For the past 18 months, the Sisters Folk Festival Board has pursued a strategic initiative called “Build Organization for the Future” that includes organizational structure, staff alignment with key priorities, succession planning, and more. A stated goal of this work is to address the internal and external challenges created by a co-director leadership model.
This work led to a conclusion that an executive director (ED) model would better serve our organization, community and mission. While creating an ED position will impact every staff position, it has a material cost and scope overlap with the current managing director position. After a considered decision by the board, Sisters Folk Festival has chosen to adopt the executive director model and eliminate the managing director position.
Ann Richardson has served Sisters Folk Festival for over 9 years in a variety of capacities, including as the managing director for the last 5 years. Her contributions to the organization are too numerous to count. The processes, systems, tools, leadership and fiscal discipline that Ann instituted have been the foundation for the organization’s growth and success during her time and have positioned Sisters Folk Festival well to realize the anticipated growth of the organization.
“Ann was shocked and saddened when we informed her of this strategic decision,” shared Sue Boettner, SFF’s board chair, “but she is proving to be the consummate professional. Her priorities have been to ensure the organization’s and the staff’s continued success and to make the transition as smooth as possible. We are grateful for all that she has done and all that she continues to do to help SFF serve the community.”
A national search for the new executive director will begin on January 25. Former board member Debbie Newport will lead this search to locate an experienced non-profit arts administrator. Debbie will act as the interim executive director. Her experience and familiarity with Sisters Folk Festival make her ideally suited for supporting the current staff through this transition while leading the ED search and hiring process. The managing director position concludes on March 1.
Sisters Folk Festival faces an exciting environment that continues to evolve, change and increase in complexity. We are well on our way to acquiring the Sisters Art Works building, increasing our programming to better serve all of our community, elevating our educational impact in partnership with the schools, and ensuring our cultural events – from free summer concerts, to the Winter Concert Series, to the My Own Two Hands fundraiser, to SFF Presents concerts and our flagship 3-day Festival – continue to deliver on our mission to enrich lives through innovative music and arts education programming and cultural events that serve an inclusive, multi-generational community.
We are confident that an executive director model will deliver against these critical goals.
We can’t thank Ann Richardson enough for all she has done for the organization, and all she continues to do. We will miss her and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.