Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Immediate Past President Sylvia Hillyard Pannell was honored during the Fall meeting of the USITT Board of Directors with a gavel and plaque thanking her for her service.

Photo/Carol B. Carrigan

What Lies Ahead!

Carl Lefko
USITT President

The Fall Board and Committee meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada included almost 100 individuals working to advance the mission of the Institute.

In addition to the Board of Directors, which held both a retreat and a business meeting, groups who met included the Publications Committee, the USITT@50 Planning Committee, the Transition Advisory Team (TAT), Membership Committee, Finance Committee, Graphics Advisory Committee, and the Executive Committee. During all those sessions, a huge amount of information was exchanged and much discussion took place on moving USITT forward.

While Wall Street and our economy continue to gyrate at an unsettling pace, USITT continues to find itself on solid financial ground. The snapshot provided by our annual audit indicates that, following our successful conference in Houston, we are able to continue the many important activities of the Institute while moving forward with plans for our 2009 event in Cincinnati and beyond to our 50th anniversary celebration in Kansas City for 2010.

Each day at the 2010 Conference will begin with an all-conference super session, led by a major figure in the entertainment industry. The theme of each Super Session will continue through the morning with breakouts and related events. Dance will be in the spotlight on Wednesday; movies will be in focus on Thursday; theatre will be center stage on Friday; and the future will be explored on Saturday, with emphasis on design and technical solutions.

A special series of web-streamed events is being explored so USITT can include members who cannot be in Kansas City. The celebration also will feature special publications including a history of the Institute by Rick Stephens, and a book about major American designers who were active between 1960 and 2010.

Looking at what lies ahead for USITT, a great deal of time was spent examining our organizational structure and the role that an Executive Director would play in a revised governance model. Following months of research, preliminary work with the Executive Committee in August, and conversations with the Directors at Large, the Transition Advisory Team presented a possible template for a new governance model, including an Executive Director.

The Board, in an effort to solidify plans for a new organizational model, directed TAT to develop a job description for the new position with a timeline for implementation and an accompanying budget as well as a detailed proposal for a new organizational structure that would clearly demonstrate the relationship of committees, Board, Staff, contractors, and Executive Director.

To increase our understanding of structures currently used by other organizations, TAT Chair Lea Asbell-Swanger, USITT Administrative & Finance Manager Carol Carrigan, and I attended the 2008 Boardsource Leadership Forum held the last weekend of October in Washington, D.C. The conference is designed to assist not-for-profit arts organizations with a greater understanding of governance, finance, and regulatory concerns.

We gained valuable information by splitting up and then sharing the information we gathered, attending 18 sessions ranging from finance to governance, board structure to arts fundraising. The wealth of information from that conference is being shared with the Board and TAT as we continue our search for a sustainable and relevant USITT in the 21st century.

This is an exciting time for the Institute as we look for ways to increase our ability to reach new constituencies while at the same time continuing to identify new avenues of service to our highly-valued current members.

During this busy time it is important that we slow down long enough to connect with our friends and loved ones. I sincerely hope that each of you has a safe and memorable holiday.


To Top