AKILAH NEWTON, Founder & Executive Director
Growing up in Montreal’s culturally diverse West Island region, Akilah Newton met and befriended talented individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. It was evident to her early on that art knows no bounds. She pursued her passion by studying music, drama and dance, and performing in productions at John Abbott College and in the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir. Before graduating from CEGEP, she held internships at Montreal’s MIX 96 radio and at the famed Barry Garber’s talent management firm. Additionally, she worked part-time as a dance teacher and children’s gymnastics coach. Her innate ability to connect with kids and teens made her a well-respected guardian and facilitator. While her twin brother, Omari Newton, went on to pursue a career as an actor, Akilah moved to the UK to attend the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), a school co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney. During her three-year program, she gained invaluable training in strategic and financial management, sponsorship management, event management and entertainment marketing. Taking her cue from McCartney’s inspiring approach of “paying it forward,” she returned to Montreal to give back to her community’s artistically-inclined youth. Bringing the vision, passion and dedication to Overture with the Arts, Akilah is committed to making performing arts education accessible for children and youth from all walks of life. She personally knows the positive impact it can have on any individual if only given the chance to explore and express. The goal for Overture with the Arts is to continue to offer after-school arts programs and school tours, expanding the reach to other communities in the Greater Montreal area and beyond.
Agnes Katsouros, President
Agnes has been a proud OWTA board member since April 2018. When she is not working as a Bank Manager, you can find Agnes travelling the world, volunteering and giving back to the community. As an Academic Coach for the John Molson School of Business Entrepreneurship Case Competition Team, Community Banking Ambassador for TD Canada Trust's "Ready Commitment" and special events planner behind Grace & John Events, Agnes has developed a passionate and motivating personality that has allowed her to become a hard-working, determined individual that learns fast and pays explicit attention to detail. She approaches the work environment in the same way that she does life: boldly and with a sense of fun. It is this innate enjoyment of life and all that it has to offer that propels her forward, aiming to complete new challenges and achieve the best that she possibly can. Her advice to the community who would want to get involved with OWTA would be to: "Lead with your heart. Giving back goes beyond making a donation, it is about making a difference." She believes that as long as you have impacted on person's life positively, you have succeeded. Agnes truly embodies Overture with the Arts' mission and she loves partaking in OWTA's events as they empower and bring smiles to the faces of today's youth.
Tina Wentzell, Vice-President
Tina joined the Overture board in October 2017. She is a local entrepreneur with 2 companies - West Island Mommies and Kreative Memories Photography.She has been an entrepreneur for 11 years and is very well known in the community. Her knowledge of the west island and it's needs, is a big help to Overture. Previously to being an entrepreneur, she worked many years in sales and customer service. Her goal is to help make more people aware of Overture and what it has to offer. Coming from a background in arts, it is very important to Tina to make arts more accessible to the community and available to everyone. With her large following with West Island mommies, Tina is a big help at getting the word out for all our events and activities.
DIANE BATES, Treasurer
Diane joined the board of Overture with the Arts in April 2017, bringing extensive business, networking and fundraising experience. Diane began her career in the field of finance working for Banking, Oil & Gas and Transport multinationals. More recently, Diane worked in the field of executive search for clients in the Aerospace, Life Science and Energy industries. Diane is also a qualified coach, helping her clients heighten their self-awareness to realize their potential. Diane has volunteered for many business organizations such as the British Quebec Business Coalition, Business Network International, John Abbott College, West Island Chamber of Commerce and Women in Bio. Diane is the mother of four adult children and, on their behalf, became involved in school committees and local theatre. Diane has always had an interest in the performing arts. She has acted in numerous productions, produced a musical and worked behind the scenes. Diane is passionate about giving young people the chance to explore different experiences to help them understand themselves and reach their potential. She truly believes that the mission of Overture with the Arts is an ideal opportunity for her to help young people achieve this through exposure to the performing arts.
Alessia Di Giorgio, Secretary
Alessia Di Giorgio joined the Overture with the Arts in Fall 2019 thrilled to bring her experience as a fundraising professional to the team. She is currently the Senior Special Events Advisor for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. Giving back is an important part of her identity - she has been involved with a variety of not-for-profits including The Sacred Heart School of Montreal, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, and the Comité des Jeunes Mécènes de la Fondation de la Place des Arts. She obtained her Baccalaureate from Concordia University with a double major in Chemistry & Political Science. Her unique skill set is a result of diverse experience; through academic, professional, and philanthropic endeavours, she leverages her ability to think and problem solve by bringing together ideas and concepts from various fields. She aspires to affect policy change through professional and volunteer opportunities. She is passionate about the role that Overture with the Arts can play in in our community and in the lives of youth across Montreal.
NAN BEATON, Board Member
Nan brings a wealth of knowledge in many facets of community involvement and raising funds for our youth. A mother of 3 girls who are now completing their post-secondary studies, she became involved with their education sitting on many school committees throughout the years. She was elected to the Lester B. Pearson School Board, Council of Commissioners, in November of 2014, serving the Pierrefonds East/Ile Bizard area. She serves on many sub-committees including education, human resources, and communications. She has also been involved in many policy changing committees as well. She spent 7 years as a Board of Director member with the Pearson Educational Foundation, which raises money to help provide much needed funding to LBPSB schools and classrooms. Nan lives in Pierrefonds with her family, where she has operated a Home Daycare for the past 26 years.
MODUPEH TAYLOR CLINE, Board Member
KELVIN NEWTON, Board Member
Kelvin has been with Overture with the Arts since its inception. He holds a degree in Commerce from Concordia University and brings 35 years experience in corporate Accounting to the operations of Overture with the Arts. As Treasurer, he has the responsibility of ensuring the integrity and safekeeping of the organization’s funds. His conservative approach has a vision to the future and to ensuring Overture with the Arts continues to grow its participants and programs.