Executive Program Q&A with Fabiola Delgado

By ,     Sep 11, 2017

Fabiola Delgado

Trained as an Attorney in her country, Venezuela, Fabiola has a history of advocacy and activism for Human Rights. She has a Masters in Gender as a Human Right and worked for Amnesty International, installing the first chapter of the NGO in her state, she also served as a Research Assistant at a national Gender Studies Unit and the Scientific and Humanistic Development Council of the University of Carabobo. Her activism led to political persecution, so Fabiola moved to the US and is an asylum seeker. Now, established in Washington DC, she’s pursuing her calling in the arts. She currently manages a Music Studio, she’s a Gallery Guide at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, organizes independent art and music events, and started a non-profit (KAMA DC) that fosters community through one-of-a-kind workshops led by refugees and migrants. Sometimes you’ll find her performing too, as a singer and a dancer.

Program Coordinator

Royce Hodnett

"Sometimes you're responsible for one specific area at your jobs, but this is like an X Ray: you get to see the whole thing right through..."


Fabiola came into the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy with the goal of one day running her own non-profit space. She wanted clarity around skills she already had and the space and time to deeply consider how an entire non-profit works. Read on to see how Fabiola left the program with more confidence and ready to take ownership of more and more work.

Can you tell me about where you were when you first applied to the program? Were you working? Where and what was your position?

I was working part time in a Drum/Music Studio as the Studio Manager, and I was also nannying (I was the CFO -Chief Family Officer- of 2 wonderful girls)

What were you specifically hoping to gain by participating in a continuing education program, such as this one?

I was hoping to gain the theoretical knowledge I hadn't gotten yet about the administration of Non-profits, especially ones related to the Arts. I studied Law, which prepared me for some things in life, but as my dreams changed with age, and I hope to have my own Art Gallery one day, I knew I needed something practical, tangible and dense that would work as a guideline for a future organization.

What ultimately made you decide to participate in this program as opposed to other programs?

I had great commentary from an NAS worker, Ariel Shelton, who kindly took the time to explained how the program worked, the expectations and some outcomes from former students. Also, the price, timeline and the fact that I could do this from home as I worked was very important!

How did you find the time commitment/workload? How did you balance this with a full-time work schedule?

I found it fine. At times, it felt a bit overwhelming with modules that were completely new to me, because I had to do some extra research (including concepts and plain new words in a second language) but overall, it was enough time, especially when the group discussions and homework were direct and concise.

What was your favorite course or session? Why?

I liked all the courses, but "Strategy and Positioning" and "Fundraising" were my favorites because of the dense but precise information that was shared. All information is necessary, but these seemed like the most important to understand and felt like the foundation of an organization. Everything else you can learn on the go. The instructors were phenomenal! Their teaching style resonated with me: clear, substantial, and to the point.

If you had to ask yourself what do I have now that I didn't have before the program, what would you say?

Honestly, I'd say confidence. Most of the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the Arts Field I already had (or at least partially had) but it takes structure and direction for those to be useful, and for you to be successful. I feel confident now in my abilities, and I feel more competent because I have literally learned a new language. Now I can apply for the jobs that I want, address those above me with certainty and poise, and be more sure of my actions and contributions to any institution in or out of my workplace.

What would you say to a colleague in the arts field deciding whether to attend this program?

Do it! It's an amazing program that enables you to look deeper into the mind of an organization and how its parts work. Sometimes you're responsible for one specific area at your jobs, but this is like an X Ray: you get to see the whole thing right through, and it'll give you the opportunity to grow out of your comfort zone and make more and better contributions at your work place.

We would like to thank Fabiola for sharing her experience in the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy with us. If you would like to learn more about the program, click here.