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.
Michael Sniderman is the Chief Legal Officer/Vice Chair on SuiteLife's Board of Directors. In this role, he combines his legal expertise with his passion for the arts and youth education.
Michael was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2017 after earning his Juris Doctor at Queen’s University. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At law school, he was a Managing Editor for the Queen’s Law newspaper and Social Coordinator for the Queen’s Law Student Society. These roles let him flex his creativity while enabling him to plan charitable events for great causes.
Michael’s background puts him squarely in line with SuiteLife’s values. Having played music since he was a babbling toddler, Michael is always looking for opportunities to help young people tap into their artistic potential. While working at a summer camp for 6 years, he also learned to emphasize the importance of youth education and empowerment.
Connie Xi is the Treasurer on SuiteLife’s Board of Directors, a role in which she combines her experience as a Commercial Banker and the passion for art education and empowerment.
Connie has an undergraduate degree in Statistics from Simon Fraser University and Post Graduate Degree in Economics from Carlton University. She has held various positions in one of the major banks in Canada in the areas of portfolio management, risk management and commercial banking. Connie has volunteered at number of non-for- profit organizations before joining the board at SuiteLife.
Connie’s personal life is fill with arts, from music, dance to theatre and visual arts. Her personal experience have taught her the transformative and healing power of art. Connie is always looking for opportunities to help more people to be exposed to arts and to be empowered by arts.
Marketing and Public Relations Officer
Sarvesh Syal is the Marketing/Public Relations Officer on SuiteLife’s Board of Directors, a role in which he combines his experience as a Communications Specialist and the passion for arts, education and social impact.
Sarvesh has a Post Graduate degree in Public Relations and vast experience in the field of Media and Communications working for the development sector. He is aware of the transformative power of arts and is a strong proponent of the belief that arts make life worth living. Sarvesh looks to bring his passion for arts and drive for innovation to help SuiteLife Arts for Youth connect with their audiences.
Sarvesh was exposed to the world of creative arts from a very young age. Apart from his joy of writing stories and poetry he has also dabbled in painting and stand up comedy. He feels that art allows you to transcend boundaries and touch people’s lives. He is always looking to break the barriers in communication through the medium of visual storytelling.
Jack is a technology professional with a knack for building innovative tools. He holds the CAIA and CFA charters 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 parts of the intriguing agency that’s required for innovation are 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 independent 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.
Chief Technology Officer
Amanda Bomben is the Secretary on SuiteLife’s Board of Directors. This role allows Amanda to share in her commitment to support and expand the Toronto arts community and to utilize her legal skills and artistic background to further the mission of the organization – to empower and educate artists and to provide access to explore creative expression.
Amanda is currently completing her Canadian and American JD from the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy, and holds an Honours BA from York University in Communications. She has worked in creative fields such as public relations and marketing prior to attending law school and has focused her studies, both in her undergraduate education and during law school, which help to further her knowledge in media and entertainment.
Amanda has been dancing since she could walk and has spent most of her life performing both competitively and professionally. Amanda is always looking for ways to encourage others to exercise their artistic abilities, and to allow for personal growth and opportunities which can flow from being vulnerable and open minded.
Sucheta Arora Wadhwa is the Grant Writer on SuiteLife’s Board of Directors. For this role she brings together her experience as grants writer, her passion for arts and the strong desire to bring change.
Sucheta has her Doctorate in Communication and Extension. Her diverse experience in the field of Training, Communications and Grants Writing has armoured her with a well-rounded skill set
comprising of networking, critical thinking, creative problem solving and resourcefulness. She always uses her knowledge, skills and interests towards development of society and bringing communities together.
Since a very young age, Sucheta has been involved in different forms of arts. She enjoys Kalamkari (a traditional form of Indian art using pen and colours) and writing articles & blogs. She is a firm believer of arts being a medium of making the world a global village and promote peace.
Sucheta Arora Wadhwa
Volunteer Management Officer
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.
Agatha Love is the former Chair of SuiteLife, 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.