Board of Directors


Powell, HeadshotClayton Powell, MPA

Powell Strategy Group

VP, Finance & Business Development
Purple Urchin


Clayton Powell is an experienced leader and management professional who has worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors. As a strategy consultant, Clayton works with small businesses in the Ottawa region to develop growth through business planning with a strong emphasis on finance and human resources. Clayton also serves as Vice President, Finance & Business Development for the local and well-known natural bath and body company Purple Urchin Inc. He has extensive experience in academic and not-for-profit governance having served on the senate for Trent University and as Lieutenant Governor (Eastern Ontario, Quebec) for Kiwanis Circle K International. Clayton holds professional degrees in business (BBA) and public administration (MPA) and is an active supporter of arts education. His mandate is to facilitate the art schools strategic vision of becoming a major centre in Canada for developing excellence in the visual arts.




Megan Lafrenière

Curatorial and Marketing Manager
Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum


Megan Lafrenière has enjoyed a career as an art dealer, curator, project manager and administrator in Ottawa’s arts and heritage communities for over fifteen years. She has served on the OSA Board of Directors since 2010, and has taken great pleasure in ceramics and mixed media courses at the school.


MelissaMelissa Talia, CPA, CMA
Senior Accountant

Four Point Solutions Ltd.

Melissa Talia is a Certified Professional Accountant with an abundance of experience in the business world with both small to medium sized companies and start-ups. She has helped many a local business get off the ground, and hopes her knowledge and dedication will help the Ottawa School of Art continue the growth and success it has seen in recent years in Canada.
Melissa can’t wait to get involved in the school as a student and hopes to grow her appreciation for the visual arts in the coming years.



JH - Headshot 2014Jessica Houle
Sicotte Guilbualt LLP

Jessica is an associate lawyer at Sicotte Guilbault LLP and a member of the Business Law Group as well as the Franchise and Distribution Law Group. Jessica is fluently bilingual, and her practice focuses primarily on Employment law, Commercial law (including Franchising and Not-for-Profit Organizations), and Wills and Estates law. Sicotte Guilbault LLP is a young vibrant francophone law firm located in the east end of Ottawa (Orleans). Jessica has a profound appreciation for arts and culture and participates in a number of cultural events yearly. She also presents frequently at conferences and participates in many different types of events in order to continuously improve her legal practice.


Community Members

Helen Sadler

Helen Sadler joined the Board of the Ottawa School of Art in January 2012.   She is currently pursuing a PHD in Arts Based Research through the University of Ottawa’s Education Department.  Helen worked as a visual artist and teacher in New York City for over 15 years.  Her paintings have been exhibited throughout North America and Europe and reviewed in art journals including Art in America and Flash Art.    Helen is excited to be a part of the art community in Ottawa and she is looking forward to participating through the Ottawa School of Art.


2b2ddc1Gayle Kells
Artist, Art Consultant

Gayle Kells holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Ottawa and completed coursework in Canadian Studies at Carleton University’s Masters of Arts Program. She began her exploration in art many years ago while studying painting and drawing at The Ottawa School of Art.

Over the past twenty years, she has had a studio at Ottawa’s Enriched Bread Artists studios and has exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions internationally. Her work is held in private and public collections including the City of Ottawa’s public collection and the Governor General’s Residence. She has received two City of Ottawa Art Grants to support her work.

As an arts educator, she has taught at Algonquin College and other locations in Ottawa and she has volunteered for many not for profit organizations. She was a member of the City of Ottawa’s Arts and Heritage Advisory Committee and is the former Development Officer at The Ottawa Art Gallery.


Audrey Vermette
Director of Programs & Public Affairs
Canadian Museum Association

With over 18 years of experience working in the museum field, Audrey has developed a strong passion and interest for our country’s culture and heritage. She has held management positions in some of Canada’s leading museums, such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) and the Canadian War Museum. An elected member of the ICOM Canada Board of Directors and member of the Project Management Institute, Audrey has been working at the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) as the Director of Programs and Public Affairs since 2010, where she provides leadership in the CMA’s public programs and its relationship with the museum community and stakeholders across Canada.



SharifViraniSharif Virani
Event Planner & Coordinator

Sharif Virani is an environmentalist scientist with a rebellious right-brain. With a background in media and technology he has had experience working on creative and engaging advocacy campaigns at the government, industry and non-profit levels (currently Nature Canada).

More recently he has taken on the role of co-organizer of Ottawa’s chapter of the monthly breakfast lecture series CreativeMornings – with the aim of bringing creative people from different fields together for meaningful and inspirational discussion. Almost a year old, the series has been a huge success welcoming speakers from such varied occupations as chefs, artisanal sign painters and brew mastersCreativeMornings has given the Ottawa arts community a brand new platform with which to showcase people doing creative and inspiring things, as well as a consistent and energetic opportunity to cross-pollinate and building the city’s creative community.

Sharif can also be found in various other capacities throughout Ottawa such as, active member of the HUB Ottawa, VP Development for the Young Environmental Professionals , Community Engagement Advisory for Eco-Equitable and more recently spearheading the launch of the upcoming Ottawa Food Truck Rally this summer.


Geraldine Taylor

Geraldine Taylor, the Renaissance woman behind the Geraldine’s Gallery, has been an artist and art collector for 46 years. She studied Commercial Art at Commerce High School in Ottawa, and later earned a B.A. in Fine Arts and Photography from the University of Ottawa. Throughout her career, Geraldine has worked as a performance artist, a visual artist, curator, and publisher – in 1983 she published Portfolio 83, a collection of original prints and multiples by Ottawa artists.

With an impressive art collection that contains about 2,000 pieces, Geraldine collects art the way some people collect stamps. She collects, categorizes, and places artistic works on the walls of her gallery, creating a fluid, ever-changing expression of creativity. Drawn to people with passion for art, Geraldine develops and nurtures long-term relationships that allow her to exhibit works than span an entire artist’s career.

Since moving to Kemptville in 1992, Geraldine has made a name for herself both as an artist and curator, and as a real estate agent.

Nader Shureih


Professor –
Public Relations and Advertising, Algonquin College



Nader is an educator and marketing professional with over 15 years in private, public and non-profit experience. After heading the market research function at the federal government, Nader transitioned to the private sector to promote brands across a variety of sectors and industries. Since 2009, he has taught at Algonquin College in the Public Relations and Advertising programs, where his professional experience helps students connect theory to application in the field of persuasive communications. Throughout his career, Nader has been involved in advocacy of arts and cultural organizations, having served as a Board Member for Theater Wakefield for 4 years, before joining the Board at the Ottawa School of Art in 2015.


There is currently one vacant position on the OSA Board of Directors. If you are interested in serving as a Board member please contact Clayton Powell (President) at

Ex Officio Members

Past president

Nadia Laham, Ph.D.
Executive Director (ex officio)
Jeff Stellick
Ottawa School of Art

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