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Recap: CultureWorks Town Hall

CultureWorks Town Hall Meeting Summary

On Wednesday, September 4th, a group of CultureWorks members, staff, and board met to discuss the current search process for our new Chief Commons Director and to gather feedback on how CultureWorks can continue to help its members flourish in their work. Below is a brief summary of the meeting. We are happy to answer any questions or hear from those who were unable to attend.


Chief Commons Director Search

The Chief Commons Director position has been posted. All members are encouraged to share this with their networks and colleagues. In order to ensure a diverse candidate pool, a task force has been created that will serve as a conduit to underrepresented constituencies and inform the search committee’s efforts. This task force, comprising both CultureWorks members and other community leaders, will meet on September 17th to develop an outreach plan that will be used to communicate and disseminate the position description. While there is an application deadline of September 30th, we will not complete the search process until we feel we have a truly diverse applicant pool. Once a sufficient applicant pool has been fielded, the search committee will begin initial interviews. The search committee will comprise of the board executive committee, Beth Warshaw, and 1-2 CultureWorks members. Based on interest expressed by the members in attendance, the interview process will include an opportunity for final candidates to interact with CultureWorks members to present their vision to the membership.


CultureWorks Member Discussion

In addition to the current leadership transition, members raised a broad range of questions and shared useful comments and feedback. This thoughtful, considerate, and deliberate conversation raised several key points for CultureWorks staff and board to consider going forward, some of which will fall under the purview of the new Chief Commons Director.


Key points shared by CultureWorks members:


  • Members expressed a strong bond with CultureWorks’ mission, core values, and people. They feel that they are part of something bigger than just themselves and have a sense that they are leading the change towards a new way for arts and culture to thrive in our city.


  • Member relationships with CultureWorks staff are crucial for member success. Many members felt that their successes were due in part to their relationships with the staff. With two recent staff departures, CultureWorks staff and board can do a better job to ensure members that they still will be supported in the manner to which they are accustomed and that all new staff members will continue to align with the organization’s core values.
  • Members felt that understanding each staff member’s roles and responsibilities would be more helpful due to recent title and responsibility changes. Members also noted that the current staff is overworked, which could eventually lead to burnout and lack of creativity.


  • Members were not clear on what CultureWorks is doing as part of its expansion to other cities and regions, and how these efforts are structured through a separate organization. Improved communications to members would help.


Key take-aways for CultureWorks staff and board:


  • Members truly believe in the mission, vision, and values of CultureWorks. Staff and board need to ensure that members have a voice in all relevant conversations. The upcoming selection of the new membership committee can play an important role in ensuring that members voices are heard. It is vital that staff and board engage this committee regularly to leverage their expertise and advice.


  • Communications with members is critical and must be done regularly. These communications must include information on staffing changes, operations, new initiatives, and more. Things have been moving and changing so quickly that this sometimes does not happen with enough frequency. Both staff and board will strive for more regularized member communications.


  • Short-term or temporary staffing could help to alleviate some of the tasks that are holding back staff members from the more strategic aspects of their role. The current budget will be reviewed to determine if any short-term, temporary staffing could be brought in.


Overall, this was an important conversation that we hope was mutually beneficially to members, staff, and the board. We hope all members continue to share their questions, comments, and insights with us as CultureWorks enters into in next phase of growth and success. Please reach out with anything you need.