public Administration. 
He qualified as a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1972. Initially elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa in a by-election in 1996, he was re-elected in the 1997, 2000, 2004, and the 2006 general elections. He retired from the Canadian House of Commons in 2008. As a member of the Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s government, and later under Prime Minister Paul Martin, Mr. Cullen served as chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, as parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, as parliamentary secretary to the deputy prime minister and the minister for public safety and emergency preparedness; and as chair of the Ontario Liberal caucus. In 2006 he was sworn-in as a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

Bryan Wilson, Vice Chair, has over 25 years’ experience in the growth and financial management of technology companies in fields ranging from e-commerce and internet publishing to electronics manufacture and biopharmaceuticals. Now semi-retired, his most recent fulltime position was CFO of Abebooks Inc., an online book marketplace acquired by Amazon in 2008. Prior to technology management, he held various positions in a crown corporation responsible for accommodation needs of the provincial government, serving 7 years as Vice President, Marketing and Client Services.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UBC, and a MBA from the University of Toronto.  Bryan is a founding Board member of Living Edge Community, a non-profit society focused on providing food for persons in need in Victoria. He has mentored technology managers, entrepreneurs at the Community Micro Lending Society, and students at University of Victoria.  He has also taught financial courses at Royal Roads University and Uganda Christian University.

Susan Snell, Treasurer, is a founding partner of the firm Cameron Izard Snell Chartered Professional Accountants where her practice includes tax planning for individuals, professionals and owner-managed businesses, with a focus on corporate reorganizations, estate and will planning. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Susan received her CA designation while working for Ernst & Young. Susan has completed the Canadian Securities Course as well as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants In-Depth Tax Course.  Previously a senior manager in tax at an international accounting firm, Susan brings years of experience and knowledge to her clients and volunteer positions. Susan is a proud supporter of the Victoria arts community and is studying piano at the VCM.

Claudia Blum, Secretary, holds an MBA with a specialization in Marketing. During her professional career, Claudia held several Executive Marketing positions in the European cosmetic industry at L’Oréal Paris and Schwarzkopf & Henkel. In 2008 Claudia was appointed to the Board of Directors of Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society where she served as a Director, Chair of the Development Committee, Vice-Chair and as Chair of the Board for two years. After staying on the Board as Past Chair, she retired from the Power To Be Board in 2014 but is still an active member of the Executive Compensation Committee. She also served as Vice President on the Board of Governors for Ballet Victoria in 2014-2015. Claudia is an ICD (Institute of Corporate Directors) certified Director for Not-For-Profit Organizations.

Gareth Dickson was born and raised in BC, and has lived, worked, and gone to school within the Victoria community for most of his life.  With just enough travel abroad and living elsewhere in Canada to reinforce his love of Victoria and his desire to stay here, he served Victoria for 10 years as the owner and operator of a successful construction contracting business.  Gareth is now an Investment Advisor and Associate Portfolio Manager with BC-based investment firm Odlum Brown Limited and holds the Certified Financial Planner designation.  Gareth focuses on planning for sustainability in his work with individual, corporate, and foundation clients to safeguard their financial futures.

Richard Fisher is Owner and Planning Director of Trapeze Communications. His skills as Agency Director, chief strategist and concerned listener make him a popular guy. Over his career, Richard has successfully guided brands in many categories including government/public sector, travel and tourism, education, high tech, and manufacturing. He has a genuine passion for all things marketing and keeps Clients abreast of trends to help their businesses stay competitive and current. Richard is also an experienced market research facilitator, and skillfully draws out the nuggets of insight Clients need to know about their brand and customers.

Geraldine Hinton‘s focus, following graduation in 1961 as a nurse clinician, was geriatric practice, and the teaching and mentoring of nursing students in the care of older persons. As a volunteer with St John Ambulance, in 1976, she developed a revolutionary health care program for seniors living in the downtown core of Vancouver who were facing loneliness and poverty. It spread throughout communities in BC and became a National Program for St John Ambulance with funding from the McConnell Foundation.With her leadership skills and experience she was chosen in 1992 as the Co-Chair of the “Acute to Community Shift” in the BC Government Response Office for the Seaton Royal Commission on Health Care and Costs, and in 1994 as the Executive Director of the BC Government’s Office for Seniors; there, she led the initiative for the 1999 United Nations International Year of the Older Person in BC. While in her role with the Office for Seniors, Geri represented the provinces as the Co-Chair for the F/P/T National Committee for the Ministers’ Responsible for Seniors that developed a National Framework for Aging Policy and a Strategic Plan for Later Life that recognized the demographics of a growing and diverse population. She was instrumental in a partnership in 2000 with the Ministry of Housing to develop the first policy framework on Supportive Housing for Seniors in BC which has been adopted by several provinces. Geri has been recognized for her contributions: in 2002 she was awarded the YM/YWCA Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2008 she received the University of Victoria, School of Nursing Alumnae Award of Excellence. She received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2003 Geri was promoted to Dame of Grace in the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem recognizing her lifetime commitment to St John Ambulance Association.

Marci Hotsenpiller, ZINC Communications Founder and Principal, is an award-winning communications consultant with 15+ years of experience. Marci has held senior management positions in government and now is one of the top communications and public engagement strategists for local government projects in western Canada. Marci speaks regularly about how government can work more effectively with media, is a member of IAP2 and the Canadian Public Relations Society and holds a BA in Communications from McGill University and Simon Fraser University, plus a certificate in Local Government Administration from Capilano University in Vancouver. Marci also served as the Marketing and Development Manager of the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival, a non-profit arts organization that featured several streams of programming in schools, with public events, plus bringing in international artists/writers each year. Prior to developing her focus on infrastructure projects she enjoyed a decade in high-tech PR. Leading a team at sister company, ZINC Public Relations, Marci helped innovative Canadian and US startups earn standout media coverage and coached founders on telling their disruption stories to the world. She serves on the BC board of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and is a founding member of the Women’s Equity Lab, a Victoria-based group that aims to introduce more women to angel investing. Marci splits her time between Victoria and the Comox Valley.

Michael McEvoy was appointed Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC on March 5, 2018. He previously held the position of Deputy Commissioner to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. As Deputy Commissioner, Mr. McEvoy played a key senior leadership role in the enforcement of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).  He was responsible for leading and managing systemic investigations of significant public interest issues, and the development of policy papers and guidance for organizations and public bodies. Mr. McEvoy led British Columbia’s efforts to coordinate actions with regulatory authorities throughout the Asia Pacific region. Mr. McEvoy obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University of Manitoba in 1985 and a Bachelor of Arts in 1980 from the University of Winnipeg. He has been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 1986. Mr. McEvoy was a public school trustee for 12 years, including two terms as President of the British Columbia School Trustees’ Association and one term as President of the Canadian School Boards’ Association. He has also served on numerous campaign committees of the Greater Victoria United Way, chairing its 2009 campaign. Mr. McEvoy is married with two grown daughters. He prides himself as a charter member and elite player with the Victoria Grey Leafs’ old-timer hockey team.

Kirk McNally is a recording engineer, music producer and sound artist living in Victoria, British Columbia on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. He received his Master’s of Music in Sound Recording from McGill University. As a recording engineer he has held positions at the Tanglewood Music Centre (Lenox, MA), Reaction Studios (Toronto, ON), and the Warehouse Studio (Vancouver, BC), working with artists including, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bryan Adams and REM. Kirk is the assistant professor of Music Technology for the School of Music at the University of Victoria, where he is the program administrator for the school’s undergraduate combined major program in music and computer science and the graduate program in music technology. His research and creative work has been supported by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the Canada Council for the Arts, the University of Victoria’s Learning and Teaching Centre, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Bijan Neyestani holds undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Engineering and a post-graduate degree in Business Administration. As co-founder and President of Alpha Project Developments Ltd. (APD); a Victoria-based real estate development  firm, he brings over 35 years of experience in real estate development and construction management in British Columbia. Since APD’s inception in 2002, Bijan has overseen the successful completion and sale of numerous development projects on Southern Vancouver Island. At APD, he has developed a broad base of experience in all areas, including acquisition, civic approvals, finance, construction and marketing. Bijan has lived and raised a family in Victoria since 1976. Both his children have attended classes at VCM. Currently, he is serving on the board of the Urban Development Institute, Capital Region and a number of private companies.

Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, is an experienced and respected senior tourism leader and progressive tourism marketing, strategy, and branding expert with 25 years of tourism-related leadership and management experience. He has held leadership positions with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours, Mount Seymour Resorts and Tourism Vancouver – the Greater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau. Widely regarded as one of Canada’s top tourism policy minds, Paul serves on the board of Destinations International and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada as the Advocacy Committee Chair.

Shelley Williams is a retired lawyer and advancement professional. After practicing law for 17 years she retired to raise her family, returning to work in in the advancement department of an independent school in West Vancouver. Before moving to Victoria, Shelley sat on the boards of the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation, BC Diving, North Shore Dolphins Dive Club and Collingwood School, and was a volunteer with numerous charities. She brings to the VCM over 30 years of experience in not for profit fundraising campaigns and events, alumni relations, and communications and marketing. A life-long music lover, she studied piano and violin for many years and played in a university orchestra.


Jane Butler McGregor, CEO (non-voting)
Jane Butler McGregor currently serves as CEO of the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Prior to this she served on the Board of Directors of Pacific Opera Victoria before stepping in as Interim Executive Director during a transitional period.  Previously she lived in the United States for 13 years where she helped found two new non- profit organizations and served on the Board of several others.  Before moving to the USA she served as the Corporate Director, Human Resources for the Jim Pattison Group in Vancouver, BC after managing Guest Relations and VIP services for Expo 86. Jane served on the Board of Governors at the University of Victoria for 6 years as well as the Victoria Telus Community Board.  She has a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Stephen Green, Dean (non-voting)
Previous to joining the VCM, Stephen held the position of Executive Director and Chief Academic Officer for the Children’s Music Foundation International in Canada whose mission is to support the development and implementation of music education systems and programming for school children around the world. Stephen previously served as Associate Dean, Executive Director and  Dean of the Royal Conservatory School at the RCM in Toronto for 11 years, leading the school of over 5,000 students, 240 faculty, and an annual operating budget of over $5MM through years of growth in areas including outreach to at-risk youth, and program expansion to satellite locations.  Stephen holds a Mus. Bac in Conducting (UofT) and an M.A. and Performance Diploma in Music Direction (U. Mozarteum, Salzburg), has served as Opera Chorus Director and Conductor for 5 years in Salzburg, Austria, and is an accomplished pianist and Music Educator.

Kelsey Gilker – Staff Representative (non-voting)
Kelsey Gilker is an arts administrator, graphic designer and actor living in Victoria, British Columbia. Prior to moving to Victoria, Kelsey worked as Marketing & Membership Coordinator for the Kamloops Arts Council. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Thompson Rivers University and worked professionally across the country at Thousand Islands Playhouse, Theatre Calgary and Western Canada Theatre. Kelsey has been with the VCM since November 2017, first at Reception & Registration before moving into her current position of Executive Assistant & Assistant to the Registrar. When not at the VCM, Kelsey works freelance as a graphic designer and enjoys all things arts and culture.