|Project:||Workplace Leadership Development|
|Organization:||Fairbanks Arts Association|
Fairbanks Arts Association's annual Art EXPO, an opportunity for artists and arts organizations to showcase and sell their work.
Local arts agencies and arts enabling organizations are uniquely positioned to serve as an example for the community of arts organizations that they serve. Sustaining a strong arts leadership within the community is equally important to programs and services, especially during a time when a new generation of arts administrators are entering the workforce. Organizations that focus on professional development for their staff not only add to their benefits package, but serve the arts community by properly training and educating the future leaders of our field. Models of strong leadership support between current and next generation leaders can be looked to for examples on how we can work together to create positive and thriving working relationships between multiple generations. The Fairbanks Arts Association (FAA), the designated local arts agency in Fairbanks, AK, is one of those models.
FAA Executive Director June Rogers makes professional development and staff growth a priority at her organization. In 2007, June recruited one of her former interns, Melissa Hougland, to take the position of Deputy Director. Melissa relocated from Arizona to take the position, with the long-term intention that she would take over June’s position when she retired.
Other staff members at Fairbanks Arts Association are also supported with professional development opportunities as well. Program Coordinator Carey Seward recently attended the Alaska Initiative for Community Engagement (Alaska ICE), which serves as the youth advocacy branch of the Association of Alaska School Boards. Carrie worked to develop strategies for reaching out to youth artists with the intention of putting them in community leadership positions. Carrie fits the definition of an emerging arts leader, and opportunities such as Alaska ICE give her an opportunity to show her leadership in her community and state.
When asked how the Fairbanks Arts Association encourages leadership development in their community, June responded that she consistently advocates for hiring young people for activities. She operates with the belief that veteran leaders need to move aside to make room for new ideas, but that they should always be available to provide advice and counsel.
June’s commitment to leadership development for her own staff and those working in her community can be a model for other communities. It is important to note that June’s efforts to support her staff and community did not cost the organization many resources; instead, by strengthening each of her staff individually, she is serving her organization’s mission to provide technical assistance, service, and information to her arts community locally and statewide. Fairbanks Arts Association is a great example of how an organization and community can work cross generationally to create a strong support system for artists and residents. When individuals of an organization of all ages feel supported, the organization and field as a whole thrives.
Here are some other tips and ideas for implementing professional development into your organization. These tips are generally simple to put into practice.
- Schedule one-on-one lunches with your staff to check in, serve as a mentor, and answer any questions about the work you’re doing or the field in general.
- If you have not done so already, establish six-month or annual performance reviews with all paid staff (full-time and part-time).
- If you are a grantmaking organization, consider adding a question to your grant applications that ask organizations about the professional development opportunities available to their staff. For individual applicants, ask them when they last attended a professional development opportunity (locally, regionally, or nationally).
- Make sure to communicate professional development opportunities to all paid staff.
- Is there an Emerging Leaders Network in your community? Consider partnering with this network to demonstrate the importance of professional development in the field.
|Organization Contact:||Melissa Hougland|