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The Chief Executive Program™
Action Plans
Program Timeline
Recruitment Process
Program Fellows

Upcoming Opportunities


Business of Arts and Culture

New York | May 1-2, 2014

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Apply by May 7, 2014

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Business of Arts and Culture

Chicago | July 24-25, 2014

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The Summit at Sundance

November 2-5, 2014

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The Chief Executive Program


Funding Partners

The development of this program was made possible by the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fidelity Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

These three foundations have made an extraordinary commitment over many years to help arts and culture institutions address key challenges. We would like to thank each of them for their support – for NAS and the cultural sector.


Email or call NAS with questions about this program.


Throughout the program, NAS will help leaders work individually and in groups to broaden their thinking about their environments and how to lead change. We will support their efforts to bring new ideas to their organizations and communities. By the end of the experience, participants will have the ideas, tools and connections to collectively strengthen the cultural sector. They will join their colleagues from the first cohort of The Chief Executive Program as a network of leaders and organizations positioned to introduce field-level change.

Putting new ideas into action requires change, and change doesn’t happen overnight. We believe it is a result of learning, and that true learning comes about through cycles of exploration, reflection, application and sharing. This personal and organizational growth requires an investment of time and energy, but it’s an investment that will help leaders make sense of the challenges they face and find opportunities they might have missed. We understand the time constraints faced by top executives, and we ensure that the program provides the ideas, tools and support that these leaders can put to work in their own organizations.


The Experience

The Chief Executive Program is built around two learning cycles that will help leaders explore, reflect, apply and share concepts that address the two biggest challenges for cultural institutions – deepening their connections to their communities and leading change. Throughout the program, they will also have opportunities to think beyond the walls of their own organizations, to debate the big-picture questions facing the cultural field and how we can respond to them. At the program’s end, leaders will meet one more time to draw upon their learning and harness the collective brainpower of the community to explore answers to these questions.

Learning Cycle

During the selection process, leaders shared the organizational objectives they hope to achieve over the course fo the program and the issues they see for the field. Over the first few months of the program, leaders will make connections with their colleagues and the NAS team. NAS provides tools and platforms to help participants connect around the issues they outlined during the selection process. We’ll also lead them through activities like building an action plan to help tailor the program to their style and needs.

Action plans will be the maps participants use to navigate the program and achieve the objectives they’ve set. They will be living documents that will help leaders incorporate the ideas and learning into their everyday work in an effective and meaningful way.

Learn more about the action plans »

During the program, participants will come together at three in-person events and will participate in a variety of “at-work” activities designed to help them move forward on the key objectives they have defined. These events and activities are designed to give participants a deeper understanding of the strategic challenges they face, a firm grasp of change leadership and the ability to translate their visions for the future into reality.

View a timeline of the program »

All participants in The Chief Executive Program received a fellowship covering the full cost of tuition. Participants are responsible for their own travel costs to in-person events.

How did NAS choose the executives? Learn more about the selection criteria and recruitment process »




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The complex issues involved in leading a cultural nonprofit today can challenge even the most skilled management team. Using our first-hand experience in the arts and working with faculty from leading business and graduate schools, we deliver executive-level programs that help you find new opportunities, manage your resources and lead your organization toward its mission.


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