Unison Fund Announces Impressive Executive Board
Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, replaces Bernie Breen as Chair of the Unison Fund and (former Ontario Creates consultant and FACTOR executive) Mark Watts is named Vice Chair of the not-for-profit.Benjamin has worked in the music industry for over 25 years - first as a touring and recording artist and then as executive director of both Folk Music Ontario (2001) and the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (2008) prior to her role as President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.
She also sits as a board member for the Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa Film Office. Over the years she has served a wide variety of organizations as a board member including Folk Alliance International, the Songwriters Association of Canada, the National Arts Centre’s Creation Fund, RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, and others. She is the proud recipient of several awards including the Ontario 150 Award (2017), the United Way’s Community Ambassador Award (2019), Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s Resiliency Award (2021), and the Spirit of Folk Award (FAI, 2022), all in recognition of her service to the community.
In a press release, Executive Director Amanda Power stated that “I’m thrilled to welcome Erin Benjamin as our new Chair. Her wealth of experience, passion and deep-rooted relationships within the Canadian music industry are invaluable assets to our organization, particularly as we continue to expand our footprint as Canada’s music industry charity.”Watts' background includes growing up around his family-owned record store and he has since spent his entire career in the Canadian music industry. He began touring as a musician before moving into a career focused on delivering government and private sector investment funding to recording artists, music businesses, and offering advice on strategic related initiatives. Most recently a program consultant for the Ontario Music Office within Ontario Creates, Watts was instrumental in the successful creation, launch and delivery of the Ontario Music Fund (OMF), now known as the Ontario Music Investment Fund. He previously managed the Intellectual Property Development Fund and worked in both film and music production tax credit programs, in addition to playing a pivotal role at FACTOR as General Manager. Watts has served on the Unison Board since 2020 and currently sits as a Board Member for Music PEI.
“Mark’s expertise in the non-profit sector will be instrumental as he moves into the role of Vice-Chair with Unison,” Power stated. “An active champion on behalf of the Canadian music community with a vested interest in growth and development, Mark brings with him a diverse skill set vital to the ongoing advancement of The Unison Fund.”
As per the announcement, “The Unison Fund would also like to acknowledge and extend a gracious thanks to departing Board members Erin Lowers and Andy Maize for their time and considerable efforts to the organization, as well as a very special thank you to immediate Past Chair Bernie Breen. Their dedication, hard work and commitment to building and growing Unison have left an indelible and lasting imprint on the organization.”
Erin Benjamin, Chair
Mark Watts, Vice Chair
Brian Huston, Treasurer
Charlotte Thompson, Secretary