I’m going to write this post about some other personal experience and hopefully it doesn’t come across as a tirade of thought.
- Board members and meetings, a necessary evil
Oh, still here? That’s nice, good luck reading the following.
Board meetings are bearable. Board members are bearable. However, you put the two of these things together, and you come to a head of perpetuity that is almost indescribable. Until you’re on a board, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to understand the extraordinary task that is assisting in running a theatre.
And that’s probably not the correct terminology but it’s basically a community of thorough and involved members who run a theatre. Hopefully not into the ground. A board makes the best effort to invest the appropriate amount of funds into needs and wants balancing the current for the future initiatives of the arts. It’s a tough task to tackle, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying that when I bring up what my work is like on the board.
Now the people? All beautiful in their own way. All of us are flat out bat rat crazy. Not to the point that I think any of us are purposefully argumentative or tyrannical but we all have a voice and, luckily, we are all determined to have our own and each others voices heard. Can I tell you the first discussion I witnessed, I didn’t know the people weren’t arguing. It’s almost like a stereotypical Italian family over dinner – who knocked over the roll? who’s going to pick up the roll? where’s Marnie? did we start – have we started? I missed it, what was that? … Maybe not just like that, but when it comes to spending dollars, it’s sometimes like that.
It’s great. It’s one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever been fortunate to be a part of and I can’t imagine doing it anywhere else than at my theatre. Maybe I say that with a grain of salt at this point considering I came head to head with another BOD member earlier the evening I write/wrote this. That’s a long standing personal issue – a topic I am saving for another post; when personal problems probe politics. God I love alliteration. I digress.. I do think that I could do this elsewhere but I don’t know if I’d feel fully invested in decision making if I had or would and that’s not a good thing.
You can’t be a part of the theatre if you aren’t invested in it’s future. You have to see the potential of the walls, the chairs, the season choices, pest control, air conditioning, production staff and should we paint the walls? It’s crazy. It’s truly a balancing and prioritization act between, and this is ballpark, 8-14 people. And, I say this with a caveat at the end, we don’t have any member lead committees. This actually holds us to a higher standard to meet member needs and desires because it’s all on the board to complete their suggested actions but it also puts it all on the board to complete their suggested actions.
No, I am not stroking out. I purposefully wrote that twice.
- It’s all on the board because we created the idea, initiative, project and from a project management perspective – it’s best keeping that original intent in the purview of the person who created it
- We are running a Board on top of personal and professional lives, how do we manage another project?
Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes things fall through the cracks and it’s not on purpose and it’s not okay. I can’t recall a time when we made an apology for dropping the ball but is that cause we aren’t held accountable or is it because we forgot to include our members? It’s not that we forget, or that all boards forget, we publicize what motions we pass and what failed or what initiatives we are working on – we do ask for help from our members but it’s an opportunity area to following up and encouraging people to help out. But, also consider, our members have lives, too, just like us. It’s also that, as a board, each of us are extremely (if not overly) competent individuals from some of the best experiences in life – ranging from teachers to financial professionals.
Also, it comes down to knowing our audience. We know not every one of our patrons is interested in everything we do but it’s important to continue to impress upon them the work we are doing for their benefit. And it is, everything we do is for the members to enjoy our season. If we did it just for us, we’d never have another set building day or costume clean out day. We’d have a black box theatre and no one to open the doors. So for now, we have enough hands in our cookie pot even when all of those hands are smacking each other out of the way for their own stash of cookies.
‘Til next time.