Board of Directors
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Ruth Shead, a member of Peguis First Nation, is the Director of Indigenous Engagement and Communications at the University of Manitoba. She is passionate about advancing the university’s commitments to Indigenous students and communities, sharing Indigenous knowledge(s) and research, fighting anti-Indigenous racism, and celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit successes. She previously worked at CBC Radio as a producer and director, and at Indspire (then called the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation) as a production associate. Ruth was an establishing member of the advisory for Circles for Reconciliation, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Manitoba Music and the West End Cultural Centre.
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Suzanne Holatko is a Partner in the Assurance and Advisory practice in the Deloitte LLP office and has over 10 years of experience focusing on serving private companies and not-for-profit organizations. She is well versed in common challenges experienced by not-for-profits and their accounting and finance functions.
Birthday Cake / Mighty Cypress Talent
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Stu Anderson is always up for an adventure and has a boundless energy that needs to be released on a regular basis. Luckily Stu offers his ideas and entrepreneurial talents for the benefit of others, and is always being a champion for the underdog. Stu founded Mighty Cypress Talent in 2015, an artist management firm that guides the careers of Begonia, The Bros. Landreth, Joey Landreth, Living Hour, and Royal Canoe, amongst others. In 2019, Stu co-founded and acts as CEO for Birthday Cake Records, an indie record label that has quickly established itself as a trusted release partner and music publisher for groundbreaking artists who are enjoying global successes, such as Leith Ross and Field Guide. Stu is also a long time event producer and Artistic Director of a few music festivals. Prior to his own ventures, Stu spent years as a Booking Agent at Paquin Artists Agency, where he oversaw touring in the USA territory, as well as signing and developing touring for artists such as Shakey Graves, Corb Lund, Donovan Woods, and many more.
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Desiree Dorion grew up a mile and a half from the grounds of Dauphin Country Fest, one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in Canada. As a little girl she would ride her bike there when the festival wasn’t on, climb up on the stage, and pretend to play to the thousands of fans that come to watch big country music acts. In 2014 her dream of playing the mainstage came true.
Desiree’s most recent release, “Wouldn’t That be Fun,” was co-written with one half of Doc Walker: Dave Wasyliw and was released in April, 2022. “Wouldn’t That be Fun?” is currently climbing the Indigenous music countdown and the Canadian country music charts (TRAX). The song has over 66,000 global streams (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music).
The JUNO nominee is a proud member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She recently hosted the Achimotak series with the Canadian Country Music Association and is an artist ambassador with the Downie Wenjack Foundation.
Synonym Art Consultation
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Chloe Chafe is the co-founder and acting co-director of both Synonym Art Consultation and Wall-to-Wall Mural + Culture Festival. Chafe is a settler based in Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her curatorial practice is based in street art, performance and the dissemination of socially conscious art practices in all forms of public spaces. Chafe’s research is rooted in accessible artworks in communities, the long lasting impacts of mentorship and interdisciplinary collaboration. She is currently finishing her bachelor of Fine Arts History at University of Manitoba, however the majority of her education has been generously passed down from community art mentors, colleagues, youth, and teachers over the years.
Signal Noise Music Marketing
He / Him
David Schellenberg started booking DIY shows for independent touring bands when he was a teenager. He fell in love with the feeling of watching bands make fans and that feeling would end up guiding his 15 years in the music industry and counting. David has been fortunate enough to be involved in a variety of projects that range from booker, promoter, musician, artistic director, guest speaker, consultant, venue owner and most recently as a digital marketer and strategist with his own agency, Signal Noise Music Marketing. When he's not helping band's make fans David can be found punishing crowds around the world fronting his noise rock band Tunic.
Elliott Walsh (Nestor Wynrush) is a Winnipeg, Treaty 1 based emcee, musician, poet and program facilitator. He has been active in the city's music scene for 20+ years performing, mentoring youth and organizing events.
As a musician he's toured throughout North America and Europe. Wynrush has been critically well received and consistently charted on national campus radio. He has proven to be a niche artist that creates works with verve and recognized purpose. Issues of accessibility and celebrating his Caribbean roots are painted all over his catalogue.
He is a former Polaris Prize Juror, youth arts program manager, UNITY facilitator, campus and commercial radio broadcaster, and music journalist. In recent years he has joined forces with Synonym Art Consultation in assistance on their Wall To Wall mentorship and performance projects. He is currently a consultant on a history of Winnipeg Rap book and his written works have been published in a number of books. Musically, he is working on "The Live Mixtape: bell hooks edition." That project will be presented and performed at The WECC in the fall of 2022 in collaboration with many members of Winnipeg's vibrant music scene. He believes music is an element of change and therapy through the caring acts of vulnerability and honesty with oneself, collaborators & with the audience.
Directrice de la programmation artistique et culturelle
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Liliane Lavack is director of artistic and cultural programming at Le Centre culturel franco-manitobain (CCFM) and a producer, production manager and costume designer in media production and theatre. She has collaborated on several television series, documentaries, as well as live music broadcasts. She has done production & post production for television at Manito Media, a French production company in Winnipeg and worked with many other production companies. Lili has a passion for fashion, graduating from the University of Manitoba in Textile Science and attended Richard Robinson Haute Couture Academy. Over the years, she has produced several fashion shows in Winnipeg, while highlighting local fashion designers and people from the community. She has been the costume designer for Théâtre Cercle Molière and Indigenous Day Live. In addition Lili has been part of the planning team for the Grey Cup ceremony and Indigenous Day Live and has worked for the JUNOS. She currently runs the Deux Cocottes Pop Up Flower Shop.
She / They / Siya
Maribeth Tabanera aka Kilusan is a Filipinx Tagalog Visayan queer femme multi-disciplinary educator, artist, dancer, choreographer, DJ and community organizer. They are a second-generation settler on Treaty No. 1 Territory. A life-long learner, they have focused their energy on diving deeply into their passions of dance, education, music, social justice and community building. Maribeth is currently the Learning Through Internship Coordinator at the Seven Oaks Met, Maples Met, and Met Center for Arts and Technology Schools. Kilusan’s recent projects include, producing a video from CBC Manitoba's Creators Network "My Happy Place" series, dancing in Adrian Sutherland's, "Respect the Gift" music video, and choreographing for “Intramural.e,” A Théâtre Cercle Molière & Synonym Art Consultation Production presented by National Arts Centre English Theatre’s Grand Acts of Theatre. They are currently serving on the boards of Seven Oaks Filipino Employees Association, Kultivation Festival, and Manitoba Music. For more information visit: www.maribethtabanera.com
He / Him
Neil Exell is a father, musician and public servant. He’s a settler living on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg. Thanks to some chance early mentorship and DIY tendencies, he’s worn many hats since he started playing in bands as a teenager – artist, promoter, grant writer, tour agent, band dad. This longstanding enthusiasm for musical people and projects has brought him many privileges and pleasures, including international tours and an irreplaceable sense of community. As a public servant working in cultural and creative sectors, he’s developed a strong interest in cultural democracy and art as an agent of social change.
Industry Development Coordinator
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Alex Sannie is an accomplished and award-winning music producer, performer, and presenter with 20 years of experience creating music. He’s most well known as the producer and member of the hip hop group The Lytics. Performing all over the world, The Lytics have played major music festivals and countless concerts. As the producer of The Lytics, his music has been featured in major Hollywood films, television shows, and ad campaigns. Along with the other members of the group, Alex has worked in the studio or shared the stage with industry heavyweights like Nas, Jurassic 5, Sam Kuti, Childish Gambino, A Tribe Called Red, Shad, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), and Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Alex was also recently the education program coordinator and head instructor at The Indigenous Family Centre.
Talk to Alex about training and resources, professional development, workshops, career consultations, BPM program, Monitor Mix: Peer Mentors Groups, and more.
Membership & Events Coordinator
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Claire Boning joined the Manitoba Music team in 2016 as program assistant and is now our membership and events coordinator. She'll be working in members services and running logistics on many of Manitoba Music’s events. She brings with her years of experience doing clerical, reception, and administrative work with Winnipeg companies, including two law firms.
Talk to Claire about joining Manitoba Music or renewing your membership, if you need some help with your online profile, Market Access Fund, Youth Mentorship Program, PASSPORT: Music Export Summit, and whenever you’re not quite sure who you should be connecting with.
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Nia Banilbo joined the team as Marketing Assistant after two terms as an intern. She has earned a diploma in Music Business and continues to use what she has learned to uplift and support local artists. She has developed connections and currently manages a local R&B artist, Adoria. Nia has also had the opportunity to consult with various local artists. Nia finds joy in assisting Manitoban artists in any way she can. She is ecstatic to be back at Manitoba Music and looks forward to what this year has to hold for the local music scene.
Talk to Nia about live music listings, Signal Boost, and new music releases
Operations & Communications Manager
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Rachel has been involved in Manitoba’s music industry in one way, shape or form for over 25 years. She has worked at Manitoba Music in communications and membership under different titles since 2002, and participated in a number of marketing committees, including BreakOut West, JUNO Host Committee, and 2017 Canada Games. Rachel previously worked at Stylus Magazine, West End Cultural Centre, Uptown Magazine, Ms. Purdy's, and volunteered at CKUW 95.9 FM, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and more.
Talk to Rachel about partnership opportunities, media inquiries, internships, membership, Manitoba Music's websites, communications and publicity, social media and digital advertising, the Song of the Week, Spotlight Series, Spotify playlists, music news, marketing, general operations, and houseplants.
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Rose Tobacco-Olson is an Ojibway/Dakota Sioux woman and a member of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. She is currently studying Pre-Law at the University of Winnipeg and hoping to pursue a law degree in the future. She is a Manitoba Music Youth Mentorship alumnus and is an art + entertainment enthusiast, with a passion for local and live music. Rose is considered ‘community aunty’ to many and has worked in Winnipeg’s inner-city community for seven+ years and in the non-profit sector for nine years, she is also a public speaker, most recently worked with United Way Winnipeg for their “I love Winnipeg” campaign and Pathways to Education Canada as an alumni ambassador.
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Sean joined Manitoba Music in 2002 as the first training coordinator and returned in 2007 after a stint in Toronto. He is a graduate of Brandon University School of Music and has a Masters degree in Musicology/Ethnomusicology from York University. Sean has taught music and theatre, and toured with the folk band the Dust Poets for 10 years. At Manitoba Music, Sean developed training programs, expanded international export and market development, and created business development programs. He sits on several local and national creative industry boards and advisory committees.
Indigenous Music Development Coordinator
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Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais is a multi-award-winning former journalist/broadcaster who’s been on Canada’s media scene for two decades. Over the years she’s worked at CTV News Winnipeg where her stories have aired on CTV Newsnet/News Channel, CTV National News, and CNN. She also worked for many years as a correspondent at APTN National News and garnered attention for her award-winning series about The Sacred Sundance. She is very proud of her final work with the network, Breaching the Sacred—a 22-minute piece showcasing the tragic reality of Indigenous women living with addictions and using while pregnant. She was honoured to win first place for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing Challenge in 2008 for her play, Notay Kiskintamowin “Wanting to Know”, the same year she was named a National Aboriginal Role Model by the Governor General of Canada and graduated from the University of Winnipeg where she has been recognized as Notable Alumni and founded the Indigenous Course Requirement.
Shaneen is well known across the country and abroad and is dedicated to promoting Indigenous talent. A highly sought master of ceremonies, event planner, promoter, writer, advocate, volunteer, marriage commissioner and speaker, Shaneen loves to keep busy in the community and has sat on many boards including Cancer Care Manitoba, and Canadian Blood Services. She is proud to currently sit on the board of directors for The Canadian Folk Music Awards and on the Board of Bear Clan Patrol Inc. Shaneen has showcased Indigenous artists and their music throughout her career and is proud to be the Indigenous Music Development Coordinator for Manitoba Music. She aspires to continue working with Indigenous Elders, youth, women, and artists and continue to share information that should be of importance to all Canadians. Shaneen’s most important role in life is at home with her husband Martin and their three sons-Sampson, Marrick and Miller.
Talk to Shaneen about Indigenous Music Development Program projects.