Eight women in long white dresses pose in a semicircle on a darkened stage


Board of Directors, Arts Club Theatre Company

The Arts Club Board of Directors are volunteers who share a common passion for the performing arts. They provide financial oversight and strategic direction for the company while acting as a sounding board for senior management. They bring their expertise and community leadership to further the mission and vision of the theatre company. Each director is elected by the membership for a two-year term and can serve on the board for a maximum of eight years.

Art Vertlieb, K.C., Chair
Art has been on the Arts Club board of directors since 2017 and is currently the Chair. Art went to the University of Arizona on a music scholarship, obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall, and was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 1973. He has been in private practice in Vancouver since that time and serves as General Counsel to the Canadian Football League Players Association. In 2013, Art was President of the Law Society of British Columbia and has served as President of the Trial Lawyers of BC. He was the Founding Chair of the Lawyers Assistant Program (LAP) and has been recognized by the Law Society, the Trial Lawyers, and the LAP for his outstanding leadership and service. Art has also been honoured by Osgoode Hall Law School as a distinguished alumnus and was presented with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal. In addition to his service in the legal profession, Art has been active in community sports and UBC Hockey, and he has a keen interest in promoting and serving the arts community in BC.

Wanda Costuros, CPA (CMA), MBA, Vice Chair
Wanda was appointed to the Arts Club board in 2019. Wanda is a retired financial executive, with extensive experience in corporate governance in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Wanda has held several board and committee roles, including BC Hydro (Director and Chair of Finance and Audit), Powerex Inc. (Chair and Director), Land Title and Survey Authority (Chair), Seven Seas Fish Company (Chair of Advisory Committee), Art in Motion Income Fund (Director and Chair of Audit Committee), Science World (Director and Chair of Audit Committee), and YWCA (Director). Prior management roles include Chief Financial Officer of Xantrex Technology, Fletcher Challenge Pulp, and Timberwest Inc. Wanda is a CPA (CMA) and received her MBA at Simon Fraser University, receiving the Dean’s Medal in 1995. She was also awarded a Women of Influence by Business in Vancouver. Wanda is also a director on the board of The Hieros Foundation.

John Dawson, FCPA, FCA, Secretary
John has been a member of the Arts Club board since 2015. John was born and raised in Vancouver, graduating from UBC with a BComm in 1964. He went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, training with Coopers & Lybrand where he served as a partner in the Assurance practice for 29 years. John worked mainly in the Vancouver office but did stints in both London, England, and the executive office in Toronto. After retiring in 2001, he joined a number of public company boards of directors, providing financial and governance advice to management. John is married with two sons and three grandchildren; one son is a Senior Editor at the Vancouver Sun, while the other is a professional producer, writer, and slide guitar player with his studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brenda Crabtree (Xyolholemo:t)
Brenda joined the Arts Club board in 2021. Brenda has both Nlaka’pamux and Sto:lo ancestry and belongs to the Spuzzum Band. Brenda is the Director of Aboriginal Programs and Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Brenda is an anthropologist, educator, community facilitator, and cultural advisor. She is also an artist, curator, and mentor. Brenda received her BA and MA (Cultural Anthropology) from Western Washington University. She was honoured by the BC Achievement Foundation in 2016 as an enduring champion for Indigenous artists and has been a key figure in developing groundbreaking programs. In her art practice, Brenda fuses Northwest Coast First Nations materials and traditions with political texts. Brenda’s material practice is a vehicle for political activism, bridging art, politics, and history. Brenda serves in an advisory capacity for the City of Vancouver Arts + Culture Committee, the BC Creative Achievement Foundations, First Nations Art Advisory, and the Bill Reid Gallery. Brenda also serves on the board of directors of the YVR (Vancouver Airport) Art Foundation.

Suzanne James, CPA, CA
Suzanne has been on the Arts Club board of directors since 2018. Suzanne obtained a BComm (honours) from Queen’s University and received her Chartered Accountant designation two years later. With a passion for travel as well as the arts, Suzanne embarked on an international financial services career, working in the UK, Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, South East Asia, and Australia. While working and living in these countries, Suzanne has been actively involved in the not-for-profit sector. Suzanne returned to Canada in 2012 and quickly embraced the Vancouver lifestyle—as an avid skier and hiker, as well as supporting the arts community.

Al-Karim Kara, MBA, FCPA, FCMA, C.Dir
Al-Karim was appointed to the Arts Club board in 2023. Al-Karim is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA), a publicly accountable, statutory corporation responsible for operating BC’s land title and survey systems. Before joining LTSA, Al-Karim held a number of executive positions with Xantrex Technology Inc., including Vice President of Operations, Interim CFO, and Vice President, Information Technology and CIO. Al-Karim is a member of the BC Identity Information Management Steering Committee and the School of Business Program Advisory Committee at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Natascha Kiernan, J.D., ICD.D
Natascha is an experienced corporate director, lawyer, and strategic advisor. She received her J.D. from Columbia University and has held senior positions with several prominent international law firms, including in the New York and London offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Ms. Kiernan has 19 years experience advising governments, financial institutions, and corporations on complex M&A and finance transactions and was previously selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” rising legal star by the UK’s Financial News. Ms. Kiernan is the founder and principal of Bellevue Strategic Advisory and currently serves as Vice Chair of the BC Energy Regulator. She also serves as an independent director on the boards of several public and private companies. Ms. Kiernan received her B.A. (with distinction) from the University of Victoria, where her studies included playwriting. She has always maintained a keen interest in supporting the arts and in attending live theatre. She has previously served on the board of several non-profit organizations, including the Vancouver Writers Fest. She also volunteers her time by serving as a mentor to professional women through both Women Get On Board and Dress for Success. Ms. Kiernan lives in West Vancouver, BC, with her husband and two young children.

Aaron Kueng
Aaron joined the Arts Club board in 2019. Aaron is Regional Vice President, Personal Banking for BC North, East, and Yukon at BMO Bank of Montreal. Aaron has accountabilities in the areas of finance, customer loyalty, compliance, and team engagement. Aaron has a brand of tackling issues, innovating, and helping others succeed. Aaron consistently earns top results for strong team engagement. This engagement translates into top team performance. Aaron has a deep appreciation for music and design, which fuels his keen interest in the theatre community. BC-born and -raised, Aaron is a longtime Vancouver resident. When he’s not working or enjoying music and theatre, Aaron can be found in the yoga studio or on the Stanley Park Seawall.

Sandra R. MacKay, J.D.
Sandra joined the Arts Club board in 2019. A business lawyer and corporate governance specialist, Sandra is currently the Vice President, Legal & Governance and Corporate Secretary of E-Comm Emergency Communications for British Columbia Limited (the provider of 911 services to the Province and police and fire dispatch services to police and fire departments in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island). Prior to assuming her current role, Sandra headed the legal department of the Provincial Health Services Authority of BC and BC Emergency Health (Ambulance) Services, most recently as Vice-President, Legal, Privacy and Risk and Corporate Secretary. Before working in the public safety and health sectors, Sandra served as in-house counsel to public companies, and advisor to their board of directors, in several industries including downstream oil and gas, mining, engineering technology, and biotechnology. Sandra also serves on two corporate boards of directors in the mining sector. Sandra is a graduate of the UBC Law School and a member of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. Sandra is a member of the BC Law Society and the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors.

Heather McKay
Heather has been on the Arts Club board since 2017. Heather brings deep experience in human resources, change management, and communications. She has an MBA from UBC and has worked at an executive level in several industries including technology, professional services, and commercial real estate firms. Prior to her tenure with the Arts Club, Heather did work with other non-profits, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the YWCA, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Bev was appointed to the Arts Club board in 2022. Bev is a corporate director and retired executive. Bev serves on the board of TransAlta Corporation, and previously served on the boards of InTransit BC, Teekay LNG Partners, SSR Mining, and BC Transmission Corp. In addition, Bev has served on a number of not-for-profit boards, including those of the UBC Board of Governors, the Simon Fraser University Community Corporation, the Simon Fraser Beedie School of Business Dean’s Advisory, the International Women’s Forum (Vancouver Chapter), the Vancouver Opera Association (chair), the Vancouver Opera Foundation, Science World’s Advisory, the BC Business Council Board and Executive Committee, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, and the YWCA Metro Vancouver (chair). Prior management roles include interim CEO, COO, and CFO of TimberWest, and various finance and accounting roles at BC Hydro and KPMG. Bev is an FCPA (FCA), with an MBA from Simon Fraser University and a BCom from McGill University. Bev was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and was a recipient of the Excellence in the Private Sector Award from the Association of Women in Finance.

Ali Pejman, FCPA, FCA
Ali is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants and is currently Managing Partner at Fort Capital Partners, an investment bank. During his 20-plus-year career as an investment banker, he has led the teams that raised over $3 billion in equity transactions and advised on $22 billion in M&A. He is also an active member of the community, including VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Metro Vancouver Transit Police, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, and Science World.

Shane Simpson
Shane Simpson joined the Arts Club board in 2021. Shane retired from elected political life in 2020 after four terms, commencing in 2005, as the MLA for Vancouver Hastings and serving as Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in the BC government, from 2017 through 2020. Shane has spent more than 45 years engaged in community service in Vancouver with a wide range of organizations, including Director of Policy & Communications for Smart Growth BC, Chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, Legislative Coordinator for CUPE BC, and director of both the Worker Ownership Resource Centre and the Ray-Cam Cooperative Association. He also served as Executive Assistant to Margaret Mitchell MP for Vancouver East. In recognition of his efforts, in 1992 he was awarded the Governor General’s 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for Community Service and in 2002 the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for community service. Born and raised in the Downtown Eastside, Shane continues to live in East Vancouver with his wife, Cate, and four cats.

Shawn Williamson
Shawn joined the Arts Club board in 2017. Shawn is one of the North America’s most highly regarded entertainment executives, internationally known for his creative and corporate success. Based in Vancouver, Shawn has more than 30 years of experience working in entertainment and has produced numerous award-winning films and television shows. Shawn began his career as a stage manager at the Arts Club in 1983 and has since gone on to produce more than one hundred film and television projects through his company Brightlight Pictures. Selected credits include the features 50 Dead Men Walking (Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess), The Company You Keep (Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf), The Interview (Seth Rogen, James Franco), White Noise (Michael Keaton), and the series Mighty Ducks (Disney), Upload (Amazon), and Firefly Lane (Netflix). Shawn is currently producing The Good Doctor (Sony Pictures and ABC).

Board of Directors, Arts Club of Vancouver Theatre Foundation

The Arts Club Foundation Board of Directors are a mix of Arts Club board members and independent members. All are passionate theatre-loving volunteers who bring their expertise and financial guidance to the stewardship of the company's assets and endowment funds through donations and prudent investment. Each director is elected by the membership for a two-year term and can serve on this board for a maximum of six years.

Lisa Seed
Jamie Bruce
Capital West Partners
Carol Humphrys
John Dawson, FCPA, FCA Accountant/Business Advisor
Suzanne James, CPA, CA Chief of Business Analytics
Connor, Clark and Lunn Financial Group
Aaron Kueng Director, Regional Operations
Glenn Powers Senior Lecturer
Simon Fraser University