Message from the President

Renae Williams Niles
Thursday, May 23, 2013

No matter your role in the touring ecology, Spring seems to be our most stressful yet rewarding time of year. Around the country, artists, agents, managers and presenters are confirming future partnerships and performances, ensuring the success of activities at hand, shoring up current budgets and taking the best guess at the next. It’s a Sisyphean challenge —keeping up with the daily barrage while striving to achieve more than ever before. So here’s my advice—take time out for reflection and thoughtful discussion with your peers, board, or staff. It’s a great respite and a refreshing way to advance the cause.

The WAA board, its twelve committees and subcommittees, and staff meet regularly, usually via conference call. When we take the time to convene in person, it’s a welcome break from the phone, and a precious opportunity to be spent wisely. Just last month the WAA board met in Portland to review the organization’s financial position and set budget goals for the next fiscal year. The board discussed and made decisions that will ensure a creative, engaging and distinct conference experience. We also continued refinement of the strategic plan which will set a clear path and intention for the organization’s next few years.

In the past 20 years I have been involved in the creation and assessment of multiple strategic plans including WAA’s previous plan which proved to be a hard working document, consistently referred to by board and staff throughout its term. Although the last few years have been challenging financially for everyone, WAA managed to accomplish a great deal. The current planning process, building upon the last, is utilizing a more holistic approach and embracing input from many stakeholders beyond the board. The plan’s goals, strategies, and measurable outcomes focus on increasing the value of membership, strengthening WAA’s community, and always, building a better conference. The plan will continue to take shape over the next few weeks and will be shared with the entire membership in the coming months. During the upcoming conference and the membership meeting we will discuss the plan in more detail.

I, along with my many colleagues in the area, look forward to hosting everyone in Los Angeles this August!