September 15, 2006
Executive Director's Column
During the upcoming NASAA Leadership Institute in Anchorage, Alaska, members will consider for approval the Strategic Plan that will guide the association’s activities for the next few years. I thank the many members who contributed their ideas and opinions to the strategic planning process. Only with your engagement can NASAA represent you accurately and effectively, as well as assist you in achieving your top priority goals.
Since NASAA began multiyear planning after I became CEO, I can say with authority that this draft plan, though it builds responsibly on established strengths and activities, represents some major new emphases. These derive from insights developed or reinforced by the planning process. One of the most important understandings reinforced by the planning process is that NASAA members value their connectedness–their common commitment to public service, their shared belief in the power of the arts experience to improve lives, and their sense of participating in a community of mutually supportive learners. This plan capitalizes on NASAA’s ability to create community among states, to draw upon the expertise and experience of cultural leaders, and to provide a national and international perspective to issues and trends. It positions NASAA to provide authoritative and uniquely valuable leadership development services to its members and their constituents. The new plan recognizes NASAA’s reputation for valuable knowledge-based services–information and consultation–both within and beyond the state arts agency field. The plan also acknowledges that the quality and volume of knowledge services, leadership development, and advocacy sought by NASAA members call for further consideration of the right mix of revenues.
Susie Surkamer (ED-SC), NASAA treasurer and chair of the planning and budget committee that oversees the planning process, notes that the plan features:
- A continued commitment to essential advocacy, representation and research services. Those services that members value most highly now will be sustained in the future.
- Increased emphasis on leadership development. This includes new services targeted to state arts agency chairs and council members, as well as the development over time of new learning tools and forums that increase networking and educational opportunities for state arts agency staff on a year-round basis.
- Services designed to help state arts agencies develop innovative strategies. NASAA will encourage the evaluation of their success and facilitate the exchange ideas about excellent ways of serving the public.
- More opportunities for customized and on-site services tailored to the needs of members.
NASAA recently completed two conference calls designed to provide an overview of the draft plan and gather feedback. More than half of the NASAA member agencies participated. If you have not yet reviewed the draft plan and contributed your comments or suggestions, there is still opportunity to do so. You can get to the document easily from the NASAA Web site. You can then send a message via a handy on-line feedback form, or by contacting a NASAA staff or board member.
I think it is important that NASAA model exemplary planning practice because its membership is composed of agencies whose effectiveness and accountability depend on good public planning. I compliment NASAA’s leadership and staff for their bravery in accepting responsibility for planning in full view of an association of planners. I believe that the practice of our association leading and managing its own planning has heightened the engagement of members in the process and increased membership commitment to the resulting goals beyond what most associations are able to generate.
When the state arts agencies created NASAA in 1968 to represent them and be their common resource for learning, they accepted the challenge that faces all members of an association–to be the owners, providers, and customers of its services. Thank you for continuing to accept that challenge in your endeavor to provide the best possible public service. I look forward to seeing those of you who are participating in the NASAA Leadership Institute and to implementing the new NASAA plan with all of you.
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