(L to R) Fellow Achia Floyd with composer Terence Blanchard, and O-pa president Joan Squires
Live Arts Centers of North America (LACNA), a coalition of more than 50 performing arts centers located in the United States and Canada, launched the BIPOC Executive Leadership in the Arts Program to support the advancement of future C-suite executives. O-pa hosted fellow Achia Floyd Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, 2022.
During her visit, Floyd had the pleasure of touring the O-pa venues while connecting with organization executives and well-known community leaders to discuss strategies that implement development for BIPOC professionals in the area. Of course, a fellowship in the arts wouldn't be complete without attending a performance. Floyd attended Terence Blanchard's "Absence" and met the famed composer.
“Often times, as a Black woman, it takes quite a bit of time to feel that sense of belonging. I think my visit to O-pa made that happen so quickly because I could feel the passion from every administrator, artist, board member, and community partner I met, all working to bring artistic offerings to Omaha because they love the community they serve,” said Floyd.
Bianca Harley, Vice President of Human Capital and Inclusion, added. “At Omaha Performing Arts, we’ve created and continue to update an IDEA strategic plan, focusing on both internal and external actions to benefit our workforce, patrons, artists and people throughout the communities we serve."
Floyd currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Florida State University, a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University. She also served as Executive Director of the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras and as Prospect Strategy Analyst/Development Coordinator for the Florida State University Foundation.
“I believe in the transformative power of the arts. I seek to serve as a constant liaison between arts and culture organizations and the communities they serve. Arts and culture impact daily life, health, education, and connect us to one another,” said Floyd.
The BIPOC Executive Leadership in the Arts Program supports the advancement of future C-suite executives such as chief executive officers, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, and chief advancement/chief development officers. While 53% of principal administrators are female, only 7% of the leaders are BIPOC and only 16% of the arts organization’s leadership is BIPOC; performing arts centers’ leaders understand that systematic racism may affect who they hire, and that the demographic representation of executive-level staff demonstrates that the Consortium needs to be modified.
During the beta year of this program, the LACNA foundation presented six inaugural fellows who were nominated by performing arts centers’ CEOs. Throughout the program, fellows analyze methods that will transform performing arts organizations to become more equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, and reflective of the communities they serve.
Omaha Performing Arts President Joan Squires is a part of the steering committee that leads this program on behalf of LACNA Foundation. “I am especially appreciative of the wisdom and mentorship offered to me by Joan Squires and the access to amazing colleagues provided to me through her leadership and the LACNA BIPOC Fellowship program,” said Floyd.
For more information about the BIPOC Executive Leadership Program in the Arts, visit https://www.performingartscenters.org/fellowship.