The Young and the Restless: Taking the Right Career Path

As an emerging leader, the road to professional success seems long and confusing. We experience the daily tension of being where we are with where we want to be. Particularly in a recovering economy, more young leaders are in jobs where they feel over-qualified and underpaid. It can be frustrating, but are we really as far off as we feel? If you’re like me, you can envision the perfect career in your mind, but you face the challenge of making it a reality. Or your frustration may come from not knowing what you want to do, but knowing you … [Read more...]

Are You a Board Member or a Bored Member?


As a leader who has a strong interest in boards and governance, I try to stay current on publications and discussions about board engagement. I have heard and read many opinions on how to keep a nonprofit board engaged, but it is usually advice for the executive director. Many articles, such as Guidestar's "Keeping Your Board Engaged for Your Cause," offer tips to the executive director about keeping a board informed and clear on their roles, goals and objectives. While this advice is extremely valid, I believe board engagement is a two-way … [Read more...]

Saying What We Mean


Last January, at NAS’ Chief Executive Program convening The New Nature of Relevance, I listened as participants discussed the language we use to communicate about the nonprofit cultural field. Some felt that our current language can intimidate and confuse those who are not familiar with the sector. “Charity” can make us sound needy and helpless, and “nonprofit” makes us sound frivolous and trivial. When I tell people I work in the nonprofit sector, I have often been asked if I earn a salary. These experiences have me thinking about whether we … [Read more...]

Creating the 21st Century Board


Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll feature posts around the final convening of our Chief Executive Program, The Summit at Sundance. We invite you to participate in an online discussion of four major issues facing the cultural field. In this post, Alorie Clark introduces the second problem statement. Governance is a certainly a hot topic for the nonprofit sector. Many organizations are finding that the traditional governance model isn’t working so well, sometimes leading to more stress than success. When considering all that … [Read more...]

Board Membership: Finding the Right Fit


As an emerging leader, it can be difficult finding a nonprofit board to join. I am full of passion, curiosity, hunger and drive, but figuring out the right organization in which to invest this energy can be challenging. Having taken the board and governance elective during my graduate school program, I am now interested in turning theoretical knowledge into practical experience. With an ultimate goal of becoming an executive director, I hope to start gaining governance experience as soon as possible. How do you begin to search for nonprofit … [Read more...]

Avoiding Brain Freeze: Wellness in the Workplace

CC image by Krosk@

Working in the arts can be extremely stressful. Coordinating exhibits, performances and openings takes much work, organization and cooperation. Personally, I love controlled chaos of starting a new run, but I know how mentally taxing it can be. As an emerging leader, I have not yet encountered mental burn out from working in the arts. I also manage to maintain a pretty good work/life balance. However, I have participated in and overheard conversations with many senior leaders about the challenges of maintaining balance while holding high-demand … [Read more...]

Stories from the Field: Boston Children’s Chorus

Boston Children's Chorus

Frederick Douglas once said “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” That quote has resonated with me since the day I discovered it, and I would imagine Hubie Jones had a similar mantra in mind when he founded the Boston Children’s Chorus nine years ago. The potent mental and emotional memory of Boston’s racial past attributes to the city’s current racial tension and siloed communities. By investing in the city’s youth, Boston Children’s Chorus is working to dispel the past, and progress toward an integrated future. By … [Read more...]