Executive Director Search Updates

Search update

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.



Search Committee update for November 21

Koya Leadership Partners has reached out to hundreds of potential candidates and continues to discuss the job with potential applicants. In addition, the opportunity has been posted on numerous websites and job boards targeted at arts leaders, cultural leaders and philanthropy professionals, with added emphasis on organizations that cater to diverse audiences.

Koya’s human capital group is providing the RACC Search Committee with an implicit bias training session on December 1st. After the training is completed, the Search Committee will begin reviewing some of the initial applications as presented by Koya.

The position profile is available online at https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21/. The position profile can also be downloaded as a PDF (3 MB).

Applications are still being accepted and will continue to be accepted through at least the end of December 2017. All inquiries should be directed to Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm.



RACC launches national search for new Executive Director

(Posted October 26, 2017)

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) Board of Directors, together with its executive search firm Koya Leadership Partners, today released the job description for a new Executive Director. Applications are being accepted now, with a goal of having the new Executive Director in place next spring.

The position profile is available online at https://koyapartners.com/search/racc-executive-director-21/. The position profile can also be downloaded as a PDF (3 MB).

All inquiries about the position and search for candidates should be directed to Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm. The search committee selected Koya Leadership Partners because of their track record placing leaders in mission-driven organizations; their experience conducting searches for public arts agencies; and alignment with RACC on equity, diversity and inclusion.

“The RACC search committee and Koya Leadership Partners took an inclusive approach to designing the job description and the search process,” said Steve Rosenbaum, RACC’s board secretary and chair of the search committee. “We are confident that the search process will yield a new leader for RACC who is strategic and visionary, equity-focused and capable of building consensus.”

In June, RACC’s long-time Executive Director Eloise Damrosch retired, and the board spent the summer conducting a series of community conversations and surveys to reimagine and redefine the role of Executive Director going forward. RACC’s Director of Community Engagement, Jeff Hawthorne, has been serving as executive director in the interim.



Koya Leadership Partners meet with stakeholders

(Posted October 2, 2017)

In September, RACC retained Koya Leadership Partners as its exclusive search firm for RACC’s executive director position.

The first step in Koya’s search process includes meeting with a wide range of stakeholders relevant to the position to help inform the job profile.

On Sept. 27 – 29th, Koya search consultants Michelle Bonoan and Shelia Hennessey visited Portland and held stakeholder meetings, including:

  • RACC Staff
  • RACC Search Committee
  • RACC Board Chair
  • RACC Board of Directors
  • Community Panel #1: an artist and community activist
  • Community Panel #2: Representatives from Literary Arts, IPRC, Clackamas County Arts Alliance, and an advocate for artists with disabilities
  • Community Panel #3: Representatives from Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, PICA, Portland Center Stage, Chamber Music Northwest, White Bird, Artists Repertory Theatre
  • Community Panel #4: Arts Workers for Equity
  • Portland City Commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Nick Fish

The search consultants also had dinners with search committee members and attended performances of An Octoroon at ART and Fun Home at The Armory.

We expect to have an updated timeline soon. We currently forecast that the job will be open for applications sometime later in October, and that the new ED will start the position in March or April of 2018.


Search Committee announces new search firm; timeline of activities to date

(Posted on September 22, 2017)

RACC is pleased to announce that it has retained Koya Leadership Partners as search firm for our Executive Director search.

After conducting our recent search firm RFP, Koya was the unanimous selection of our search committee for multiple reasons including:

  • Track record in placing leaders in mission-driven organizations
  • Experience conducting searches for public arts agencies
  • Alignment with RACC on equity, diversity and inclusion

RACC will be working with Koya’s Los Angeles office. Koya managing director Michelle Bonoan will be leading the search, and will be visiting Portland September 27-29 and meeting with dozens of stakeholders as part of Koya’s intake process.

We expect that the Executive Director job posting will be open for applications sometime in October.

The following is a recap of the RACC Search Committee’s activities to-date:

  • February
    • RACC Executive Committee discussion of need to form search committee
    • Search Committee appointed
    • 1st search firm RFP issued
  • March
    • Search Committee members finalized
    • Received initial search firm responses to RFPs
    • Search Committee review of Search Firm submissions
  • April
    • RACC Stakeholder online survey
    • Search Firm interviews
    • Aspen Leadership selected as initial search firm
  • May
    • Aspen Leadership conducts staff and community stakeholder interviews
    • Jeff Hawthorne identified as Interim Director
    • Search committee agrees on competencies needed in ED and drafts job description
  • June
    • Added Jenny M. Chu as Search Committee member
    • Search Committee Equity, Diversity & Inclusion offsite facilitated by Judith Mowry from the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights.
    • Arts Workers for Equity (AWE) Stakeholder Committee met with members of Search Committee
    • Group of approximately 20 arts organizations sends letter to Search Committee requesting involvement in search process, identifies Paul King of White Bird as liason to search committee.
  • July
    • Jeff Hawthorne begins Interim Executive Director role
    • Search committee agrees on job description
    • Aspen Leadership and RACC part ways.
  • August
    • Search Committee and RACC staff identify approximately twenty search firms worth considering.
    • Search Committee issues RFP to approximately eight search firms.
    • Six proposals received and three firms identified as finalists. Finalists interviewed.
  • September
    • New Search Firm selected: Koya Leadership Partners



Search Committee update for August 31

RACC’s Search Committee continues to meet weekly. RFPs for executive search services were due to RACC on August 16, and we have narrowed those RFPs down to three finalists. We expect to announce our search firm shortly.

As always, you are invited to email edsearch@racc.org with your questions and other feedback. We are grateful for the continued support of the community.



Search Committee update for August 1

RACC’s Search Committee has spent the past two weeks researching executive search firms and creating a new RFP describing our search needs.

Today, we issued an RFP to a short-list of 6 executive search firms. Proposals are due August 16th, and we expect to have a firm hired by end of the month.

We expect to post the job description and start accepting applications in early September.

We have been further polishing our job description to capture the incredible opportunity we see for a new RACC ED who has the experience, passion and vision to bring people together and ensure that the Arts move with the social, political and economic forces shaping our region.

Former RACC Board Chair Carole Morse has resigned from the committee. We wish to thank her for her excellent contributions.

We would like to thank the community for its continued input and support.

Please email edsearch@racc.org to send questions, feedback or ideas to the search committee.


Search Committee update for July 14

The RACC Search Committee is no longer working with Aspen Leadership Group and is actively engaging new search firms.

The job description, which will be published after August 1, focuses on the following competencies:

Core Competencies

  • Equity, Inclusion & Diversity
  • Executive Level Management
  • Change Management
  • Commitment to the Arts

Secondary Competencies

  • Communication
  • Advocacy
  • Fundraising
  • Grant-making

In following our transparent process, we will continue to publish updates as they develop.


Search Committee continues progress, expects Executive Director job to post in mid-July

POSTED ON June 23, 2017:

RACC’s Search Committee spent the past month building internal alignment around the job description and recruiting process, so that we know what type of leader we want for RACC, and so that we can provide our recruiting firm with clear guidance.

We expect to have a job description published by mid-July. The Search Committee will publish details of the applicant review process, including further opportunities for public input by the time the job is published. Here is a highlight of recent activities:

  • On June 19, the committee held an offsite around equity/inclusion/diversity topics. The offsite was facilitated by Judith Mowry of the City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR).
  • On June 15, Jenny M. Chu was added to the committee.
  • On June 3, committee members and RACC staff met with representatives of Art Workers for Equity (AWE) to listen to their concerns and suggestions.
  • On May 31, the committee received a letter from the leaders of 24 arts organizations asking for increased opportunities for input throughout the process.
  • On May 24, the RACC Board approved an updated charter for the Search Committee, establishing Steve Rosenbaum as chair and formally tasking the committee to bring back one or more candidates to the board for approval while keeping the Board and community updated along the way.

The updated committee roster is now as follows:

Members of the public are encouraged to email the committee (EDsearch@racc.org) with any thoughts, suggestions or feedback. 



Jeff Hawthorne to serve as interim executive director

POSTED ON May 31, 2017.

The RACC board has announced that Jeff Hawthorne will serve as the organization’s interim executive director, effective July 1. Hawthorne is currently the organization’s director of community engagement. Read the full press release here.