Boards & Governance
Board of Directors
George Kerhoulas, President
George was elected to the Board in 2014. He is in sales with Cushman and Wakefield of Southwestern Ontario – a leading commercial real estate firm.
“At a past Grand Gala, I bid on and won a walk-on role for the Grand’s production of Miracle on 34th Street for my 8th grade daughter. The little girl who entered the stage that night was not the same one who walked off. I witnessed the unique power of theatre and am so proud to be a part of the Board.”
Anita Shah, Past President
Anita was elected to the Board in 2014 and was appointed President in late 2020. Anita has been an active member of the Grand’s Gala Committee. Outside of the Grand, she is a Community volunteer who has assisted many organizations across the city in events and fund raising efforts.
“My first theatre experience was Jacob-Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang and I have enjoyed theatre ever since. Big musicals are my favourite I have to say and I’m so looking forward to sharing Grand stories with a broader more diverse audience when we re-open!”
Matt Parr, Vice President
Matt Parr has been a Board member since 2016. He is a Mortgage Agent with OMAC Mortgages.
“My first memory of seeing a theatre production was 1984 – a student production at the University of New Brunswick. My most fond memory of Grand productions… hold on to your hats, as I have a few! The Black Bonspiel of Wullie McCrimmom back in 03-04; Annie in 05-06 (I was so looking forward to this year’s edition and sharing it with my son); Proof from way back in 03 (Keith Dinicol was awesome); Cabaret downstairs in the McManus (so good!!) and Mary Poppins from 2019. I have amazing memories of taking my son to his first show – the invited dress rehearsal for Shrek and I remember the first time we had dinner on the stage at the Gala - that was a very special moment as well!”
Bill Assini, Treasurer
Anne Toal, Secretary
Anne joined the Board in 2017. A Western grad, Anne had a 34 year career at London Life until her retirement in 2014. She held a number of senior management roles and upon retirement was the Chief Compliance Officer for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. Anne is the Secretary of the Board.
“I can't say I have a single favourite production - there have been so many excellent shows over the many years that we've been subscribers. We always enjoy the holiday productions and the high school projects, but we also love the intimacy of the McManus stage and the wide range of plays and talent on the Spriet stage. Every production on both stages has given us a wonderful evening, provoking thought and providing entertainment.”
Chris Alleyne, Director
Chris Alleyne is the Associate Vice-President of Housing and Ancillary Services at Western University, whose portfolio includes Western’s Student Housing department, Hospitality Services, and Retail Services. Chris was elected to the Board in 2023.
“At age four, the first song I ever played on the piano was ‘Memory’ from CATS. I grew up in Vancouver surrounded by the performing arts, actively participating in youth band and orchestra, piano, choir, and musical theatre. I remember being fascinated with musicals as a kid, reading and re-reading my parent’s playbills and souvenir programs.
I’m thrilled to be connected and engaged with the Grand, and seeing diverse stories shared with our London community. Some of my favourite shows mounted at The Grand include Cabaret, Dreamgirls, Kim’s Convenience (2013), and Into the Woods (HSP).”
Nicole Blanchette, Director
Nicole Blanchette is the Executive Director of La ribambelle, French Early Years Services in London and Sarnia. She has also worked for 15 years at Radio-Canada Television in Montreal as an Advertising Consultant.
"Since I moved to London from Montreal, over 20 years ago, I was looking for a way to connect with the English culture and community. I was first exposed to an English play at the Grand and I was hooked! Not only was the venue beautiful but the quality of the play and the storytelling were impressive. Ever since then, I have seen countless plays and concerts at the Grand and I even bought on stage tickets twice which was such an experience. I am a strong believer in the power of storytelling and the arts to bring people together as a community and as citizens of the world. I could not be happier to be part of the team to support such a valuable organization."
Carl Cadogan, Director
Consummate executive and people person with more than 30 years of senior management experience in the charitable sector, specializing in connecting people to people and with services and creating environments that support creativity and develops leadership skills in subordinates and peers. I am passionate about justice and fair play, and that passion has led me to work with disadvantaged youth, Aboriginal Peoples and those who face ongoing challenges in employment, settlement and access to services in Canada and around the globe.
Jamie Campbell, Director
Jamie is a Portfolio Manager & Financial Planner. He runs his own wealth management practice at BMO Private Wealth.
“I was always involved in the school plays during elementary school, and after seeing Phantom of The Opera for the first time, I was hooked on live theatre. The talent and passion that each actor brings to the stage is phenomenal. The Grand is such an integral part of London, and I am thrilled to be part of the team to continue to bring theatre to the region for generations to come.”
Blair Fantillo, Director
Blair is the General Counsel to 3M’s Health Care Business in the United States and Canada and has been a Board member for three years.
“I am a big believer in the importance of the arts in society and in everyday life. I have been involved in choral music since I was a kid and at the moment I have the privilege of singing with the Amabile family of choirs with my son, Christian. My Grand claim to fame is that I saw Mamma Mia about 16 times during the run in Spring of 2018.”
Alexis Gordon, Director
Recently elected to the Board in December of 2020, Alexis brings a much-respected Artist’s voice to the Board table.
An award-winning actor/singer, Alexis has performed on stages at some of the most prestigious theatres in Canada including the Stratford Festival, The Shaw Festival and of course, the Grand!
“The first production I ever saw that hooked me to theatre was Oklahoma! performed by the High School Project students at the Grand. I was in grade 10. I saw in the program that they were having auditions for their next HSP The Sound of Music so excitedly signed up for an audition. I didn't get it. I didn't book a single High School Project show in high school. I learned I couldn't just "jump into theatre." I had to learn more, to sign up for classes, and practice performing in front of people until my knees didn't shake (as much!). I worked really, really hard. In 2015, I was cast in The Sound of Music at The Stratford Festival, and in 2017, I finally performed on the Grand Theatre stage in Dennis Garnhum's A Christmas Carol. I've been so thrilled every day since then to perform for the community in my hometown and excited to be a part of this Board.”
Jennifer Ho, Director
Jennifer is the Vice President and Market Manager for TD Bank. She recently joined the Board at its Annual General Meeting in December 2020.
“I have a 2 year-old daughter and a 5 year-old son, and our favourite car ride sing-along is to the musical Hamilton. Growing up, my husband and his family were loyal patrons of the Grand, so we’re looking forward to introducing the Grand to our children.”
Ron on Tech Crew
Ron Koudys, Director
Ron is the Principal at Ron Koudys Landscape Architects – an award winning firm with projects that span the globe.
Ron first joined the Grand Theatre Foundation Board in 2004 and currently serves as the President of that Board. He has been a member of the Operating Board since 2010.
Ron on Tech Crew
“My first contact with theatre was in high school. I joined the tech crew for the production of Guys and Dolls. I think my main motivation was to meet some of the cute girls in the cast. On opening night my job was to pull the ropes to open the curtain. When the band struck up the music it was my cue, but when I pulled on the rope, the curtain wouldn't open. I pulled harder, still no response. So I put all my weight into it and I then heard the broken bits of the supporting casters fall to the stage floor. The band was now in the second time through the opening piece, and the curtain wouldn't open. Meanwhile, the performers are all on the stage looking at me. The only thing I could do was walk out to the middle of the stage, grab the curtain in my hands and drag the one half open, and then dash out again and pull across the other half, all to the applause of the audience. The show was a big success but I was long remembered as the guy who broke the curtain.”
Jennie Kraehling, Director
Jennie Kraehling is the Associate Director of the Michael Gibson Gallery. A Queen’s University grad, she has worked at the gallery since 2001. She was named the inaugural 2022-2023 Curator in Residence at the McIntosh Gallery and recently enjoyed 8 years as a curatorial art committee member for Art with Heart, an annual art auction in support of Casey House.
Jane Scholes, Director
Jane Scholes is a lawyer and partner at Lerners LLP in London, Ontario. She received her HBA/JD Dual Degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business and Western University Faculty of Law. She started her career at a large Bay Street firm, before returning to London and starting at Lerners in 2018. Jane has a diverse advocacy and dispute resolution practice in health law, commercial litigation, education, and labour and employment. She is also a certified workplace investigator. She has appeared in all levels of court in Ontario and at the Supreme Court of Canada. As an independent investigator, she investigates highly complex, contentious, and sensitive matters arising from conflicts in unionized and non-unionized workplaces. In her spare time, Ms. Scholes enjoys adventure travel with her two young children and spouse. She made her theatre debut in her elementary school’s production of “Annie”; these days, other than the art of performing in the courtroom, she (mercifully) sticks to a seat in the theatre audience and on the board of the Grand.
Jennifer Slay, Director
Jennifer Slay has her Masters of Social Work and is a Social Worker/Psychotherapist that leads Jennifer Slay Counseling & Coaching. She is a new Board member, elected in December 2020.
“The very first theatre production that I remember was Cats! I fell hard and have been in love with theatre ever since. Back then, I lived in Northern Manitoba so we had to travel 8 hours by car to go to the theatre. It was SOOOOOO worth it!”
Dr. Robert (Bob) Sokol, Director
Dr. Sokol (who is lovingly referred to as Dr. Bob) is one of our longest serving Board members at 18 years... and counting. Dr. Sokol served as the President of the Board and Chairs the Board of “The Friends of the Grand” – which assists with outreach and fund raising efforts in the US. He may be ‘retired’ but on paper only, as he is Emeritus Dean and Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Physiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Michigan State College of Human Medicine.
“I’ve been involved with theatre since grammar school, mainly “backstage” as a lighting and set designer and director. I worked as a professional theatre photographer with equity, academic and amateur companies for six years, while in training as a physician. I think the two highest impact productions I’ve seen at the Grand were Three Tall Women years ago, which I consider as good as the recent Broadway revival, and our recent Cabaret, which was absolutely the most riveting, and terrifyingly good production of the musical I’ve seen.”
Robert Bierbaum, Director
Robert Bierbaum is the Vice President at Old Oak Properties. The Bierbaum family have been patrons and supporters of the Grand Theatre for three generations and more than 40 years. Robert is excited to continue that partnership and work to enhance art and culture in the Forest City.
“Theatre has the power to inspire, transform, and build deep connections in any community. I’ve been seeing productions at the Grand Theatre since I was young and have fond memories of countless shows. The Grand has elevated London’s arts scene and I’m thrilled to be a part of the theatre’s continued growth and evolution.”
Ron Koudys, President
Jamie Crich, Vice President
Bill Assini, Treasurer
George Kerhoulas, Secretary