Executive Program Q&A: Emma Wall

Emma Wall

Emma holds a senior management position at the North Carolina Symphony with over two decades of marketing experience in the orchestra industry. But her expertise in the field didn’t overpower her curiosity to learn more. Emma wanted to gain knowledge about the broader spectrum of the nonprofit world and applied to the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy. Read on to follow her journey:

Can you tell us about where you were when you first applied to the program?

I was and currently am working for the North Carolina Symphony as the Assistant Vice President for Marketing. 

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

I was hoping to gain a broader knowledge of other departments within the nonprofit world.  For example, finance, fundraising etc. to round out my resume.

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

I applied to this program because of the class offerings and I liked the length of the program, I felt like I would take away so much more knowledge with an 8-month course.

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

At first it was a bit daunting, but after a couple of weeks I got into a routine that worked for me and my other commitments.  I liked that I could take the class when it was convenient for me which sometimes was at midnight.

What was your favorite course or session?

My favorite session was at the in person convening.  To meet everyone in person that you have been communicating virtually with was an incredible experience.  I also really liked all the speakers and the presentations, in particular I enjoyed the negotiation class.

Tell us about your experience with the online learning component.   

I thought the online canvas platform was easy to understand and navigate.  I enjoyed the participation discussions as it felt like you were in a real classroom discussing with each other.

What are the top 3 most valuable skills/takeaways from this program?

Number one must be “how might we” – just by using that phrase to one of my teammates, we can begin to change the conversation.  The impact management course was interesting as it can sometimes be hard to be able to trace impact in your community, this course gave me some skills to be able to do a better job of that.

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

I have a greater understanding of other departments within my organization and what they do.

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

I would say that it was well worth the time and effort.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just want to say thank you for accepting me into this program, it was a wonderful learning experience and everyone from the teachers, fellows, admin and fellow students have been so helpful.

At NAS we believe in curiosity and continuous learning. Emma’s story reflects many of our participants, who look to gain a wider knowledge of the arts and culture field even after working in the sector for an extended period. The learning never stops.