Governance: Tools for Success

Governance: Tools for Success

Courtroom, Arts Court 2 Daly Ave
Ticket price: $30
Register Now

Notes from the session (PDF download)

Powerpoint (download)

Maria DeFalco, Principal, MDF Strategies

Governance is about providing strategic leadership and oversight to a nonprofit organization.  Effective governance requires the right combination of people, structure and tools to sustain and/or grow an arts service, particularly in these uncertain times.  In this session, we will explore the three key components of good governance:  People, Structure, and Tools.

1) People

Boards must be comprised of volunteers who are not only committed to the same cause, but act as leaders and stewards of an organization. As a team, they must be able to mitigate risk through diverse and unforeseen circumstances. We will explore what measures can be taken to optimize board performance.   

2) Structure

One size does not fit all. We will explore the range of governance structures including working boards for start-up organizations to more complex management advisory boards for institutions. 

3) Tools

Exploring tools that help optimize board and organizational performance including: policy making; strategic decision making; performance measurement and managing change. 




Maria DeFalco has been involved in the advancement of Canada’s arts and culture sector for thirty years. Maria served with distinction as the City of Ottawa’s first Culture Manager where she oversaw the implementation of its inaugural cultural master plan providing a broad spectrum of facilities, support services and programs to the arts, heritage and festival communities. Through her work on the board of Arts and the Cities Canada, Maria collaborated with other municipal and cultural leaders to create a national mandate and standards for dedicated municipal cultural investment. This initiative spearheaded the creation of cultural policies and master plans by numerous municipalities throughout Canada.  

As Principal of MDF Strategies, Maria has worked with a diverse range of federal, provincial and municipal governments and agencies as well as non-profit organizations. She is the co-founder of the Centre of Expertise on Culture and Communities (at Simon Fraser University) and has served on numerous boards, advisory groups and task forces across Canada.