Opera NUOVA Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

Executive Directors

Michelle Van Der Molen – Chair
Yvette Laviolette – Vice Chair
Lauren Chalaturnyk – Secretary
Court Laslop – Treasurer


Claire Briggs
John Pater
Donna Smith
Gavin Farmer

Administrative Staff

Kim Mattice Wanat – Artistic & Managing Director; Founder of Opera NUOVA

Sarah Austin– Arts Administrator; Young Artist Programs, Financials & Box Office Manager, Development & Marketing Officer; Sponsorships, Public Relations

Board of Directors Biographies

Executive Board Members


Michelle graduated from the University of Alberta in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. She has practiced pharmacy in both community and hospital settings in Alberta, Nunavut and British Guyana (as a volunteer with Canadian Crossroads International) and currently owns her own Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in northeast Edmonton.  She has been a volunteer much of her adult life, with stints on many church and community boards and committees, including seven years with Options Edmonton (previously Planned Parenthood Edmonton). She is the proud mother of two adult children, whose passion for arts and culture continues to inspire and challenge her.  Michelle’s current leisure activities include curling, reading, learning to tango and wine-tasting.


Yvette has over 37 years of experience in the insurance industry, with 26 years as an independent adjuster. Since 1999 she has owned her own business in St. Albert; ASI Alternative Solutions, an independent insurance company. Yvette is an honors Fellow of the Insurance Institute of Canada. Yvette has been an instructor in Automobile Insurance (Personal and Commercial), Bodily Injury, Liability, and Advanced Loss Adjusting courses for the Insurance Institute of Canada since 1984 and has conducted seminars on a wide variety of topics. She has taught similar courses in the MacEwan University Insurance and Risk Management Program.   Yvette was recently awarded the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta Instructor of the Year Award for 2013/14. Yvette is a past-president of the Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta and is a past board member of the Alberta Insurance Council’s Appeal Board.  Yvette joins the board as one who has previously appreciated Opera NUOVA’s mandate as an audience member. She enjoys spending time with her 6 children and 1 grandchild.


Lauren Chalaturnyk has been an active member of the Edmonton arts community for over 15 years. She trained in opera, musical theatre, and piano as a teenager and regularly competed in local music festivals. Lauren continued to pursue her love for music in an undergraduate degree in musicology and history at the University of Alberta. She then followed a different passion and graduated from law school in 2017. Lauren is currently an associate lawyer at a mid-size civil firm in downtown Edmonton, practicing primarily in the areas of employment and municipal law. When not performing in the courtroom, Lauren continues to sing with a local women’s ensemble and remains an enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Edmonton.


Court Laslop is an active member of the Edmonton music community. Court began his career studying music performance at the University of Alberta and soon became interested in the business behind the Performing Arts. Returning to the University he received an MBA degree and began working with Not for Profit performing arts organizations as a consultant and analyst, helping devise business strategy. He has previously served with the board of the Edmonton Recital Society, New Music Edmonton and Festival of Trees, and as Business Analyst with the Edmonton Symphony and has also been involved with Citie Ballet and the Edmonton Opera. Court also maintains a career as a freelance performer and instructor and lectures on Performing Arts business practice. 

Board Members


Claire Briggs is a corporate communications consultant with experience across a variety of disciplines, including employee and management communications, media relations, writing and editing. Claire spent ten years with IBM’s corporate communications team, and before that several years with US-based public relations agencies, working with clients in the IT, arts and retail industries.  She has been involved in music and theatre since childhood, and has the pleasure now of supporting her three children in their musical and performance pursuits.


John Pater is on a lifetime quest to find meaning … in his professional and personal life and in his enjoyment of the literary and performing arts. John worked for a dozen years as a radio news reporter, news editor, reader and host, primarily for CBC in Edmonton and Iqaluit. He has spent another dozen years working as a public and media relations specialist, primarily with the City of Edmonton. And lately is shifting to working as a policy advisor on government relations with the City. John has a Master of Theological Studies degree where he focused on the meaning to be found in popular culture and the arts. The NUOVA artists have been a source of inspiration for over 10 years now, with highlights being watching his daughter Erin Vandermolen-Pater perform (NUOVA alumnus 2015 & 2016).