Board of Directors 2023

Basel Al Mhithawi, Director, an award-winning creative and marketing director with a track record of branding and launching eight television stations in Damascus and Dubai since 2001. Basel graduated with a fine arts degree from Damascus University in 2000 and received his master’s degree in marketing from Wollongong University Dubai in 2005.

Basel and his team at Dubai Media Incorporated received 37 awards from 2003 until 2009. In 2010 Basel moved to Qatar to lead the marketing department at Hamad Medical Corporation, where his passion transformed into impacting patient lives by educating the public about health and well-being. He founded the Documentary department and spearheaded the production of over 1000 simplified medical education publications and films to help patients and their families through their journey.

He moved to Canada in 2018 where he leads his marketing boutique in the GTA.

Natalia Austin, Director, is a graduate from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College and received a bachelor of arts honours degree and diploma. Natalia has a passion for the arts, particularly in painting, sculpture and performing arts and has experience in all types of mediums including, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, print media, performing arts and design.

Natalia has experience running her own art studio Art with Austin and teaching art to the Brampton community! Here people of all ages and backgrounds got the chance to embrace their backgrounds and create artworks that spoke to them and their community. She also designed a Performing Arts Program that was dedicated to support everyone, especially low-income families and it turned into a great success!

Natalia loves the ability to create with any medium, and see ideas come to life! Sharing these ideas and discussing how artists come up with their concepts is part of what makes art exciting for her. Natalia likes getting her hands dirty and creating something amazing. Her best experiences have been working with all ages in art and guiding people through their creative process. Her goal is to continue to share her passion for the arts with everyone she encounters.

Jenneen Marie Beattie, Chair, holds a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. She received her BFA from OCADU with a major in Criticism and Curatorial Practices. She participated in an independent studio placement at the Winchester School of Art, UK. She was an Artscape Daniels Launchpad fellowship participant from 2019-2022. Her work in textile-based media investigates the connections between memory and fabrics. The work attempts to capture and preserve memories, it addresses notions of souvenir-ship, conservation, and keepsakes. Additionally, the work contains an embedded message around repurposing materials, sustainability, and supporting local markets.
She has managed public art projects for the City of Toronto, Cultural Hotspot, Doors Open, StreetARToronto, MOCA Toronto, Toronto Biennial, Toronto Zoo, Nuit Blanche, Cavalcade of Lights, Mural Routes, and Yonge-Dundas Square. In 2020, she joined the Executive Committee as the Secretary of the Board at Neilson Park Creative Centre. Then in 2023, she moved into a new role as Vice President. Currently, she is looking forward to taking on her new role as Chair of the NPCC Board in 2024.     

Fulya Bulur, Director, has been working in capital markets for the last 27 years, delivering large scale technology projects and programs for the banks. She holds a Business degree and a PMP certification. She has extensive experience in front, middle, back office and risk focused projects in Canadian banks and brings her expertise in project planning, financials, building and leading teams, vendor and change management.

Despite a very busy career and raising two kids, Fulya always made time to paint. In recent years, she made a conscious decision to give art more priority and started exhibiting her work. Her paintings were exhibited twice at Visual Arts Mississauga juried exhibition “Why do you create?”. She also participated in “Portraits of Mississauga” and “Dream Worlds” exhibitions. Fulya is joining the NPCC Board as a director in January 2024.

Kia Fatemi, Director, is a corporate veteran with 23 years of experience in telecom and consumer packaged goods with a focus in sales and supply chain. His career spans across several companies such as Bell, Kellogg’s, Labatt and Cuisinart. Kia is currently at Molson Coors where he works directly with government liquor boards across the country.  Kia is a certified Scrum Master, Product Owner and has a certificate in e-commerce & online business management. He holds a bachelors degree from the University of Toronto where he majored in Fine Art History and Communications and a certificate in Digital Communications from Sheridan College. 


Over the years, Kia has been involved in numerous charitable organizations including the Toronto Food Bank, Bell Let’s Talk and Motionball.  He has worked directly at these events by fundraising and raising awareness.


Kia was born in Tehran, Iran, but grew up in Etobicoke. He attended Mill Valley Junior School, Bloordale Middle School and went to Silverthorne for his high school years. He has a deep connection to the community and is incredibly proud to be part of the board. 

Wendy McCallum, Director, is a Family Mediator and Financial Planner with a passion for helping families navigate their difficulties financially smartly. With a background in arts, Wendy graduated with a double major degree in International Relations and fine arts from York University in 2011. Having spent over 15 years in the entertainment industry working behind the scenes on notable projects such as Degrassi, Inspector Gadget, Peanuts: Snoopy in Space, Strawberry Shortcake, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Wendy brings a unique perspective. Driven by her love for community and creativity, Wendy aims to foster a culture of collaboration and experimentation in the arts. She believes in leveraging her experience and expertise to create a positive impact in the community. Wendy is committed to excellence combined with a dedication to fostering strong relationships.

Alejandro Navarro, Director, is a multifaceted business technology professional with over 25 years in leading organizations to the launch of cutting edge technologies, management solutions and delivering excellence in project delivery and client management. Collaborative, innovative, and solutions -oriented executing deployment and operational life cycle elements from conception to launch. 

Aleksandra Piascik, Treasurer, brings to NPCC over ten years of professional public sector finance experience working as a Capital Financial Coordinator for Halton Region. Aleksandra also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto along with a Master’s of Business Administration Degree from Centenary University of New Jersey.

An interest in Canadian public policy and economic development led her to complete a graduate certificate in Public Administration from Humber College. She also contributed to the 2009 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Toronto Review while working for the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Aleksandra has a love of classical music and is passionate about supporting creativity and the arts within the community. She is a classically trained soprano and soloist with over 25 years of performance experience with numerous choirs and vocal ensembles.

Jerry Smith, Director, BA UofT, Theatre and Philosophy; HSA Teaching Certificate; ACSD Central School of Speech and Drama; M.Ed. University College Cardiff; MBA Arts and Media Management York U. Active as a trainer, consultant, educator and leader, Jerry established the professional theatre training program at Humber College, and founded the college’s post diploma certificate programs in Arts Administration/Cultural Management. Jerry’s experience includes a wide range of leadership roles on Boards of Directors: President/Chairman of the Boards of Arts Consultants Canada, Theatre Ontario, South Etobicoke Cultural Plan, Lakeshore Arts, Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra, Assembly Hall; selected as a Volunteer of the Year as well as Cultural Champion, Toronto.

Brenda Shewchuk, Past President, has had a long career focused on project management, business processes improvements, communications, and delivering outputs on time and on budget. She is an innovative and results driven leader with successes building cross-functional teams and motivating and directing employees. Brenda is a graduate of the Rotman School of Business, Executive Human Resource Program and holds a BSc Psychology, from Waterloo, and MSc Information Resource Management from Syracuse University and a Diploma in Adult Education from Sir Francis Exavier University.