Planning ahead for leadership change is key to success for arts organizations

Posted on: November 8, 2018

“Organizational leadership transitions can be both a challenge and an opportunity,” writes Linda Drezdzon in Saturday’s (11/3) Post Crescent (Wisconsin). Drezdzon is development director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, based in Appleton, Wisconsin. “For nonprofit arts organizations, there are a couple of critical positions that present unique challenges when the people in them leave or transition to a new position—the executive director and the artistic director…. ‘Strategic leadership transitions—rooted in mission, vision, and values—hone and strengthen an organization and inspire confidence,’ ” according to Rebekah Lambert, senior vice president of Arts Consulting Group. “In 2016, Brian Groner, then artistic director of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the 2017-2018 season. That gave the FVSO time to plan for his successor. Adopting the best practices of the League of American Orchestras, and after a lengthy interview process, the FVSO is auditioning the finalist conductor candidates by having them conduct four of its five concerts this season. A new FVSO artistic director will be announced after the final concert of the season … Board members can provide important leadership and experience … Effective succession planning is key to planning for success.”

Posted November 8, 2018

In photo: Brian Groner conducts the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. Groner stepped down as the orchestra’s music director at the end of the 2017-18 season.