Tuesday, September 8, 2020

First Day of School


I started a consulting practice over the summer. As of today, this is my full-time job. I want this work to overlay my desire to help others succeed with my experience in fundraising, organizing, planning, and making big shifts. This is a time when so many of our institutions can only continue if we find radical new ways to connect with one another and support one another, and alongside the pain of this shift I am genuinely excited for what we choose to grow next, and - where I can - to be part of that.

I invite you to:
  • Follow my new Facebook Page
  • Subscribe to updates from the blog page I just set up
  • Give me feedback on any of the content you see
Most importantly, though, I'd love to hear about how you are experiencing this institutional shift and what you would like to cultivate.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Checklist for Starting my New Consulting Practice

  • Pick a name? Check.
  • File an LLC? Check.
  • Register an overly complicated URL? Check.
  • Find someone with a fax machine because somehow that is the most efficient way to communicate with the IRS? Check.
  • Ask you to like my Facebook page? You, my dear friend, are next on my list.

    Nonprofit Transparency

    In January 2019, Steve Boland interviewed me for the Next in Nonprofits podcast. We talked about making the organizational choice to be transparent during difficult times.


    My Enneagram Type

    If you are familiar with the Enneagram system of personality typing, I identify as an Enneagram Type 2 with a 3 Wing. Enneatype 2w3 is also called “The Host”. When living out my 2w3-ness, I am ambitious, altruistic, and sociable. I thrive on building connections with others and helping to make a difference in the world. I have an optimistic world-view, I am adaptable in stressful situations, I communicate clearly and effectively, and I find passion in serving others.

    My Privilege

    I am a cisgendered, heterosexual, white male-bodied homeowner with a graduate degree. During five years in a chief executive role, I grew in my understanding that the only way to dismantle racist structures is to give decision-making power over those structures to the people most harmed by them. The best way for me to support that work was to step aside and let others lead. Rather than look for the next leadership role, I want to find work where I can be in a supporting role, using what I have learned about cultivating organizational shifts to make other leaders successful.

    Learning Cohorts

    So much of what I have learned has been in community. I have been honored to be part of the following learning cohorts:

    • Leadership Circles (Propel Nonprofits)
    • Change Network MN (Cultural Wellness Center)
    • Equity Builder (Propel Nonprofits)
    • Financial Leadership Cohort (Propel Nonprofits)
    • ArtsLab (Arts Midwest) 
    • Arts Innovation Lab (EmcArts)
    • Regional Arts Development Program (Bush Foundation)

    Other Leadership Roles

     In addition to my past employment, I have experience in these other leadership roles:

    • Commissioner, Minneapolis Arts Commission
    • Board Chair, Bedlam Theatre
    • Founding Board Member, Interim ED, Franklin Artworks
    • Founding Board Member, Interim ED, Minnesota Green Roofs Council

    Previous Employment

    After nearly a decade as a theater artist, I build twenty years of experience in Arts and Environmental nonprofits. 

    • Executive Director, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, 2015-2020.
    • Development Manager, Pillsbury House + Theatre, 2011-2015.
    • Urban Greenspace Consultant 2006-2011.
    • Program Director, Greenspace Partners, The Green Institute 2000-2006.
    • Theater Artist, 1992-2000

    Summer 2020: Lake Street Council

    In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Lake Street Council quickly became a focal point for supporting the rebuilding of hundreds businesses that saw hundreds of millions of dollars in damage on and near Lake Street in Minneapolis.

    With Lake Street Council's team, 

    • I drafted a narrative story of how Lake Street Council with four permanent staff almost instantly geared up to become the largest source of support for hundreds of recovering businesses.

    • I drafted a donor management plan for an organization that went from a handful of contributions in 2019 to more than 75,000 in 2020.

    • I coordinated millions of dollars in contributions from foundations, corporations, employee matching gift programs, groups holding fundraisers, and individual donors. 

    • I drafted an updated organizational chart and work plan.

    • I shepherded a plan for incorporating art and artists in the rebuilding process.

    In the Heart of the Beast

    During nearly five years as HOBT's Executive Director, I led the organization through financial crisis, leadership transition, funding shifts and, most importantly, starting the work of dismantling the white supremacy culture that threatened along with these other factors to bring HOBT's beloved MayDay celebration to an end after 45 years.

    • I established a leadership team that flattened organizational decision making.

    • I worked with staff and consultants to center the voices of artists of color in re-imagining a truly community-rooted MayDay Celebration.

    • I cultivated the long, slow work among both board and staff teams to educate ourselves around what it means to be a culturally white organization and how that harms others.

    • I fostered processes that, while not complete when I left, will lead to an HOBT with majority-IBPOC Artists, staff and board of directors within two years.

    • When I stepped away from the work to make room for new leadership, the organization had clear strategic direction, strong board and staff teams with passion for the work, and six months of cash in the bank.