150 Profiles: Nadia Ross

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Nadia Ross

Current role in the sector: Artistic Director, STO Union, a theatre organization based in Wakefield, Quebec.

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 25 years.

Nadia Ross profile picture

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
I saw a theatre production in the former East Berlin, right before the wall came down, bring an entire audience to a level of political rebellion that I had never experienced before. I saw, firsthand, how powerful the arts can be in people’s lives and in communities, and the power of our collective need to make and share meaning.

Describe your desk/workspace.
I work in a large classroom now converted into a studio. It is filled with props and puppets from a community collaboration project. There is stuff everywhere. The desk is covered in scripts and notes, a sewing kit, jars of possible prop material, jars of pens and markers, a couple of monitors…the desk is covered in dry drops of paint, of all different colours.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
I don’t have the time to read, I work for a non-profit. But I am enjoying the momentary insights and fun collegiality I get on Facebook sites like ED Happy Hour. I also am keeping my eye out on studies and research the impact of digitization on the arts as well as on nonprofits.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
Non-profits need to think about their relationship with for-profits and to re-imagine it. Non-profits have had to pick up the responsibilities to communities and people that for-profits continue to devolve themselves of and, at the same time, nonprofits have to behave more and more like for-profits in the way they operate and raise funds. We can’t do both. It’s a contradiction we cannot hold, as a sector, for long.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com

Nadia Ross is Artistic Director of STO Union, a theatre organization based in Wakefield, Quebec.