Monday, November 20, 2006

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. Good food, family and friends with no pressure of which gift to give Aunt Martha. It is a time of reflection to take stock of what you are truly thankful to have in your life (or not have in some cases). My wife and I always host a "friends without (local) family" dinner at our house. I love breaking bread and just enjoying time with friends, especially now that kids are involved. No great segue here, but we recently looked at responses from a recent survey amongst the arts community to see how we are doing with advancing our mission. The feedback was well thought out and filled with affirmation and constructive criticism that we can use to help us craft our new mission. The Alliance was incorporated in January of 1998, so we are approaching our 9th year. Change being the only constant at the Alliance, we are preparing to again transform ourselves to make sure we are serving with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness (how is that for good corporate speak?). Now that we have your feedback, the Alliance board of directors and staff are laying out a plan to craft an evolved vision and mission. We will roll this out in the spring of 2007. I am truly thankful and excited to see where the community is going and has the opportunity to go in the very near future. Our arts community has grown in more ways than I can count in a single blog. Challenges exist of course. I just see more opportunities on the horizon, making the challenges just a part of the journey. This feels like a good place for a quote. I shall quote the great one. “Oh, Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” William Shakespeare.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Can't communicate enough

I was asked the other day what the greatest challenge of being an executive director of a small, nonprofit service organization is. I paused; giving the professorial look that says 'prepare yourself for something truly packed with wisdom.' I actually was stalling to sift through the myriad of challenges any small nonprofit faces, particularly one that works at trying to build consensus among over 100 different organizations of all various types and sizes. Which challenge will make me sound knowledgeable? No, it’s not about you, Jim. Sorry, stream of conscious there. Challenges are organic as it does sometimes depend on what day you ask someone this question. In the arts community, we all are short on resources, whether human or financial no matter the budget size, so I felt that challenge is overstating the obvious. So, I said that my biggest challenge is education. O.K., yes I could be smarter, but not that education (I am working on 'gettin some learnin' through the MBA at Rollins). By education, I mean telling all of you, those we serve, what is going on whether good or bad, whether small or large. Once we have chosen what to do based on community needs (what you tell us) and what we can do well (knowing our limitations), how do we communicate effectively to so many organizations and individuals to make sure what we are doing can have the greatest impact?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Anybody out there?

Is anybody out there? Is this thing on? O.K., here goes. This year we have some exciting services launching that have been long overdue (yes, this is where between friends you can say "like the Red Chair Project website") and one that is new to our list of programs, Orlando Arts Getaway. We are also trying to eliminate services to better focus on being really good at a few things as many service organizations (and we are guilty of this) want to try to plug all the holes in the dam called the arts community. Since I can't literally talk to everyone in person everyday and there is enough information and misinformation bandied about to almost warrant that effort, why not blog? We at the Alliance error on the side of not communicating our process enough to help keep everyone connected to the challenges and the celebrations, so I hope to alleviate some of that along with Jessica’s blog. See you (hopefully often) at the Big Picture.