On November 22, national not-for-profit Business / Arts, celebrated 40 years of creating powerful partnerships between the business and arts communities across Canada.
At a sold-out gala hosted by Soulpepper’s resident artist and music director, Mike Ross, and featuring a musical performance by Juno-Award winning vocalist Sophie Milman, Business / Arts recognized philanthropists, artistic leaders, and innovative community partners whose tremendous contributions ensure that the arts continue to play an essential role in the everyday lives of Canadians.
“Over the past 40 years, Business / Arts has shown that truly incredible things can happen when business and arts come together,” said Nichole Anderson Bergeron, president and CEO of Business / Arts. We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate the leaders who have made this possible.”
Ali Shivji, Arnold Edinborough Award Recipient is currently a Partner and Managing Director with Optima Living. Ali has lent his professional skills to enable arts organizations to tackle key issues. Using his analytical training, unique problem-solving skills and thoughtful approach to sharing of best practices, Ali has established himself as an unequivocal champion of the sector.
Ali’s first introduction to the arts was as co-chair of artsScene Calgary in Business / Arts’ young professionals program, where he introduced himself as “the token business guy,” confessing “I don’t know anything about the arts.” The reality, of course, proved to be quite different. Ali tirelessly guided the work at artsScene, advocating for artists’ needs, and establishing long lasting relationships between arts organizations, young professionals, and the business community in Calgary and across the Country.
“Ali demonstrates that even those who don’t identify themselves as typical arts leaders can be change-makers,” said Alicia Rose, manager of community relations at TD Bank Group. “He reminds us that through creativity, strategy and innovation, individuals from all industries can truly make impactful change to the arts sector.”
This sentiment is shared by Gideon Arthurs, CEO, The National Theatre School of Calgary. “Ali is an interlocutor, a problem solver and a rigorous soul, but he is also incredibly affable. Without pretension, he tries to bring his best self to the table for every act, big and small.”
Today, Ali continues to use his business expertise to support Calgary’s arts sector as a highly sought out advisor to multiple arts organizations. He is currently a board member with Theatre Calgary, and continues to assist other arts organizations around the country. Ali’s deep understanding of the business sector, passion for connecting the corporate community to the arts community, and strategic thinking continue to be an asset to Canada’s arts sector.