Executive Director Search Updates

The Search Continues

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.



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.