Sasha Suda, director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada

Sasha Suda
Editor's Note

Each year, OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade honour 40 of the region’s top young entrepreneurs, business executives and civic leaders and recognize them for their professional achievements, expertise and community service.

Click here to see the full list of the 2020 recipients and click here to watch the special Ottawa Stronger Together broadcast honouring the year’s recipients.

 

In just over a year, Sasha Suda has reinvented one of the city’s most treasured cultural institutions with the goal of reconnecting with the local community and engaging a younger, broader audience. 

Joining the National Gallery of Canada as the youngest director and CEO in more than a century – and the youngest woman ever appointed – Suda was quick to establish the gallery’s first-ever strategic pillar plan, which focuses on resetting institutional values and curating exhibits that spark conversations.

With an extensive background in art direction and curation, Suda made bringing more relevance to the gallery her top priority – a task she tackled by refreshing the free access public spaces of the gallery and filling them with artwork. She also led a rebranding of the space as a unique cultural destination and venue, which attracted Shopify’s annual Global Summit Reception in 2019. 

In her first year as chief executive officer, she’s also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically affected the gallery. In response to its temporary closure, Suda provided oversight and leadership in the development of a digital project that features online articles, videos and archival material to continue to engage audiences from home.

She has also contributed to numerous publications and articles throughout her career and continues to engage with the broader Ottawa community, specifically the region’s Indigneous community. In 2019, Suda helped open the Abadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu Continuel exhibition at the gallery, the largest recurring Indigenous contemporary art exhibition in the world.