meet the board

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.

Kelvin Newton

founding 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.

Modupeh Taylor Cline

Board Member

I am the last of three boys born in Montreal to immigrant parents from Caribbean and African descent. ‎In my adolescent and young adult life I worked directly with youth outreach and engagement. I have worked with provincial and private community organizations and social services to develop, empower, and support at risk youth. My professional experience include working as a senior manager and Director within aviation and the retail industry. I have a high ability for capacity building to lead teams and execute projects. I strongly believe in the fundamentals of engaged community development through youth programs. My goals for Overture with the Arts is to support the board, volunteers‎, increase its financial position to deliver high quality creative arts programs for at risk youth, and increase our partnerships with community leaders and other stakeholders.

Danielle Leggett

board member

Danielle Leggett joined the Board of Overture with the Arts in the Fall of 2020 and is delighted to bring some of her experiences to the organization and learn more about what this gem of an organization does for our community. She has over 25 years of Human Resources experience with extensive experience in talent management, organizational design and change management. After many years spent volunteering in the community and thanks to the inspiration of great leaders she had worked with, Danielle shifted full time to the non-for-profit sector by taking on the role of Executive Director role in a cancer care organization. Danielle strongly believes in supporting and being an active member of the community and participates in a variety of community organizations. Last but not least, Danielle is a wife, mother, pet owner, athlete and lover of the outdoors.

Erika Rath

board member

Erika joined the board in January 2021. Erika is currently The Director of Student Services at The Sacred Heart School of Montreal. Erika is passionate about education and is excited to work closely with OWTA and promote their mission and vision. Erika likes meeting new people, learning from others, and sharing cultural experiences. She is an avid tennis player and loves to travel and experience new places and cuisines. Erika grew up understanding the importance of giving back and volunteering and ensures that those values are incorporated into her everyday life. Erika hopes to contribute her energy and creative ideas to the board as well as to introduce OWTA to more educational institutions. Erika is a firm believer that education will help bring people closer together.

Allison Saunders

board member

Allison is a Mother, an “Accidental Activist”, a Digital Content Strategist at Concordia University and more. In 2020, she was appointed as a co-opted commissioner at the Lester B Pearson School Board to assist with their commitment to fighting racism in their schools and centers. She is also a Board Member of the BASF – The Black Academic Scholarship Fund whose main goal is to contribute to the enhancement of the Black community of Montreal by supporting Black students in their pursuit of post secondary education. Additionally, she serves as a member of the Concordia University President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism. In June 2020, she co-organized the West Island Takes a Knee anti-racism protest and she continues to use her voice to work towards a diverse and inclusive community in which all citizens feel welcome and the voices of our youth are heard and respected.
CONTACT

Telephone: (514) 889-8678

Email: info@owta.org