meet the board
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.
Alessia Di Giorgio
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 Director of Events for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is also the co-owner of Rustique, a local pastry shop in St Henri. 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 is a proud graduate of Concordia University with a Baccalaureate in Chemistry & Political Science and an Executive MBA. 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 is passionate about the role that Overture with the Arts can play in in our community and in the lives of youth across Montreal.
Guillaume is a financial and tax planner with a focus on entrepreneurs. Having started out his career in insurance law, he now exclusively consults with clients as a member of l’Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec through his private practice, Dumais Consultancy Group. He is also an affiliate member of the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF) as an alumnus of their executive program. He joined OWTA as Board Treasurer in October 2022, bringing with him his board and administrative experience from years of accompanying businesses from startup to maturity.
Ryan joined Overture with the Arts in Summer 2023 and currently holds the position of Director of Internal Audit and SOX Compliance at Lightspeed Commerce Inc. (TSX/NYSE: LSPD) leading the Company’s financial compliance department. He obtained his CPA auditor designation in 2018 after completing his Bachelor’s of Commerce in Accountancy from Concordia University. As someone who strongly believes in continued education, he is also currently pursuing his Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation and is exploring ways to give back to his community.
founding Board Member
Wendy Bullion-Winters joined Overture with the Arts in Fall 2022, and is thrilled to bring her experience in public administration and human resources to the organization. Wendy is a career diplomat and public servant with over 20 years of experience. She currently serves as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer at the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) in Ottawa, Canada, and served at several postings around the world including as Consul General at the Canadian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Wendy believes in being an active citizen and is passionate about giving back through her volunteer work. She has an unwavering commitment to human rights, and has dedicated her career and personal interest to the advancement of gender equality and diversity, equity and inclusion. Wendy brings her experience, skillets and values to all of her work and contributions as an OWTA board member.
Eran is an international tax manager advising individuals and corporations to structure their businesses and activity into Canada and abroad. Having worked both in Montreal and internationally, he is known to be someone very passionate and curious and has since obtained a CPA designation in Canada and in the US. As someone who believes in giving back to the community, he also currently volunteers on the Young Philanthropist Committee of a local museum and works as a lecturer in international taxation at the Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF) and for the McGill Graduate CPA program (GCPA), his alma mater.
Email: [email protected]