At Glenbow, we are committed to being approachable, inclusive and authentic. We know that memorable encounters with art, culture and history can change lives and inspire amazing things. Our leadership, board members and employees work diligently to provide art experiences that invite new perspectives, spark creativity and move our community forward.
Senior Leadership Team
Led by President & CEO Nicholas R. Bell, our leadership team is committed to the success of the museum, its employees and volunteers, and the Calgary community as a whole.
Nicholas R. Bell
President & CEO
Originally from Vancouver, Nicholas joined Glenbow in 2019 from his position as Senior Vice President for Curatorial Affairs at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. Nicholas launched a formidable exhibitions program during his three years at the preeminent American maritime museum. He previously served as The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, where he led the Renwick’s relaunch, increasing attendance from 150,000 annually to one million. Nicholas is also an author and editor of ten books on art, museums, and contemporary culture and offers a proven background in spearheading change and successfully implementing strategic initiatives.
VP Engagement & COO
Melanie Kjorlien has held several positions at Glenbow over the last 12 years, including Director of Knowledge Management, VP of Access, Collections and Exhibitions and now COO and VP, Engagement. Throughout her career, Melanie has been motivated by her genuine passion for art and culture and the value they bring to our communities. Melanie’s background has encompassed journalism and media, website and digital project management, curating and teaching. Melanie is an award-winning writer and editor and has edited several publications on various aspects of Canadian art history.
Jeni Piepgrass, CFRE
Jeni is an experienced Fund Development professional with over 16 years of experience as a leader in the non-profit sector. Before taking on the VP, Advancement Role, Jeni served as the Director of Development at Glenbow. Prior to joining the Glenbow team, she was National Director of Development for Windmill Microlending, where she led an innovative philanthropy and impact investment program. Jeni also served as the Director of Development for the National Music Centre where she headed the team that raised over $135 million for the construction of Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Jeni is a board member with Calgary’s Centre for Sexuality and an active community volunteer, having fundraised for causes including literacy, education and animal welfare as well as several political campaigns.
Board of Governors 2020-2021
The Glenbow-Alberta Institute, operating as the Glenbow Museum, is governed by a Board of Governors. The Board is comprised of a minimum of 12 governors to a maximum of 24 members, eight of whom are appointed by the Board, two by the Devonian Foundation, and the remaining 13 elected by the members of the Institute. The President and CEO automatically becomes a Governor upon his/her appointment.
Lori Van Rooijen, Pii'Takii
Lori Van Rooijen, Pii’Takii, (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2015. She is President of Larkspur Consulting Inc. (LCI). Ms. Van Rooijen is a strategic planner, facilitator, public/stakeholder engagement specialist, and Capital Project Manager with over 25 years of experience. She has been project director on some of Calgary’s largest public projects, developing business cases and building public and political support for numerous public projects. Past projects include the University of Calgary’s Taylor Family Digital Library and West Campus development, the Lois Hole Digital Library, the Calgary Science Centre – TELUS Spark, and the Jubilee Auditoria recapitalization project. Ms. Van Rooijen’s recent projects include the YW Calgary new Hub Facility, Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research, Red Crow Community College, CARYA Community Hub, and the Sunalta Community Hub.
I am excited about our ability to shift the fundamental purpose and future of museums across the country and beyond. Museums are colonial institutions, often telling stories of the elite. Our communities are so much more than this. I believe that with Glenbow Reimagined, we will be able to create new connections with our audiences. We’re building more spaces for active dialogue and display; spaces that will foster understanding and truth. Ultimately, we are building a more inclusive environment that values the stories and learnings of so many more members of our diverse community.
Irfhan Rawji (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2014, and served as Board Chair between 2018-2021. Mr. Rawji is the Founder & CEO of MobSquad, a Managing Partner with Relay Ventures, and an Adjunct Professor with the Sauder School of Business at UBC.
I believe that cultural institutions have a critical role to play in advancing society from our current reality to our desired future state. By holding up a mirror, art museums can inspire and activate the discussions required to catalyze change. I hope Glenbow can both achieve this aspirational goal for its community, as well as act as an example for other organizations to achieve the same.
Co-Vice Chair & Chair, Development Committee
Patricia Phillips (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2019 and currently serves as the Chair of the Development Committee. She is CEO of PBA Land & Development. While she has worked in various industries from finance to energy, she remains a developer at heart with a passion for creating communities and connecting people to make space for dreams.
I see Glenbow as both a mirror and a light to our great city. A mirror, in that its relative youth gives it a distinctive energy and dynamism and sense of potential. A light, in that it has a special place in our hearts and minds; Glenbow has the ability to offer us new ways to experience not simply art but a rediscovery of our self, our culture, history, and community. Glenbow adds an extraordinary cultural vibrancy to Calgary as a world class Canadian cultural centre. I am committed to executing on Glenbow’s innovative expansion and programming.
John R. Whelan
Co-Vice Chair & Chair, Project Oversight Committee
John R. Whelan (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2020. Mr. Whelan is currently Vice President, Heavy Oil at Exxon Mobil, and was most recently Senior Vice President, Imperial Oil, leading Imperial’s Upstream oil and gas organization. A professional engineer with 30+ years of oil and gas experience, Mr. Whelan has extensive experience and expertise in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, project management, business planning and stakeholder management.
This is an exciting time for Glenbow. Arts and culture is an important part of a strong society and I am excited about the role Glenbow will play as a vibrant and open cultural institution contributing to economic diversification, public dialogue and indigenous reconciliation. In particular, our vision of radical access for all really inspires me. I am honoured to work with such a dedicated, capable and diverse leadership team and Board. I look forward to using my industry experience to contribute in any way I can.
John Q. Adams
John Q. Adams (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2019. Mr. Adams leads Fiera Capital’s business development initiatives in Calgary. He has 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry in the areas of business development, relationship management and communications.
Glenbow’s future is extremely bright as it looks to reimagine itself and truly transform into an art, culture and historical centre for all Albertans. Changing an institution such as Glenbow isn’t easy and takes a lot of courage and devotion to make it happen; being a part of that team is an exciting opportunity.
Daniel J. Brant
Daniel J. Brant (Tyendinaga Territory, Ontario) Joined Glenbow’s Board in 2021. Mr. Brant is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte in southern Ontario. He lives and works in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the ninth largest First Nation in Canada. He was formerly CEO of the Assembly of First Nations, the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), and the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation. He has been involved in both government and private sector around Indigenous governance, policy and development and has a long history of working with First Nations and has been in over 300 First Nations communities over his career. He has worked with Indigenous youth issues and co-founded the Young Entrepreneurs Symposium, (YES) an annual event that is dedicated to supporting leadership development for Indigenous youth. Similarly, he is supporting a youth oriented non-profit, Outside Looking In, participating as a Board member. He is a patron of Indigenous arts and has supported Indigenous expression in a number of cultural forms.
Chris Chan (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2017. He is President of W. Chan Investments Ltd. managing a broad retail and real estate portfolio. He has 35+ years experience in national food service and hospitality as well as developing commercial properties across Canada.
Glenbow is a wonderful and important institution; I joined the Board because I wanted to help give back to a city that has been so great to me and my family. I feel privileged to be part of the group that will be able to re-shape what Glenbow will be for decades. This effort is driven by the incredible leadership and vision of Irfhan Rawji and Nicholas Bell, as well as the support, knowledge, expertise and hard work of The Board of Governors and the Glenbow team.
Paul Desmarais III
Paul Desmarais III (Montreal, Quebec) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2019. He is the Chairman and CEO of Sagard Holdings, the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Portag3 Ventures, and the Chairman and co-founder of Diagram. Mr. Desmarais is also a Senior Vice President of Power Corporation of Canada and Power Financial of Canada. As a part of his responsibilities at the holdings, he sits on the boards of Great West Lifeco, IGM Financial, Pargesa, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, and Imerys.
I was interested in joining the Glenbow board as I am an active art collector and wanted to give back to the community. I am a particularly enthusiastic collector of First Nations art, of which the Glenbow has a strong collection. I think the process we are currently undergoing to renovate and reimagine Glenbow is going to revitalize the institution and the collection.
Chair, Audit/Investment Committee
Ken Fetherstonhaugh (Edmonton, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2015 and currently serves as Chair of the Audit/Investment Committee. He is Vice President/Senior Private Banker with BMO Financial Group. Through his 20+ year career in financial services in both executive leadership and client facing roles in corporate banking, credit risk and wealth management, he has benefited from this multi-disciplinary experience.
One can sum up the opportunity ahead of us in our foundational belief that “Art is for Everyone.” It is more than just renovating our building – the most visible of the changes we are making at the Glenbow. Rather, the biggest opportunity for us is to engage in having the important discussions about what a truly open, inclusive and equitable Glenbow can mean for our community, in Calgary and the rest of Canada.
Ryan R. Green
Chair, Collections & Access Committee
Ryan Green (Calgary, Alberta) joined the Board in 2020. Mr. Green is the president and owner of Masters Gallery Ltd. He has over 20 years of experience as a dealer of Canadian historical, post war and contemporary art with a specialty in Group of Seven and mid-century Quebec Abstraction.
Paul Hardy (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2018 and currently serves as Chair of the Collections & Access Committee. Mr. Hardy is an internationally acclaimed fashion and interior designer with more than two decades of experience within luxury fashion and interior design, retail, branding and creative consulting. In 2015-16 Mr. Hardy was Glenbow’s artist in residence, resulting in the year-long exhibition Kaleidoscopic Animalia.
I am delighted to be able to serve on the Board during this period in the museum’s history. It is an honour to help steward the future plans amongst such a diverse and compelling group of Governors. It is my hope that collectively we will be able to create a landmark destination in Western Canada and become a source of inspiration for the local and global community.
Kathryn Heath (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2015 and currently serves as Chair, Governance Committee. She is a retired corporate lawyer with 30 years of counsel and executive experience in domestic and international companies in the private and public sectors.
I’m excited about our programs for innovative exhibitions. We are creating experiences that bring our collections to life and appeal to diverse interests, and that reflect our community. All this will soon take place in a beautifully reimagined building that will function as a gathering and learning place and a cultural hub.
Todd Hirsch (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2018. He is the Chief Economist of ATB Financial; his expertise as an economist is specialized in Calgary and Alberta, and he has been recognized as one of Alberta’s most influential people.
I’m excited about the role Glenbow will play in 2022 and beyond, as Calgary starts to rebuild post-COVID. The city and the province have been hit hard by both the pandemic and the related economic downturn. As a community, we are at a turning point — economically, emotionally, and culturally. What we do as a city over the next five years will be critically important, and Glenbow will play a prominent role.
Dr. Catherine Hoppers
Dr. Catherine Odora Hoppers (Gulu, Uganda) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2021.
Dr. Hoppers is a Ugandan scholar and policy specialist on international development, education, disarmament, peace, and human security. She led the task team that drafted the Indigenous knowledge systems policy that impacted sector ministries, science councils and universities in post-Apartheid South Africa. She is founder and director of Global Institute for Applied Governance in Science, Knowledge Systems and Innovations and an expert for UNESCO, UN Department of Disarmament Affairs, World Economic Forum, and World Intellectual Property Organization.
John Larsen (Victoria, British Columbia) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2012. He is Executive Vice President, Crisis & Reputation Risk with Edelman Canada. As a public relations executive with 30+ years expertise, primarily in the area of issue and reputation management, Mr. Larsen’s consulting engagements mostly focus on supporting Boards and executive teams in exploring intersections of trust, governance and communications.
Glenbow is on the precipice of a massive transformation that will position the institution as one of the leading cultural icons in Canada and I am deeply committed to supporting that vision and success. My background affords various avenues for contribution, specifically in the design and implementation of a communications program that announces ‘the new Glenbow’ to visitors, government partners and the cultural industries scene.
Dr. Leroy Little Bear
Dr. Leroy Little Bear (Lethbridge, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2021. Dr. Little Bear is an Elder of the Blood Tribe (Kainai First Nation) in Lethbridge, Alberta where he was born and raised and currently lives. He is a lawyer and educator interested in the advancement of North American Indigenous knowledge as an academic discipline. He founded the Native American Studies Program at Harvard University, and is the longtime leader of the Native American Studies Program at the University of Lethbridge. His work with the United Nations helped to establish a working group on Indigenous populations that originated the concept and initial draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He previously served on the board of the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
Zai Mamdani (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2019. She is a trusted leader and relationship builder in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Her most recent role has been providing leadership and guidance at Strategic Group, a company she co-founded, in support of the organization’s vision for community partnerships and corporate sponsorships.
What excites me most about Glenbow’s future is the plan to renovate and re-imagine the building as a national and international icon. Glenbow has an amazing collection, and the new spaces will allow us to really showcase our artistic and cultural history, as well as our heritage. Glenbow will attract world renowned artists and exhibitions right here in Calgary.
Ross Middleton (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2018. He is the lead of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Calgary and BCG Canada’s Energy Practice. Mr. Middleton brings deep expertise in strategy development and business model innovation from his long-standing international career with BCG in Calgary, Melbourne and New York. Through his role as Chair of Tourism Calgary and support of Calgary Economic Development, Mr. Middleton also brings additional expertise in Calgary’s tourism economy and the city’s agenda to find its place in the New Economy.
Glenbow has a pivotal role to play in revitalising our downtown core, nurturing a creative artists’ community, and inspiring Calgarians of all ages to take pride and ownership in their city’s future. I’m excited about Glenbow’s aspirations as a premiere gallery on the international stage. I hope to help keep our vision bold, make Glenbow accessible and open to Calgarians and out-of-town visitors alike, and build strong connections with all our community partners.
Kent Monkman, Dish With One Spoon Territory (Toronto, Canada) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2018. Mr. Monkman is an interdisciplinary Cree artist with 30+ years of experience. He has worked extensively with museums, in the capacity of exhibiting and curating, in an ongoing effort to challenge and de-centre colonial museum practices. Mr. Monkman’s paintings, installations and site-specific performances have been shown at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Royal Ontario Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Denver Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
It is exciting to be part of an organization that privileges Indigenous perspectives by their inclusion of a significant number of Indigenous governors. The Glenbow shows leadership in the museum world by foregrounding the experiences of the First Peoples upon whose land they occupy.
Charles Officer (Toronto, Ontario) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2021. Mr. Officer is a Jamaican-Canadian writer, director, and producer with a slate of award-winning films that premiered at international film festivals around the world. His latest feature Akilla’s Escape was released in the U.S. and Canada in spring 2021. He is founder and creative director of Canesugar Mediaworks and has directed multiple episodes of Coroner, 21 Thunder, and Ransom. Charles is currently executive producer and director on the dramatic series The Porter in partnership with the CBC and BET+.
Stephanie Pankratz (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2016. She is a Partner with the Audit practice of KPMG Calgary where she provides audit and audit-related services to public clients across a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, power and agriculture; her expertise is in finance, governance and strategy.
One of my favourite things to do when I travel is to visit art museums. I think they are great places to experience beauty as well as explore ideas and experience different viewpoints. I am proud of the great collection we have at Glenbow, and I am excited for a future which will bring increased public access to those collections and create a “must visit” space.
Jean Teillet (Vancouver, British Columbia) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2021. Ms. Teillet is a member of the Métis Nation and the great grandniece of Louis Riel. She is a lawyer, author and lecturer who has focused her career on changing and influencing Indigenous rights, women’s rights, and human rights. She has appeared in landmark Indigenous rights cases before the Supreme Court of Canada and was Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada. Jean’s early career was deeply rooted in the arts – acting, choreographing, dancing, producing, and directing for theatre. Her book The North-West is Our Mother was on The Globe and Mail’s top 100 books of 2019 and won the Carol Shield’s Winnipeg Book Award and the Manitoba Day Award.
Su Ying Strang
Chair, Governance Committee & Co-Chair, Anti-Racism and Equity Committee
Su Ying Strang (Calgary, Alberta) joined Glenbow’s Board in 2018 and currently serves as Co-Chair of the museum’s Anti-Racism and Equity Committee. A cultural worker and artist, she specializes in artist-run centres, contemporary art, and community engagement through the arts. Her focus on artist-run culture over the past decade has given her a keen insight and understanding into the operations, governance, and possibilities for not-for-profit arts organizations.
I’m excited about Glenbow’s ongoing relationships with Indigenous communities and continued work towards Indigenizing the museum. Indigenous relationships and perspectives will be centered as the organization is reimagined over the coming years. This work, in tandem to Glenbow’s commitment to fostering an organization grounded in equitable and anti-racist practices is something I am committed to supporting.
Glenbow Ambassadors assist with the business associated with a Board committee and are invited to sit on the committee by the committee Chair.
Collections & Access Committee
Project Oversight Committee
Standards and Ethics
The Board of Governors is committed to the highest standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct its duties and responsibilities. The Board will foster an environment where all Directors, officers, employees and volunteers of Glenbow can report violations or questionable conduct, which is suspected to be unethical, dishonest or fraudulent without retribution if the report is made honestly and in good faith.
Glenbow’s Whistleblower Policy states that Glenbow employees and volunteers can anonymously forward concerns/complaints to a confidential email address received by the Chair of the Audit Committee. The procedures outlined in the Whistleblower Policy document are intended to ensure that any such complaints and concerns are promptly and effectively addressed.