PuSh Organizational Review
In the spirit of transparency, we have created this forum to share information and updates, documenting the ongoing organizational review process. We invite you to provide feedback, ask questions, or leave comments, using the contact form at the bottom of the page.
In March of 2021, we, a group of community members concerned about the state of the society, stepped forward as a transitional Board of Directors aiming to help transform the organization into the future.
We came together as volunteers, not as a traditional Board, but practicing artists and arts administrators of diverse backgrounds and opinions, to roll up our sleeves and work together to help PuSh overcome the challenges of the time. Under the light of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the disruptions of a global pandemic, organizations like ours, who often explore these important themes on stage, have had to reckon with our own poor decisions and toxified systems. Individuals were damaged and our community had a range of reactions: some angry, some baffled, some hurt, some surprised, others not. Organizations can either ignore, deny and try to move on, or they may buckle and dissolve under the pressure. Those of us who stepped up to work on the Board believed, not that we were better, but that we had the energy to strive for a better way. Some of us had never met but we had that shared value, knowing the task is not an easy one.
We were elected on a platform of goals and objectives. Our progress on these objectives is detailed here:
If not already complete by that time, immediately begin to finalize a healthy and just resolution with former staff.
We formed a ‘right relations’ committee that engaged in private meetings and discussions with specific former staff since March, 2021. Several outcomes were mutually agreed upon as a road-map, which we carried, to our best efforts, while maintaining our commitment to a culture of care.
Continue the process of organizational review that began in Fall 2020. This includes clear steps towards establishing administrative, management, governance, and resource systems that are Just and equitable while demonstrating sound business and fiduciary responsibility.
We have engaged and been working with a Human Resources consultant and are developing a staff feedback mechanism that is rooted in the positive values we aspire to. Most recently, we welcomed back our organizational review consultant. The board is working on creating a prioritized action plan leading to transforming the board relationship to the organization into one that embodies a culture of support.
Implement an interim artistic team that can review and advance PuSh programming from a Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) lens. This will further define the leadership structure and qualities required for a transition to permanent leadership.
A Collaborative Leadership Team was created, structurally embodying the values we are striving for. We were proud to welcome Gabrielle Martin and Dr. Margo Kane onto the staff team. Both have been working diligently to orient themselves to their new roles and move forward with bringing performances to the stage. We are continuing to explore this structure and how it will best serve our mandate while staying rooted in the values of a culture of care.
Begin to create a sense of unity and common purpose amongst the board, staff, and immediate stakeholders. This includes robust internal and external consultation.
One of the first acts that took place was to invite staff to all board meetings at their discretion. Except for instances during which privacy requires more limited attendance, the board has an open door policy with staff attending and participating in board meetings and on appropriate committees.
Eventual transfer power from an interim to permanent board.
The new hiring process took a bit longer than anticipated. In order to ensure we set these individuals, and the 2022 programming up for success, we have pushed the AGM back to post festival time. We are now focussing on welcoming new board members, while some in our transition team have moved on after incredible contributions.
Seek feedback and engage in dialogue with a community of supporters and knowledge keepers.
Members of our Listening Committee and individual members have been in constant dialogue with funders, donors, artists and audience members in mostly informal or semi-formal exchanges. Our other objectives taxed our resources and the decision was made to have more formal feedback sessions after the 2022 Festival.
- Create a climate of healing and wellness for the PuSh Festival and its stakeholders.
- Begin transformation towards a responsible, equitable, and accountable organization.
- Get back to the business of giving cultural workers meaningful employment that enables delivering excellence in the performing arts.
We believe we are on track with our three goals. Any kind of transformational work is slow and messy as well as being exhilarating and revelatory. Rewards and challenges crop up in the most unexpected places. We remain committed to these goals and look forward to what lies ahead.
Finally, I’d like to thank the staff who continue to persevere, who created a successful 2022 Festival and who accept the changes that come. A particular mention goes to Jason Dubois who is moving on from PuSh. We wish him all the best on his new adventures
I’d like to give gratitude to my fellow board members, Sadira Rodrigues, Camilla Tibbs, Carmen Aguirre, and Johnny Wu for their continued efforts while saying a public good-bye to those who are moving on: Shanae Sodhi, thank you for jumping on board last March and bringing your creative and probing energy at the start of this journey. Justine Chambers, your grace, resilience and deep empathy have provided a heart-based compass for us all. Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen, you challenged us to think beyond the now with deep passion, we wish you all well in your future endeavours.
Finally, I’d like to thank the artists, audience, funders and supporters that have faith in the idea of PuSh.
PuSh Festival Board of Directors
Please note, this is a working section and will continue to be updated.
Organizational Review Guidelines & Outcomes
What are we hoping to achieve through the Organizational Review process:
- To rebuild PuSh with a just and equitable creative structure for governance, leadership, and programming.
- To restore PuSh as an organization & festival respected amongst our colleagues, where volunteers, staff, and board feel proud and energized about their work, and artists feel cared for and valued.
- To ensure PuSh has a well-articulated vision to support its redevelopment.
The guiding principles for the Organizational Review:
- We are doing this work in the interest of PuSh’s mandate.
- We will design a transparent process that is responsive and iterative with clear delineation of responsibility and accountability.
- We will consult, seek input, and authentically engage with one another and our many communities, compassionately, and in good faith. We will listen and do our best to heal our relationships. We want to move forward in a good way.
- “We will do the best we can until we know better. Then when we know better, we will do better” — Maya Angelou
- We will continue to respect and maintain the privacy of current and former staff/board members as well as other participants.
- We will question everything: our assumptions, structures, processes, policies, and the distribution of power within the organization and will take an equity-focused view in rebuilding the organization.
We recognize that:
- PuSh has budgetary constraints and will work within those.
- The constraints of operating as a non-profit within current funding and legal structures – we will push to the edges of those constraints.
- We are doing this work during a pandemic.
- We are in relationship with many communities.
We would like to hear from you. Please provide feedback, ask questions, or leave comments, using this contact form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.