Adventure Theatre MTC is the preeminent Theater Academy for youth in the DC region with an integrated and nationally renowned high quality professional theater for family audiences. Adventure Theatre educates and inspires new generations of theater artists and audiences with exceptional theatrical experiences. The ATMTC Academy offerings complement the National & State Fine Arts Standards of Learning, providing a challenging outlet for students to develop the skills necessary to be successful performers – including self-discipline, teamwork, problem solving, and self-confidence. ATMTC Academy Alumni have numerous Broadway, national tour, TV and film credits.
What does being a finalist for this award mean for you and your organization?
Since the merger between Adventure Theatre and Musical Theater Center in 2012, ATMTC has been reimagining and restructuring its board. The board has made hard choices, taken strategic risks, and embraced a dynamic and compelling vision for the organization. Becoming a finalist for this award creates credibility for the progress to date. While the ATMTC board and its work is always continuing to grow, being a finalist is a wonderful acknowledgment of how far the board has come.
What have you learned through the application process for the Board Leadership Award?
Among the many things ATMTC has learned through this process, two stand out. First, although ATMTC takes pride in its onboarding process and ongoing training of board members, only through this process has ATMTC seen how much its board members have internalized and how they have become such talented ambassadors for the organization.
Second, this application process reminds ATMTC that its board’s work is never done. The board is always adapting to changes, new trends, and unexpected opportunities and challenges. The ATMTC board’s ability to be flexible and dynamic as changes arise has permitted it to respond with clarity in identifying issues, creativity in devising solutions, and bravery in implementing the selected course of action.
What advice would you offer for other organizations/board members striving for excellence in board leadership?
ATMTC offers three pieces of advice for organizations/board members striving for excellence in board leadership.
First, if you want a truly diverse board, you must first diversify the organization. An organization must do the work toward diversity before trying to bring new members to the board who will, in turn, move the needle on board diversity. Only when the organization has internalized the goals of social justice can it attract board members who will help continue the progress.
Second, you need to acknowledge the limits of board members’ time. Board members are willing to work, but organizations need to provide the tools to make it easy to do the work it needs them to do. Examples of these tools include providing meeting agendas and materials at least a week in advance of meetings; providing meaningful orientation to new board members; and asking concise questions or specific opportunities to help.
Finally, boards should be courageous in their convictions. When a board adopts a well-informed course of action based on appropriate strategic risk, the board and the organization benefit and grow by seeing the decision through and actively participating in the work.