Executive Director Search Update for October 8, 2018

Finalists’ visits were completed between Sept 10th and 21st, when candidates met with RACC board, staff and community members and elected officials.  Search committee members then carried out an extensive review of materials –  including reference reports compiled by search firm Koya Partners and assessment surveys completed by everyone who met with the finalists – in preparation for a deliberation on Thursday 10/4 using a neutral facilitator.

The search committee will present its report and recommendation to the RACC board at a special meeting on October 9th. The board will then discuss the report and vote on the recommendation.

RACC will announce the appointment after an employment contract is signed, which may be a week or more after the offer is made.

We look forward to introducing RACC’s new Executive Director to the community very soon!

Angela Hult & Linda McGeady, search committee co-chairs

Executive Director Search Update for September 24, 2018

From September 10-21, three finalists for RACC’s Executive Director position (all from out of town) visited Portland. Each candidate spent two days meeting with the search committee, RACC staff, board members, and elected officials. In addition, each finalist participated in two 90-min community salons, allowing for in-depth conversations and discussions with approximately 20 community representatives. All three candidates requested confidentiality unless and until they are offered the position, so all community members who participated in the process were asked to sign confidentiality agreements. Commissioner Eudaly and Commissioner Fish met with each candidate individually as well.

Everyone who participated in the process was asked to complete a confidential survey assessing the strengths of each candidate, and participants who met all three candidates will also be given an opportunity to rank the candidates this week. All of this feedback will be factored into the search committee’s deliberations when they meet the week of October 1-5, and the search committee will present its recommendation to the RACC board shortly thereafter.

Throughout this process, we have been grateful for the many hours contributed by our search committee members; for the community’s strong interest in the position; for their participation in our extended process; and for the exciting conversations we’ve been having with our community and our candidates themselves.

We look forward to updating Portland City Council and the community when RACC presents its State of the Arts report on October 11 at Portland City Hall. In the meantime, we continue to welcome your comments and questions regarding the search. Please contact EDsearch@racc.org.

Executive Director Search Update for August 22, 2018

The search for RACC’s next executive director is progressing nicely. (Committee members include Helen Daltoso, Ozzie Gonzalez, Jeff Hawthorne, Angela Hult, Salvador Mayoral IV, Linda McGeady, Alejandro Queral and Steve Rosenbaum.) Here’s the latest:

Implicit Bias Training:

The search committee participated in a four-hour implicit bias training led by RACC board member and professional facilitator. This is an important part of the process because most people experience some degree of unconscious bias that influences our behavior and our decisions. The effects of that bias can be countered by acknowledging its existence and utilizing response strategies. The board member works with groups and organizations throughout the world and we were fortunate to benefit from the gift of her time and expertise.


The search committee interviewed seven individuals over two days (July 17 and August 6) via video conference at the RACC office. The group spent one hour with each individual, followed by debriefs with our search firm, Koya Leadership Partners.

Four candidates were advanced to a second round of video interviews on August 13 at the RACC office. All four candidates were from out of state. Each person was interviewed for one hour, followed by a one hour debrief with Koya.

The committee has chosen three finalists to bring to Portland for a final round of conversations. The search committee is working with the candidates to finalize the timeframe, with a target of mid- to late September. The Portland visits will include meetings with the board, staff, representatives from Portland’s arts community and elected officials.

Next Steps:

The search committee is working to finalize the dates and structure for the Portland interviews.

The team is evaluating tools for efficiently gathering feedback about the candidates from those who have an opportunity to meet with each individual.

Many thanks to search committee members for spending a tremendous amount of time on this process. We are excited about this next stage in the process and look forward to sharing additional details with you.

We are grateful to community members who have reached out with advice and encouragement in this effort; your collective support is greatly appreciated. We will continue to keep you updated on the process, and in the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions. The search committee can be reached at EDsearch@racc.org



Executive Director Search Update for July 30, 2018

The search committee continues to meet weekly. (Committee members include Helen Daltoso, Ozzie Gonzalez, Jeff Hawthorne, Angela Hult, Salvador Mayoral IV, Linda McGeady, Alejandro Queral and Steve Rosenbaum.) Here is the latest update:


Process Changes:

  • Our search firm, Koya Leadership Partners, has expanded the areas and communication vehicles they are targeting for the job posting and search process.
  • Koya is confirming that applicants and their partners and families are able to relocate to Portland before presenting individuals to the committee for consideration.
  • Many applicants are asking questions about the arts tax and the audit, so we are sending Koya weekly updates to help them stay apprised of RACC-related issues and activities. This enables Koya to share RACC’s recent successes while answering questions about the audit and other issues of interest.
  • A second round of video interviews is being added to the interview process, enabling the committee to ask additional, specific questions before determining which candidates to bring to Portland for finalist interviews.


Interviews: Round One:

  • The committee interviewed four individuals via video conference on July 17 at the RACC office. The group spent one hour with each individual, followed by a 30-minute debriefing session with the team at Koya.
  • Overall the interviews went well, and while all four interviewees were from outside of Oregon, each person had varying degrees of knowledge regarding our local arts ecosystem. The search committee and Koya agree that the candidates are strong, and we are pleased to see that the word continues to get out — in a very positive way — about the opportunity.
  • A second set of three or four individuals will be interviewed via video conference on August 6.


Next Steps:

  • Following the August 6 interviews, the committee will determine which individuals to advance to the second round of video interviews.
  • Upon completion of the second round of video interviews, the committee will identify which candidates to advance to the finalist round, a series of in-person interviews and meetings in Portland.
  • While details are still being determined, the intention is to mirror the approach used in the previous search, providing board, community members and others with an opportunity to meet the finalists.


We are grateful to community members who have reached out with advice and encouragement in this effort. Your collective support is greatly appreciated. We will continue to keep you updated on the process, and in the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions. The search committee can be reached at EDsearch@racc.org



Search Update for June 29

RACC search committee members Linda McGeady, Steve Rosenbaum and Ozzie Gonzalez, and interim executive director Jeff Hawthorne, recently accepted invitations to meet with constituents interested in the status of RACC’s search process, including 20 leaders of local arts organizations and 5 representatives from AWE – Arts Workers for Equity.

RACC representatives heard questions in these meetings about the board-only composition of RACC’s search committee; encouragement to do a better job of communicating what is going on and why; and concerns about leadership in the arts in this challenging and exciting environment. We also heard words of encouragement and support, and we are very grateful for those.

Informed by these and other discussions over the past month, the search committee recommended adding two staff members as voting members, and Jeff Hawthorne as an ex officio, non-voting member. Staff chose Helen Daltoso and Salvador Mayoral as their representatives, and the committee nominated Linda McGeady and Angela Hult as committee co-chairs for the new fiscal year. The board enthusiastically approved all of these changes on June 28, so the new composition of the search committee is:

  • Linda McGeady (board), co-chair
  • Angela Hult (board), co-chair
  • Helen Daltoso (staff)
  • Ozzie Gonzalez (board)
  • Jeff Hawthorne, ex officio
  • Salvador Mayoral IV (staff)
  • Alejandro Queral (board)
  • Steve Rosenbaum (board)

The search committee will continue to assess its composition and evaluate its processes on an ongoing basis. We remain committed to including more than 20 additional community members in the final vetting of candidates, and will continue to do everything possible to eliminate unconscious bias from decisions that are made.

The search committee also wants to clarify that extending the search does not add significant expenses to the budget. $67,000 has been budgeted to date, including the costs associated with our executive search firm, Koya Leadership Partners. Koya is still under contract to deliver a candidate at no additional expense, but RACC may incur some additional, relatively nominal expenses in bringing out-of-town finalists to Portland.

The search committee will continue to post updates on racc.org, and the job description is posted here (HTML) and here (PDF). Candidates should apply directly to Koya, but you can also contact the search committee by emailing EDSearch@racc.org.



June 8, 2018 update from the Search Committee:

The new RACC Search Committee has met twice, and meets every Tuesday morning.

The job description has been updated and reposted to reflect a slight increase in the salary range. Our recruiter, Koya Leadership Partners, has also increased the number of sites where we are posting the opportunity.

We expect to review several new candidates this summer, and will then reconvene approximately 40 community members as part of a confidential interview process.  

Frances Portillo has left the Search Committee and Angela Hult has been added to the committee. The Search Committee roster now includes:

To apply or to recommend a candidate, please contact Koya directly at mbonoan@koyapartners.com or submit your resume here. We would also greatly appreciate your help sharing the updated job opportunity with your networks: https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21.

In other news:

We’ve received some questions and comments about the new search committee, and wanted to provide some background information that will set the context of where we are today.

RACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that receives both public and private funding. The public funding is governed by multiple contracts and oversight bodies (including: The City of Portland, Metro, and Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties). RACC’s independent, voluntary Board of Directors is responsible for setting RACC’s vision, approving RACC’s budget and providing fiduciary governance, including hiring, oversight and support of the executive director.

Because  RACC relies largely on public funding, we have a heightened obligation to be inclusive, representative, equitable and transparent in our decision-making processes, above and beyond what is expected of most nonprofits.

We do our best to answer all questions regarding our search, except when to do so would compromise the confidentiality of committee deliberations or candidate privacy. Most candidates in the process request that their applications remain confidential.

A common question is: Given RACC’s commitment to transparency and community involvement, why is the search committee now limited to five board members?  

Given the need to continue and complete the search expeditiously (and with minimal budget overruns), the Board agreed in April of 2018 that a committee of five people was the ideal size to have an accelerated but comprehensive, equitable and deliberative process.

In appointing five board members to this new Search Committee, the board focused on individuals who:

  • Bring a range of thought, skills, experience and networks of support
  • Understand RACC’s current situation (people, budget, opportunities, risks, etc.)
  • Are independent with no financial interest in the outcome      
  • Leverage the work of the prior search committee (2 prior members, 3 new ones)
  • Are fully dedicated to RACC’s mission
  • Will keep an open mind and solicit input from  the community
  • Have a history or likelihood of working well together
  • Have the time and willingness to serve

The Board’s new Search Committee is continuing the search and will recommend one or more candidates to the Board. As with the previous search round, the finalists will be offered confidentiality and the Search Committee’s recommendations to the Board will be non-binding.

A continued commitment to equity and community involvement:

Our Search Committee is committed to utilizing RACC’s equity lens and listening to the community. Throughout this search, we remind ourselves who is impacted and whose voices are missing from the decision-making table, and how to address those gaps. We acknowledge that we all have biases, and we work to disclose and eliminate them.

Our committee is being candid with itself and with the community. We need to face, and then quickly overcome, tough challenges. We need to make decisions quickly, but not too quickly – a small and cohesive committee is more able to be nimble and responsive.

In addition to the committee, more than 40 community members (including some from board and staff) will participate in the evaluation process, and their feedback will help the Search Committee to decide on a recommendation for the RACC board.

Here is the list of previous RACC search panel participants from semi-finalist panels. We will invite these previous participants back, and will be reaching out to people who expressed interest but were unable to attend. A limited number of additional panel spots may be available. Please email the search committee if you are interested EDsearch@racc.org.

We value the community’s input on how we can do better, and we thank those who have proactively shared their concerns, suggestions or support.

As part of continuing and enhancing community input, the Search Committee will:

  • Use substantially the same job description and hiring criteria that were informed by a community survey and numerous stakeholder meetings;
  • With the interim executive director, host meetings with various groups that have offered feedback;
  • Continue to invite Portland City Council and their staff to participate in the confidential evaluation of semi-finalists;
  • Continue to invite RACC board and staff to participate in the confidential evaluation of semi-finalists;
  • Continue to invite community members to participate in the confidential evaluation of semi-finalists (contact the Search Committee to volunteer)
  • Hold workshops with RACC staff to improve alignment of RACC’s values,  and to co-create interview questions and evaluations;
  • Continue listening and responding to the phone calls, letters and emails we receive.


To apply or to recommend a candidate, please contact Koya directly at mbonoan@koyapartners.com, or submit your resume here. We would also greatly appreciate your help sharing the updated job opportunity with your networks: https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21/ .  



Search Update for May 18, 2018

The RACC board and search committee have fielded several questions in the last few weeks regarding the board’s decision to continue RACC’s search for a new Executive Director. We are grateful to community members for their keen interest in this process, and for asking questions and sharing their points of view.

The RACC board stands by its process and decision to continue the search. More than 40 people – including board, staff and other community members – participated in the vetting of our last round of candidates, which unfortunately did not deliver the end result we hoped for. We are certainly disheartened that when offered the position, the finalist we chose was not able to accept. And although we are committed to transparency throughout this process, we cannot discuss the specific reasons for selecting or not selecting any candidate. If this was an elected position and not a Board appointment, a full public discussion of each candidates’ strengths and weaknesses would be appropriate. As it is, all the candidates asked us to sign non-disclosure agreements so that their current jobs would not be at risk, as is very common when recruiting at the executive level.

Despite this setback, we remain dedicated to hiring an outstanding Executive Director and believe we are following and contributing to best practices for search processes, including:

  • Having a diverse board and search committee;
  • Extensive use of community reviewers;
  • Anti-bias training and equity sessions for the search committee;
  • Careful crafting of the job profile and interview questions to emphasize diversity, equity, inclusion and transparency;
  • Standardization of candidate evaluations;
  • Regular public updates;
  • And above all, a truly deliberative process.  

The search committee has been pared down to five RACC board members (Ozzie Gonzalez, Linda McGeady, Frances Portillo, Alejandro Queral and Steve Rosenbaum) and they will continue to engage the broader group of 40 community members and RACC staff representatives to vet additional candidates as the search continues. We remain open to further comments and critique about our process; the search committee email address is EDsearch@RACC.org.