Board of Directors

Gordon Slade
Chairman, CM

Gordon Slade, originally from Placentia Bay, has spent much of his career in public service, serving as Deputy Minister of Fisheries for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and as Vice-President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. In 1996, Slade became an independent consultant in the fields of heritage, cultural tourism and community development. From 2002 to 2010, he was CEO of One Ocean, an organization that encourages dialogue between the fishing and petroleum industries. Slade is the former Chair and Managing Director of Battle Harbour Historic Trust. In 2005, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in recognition for his work in preserving and promoting the province’s heritage.

Zita Cobb

Zita Cobb
Co-Founder and CEO

Zita Cobb grew up on Fogo Island and went on to a career as a senior finance professional in the high technology industry. She was the Chief Financial Officer of JDS Fitel, and Senior Vice President of strategy for fiber optics manufacturer JDS Uniphase. In 2001, Cobb left the industry to pursue her personal goals and to dedicate her energies to philanthropic work. She founded Shorefast Foundation, moved home to Fogo Island (while maintaining a residence in Ottawa) and is now actively involved in projects to contribute to a resilient and vibrant future for Fogo Island and Change Islands.

Anthony Cobb
Co-Founder and Treasurer

Anthony Cobb spent his formative professional years in the technology sector as a software designer and project manager. In the early 1990’s, he formed a retail and wholesale business in Ontario, before going on to found an independent consulting firm focused on strategic technology investments. Cobb has led multi-disciplinary teams in selecting and implementing technologies at small- and medium-sized businesses throughout North America.

Alan Cobb
Co-Founder and Secretary

Alan Cobb enjoyed a long career in the senior ranks of the federal public service and in the private sector. He has worked in policy and operations for a number of federal ministries including Industry, Science and Technology, Treasury Board, and Employment and Immigration. He also headed the initial federal offshore oil and gas regulatory agency, based in St. John’s, After retiring from the federal government, Cobb provided strategic management consulting services to the public and private sectors and worked with a leading technology firm as advisor to the CEO. He now devotes his time to serving on Shorefast’s Board of Directors.


Barbara McInnes, C.M.

Retired President & CEO, Community Foundation of Ottawa, Barbara McInnes was with the Community Foundation since its inception in 1987, overseeing its growth to what is now one of the largest and most highly regarded of Canada’s 190+ community foundations. Barbara was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008 for her contributions as a leader and catalyst for the development of community-based philanthropy in her city, across Canada and around the world. Active in her community, she has been a Governor of Carleton University, President of the Ottawa Estate Planning Council and of the Ottawa School of Art, Board Member of the United Way and numerous other professional associations and voluntary sector boards. Having received many honours and awards for her work, she is now enjoying the next very active phase of her life.

Glen Best

Glen Best is a professional Fish Harvester and Fishing Master who grew up on Fogo Island. He is Co-owner of Glen and Gerry Fisheries Inc. involved in fishing for Snow Crab, Northern Shrimp and Turbot. He holds certificates from Transport Canada and the Marine Institute of Memorial University in fishing and marine safety. He also was awarded the Gerald Butler Award from the Marine Institute in 1992. Glen has served as member of the Fogo Island Fisheries Coop for the past 24 years, occupying the position of President for three of those years. He has also been active in community service during his career, serving as coach of the Fogo Island minor hockey league with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.


Rob Nelson, L.L.B.

Rob Nelson is the President of Nelson ADR, a consulting and dispute resolution firm in Ottawa. Prior to this, Rob was a partner of the Ottawa law firm of Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson LLP where he specialized in Civil Litigation. Rob has made significant contribution to the legal community through his service as President of the County of Carleton Law Association, Executive Director of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Canada, and from 1999-2004, heading a team which won the World Bank competition to introduce dispute resolution techniques into Russia and Albania. Based on these experiences, Rob wrote the text book Nelson on ADR.

Rob has a long history of community involvement in Ottawa serving three terms as President of the Ottawa Mission, as founding Board Member for Help Lesotho (a Canadian NGO working in Lesotho, Africa) and contributions in creating Lawyers for Social Responsibility. In addition to working with Shorefast, Rob sits on the Board of 199 Holland and remains actively involved with the Anglican Church of Canada.

Rob’s son-in-law, Keith Donahue, was born and raised on Fogo Island where his family still lives.

Bob Sirman

Robert Sirman is former Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, Canada’s national arts funder based in Ottawa. Prior to joining the Council, Sirman spent 15 years as co-director of Canada’s National Ballet School, spearheading an award-winning capital expansion program that tripled the School’s physical plant and helped secure its reputation as one of the finest professional training institutions in the world. Other leadership experience includes 10 years at the Ontario Arts Council as Director of Operations and Director of Policy Planning and five years in Ontario’s first Ministry of Culture as Ministerial Advisor.

Sirman holds a BA and MA from the University of Toronto in Sociology. He has served on the Boards of many not-for-profit organizations, including the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies based in Sydney, Australia. In January 2015 Sirman was appointed to a three-year term as Senior Fellow in Arts Management at the University of Toronto Scarborough.


Diane Hodgins

Diane Hodgins
Chief Financial Officer

Diane works with investors and other partners in the philanthropic, government and educational communities to achieve the Foundation’s mission. Her experience working with entrepreneurs in both the profit and non-profit fields as a Chartered Accountant adds a unique perspective to the strong leadership team. Diane is passionate about sharing the merits of the Fogo Island project, an alternative business model where social and economic value are achieved in tandem.

Amy Rowsell
Communications Coordinator

Amy’s role with Shorefast is diverse and varied, allowing her to employ her writing, research, and communication skills. She works closely with Zita Cobb in the planning and scheduling of speaking engagements, as well as various other Shorefast-related projects. Though born and raised in Ottawa, Amy’s paternal ancestry is based in Newfoundland and she is thrilled to work with an organization that has allowed her to “come home.” Amy has a background in the arts and is a graduate of Canterbury High School’s vocal music program. She has a BA (honours double major in history and gender studies) from The University of Ottawa, and an MA in the history of medicine from McGill University.

Kingman Brewster
Design and Development

Kingman Brewster moved to Fogo Island from Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in northern Vermont and he has an undergraduate degree from Yale University. Kingman has worked in many sectors of building trades from boat building to set construction. He earned a Masters degree in Architecture from Dalhousie University and has worked on a wide range of architectural projects and practices in far flung locations.

Peter Decker
Shorefast Ambassador and Operations Manager for the Great Fogo Island Punt Race

Pete is regularly called a man and a half. In the tradition of other great Newfoundlanders, Pete is a fisherman and a sealer. To make a living he has worked in the woods, driven trucks, painted buildings, fixed trucks, loaded train cars, cooked on a cargo ship, hunted, worked on construction sites, shoed horses, worked in the engine rooms and decks of oil tankers, packed fish onto ships for overseas markets, and too many more things to mention. Pete loves Fogo Island and has managed to keep body, soul and family together by working ‘away’ when necessary but never moving away.

Pete is Shorefast’s Ambassador who welcomes all to Fogo Island and provides exceptional hosting services. If you have a question – Pete can help you find the answer. Pete also manages the Shorefast fleet of wooden punts and is the Operations Manager for the Great Fogo Island Punt Race. But like his life, Pete’s work takes him to many other roles and contributions. Pete’s greatest stress in life comes at the moment he points his muzzle loader, Long Tom, into the air to start The Great Fogo Island Punt Race and his greatest pleasure is the moment it fires successfully.

Nicolaus Schafhausen

Nicolaus Schafhausen
Strategic Advisor

Nicolaus Schafhausen has extensive experience in contemporary art, serving as Director of Frankfurter Kunstverein and founding Director of the European Kunsthalle, curator at the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art in Helsinki (NIFCA) and German Pavilion for the 52nd and the 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as head of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam from 2006 to 2012. Nicolaus is now serving as Director at Kunsthalle Wien and lectures at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent. In addition to Schaffhausen’s extensive experience in leading institutions and curating exhibitions, he is author and editor of numerous publications on contemporary art. In his work with Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Arts, Nicolaus leads the vision of the artist residency program, engaging artists in dialogue on the role of contemporary art in creating alternative solutions for the revitalisation of rural communities prone to emigration.

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