Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Board Strength

posted by brad at 10:19 AM
Since our inception, Board Development has been on our list of priorities. Look at any great arts institution and behind the artists, nix that, BESIDE the artists, you will no doubt find a strong Board of Directors. A Board that is active, influential and passionate about the growth of the organization.

We feel very fortunate to have such a board at Furious. When we first started thinking about bringing on "real" board members (not just friends or other artists) and giving someone other than the six founders a say in the company... it was a little nerve wracking. Giving up power was a scary thought. What if they wanted to change all of our plans? What if they wanted to fire all of us? What if we reached a stand-off on an important vote? We had heard such horror stories anecdotally from some pretty savvy theatre veterans as well as in our various readings and research of board development war stories. Regardless, we knew it was something we had to do.

What we found, and continue to find is that boards are not something that you "have to do" as a non-profit. Rather they are something you should want to do. A strong, creative and active board is your best weapon in the fight to not only stay alive, but to thrive and grow and to develop into an "institution." And giving up power... is merely empowerment for others who are much better suited for it. Which is a good thing. If your recruiting is doing you justice (and ours certainly is) you're going to find people with many more resources, connections and a farther reach than you. So, give them power. Let them help you manage the business and the organization so that you can focus on the art. We are so much better off in year 4 than we were in year 2 and it has much to do with our board. Their strength as individual professionals and as a collective, what they bring to the table, is tremendous.

Visit our list of board members (bios coming soon) here. Soon enough, most of the "artists" will be rotating off of the board as we continue to bring new members from the civic and community arenas onto the board. We are going through another round of recruiting right now and are pleased to say that we'll be adding a few new members soon.

Our board continues to prove to us what an incredible asset they are to the company and our work. They have big ideas and a big vision and the know-how and resources to help us make it all happen.

Our Board of Directors meeting last night, which was incredibly productive and encouraging, was the impetus for this entry. Thanks for reading.

Here is a fun blog entry from Stephen Eich (currently of Geffen Playhouse) recalling board discussions during his time as Managing Director at Steppenwolf.

Be Furious.


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