National Arts Strategies Announces Leaders Chosen to Participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture

By NAS     Sep 1, 2016

National Arts Strategies is pleased to announce the participation of 50 exceptional leaders in the fourth and final class of The Chief Executive Program. The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture brings together an international cohort of 50 CEOs who are working to lead change in their organizations, communities and in the cultural field.

The selected executives come from outstanding institutions of all sizes and disciplines. They are united by the presence of deep community roots. They are working on initiatives such as creating new narratives on rural culture and supporting, advancing and developing Pacific Island media content – and so much more.

Over the next year, these executives will be supported in their work through the introduction of different approaches from outside their sector, a range of analytical frameworks and an international, cross-disciplinary network of allies and collaborators. They will travel to Harvard Business School and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business where they’ll be introduced to tools they can use year after year to help put their great ideas into action. They will work with and learn from each other, forming a community of practice as they join The Chief Executive Program alumni network of nearly 200. They will continuously explore, reflect upon, apply and share all that they are learning.

Participants in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected through a highly competitive recruitment process to identify 50 top cultural leaders from around the world whose organizations work closely with communities – as defined by the applicant. The leaders chosen to participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected from a wide range of cultural forms, locations, perspectives and experience levels. These executives have proven themselves to be effective, innovative, collaborative and curious and were chosen from a pool of over 150 open applications from 34 states and 18 countries.

The program’s director, Sunny Widmann says, “We were overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of applications to this fourth and final cycle of the Chief Executive Program. Our aim was to create a cohort in a way that maximizes learning opportunities — so that each leader benefits from a new international, cross-disciplinary network. Together with our partners at Harvard Business School and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, we’re thrilled to share knowledge with and learn from this incredible group of change agents in the cultural sector.”


The Chief Executive Program: Community & Culture Participants

Abdullah Al Kafri, Ettijahat – Independent Culture (Beirut, Lebanon)
Phillip Bahar, Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago, Illinois)
Neil Beddow, ACTA Community Theatre (Bristol, United Kingdom)
Becky Bell Ballard, Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children (Phoenix, Arizona)
Jenny Bilfield, Washington Performing Arts (Washington, DC)
Priscilla Block, St. Louis ArtWorks (St. Louis, Missouri)
Lynn Clements, Virginia Aquarium (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum (Anchorage, Alaska)
Laurie de Koch, Seattle JazzED (Seattle, Washington)
Ruth Dickey, Seattle Arts & Lectures (Seattle, Washington)
Erika Dilday, Maysles Documentary Center (New York, New York)
Zenetta Drew, Dallas Black Dance Theatre (Dallas, Texas)
Silvia Duarte, City of Asylum (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Neenah Ellis, WYSO Public Radio (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Leanne Ferrer, Pacific Islanders in Communications (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
Matthew Fluharty, Art of the Rural (Winona, Minnesota)
Peggy Fogelman, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, Massachusetts)
Alexander Gibson, Appalshop (Whitesburg, Kentucky)
Steven Raider-Ginsburg, Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities (New Haven, Connecticut)
Mina Girgis, The Nile Project (San Francisco, California)
Esther Grisham Grimm, 3Arts (Chicago, Illinois)
Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Los Angeles, California)
Lane Harwell, Dance/NYC (New York, New York)
Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Dayton, Ohio)
Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez, Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (San Jose, California)
Rachel Jacobson, Film Streams (Omaha, Nebraska)
Suzan Jenkins, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (Silver Spring, Maryland)
Shahina Johnson, Create Studios Digital Media (Swindon, United Kingdom)
Sally Kane, National Federation of Community Broadcasters (Hotchkiss, Colorado)
Lisa Lucas, National Book Foundation (New York, New York)
Julia Marciari-Alexander, Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, Maryland)
Jennifer McEwen, True Colors Theatre Company (Atlanta, Georgia)
Ayisha Morgan-Lee, Hill Dance Academy Theatre (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Adrienne Nakashima, South Coast Botanic Garden Foundation (Palos Verdes Peninsula, California)
Alissa Novoselick, Tamarack Foundation for the Arts (Charleston, West Virginia)
Drew Ogle, Rose Center Council for the Arts (Morristown, Tennessee)
Maria Claudia Parias, Fundación Nacional Batuta (Bogota, Colombia)
Vandana Ram, Bankstown Arts Centre (Sydney, Australia)
Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Elisa Monte Dance (New York, New York)
Lynn Scarff, Science Gallery Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)
J. Deacon Stone, Coalfield Development (Huntington, West Virginia)
Kelli Strickland, The Hypocrites (Chicago, Illinois)
Beth Takekawa, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle, Washington)
Teal Thibaud, Glass House Collective (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Britt Udesen, The Loft Literary Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Jonna Ward, The Seattle Public Library Foundation (Seattle, Washington)
Matthew Wilson, MASSCreative (Boston, Massachusetts)
Sylvia Wolf, Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, Washington)
Jenni Wolfson, Chicken & Egg Pictures (Brooklyn, New York)
Angel Ysaguirre, Illinois Humanities (Chicago, Illinois)


This program is the result of the incredible support from The Kresge Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America and The Chief Executive Fellowship Fund Honoring Ken Fischer. The partnerships of Harvard Business School and the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business make this work possible.