Message from the President

Renae Williams Niles
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

As I begin my official tenure as your WAA Board President, I hope to provide further transparency, clarity and perhaps insight into the role of your volunteer board. I also welcome feedback and strongly encourage more of our members to be active and engaged with our organization. 

The necessity for WAA to remain relevant and essential rests in its members, their input, time and commitment to ensuring its longevity. Whether it is serving on committees in the future, lending us your expertise or volunteering your time, it will all help to better our services and programs. 

Looking to WAA’s future, the WAA Board and staff began a strategic planning process with a facilitated retreat this past Spring. What has been apparent to me as both my own organization as well as WAA have embarked on this familiar yet perplexing journey, is the significance of future planning in this present economy. Now more than ever, the need to forecast an organization’s trajectory has taken on new meaning. Planning at this time has made many of us question our history, our true values and our distinct position in the field. It was in Spring 2008 when the process began for WAA’s last strategic plan, quite a different time and much as taken place since then. 

A thoughtful environmental scan of the national landscape helped to inform our current discussions, and during the recent retreat and for the months following, the WAA Board and staff delved into all layers and aspects of the organization. With clear goals to increase opportunities to connect and inspire members, to increase unique services throughout the year and ensure stability, responsiveness and vitality, the plan will also be informed by input over the next few months from many other members through the organization’s various committees. A draft of the plan will be reviewed by the board in the spring and if approved, it will be shared with the full membership soon after. Stay tuned for more details. 

The completion and implementation of the strategic plan is a priority for my tenure. To reinvigorate our incredible staff, to encourage even more meaningful engagement with and among our members and further the organization’s role as a trailblazer that is willing to explore new approaches, are lofty goals for the next few years and I will try my best to achieve them with the support of many others. 

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season! 

Renae Williams Niles is Director of Dance Presentations at the Music Center in Los Angeles, California, one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation. Renae has served on the WAA Board for the past eight years, and has held the positions of both Secretary/Treasurer and Vice President. In this time she has served on and/or chaired numerous WAA committees, including the Conference Committee, Finance Committee, Governance Committee and Awards Committee. She was elected President of the board at the Annual Membership Meeting on September 8.