Executive Director Search Updates

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.



New Search Committee

As the search for an Executive Director continues, a new search committee composed of five RACC board members has been formed. They are:

The committee welcomes your questions and input. Contact EDsearch@racc.org.



The Search Continues

(Posted on April 20, 2018)

On April 11 the RACC Board met and authorized a job offer to an outstanding candidate who was the Search Committee’s unanimous recommendation. Unfortunately, the candidate was unable to accept RACC’s offer due to the needs of a family member that surfaced last-minute.

The RACC Board convened again on April 18 and voted unanimously to continue the search with Koya Leadership Partners and a new search committee of five board members, including two previous search committee members. The composition of the new search committee will be announced next week.

Approximately 50 members of the community participated in the previous process. We will be inviting all previous participants to meet and review additional candidates, likely sometime around July.

We are committed to continuing a process that is accountable, transparent, equitable, and one that listens to the community.

The current job prospectus can be found here: https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21/.  Interested parties who wish to apply or recommend a candidate should contact Koya Leadership Partners.

We welcome your questions/suggestions/ feedback. Contact us at EDsearch@racc.org.



Search update for March 28

The RACC Executive Director Search Committee has completed stakeholder focus group evaluations of four semifinalist candidates and expects to make its recommendations to the RACC Board of Directors prior to the April 11 Board meeting.

The Semifinalist Candidate Pool

The semifinalist pool contained candidates selected by the RACC Search Committee from those presented by Koya Leadership Partners.

All candidates are currently employed and requested not to be publicly identified. All participants in the evaluation process are bound by non-disclosure agreements not to reveal the names of candidates.

The semifinalist pool contained one local candidate and three national candidates. The candidate pool was diverse by race and gender.

Description of Semi-Finalist Review Process

  1. Each candidate was evaluated separately in small groups over the course of an evening and a full day. The evaluators consisted of  11 internal stakeholders + 16 external stakeholders + 10 members of the search committee.
  2. All stakeholders participating in the process committed to meeting all four candidates at a consistent time slot. There was some flexibility if a stakeholder needed to attend a substitute time slot for one of the candidates.
  3. The candidate meetings were organized such that each candidate attended two panel interviews, two salons, and three social events organized in as consistent a manner as practical.
  4. Each stakeholder completed confidential review and comparative analysis forms for the exclusive use of RACC’s Search Committee. Panel interview participants provided supplementary analysis in addition to the forms completed by Salon and Social participants.

The Search Committee has begin reviewing the feedback forms and will be meeting next on April 3.

A Note of Thanks

We are very grateful to the candidates and stakeholders for committing so much time and energy to this process on such short notice.

Thank you to Norris, Beggs & Simpson Companies, the Northwest Health Foundation, the Portland Opera and the Offices of Portland City Commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Nick Fish for their generous hosting of meetings.

Participating Stakeholders

  • Search Committee Members: Pollyanne Birge, Verlea Briggs, Jenny Chu, Jamie Dunphy, Mike Golub, Phillip Hillaire, Linda McGeady, Jan Robertson, Steve Rosenbaum, Anita Yap
  • Other RACCC Board Members: Eileen Day, Katherine Durham, Debbie Glaze, Ozzie Gonzalez, Leslie Heilbrunn, Parker Lee
  • RACC Staff: Kristin Calhoun, Helen Daltoso, Sara Farrokhzadian, Jeff Hawthorne, Cynthia Knapp, Salvador Mayoral IV, Marna Stalcup
  • Community Members: Jesse Beason, NW Health Foundation; Nick Fenster, NW Children’s Theatre; Elizabett Elsinger, Write Around Portland; Brian Ferriso, Portland Art Museum; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Cynthia Fuhrman, Portland Center Stage; Subashini Ganesan, NEW Expressive Works; Michael Greer, Oregon Ballet Theatre; India Rae Hamilton, Literary Arts; Kathleen Holt, Oregon Humanities; Linda K. Johnson, dance artist; Christopher Mattaliano, Portland Opera; Andre Middleton, Friends of Noise; Carole Morse, former RACC board member; Van Pham, PICA; Amira Streeter, Office of Commissioner Nick Fish; Steve Wenig, Oregon Symphony




Search update for February 27

Working with our executive search firm, Koya Leadership Partners, the RACC Search Committee has selected four semi-finalists for our Executive Director position.

The Search Committee is organizing a diverse sample of community members to meet the semi-finalists. The sample will include board members, staff members, individuals representing organizations, individual artists, and public officials.

All four semi-finalists prefer not to be publicly identified at this time, and as such, all people meeting the semi-finalists will be subject to non-disclosure agreements.

Members of the sample will meet with all four candidates individually in small groups (5-10 people per session) with two representatives of the Search Committee present as facilitators and observers. These meetings will occur March 14-23, and the stakeholders participating in those meetings will fill out feedback forms. The Search Committee will then consider the feedback and make its recommendation to the RACC Board in early April.

We are excited that we have a candidate pool that is diverse in terms of gender, race and current location of the candidates. We are also proud that we selected our semi-finalists through a deliberative and inclusive process that included listening to the community, implicit bias training and removal of bias-inducing personal information during the initial screenings.

The Search Committee welcomes your feedback. Please send emails to EDsearch@racc.org.



Search update for January 26

The search committee will conduct first-round interviews on February 2 and 3.  Last week Koya Leadership Partners presented 13 candidates to the search committee for a blind review (no identifiers), after which the committee selected seven candidates to interview (some local, some out of state).

Applications received by January 31st will still be considered for the initial interview phase.



Search update for December 22

The search for RACC’s next executive director continues. In early December, all members of the search committee completed unconscious bias training, and the committee will begin interviewing candidates in mid-January. Questions? Comments? The search committee can be reached at edsearch@racc.org.