November 17, 2022 – Boston-based search firm Arts Consulting Group (ACG) has been enlisted to find the next executive director for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). Wyona Lynch-McWhite, senior vice president, is leading the assignment for the search firm.
NEFA values an equitable, diverse, and inclusive world and is committed to hiring individuals who share, value, and support these goals, said ACG. The executive director will be expected to advance those values internally and externally. “They will be a creative and forward-thinking leader, fluent with issues in the greater national arts landscape, and understand the dynamics of cultural ecosystems across the U.S.,” the search firm said. “They will be committed to leading an organization with staff and board dedicated to anti-racist and equitable grantmaking and operational practices working toward new futures for artists, arts programming, artists relationships, and support.”
As the lead spokesperson and public face of NEFA, the executive director must have a passion for and comprehensive understanding of the organization’s mission, role, and potential as a regional arts organization, said ACG. The individual must develop a thorough knowledge of all the non-profit’s programs and how to leverage and amplify NEFA’s programs, funding, partnerships, stakeholders, organizational operations, and opportunities to advance the field.
The new leader must continue to elevate NEFA’s position as a driver of both regional and national initiatives, seeking opportunities to innovate and lead at both levels. This individual will be expected to strengthen and support a dedicated creative team, facilitating and aligning the work of staff and board around continued positive transformation and evolution. “They will establish strong authentic relationships with diverse constituents and communities,” said ACG. “They are expected to assess current programs and services and guide a collaborative strategic planning process that centers intersectional equity. The executive director will champion participatory and inclusive planning, decision making, and human centered leadership.”
Key Roles and Responsibilities
The role will revolve around strategic vision and leadership; communications, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement; organizational excellence; and governance and board relations.
Candidates should have an understanding of and demonstrated commitment to NEFA’s mission, programs, and grantmaking activities, with a passion for advancing more equitable futures and breaking down systemic barriers to access in the cultural industry, said ACG. They should also have a familiarity with, or a deep desire to learn about, the dynamics and nuances of New England’s creative communities and economy. A proven ability to strategically lead and manage an entity of a scale, function, and complexity similar to that of NEFA is essential, with expertise in planning, organizational development, and team building.
The successful candidate will have recognition as a thought leader in the arts and culture or a related field, known for creativity and innovation and possessing a broad knowledge of the performing, public art, presenting, and/or touring arenas, said the search firm. This individual will be expected to demonstrate successfully raising funds from a variety of sources, including cultivating and soliciting gifts from individuals, government entities, foundations, and corporations.
Founded in 1976, the New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities fostering equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA is a grantmaker, program initiator, aggregator of resources, and builder of creative partnerships among artists, arts organizations, businesses, and funders. NEFA’s programs are regional, national, and international in scope, and support artists and communities through grants and other opportunities in the performing arts, public art, and the creative economy.
Arts and Culture Recruiters
Arts Consulting Group provides interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities and program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. The firm has identified senior-level leaders for the Long Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Chicago Opera, Stockton Symphony Association and Portland Baroque Orchestra, among others. The firm has offices in Boston; Calgary; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Halifax; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; New York; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Tampa, FL; Toronto; and Washington, D.C.
Arts Consulting Group (ACG) has been enlisted to find the next artistic director for the Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina. Vice president Geoff Chang is leading the assignment. Last summer, Hope Muir stepped down from the ballet’s artistic director role to accept the same position with the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. Christopher Stuart, program director of Charlotte Ballet II and rehearsal director for the main company, has been serving as interim artistic director.
The Charlotte Ballet’s artistic director is charged with providing inspirational leadership and setting the organization’s artistic vision with a focus on collaboration and community engagement, said ACG.
President Bruce D. Thibodeau founded ACG in 1997 and has been part of numerous projects in all practice areas to grow institutional sustainability, advance the arts and culture sector, and enhance communities served by the industry. Dr. Thibodeau has guided hundreds of non-profit, university and government clients in achieving effective leadership transitions, planning cultural facilities, increasing revenues, developing dynamic institutional brands and messages, crafting strategic plans and business models, and revitalizing board governance practices.
Ms. Lynch-McWhite joined ACG as vice president in 2016, bringing more than 21 years of experience leading art, university, and multidisciplinary museums. Her areas of expertise include executive search, museum planning, organizational assessments, strategic visioning, fundraising, and diversity training. As an executive search practice leader, she has led numerous search processes throughout the U.S. and Canada, placing executive leaders for a wide range of nonprofit organizations, universities, and government agencies. Ms. Lynch-McWhite has also provided effective solutions in the areas of earned revenue enhancement, strategic planning, and museum planning.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media