Agatha Love is Board Chair of the Board of Directors, a role in which she combines her unique blend of non-profit and government experience to manage and provide leadership to the Board of Directors of SuiteLife Arts for Youth. She is a long-time advocate for youth empowerment and education. Agatha is passionate about community involvement, cultural diversity, leadership development and strengthening the arts community in Toronto.
Agatha has an undergraduate degree in Humanities from York University and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Public Administration and Leadership from Ryerson University. She has held various administrative positions at the City of Toronto over the last 6 years. As well as holding other operations management roles, she has volunteered at several non-profit organization's in the GTA area including, Toronto's Youth Assisting Youth to empower youth and help gain life skills. International development and cultural diversity have always been a great interest to her.
Agatha is an advocate of change in the community and works on developing her leadership skills by engaging with the community through volunteerism. With a keen interest in governance and policy, Agatha applies her knowledge to further the mission and values of SuiteLife Arts for Youth.
Anukul Sharma brings the valuable assets of process improvement, change agent in business operations, and maintenance of our financial integrity to his performance as Vice Chair of Suite Life Arts for Youth. As an accomplished finance and business professional, he is ideally suited to aid in the actualization of the life dreams and goals of the youth whose lives Suite Life strives to advance.
Anukul worked hard with the international company Blyth Education Group to hone the analytical skills and depth of reasoning it took to develop effective financial models in Canada, USA, Europe, Asia and Middle East. Not only did he improve platforms, but he learned to appreciate the cultures and social aspects of the countries many of Suite Life's offspring call native home. Anukul has worked in the food manufacturing industry, and has extensive experience in handling the business operations for private and non-profit organizations.
A passionate advocate of human rights, economic empowerment, and educational security makes Anukul further suited to the aims of Suite Life. He believes that a flourishing society needs the focus, interest and participation of artists to record and creatively express the society they live in - Suite Life is a place where young artists are inspired to contribute to their community’s dialogue and where their aspirations can take shape and grow.
Chair of Programming
Cherise Solomon started dancing at the age of 14 in her first year of high school. Little did she know, dance would become her life passion. Cherise is an avid performer who has danced with multiple dance companies in Toronto including, The Girls Club and Boss Dance Company. She has performed in venues throughout the GTA such as the Gladstone Hotel and Wildflower. You can also see Cherise in commercial work for Carefree and the Ontario Road Builders Association.
Cherise is a multi-disciplined individual. Currently she is studying New Media at Ryerson University, and is part of the New Media Social Team that focuses on connecting students from all years to create and learn new skills together.
Presently, Cherise is the Assistant Festival Manager of StArt Youth Presenting Art (StArt YPA), which is a multi disciplinary youth art festival based in Scarborough. Cherise has been with StArt YPA for over 4 years, because she wants to give Scarborough youth a starting point from which to explore their creative fields, and to go beyond.
Cherise has a creative mind bustling with ideas, therefore she works with companies that can help her gain skills – resulting in her becoming a better artist and positive contributor to her community.
Jack is a finance professional with a knack for data analytics. He holds the CAIA charter and has extensive experience in operational efficiency, insight analytics, data re-engineering, and process automation. In addition to SuiteLife, he also sits on the board of Etobicoke Historic Society and the Canadian Society of Decorative Arts.
Jack believes that it is an untold truth that certain aspects of today’s education system is fundamentally flawed. Today, the ultimate goal of an education is to land a job, yet corporations are focusing on increasing efficiency, which eliminates jobs. The solution in its ideology form, is simple: innovation, which leads to new perspectives, new ideas, and eventually new businesses that create jobs. Jack joined SuiteLife Arts for Youth because art, unlike any other field or discipline, by definition inspires innovation. With Samual Morse as a quintessential example: a painter who invented the telegraph and co-developed the Morse Code, Jack contends that the intriguing agency that’s required for innovation is incredulously found in the passionate, un-deterministic, beautiful and yet sometimes fortuitous practice that we call ... ART.
Business and innovation requires art, yet art itself is a business. Jack is a dedicated advocate for transferring cardinal business and financial skills to young artists. He believes there’s an significant untapped market in the realm of unique design – whether it’s fashionable clothing, one-of-a-kind accessories, or a long-lost artistic trade. All artists need is the right set of “tools”, whether it’s a pair of double pointed bamboo needles, a robust round-nose piler or perhaps a set of social-media marketing skills.
Denese Matthews is a dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and producer whose been performing over thirty years throughout North America.
Inspired by Josephine Baker who adopted 12 children from around the world (dubbed The Rainbow Tribe) to afford them better opportunities, Denese conceptualised and founded SuiteLife Arts for Youth (SuiteLife) in April 1996. Her objective was to provide free intensive multi-disciplinary performing arts workshops to young people (14 - 25yrs.) – making quality arts education accessible to all youth. Denese has been successful in her endeavours, SuiteLife is moving into its 20th year!
To afford young people additional arts opportunities, Denese created the youth-led initiative StArt Youth Presenting Art (StArt YPA) in the Scarborough Village area - mentoring a dedicated group of young people who have taken the challenge of creating and implementing an annual youth arts festival for their peers, therefore becoming positive role models and contributors to their communities. Denese is extremely proud of the youth’s accomplishments. StArt Youth Presenting Art is moving into its 7th year.
As a performing artist, Denese appeared in numerous productions including Royal Alexandra Theatre’s production of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre, Stage West Theatre’s “Beehive” where she shared the stage with Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Citadel Theatre’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and Necessary Angels’ “Coming Through Slaughter”.
Head of Committees
Chair of Festivals
Connie Tong is a member of the Board of Directors, who represents a youth perspective in increasing arts engagement in her neighbourhood of Scarborough. She combines her artistic practice and community development experience as a Festival Manager for StArt Youth Presenting Art.
Connie is an artist + designer + art educator, who has a Bachelor's degree in Design in Material Arts and Design at OCAD University.
She has held various roles in the arts and culture sector, working in non-profits and public institutions. Connie has a passion for arts education – facilitating art workshops and programs in her local neighbourhood and organizing community arts events. She held positions within the City of Toronto as a Diversity Events Coordinator, Art Instructor, Youth Program Supervisor, and has spearheaded community mural projects in Scarborough. Recently she received a small grant to turn her passion into a business with her event planning company called cater2create, which focuses on planning and facilitating social and community events.
Connie is always looking for opportunities to stimulate her creative spirit. She is a peer mentor who inspires youth to collaborate, and connect with people and places in order to develop awareness and understanding around them.
Discovering the Artist in You
Founder and President
As the Board Treasurer for SuiteLife Arts for Youth, Dia oversees the financial administration of the organisation, reviews procedures and financial reporting, advises the board on financial strategy and on fundraising.
Dia is a CMA with more than ten years’ experience in Financial & Managerial Accounting, Financial Analysis and Budgeting. Currently, Dia is working for the City of Barrie as a Financial Analyst.
Dia has been passionate about helping terrified and profoundly vulnerable child refugees in conflict zones; he has made a couple visits to refugee camps in the Middle East providing refugees with educational, emotional and financial support. He helped welcome Syrian refugees in the GTA in his role as the Office Manager of COSTI Immigrant Services - Lifeline Syria project.
Dia believes that a robust academic curriculum should be combined with a strong extracurricular offering in arts and sports. He says, “SuiteLife Arts for Youth connects the youth with professional artists from a variety of backgrounds to learn together and learn from each other. Given the diversity of our population, this learning environment will translate into valuable life skills. Young artists need a strong foundation; SuiteLife Arts for Youth is helping build it”.
© SuiteLife Arts for Youth