Honorary Chair Emeritus
Robert Bateman’s realistic and evocative painting style reflects his deep understanding and appreciation for nature, featuring wildlife in its natural habitat and encouraging the viewer to closely observe the natural world. Besides being one of Canada’s foremost artists, he is also a naturalist recognized by the Audubon Society as one of the 20th century’s “heroes of conservation.” He was born in 1930 in Toronto and grew up exploring the natural areas of the Beltline trail next to his home.
In 1954, he graduated with a degree in geography from Victoria College in the University of Toronto. Afterwards, he attended Ontario College of Education. Starting in 1957, Bateman travelled around the world for 14 months in a Land Rover with his friend, Bristol Foster. As they made their way through Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, Bateman painted and sketched what he saw.
Bateman became a high school teacher of art and geography, and continued focusing his life on art and nature. He is a spokesman for many environmental and preservation issues, using his art to raise millions of dollars for these causes. His work started to receive major recognition in the 1970s and 1980s. Robert Bateman’s show in 1987, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, drew the largest crowd for a living artist.
Robert has received numerous honours and awards, including Officer of the Order of Canada, Order of BC, Life Member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and fourteen honorary doctorates. He has been the subject of several films and books including The Art of Robert Bateman , The World of Robert Bateman , An Artist in Nature , Natural Worlds , Thinking Like a Mountain , Birds , New Works,  and Life Sketches  as well as several children’s books.
Robert now resides on Salt Spring Island with his wife Birgit Freybe Bateman whom he married in 1975. He has five children, Alan, Sarah, John, Christopher and Robby, plus over eight grandchildren. At 90, Robert continues a schedule of daily painting, public talks and advocating nature.
David has been in the investment industry for over 30 years, holding a number of senior management positions. David focuses on a core group of clients, providing exceptional individual service with access to one of the most robust investment networks available. David is very active in the community, and has held many board positions over the last two decades in Victoria. He was Past Chair of the Gustavson Board of Advisors and was a board member at Pacific Opera, RBCM Foundation, Victoria Golf Club, and advisory board member at Power To Be. Presently, David is the Chair of the Bateman Foundation and Co-Founder of the UVIC Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
John Bateman was born in Burlington, Ontario in 1968. His early years were spent in the rural surroundings of the Niagara Escarpment with many natural and artistic influences around him. In 1977, at age 9, John moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with his mother, step father, older brother and sister.
In January, 1990, John enrolled in the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) where he majored in Printmaking and Sculpture. It was there he met his future wife, artist, Jocelyn Ferguson. In 1992 Bateman suspended his studies to open a recording studio. During this time, John began designing album covers and eventually sat as a judge for the Juno awards in the design category. In 1998, tired of working in front of a computer for a living, John returned to NSCAD to complete his BFA. Upon completion of his degree, he joined NSCAD woodshop director Ken Lamb as a shop technician and teaching assistant. Through Ken’s enthusiasm and knowledge, John’s passion for woodworking began.
In January of 2001, John and Jocelyn moved to Kenya to work in a furniture production shop. There he supervised proper wood treatment, drying and categorizing, while Jocelyn focused on the business side of the shop. In September of that same year the two moved to Salt Spring Island with the intention of settling down and starting a family. Here he continued with woodworking doing commissions for local clients. While living on Salt Spring, John started creating his boxes as a means of artistic expression. With an emphasis on composition, proportion and precision, John continues to explore and refine his skills as a woodworking artist. He now has two children, Annie and James. John has been Chair of the Bateman Foundation since 2015 and enjoys the opportunity of introducing his father at many of the events held at the gallery.
Lisa has been a Bateman Foundation Executive Board member since 2014, serving as vice-chair and currently holding the position of secretary. She brings to the Foundation over 15 years of executive management experience, leading organizations across a wide variety of industries. Lisa is managing partner and a senior consultant at Elevate Consulting, providing strategic advisory services in the areas of strategy, planning and organizational transformation since 2010. Lisa began her career in hospitality as owner operator of Cassis Bistro, a 55-seat restaurant in Victoria, BC. Following this, she held senior leadership positions at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. The culmination of Lisa’s career in hospitality was opening the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa where she held the position of general manager, overseeing operations of the hotel, spa, fine dining restaurant, art gallery and café.
Lisa has a lifelong love of learning. She obtained her Masters in Executive Business Management through Royal Roads University where she also currently holds the position of Associate Faculty, instructing in the Faculty of Business. Lisa has a long history of volunteering within her community. In addition to her position on the Bateman board, she has volunteered with Tourism Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Peninsula Celebrations Society. A mother of two boys, she is passionate about supporting the Foundation’s commitment to connecting children with nature.
Dilhari Fernando is a Director General at the Government of Canada. She is proud of her contribution to many federal Departments and Agencies, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Industry, Science and Innovation Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Privy Council Office, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Over these years, she has specialized in public policy, strategy, operations, change management and international affairs.
From 2013-2015, Dilhari served as the Executive Director of the not-for-profit Invasive Species Centre, where she helped to deliver programs and led awareness activities to help protect nature.
She credits her multidisciplinary education to helping her view issues from many sides. Dilhari holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa, Master of Forestry Economics from the University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Science from Western, and a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of Toronto. Currently based in Ottawa, Ontario, Dilhari considers herself very fortunate to have worked and lived in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and British Columbia.
As a bilingual member of the Board of Directors, Dilhari is excited to bring the Bateman Foundation to the Nation’s Capital!
Dr. Clark Svrcek is a family health physician in the first five years of his practice. A small town Alberta boy, Clark attended the University of Alberta for his engineering and medical degrees before moving south to the University of Calgary for residency. After locuming in rural Alberta and the greater Calgary region, Clark worked in a medical home in NW Calgary before taking a new position at the South Health Campus Family Medicine teaching clinic.
Clark has strong interests in health system design and how the built environment influences both individual and community health. When not working, Clark can be found outside in nature with his family, playing music, or desperately trying to organize thousands of digital photos.
Clark has been on the board of the Bateman Foundation since 2014 and is chair of the foundation’s Health Research Advisory. He is also treasurer and board member of the Alberta College of Family Physicians.
Dorion Ann Kingsmill
Rob has worked as an urban planner in both the private and public sectors since receiving a Master of Arts in Community and Regional Planning (Urban Design Concentration) from the University of British Columbia in 2008. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and a Registered Professional Planner. Rob is passionate about planning cities that are great places for people to live, work, and play while respecting the natural environment. Currently, he is a senior planner with the City of Victoria, where he manages development applications and oversees the application processes. Rob lives in Victoria where he enjoys spending time with his family and experiencing nature through outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and kayaking.
As a brand, marketing and fundraising professional, Gregg has made a career of promoting products, services and causes that he believes in. Gregg is currently a Vice President with DCG Philanthropic Services, a Saskatchewan-based fundraising and marketing organization that works across Canada. Prior to DCG, Gregg spent six years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club as Vice President of Marketing. The Roughriders have been ranked among Canada’s strongest sports brands and consistently lead the league in revenues and community engagement.
Prior to the Roughriders, Gregg spent eight years with Nokia Mobile Phones where he was Global Director of Media Partnership Development and Marketing, driving mobile content adoption with some of the world’s largest media brands. Gregg also served as Director of Consumer Products with the National Football League in New York, and Managing Director of the LEGO Toy Group’s Media division in North America, where he led brand, marketing and sales functions for LEGO interactive products. Gregg has been a frequent lecturer on topics of brand and marketing at business schools and has spoken at marketing, sports and digital conferences in Canada, the US and Europe.
Gregg is a dual Canadian/US citizen and now calls Victoria home where he also has a son attending the University of Victoria.
Donna has spent her career in financial services, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer of iconic insurer, The Guarantee Company of North America. Donna is known for her strength in strategic planning, and leadership of high performance teams and innovation. Donna’s involvement with The Bateman Foundation began in 2018 through a corporate sponsorship of educational programs and the Grizzly exhibit. She wholeheartedly supports The Bateman Foundation’s vision of creating an enduring connection between people and nature. Born and raised in Montreal, Donna now calls home a rural property in Campbellville, Ontario, on which conservation is practiced. In 1999, Donna founded Emeritus Shepherds; she competes internationally with her German Shepherd Dogs.
Jan Frolic is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for advocacy. After 16 years running a media sales agency for the largest network of Arts & Entertainment publications in Canada, Jan has used the last seven years honing both her advocacy and entrepreneurial skills as SVP Global Engagement at Women of Influence Worldwide Inc., a global organization that works for the advancement of women in the workplace. Jan’s primary role is to build WOI’s brand globally and to create networks of vibrant women and men who are investing in diversity and inclusion personally and professionally.
Jan has also recently Co-Founded boypro-ject: an organization that creates archetype-based, in-school curriculum dismantling stereotypes around masculinity. Jan has a particular focus on inclusion and the requirement for systemic change in how we create space for both our authentic selves and those of our peers and colleagues.
Jan’s second love and passion is connecting people. Building relationships is what she does for a living and in life. She strives to live her life with kindness, integrity, fun, and with a lot of laughing. Her first love and most important role is to raise happy and kind, socially aware kids into socially responsible adults. Jan is a mother to three teenagers. For the record, Jan has zero artistic ability and will stick to strumming three chords on her guitar in her spare time.
Kent is a husband and father for two boys, and has lived in Victoria since 2005. Prior to moving to Victoria, Kent grew up in Fredericton, New Brunswick where he also went to university and started his professional career. Kent is a partner in the Assurance and Business Advisory group with Grant Thornton LLP, an international leading firm in accounting, tax, and advisory. Kent has been helping organizations of all sizes to grow and evolve for almost twenty years. He is extremely passionate about helping businesses identify operational opportunities and gain efficiencies. Kent is past board member for the Capital Region Urban Development Institute and the Canadian College of Performing Arts.
“My family is passionate about conservation and, after meeting with the executive director to understand more about the Foundation, I was very impressed with the programming you are putting together for children.”
Neil is an artist, a creator, and the founder of Leap XD.
Leap is a boutique creative design and web development studio in Victoria, BC. We carry art in our hearts and innovation in our minds, marrying the two for unforgettable brands and bespoke designs that stand the test of time. We play to the latest trends in design and development, ensuring sure our clients are always ahead of the curve and on top of their game in our increasingly competitive online and real-world markets.
Neil has worked in traditional design media to develop digital solutions and websites since the internet was in its infancy. The common thread between any project undertaken by Leap is adhesion to a high level of standards that he adamantly upholds. Neil’s hands-on approach ensures that people-focused design philosophy and simple design solutions.
“The Bateman Foundation brand resonates with me and combines two of the things that I’m most passionate about in life: art and nature. Mr. Bateman has inspired me to create and explore the world around us. I believe that I can bring fresh ideas to the Bateman Foundation and offer guidance and support to help raise awareness for the brand and its initiatives.”