"And the beat goes on…………………"
Note: For bios on the Forum participants, please see last week's blog post (or, if you are on the blog site, scroll down).
Future of State Arts Agencies and NASAA - Day #5
What are the innovations in association management that the leadership of NASAA and its incoming staff leader need to consider emulating and embracing, and why? And what kinds of skills and vision ought NASAA be looking for in its new Chief Executive Officer?
I think we need to find a new CEO for NASAA who can, first and foremost, build effective relationships designed to promote the growth and development of the field. That person needs to be visionary and passionate about the arts, and the role that state arts agencies can play in advancing the arts in our country. I'm less concerned about new innovations in association management, but I would expect our new leader to be aware of these innovations and think critically about which might help move NASAA forward.
When I think of organizations that NASAA could be, I think of two very different models. One is the labor union model that spent so much effort fighting for rights and share of funds that they largely missed the movement toward collaborative work and joint interest in product and company success.
NASAA is a crucial and necessary organization for the arts sector and I see tremendous opportunities for its next leader to build on organization’s legacy of achievement. The new CEO should bring not only programmatic and policy experience to the position, but a proven track record of building cross-sector partnerships.
A few bits of additional unsolicited advice for the search team and NASAA’s new leader:
Go Global – In addition to learning from cultural leaders across the country, NASAA should consider going global by hosting conversations with the world’s foremost thinkers and visionaries on topics at the intersection of the arts and public policy. In addition to showcasing how other countries are addressing shared challenges and opportunities, bringing in international leaders could also reinforce the exclusive benefits of NASAA membership.
CEO/Digital Director – To keep up with the breakneck pace of change in technology, new media and digital tools are critical to the success of all institutions. Recognizing that digital integration is a core aspect of every function, NASAA’s new leader should also serve as its “digital director.”
Diversity & Inclusion – Issues of equity, diversity and inclusion continue to challenge leaders in the arts sector. In order to stay relevant and thrive, we need to get better at recruiting, retaining, and managing a diverse workforce at all levels. To foster an environment of inclusion within the organization and throughout the field, NASAA’s new CEO should have a clear and proven commitment to diversity.
That's my two cents and I'm sticking to it.
I’m not up on the innovations in association management, frankly. I can’t wait to read what others have to say about this!
As to skills and vision NASAA ought to look for in its new executive director, the board of directors of NASAA has developed a list of attributes it would like to see, which will be included in the search announcement for the position later this month. I’m not going to scoop that list here. But here are skills most important to me:
- Understands the whole arts industry culture and a vision for how to address the mission of NASAA, which is to strengthen state arts agencies
- Understands the political challenges that face state and federal arts agencies
- Knowledge of the arts and their benefits to the economy, education and community revitalization, as well as the importance of government funding and resources in advancing these benefits
- Understands that NASAA is a member-driven organization and its central work is to meet the needs of its members
- Successful public policy development and hands-on advocacy accomplishments
- Understands that the key to almost everything is relationship-building
- Fund and entrepreneurial development
- Non-partisan approach to all NASAA’s political and advocacy work
- Maintains a strong state arts agency voice in partnership development, including the partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts
- Strong diplomatic skills and an effective negotiator
- Committed to diversity and inclusiveness
- Ability to balance 50,000’ visionary thinking with the hands-on reality of our world in the trenches and provide meaningful leadership in both milieu
- A good sense of humor and a glass half-full approach to life and work