#TBT Stewards Of Public Trust

All of the recent brouhaha at the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) is a good reminder that we can all benefit from focusing on what should be the fundamental duties and responsibilities for board members.

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up into turf wars, tribalism, etc. but the entire US nonprofit model relies on board members to remain dispassionate stewards of public trust.

The moment it erodes past that point, you can bet  the entire nonprofit performing art organization field will begin a race to the bottom and cultural obscurity. Today’s #TBT post reaches back to 2016 with one of the worst documented instances of board decline.

Reinforcing The Ethical Significance Of Board Stewardship

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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