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Katy Clark, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Katy Clark

Katy Clark is president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She came to the Chief Executive Program as president and executive director of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

The orchestra, founded in New York City in the 1970s, had recently opened a new building that doubled as a community center. It faced two challenges for which she sought assistance: 1) creating a codified and long-term succession plan for the large number of musicians approaching retirement; and 2) pivoting the orchestra’s business model to deliver move value through the new community center without deviating from the organization’s mission.

“There are muscles you flex when you do a program like the Chief Executive Program that you don’t use all the time,” Katy says. “I found it bracing, refreshing, and interesting.”

One of her biggest takeaways from the program was interacting with geographically and organizationally diverse cohorts to address field-wide issues and share best practices. Coming from a background in music, she was looking to connect with leaders in other parts of the cultural sector. “I found it useful to talk to people who run organizations of different sizes,” she says. “Leadership positions can be quite isolating. There was a trusting environment in the program which allowed you show up in ways you simply can’t in other places. It was liberating to talk leader-to-leader.”

She feels the Chief Executive Program’s curriculum helped her build confidence in driving organizational changes. Working on strategy while convening at the Harvard Business School, practicing difficult conversations while at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and having discussions on networking, revenue generation, and expanding core practices proved invaluable.

“I think about those case studies and seminars on strengthening your strategy, and still draw on those lessons. These opportunities rarely come one’s way. I cannot recommend enough this rigorous and thoughtfully designed program.”