Board of Directors
Robert Harris, Chair and Treasurer
Robert is a founding member of the Silence board and currently serves as Treasurer. He is co-founder and Chairman of The PEER Group Inc. in Kitchener, Ontario, an industrial automation software company employing 130 people. After retiring as a successful entrepreneur, Robert rediscovered his long lost love of playing concert band music and joined Guelph New Horizons and Kitchener Musical Society concert bands playing bass clarinet. After reconnecting with music, Robert came to the realization that today’s society values and respects the corporate arena more than the cultural world. In an effort to provide musicians affordable playing venues. Robert joined the Silence team. His goal is to provide a listening space where artists can develop their audience, build new repertoire, and, most importantly, advance their craft by pushing boundaries through experimentation, improvisations, and sharing with others.
Daniel Fischlin, Artistic Director
Daniel has worked as a classical composer, having studied with Alan Belkin, an experienced improviser. He is a founding member of the Vertical Squirrels, an acclaimed quartet whose most recent recording with musique actualle label Ambiances Magnètiques Time of the Sign has been critically received as a ”masterpiece” (featuring Jane Bunnett, Ben Grossman, and Scott Merritt). He is Research Chair at the University of Guelph and a leading Canadian humanities researcher who has produced important cross-disciplinary work, including some sixteen books with a wide variety of international presses. His most recent books include (with Ajay Heble and George Lipsitz) The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights, and the Ethics of Cocreation (Duke UP) and a co-authored book with Martha Nandorfy entitled The Community of Rights • The Rights of Community (Oxford UP), the third in a trilogy of books co-written with Martha Nandorfy on rights issues. Daniel has received several major awards for teaching excellence and is to date the only winner from the Humanities of the prestigious Premier’s Research Excellence Award. He is a multiple award winner of SSHRCC grants as an independent researcher and as a core investigator on the MCRI and Partnership Fund grants and is associated with the Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice (ICASP) project and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI).
Megan De Roover – Secretary
Megan De Roover is a recent graduate from Arizona State University (2018) from the Theatre and Performance of the Americas doctoral program. Her dissertation, Meeting Trees Halfway: Environmental Encounters in Theatre and Performance, traces the ways humans interact with trees and plants throughout theatre history and contemporary performance studies. During her studies she was generously supported by multiple SSHRC grants, as well as university specific scholarships in both Canada and the United States.
Megan has previously contributed to Silence as a volunteer and staff member but is pleased to now be serving as a member of the Silence board of directors. She is currently a sessional instructor at the University of Waterloo in the department of Communication Arts where she teaches communication in sciences and engineering. Megan lives and writes from Guelph.
Alan is founder and CEO of Eigenworks, a boutique strategy and research firm that services B2B software companies ranging from series-B startups through large public companies. Eigenworks currently employs 10 people and has demonstrated 35% CAGR for the past 5 years. Eigenworks clients include industry giants such as Oracle and Cisco, mid-size companies such as Blackbaud and ReturnPath, and rocket-ship startups including Gainsight and VictorOps. Mr. Armstrong is a regular contributor of articles and expertise to industry publications including Pragmatic Marketing, Gainsight’s Pulse series, and the popular blog OnProductManagement, of which Alan is a co-founder. Alan speaks regularly at industry events, including Pulse (San Francisco 2015, 2016, 2017), TSIA (Las Vegas 2016), Strategy & Competitive Intelligence Professionals (Atlanta 2017), and Product Marketing Community (Toronto & San Francisco 2016, Boston 2017). Prior to founding Eigenworks, Alan held senior director and vice president roles in three startups and participated in three successful exits including Fortiva (to Proofpoint, 2008), Wily Technology ($400M to CA in 2006), and Canada’s largest self-funded exit of Sitraka to Quest Software, where Alan was Director of New Products and Innovation. Alan’s experience includes Vice President-level positions covering Product Management, Business Development, and Sales. Alan holds a B.A.Sc in Systems Design Engineering from University of Waterloo. Alan’s passion for Silence arises from his life-long romance with the saxophone and jazz music, which he has played at a semi-professional level for 25 years. Alan joined Silence’s board in 2016 with the belief and vision of Silence as a “third place” that offers transformational experiences for listeners and players, and a crucible for innovation and social change. In addition to his work on the Silence board, Alan has supported several arts and cultural institutions. He is the founder and seed funder of the A. James Reimer Award for Theological Studies, now a $300,000 fund, and previously served on the board of Abundance Canada, a $250M charitable foundation. Alan supports numerous charitable organizations including the McMichael Gallery as a Patron Member, and The KW Jazz Room as a Gold Corporate Sponsor.
Karen is inspired by the work of people in her community and their ongoing persistence to make a difference. “I am proud of having provided opportunities for my community to engage in local decision making,” she says, “because, when given a voice, they always choose a sustainable path despite the tenacity of the status quo.”
She recognizes that sustainability is enormously disruptive to business as usual. Effective leadership for sustainability, in Karen’s view, must engage people in a way that helps them see the connection between their daily lives and global issues like poverty, hunger and climate change. “The solutions to these issues are beyond the direct control or influence any single sector or jurisdiction, and are best addressed where people live, work and play: our communities,” she says.
She is a former mayor of Guelph and serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Meridian and motusbank and Vice-Chair of QUEST. She has a PhD from the University of Guelph in the sciences and a Chartered Directors designation from McMaster University.
Scarlett Raczycki, Executive Director
Scarlett is a recent graduate of York University, receiving her MA in Art History with a graduate diploma in Curatorial Studies in Visual Culture in June of 2018. Before completing her Masters degree, Scarlett attended the University of Guelph where she studied Philosophy and Museum Studies. During her time at York, she completed a summer internship here at Silence under the tutelage of former ED, Petra Nyendick. Scarlett’s interests and experiences revolve around art and culture and community organizing.
Growing up in a small town in Huron County, Scarlett has devoted her life to crafting space for creativity and expression and fostering artistic communities both in her home county and here in Guelph where she has lived for 7 years. For the summers of 2013 and 2014 Scarlett held the position of Front of House Manager at the internationally acclaimed Blyth Festival Theatre. Midway through her first year at the festival, she was asked by the interim Artistic Director, Peter Smith to join the Board of Directors of the Blyth 14/19 Cultural Initiative which eventually transitioned into The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity. At the age of 19, Scarlett was the youngest member of the board and contributed to initial fundraising efforts by founding and directing the first and second annual Huronsound Music and Arts Festival, a day long event celebrating arts and culture in Huron County and beyond.
During the 2015-2016 academic year Scarlett held the elected position of Local Affairs Commissioner at the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph where she represented approximately 18,000 undergraduate students on over 30 committees and organizations
Scarlett brings to Silence a strong feminist, anti-oppression background, a passion for community organizing and artistic development and a dedication to bolstering marginalized voices and communities. She is excited to grow and learn in this position and, with the team, to continue pushing and pulling Silence into brighter and broader vistas.
Odesia Howlett, Administrative Assistant
Odesia Howlett (she/her) is a black, queer, cis woman and graduate of the University of Guelph’s BA program in 2016. Since graduating, she has taken her interest in social media marketing to new heights, such as the upcoming chair for Guelph Pride’s 2019/2020 committee. Her goal for the summer as the Administrative Assistant with Silence is to bring the Guelph community into Silence’s unique world.
Daniel Reader, Technical Asssistant
Dan is a student at the University of Guelph, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Theatre Studies. He is currently on a co-op term working with Silence as a summer student to make improvements to the Silence website.