Shawn St. Michael is the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at The Royal Conservatory where she oversees the management of board relations and the execution of fundraising initiatives, including the Growing Greatness Campaign.
Prior to joining The Royal Conservatory in mid-2013, Shawn served as Executive Director, Development for the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she oversaw the evolution in the organization’s fundraising and advancement program, rooted in an ambitious strategic plan related to the AGO’s major reconstruction. As the campaign director for Transformation AGO, Shawn played a key role in an ambitious, complex project that included significant capital and endowment targets. Campaign goals were achieved, and then surpassed, in advance of the public opening in 2008.
Transformation AGO is heralded as the most successful cultural campaign in Canadian history, having raised $306M. Also under Shawn’s leadership, the organization introduced new and innovative methods to generate support, including a multi-year corporate partnerships program, a number of new signature special events, a range of affinity programs including a Young Patrons membership group, as well as the launch of the campaign for the new Weston Family Learning Centre. During her tenure from 1994 to 2013, the AGO’s annual development revenue grew by a remarkable 700 percent, and the organization’s stature as a leader and innovator among North American art museums was firmly established.
As Director of Development for the Stratford Festival from 1990–94, and earlier as Manager, Corporate Funding and Senior Development Officer, Shawn implemented a sophisticated organization structure to enable the Festival to reach its full potential. She engaged volunteers to play a more active role in fundraising, embraced and harnessed the power of technology to support development efforts, and created unique donor partnerships. Through her management and resourcefulness, Shawn laid the groundwork for capital and endowment campaigns that would significantly enhance Stratford’s profile as North America’s leading classical theatre.
Shawn was the first Canadian to be appointed president of the Art Museum Development Association in that organization’s then 40-year history, and in 2011 hosted its first annual conference in Canada. In 2009 she was awarded the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Fundraising Award for the many contributions she had made throughout her career to AFP’s Toronto Chapter, the largest chapter in North America. Shawn is active in her community and supports a variety of international development, healthcare, and arts organizations.