Monthly Archives: August 2011

An Interview with Marie Dalton-Meyer, CDSS Interim Executive Director

I sat down with Marie Dalton-Meyer, who is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director at CDSS, and asked her a few questions. – Max

 

 

Marie, could you tell us what your background is?

I’ve been involved in the arts really my whole career. I started out as a French and history teacher, and I involved the arts as part of my teaching. I did a Masters in Teaching Museum Education and then I started working for nonprofits in arts and culture. That’s where my heart is.

I worked for a corporation for ten years, in arts sponsorship. I have been executive director or in senior management in half a dozen nonprofits over the years. That’s where my passion is.

The reason I think I’ve stayed in the arts all this time is because, for me, it’s part of what makes life full and interesting. Without the arts, whether it’s visual arts or performing arts, our lives wouldn’t be as rich as they are. Different things feed different people. That’s what feeds me.

And what’s your role at CDSS right now?

I’m serving as Interim Executive Director during a transition period. The Board is working with Third Sector New England, from Boston, an organization which does work with nonprofits in all sorts of areas – leadership development, sustainability, operations – and as one piece of that an interim director comes in and leads the organization during a process of the search for a permanent E.D. [Executive Director].

What do you do on a day-to-day basis at CDSS?

What I do on a day-to-day basis is run the organization. I oversee all the programs and all the activities of the organization. I work with staff and I work with the Board. So I function as the director of an organization would. I have the responsibility to make decisions, to move the organization forward, and to support the staff in their work.

So, what has been going on at CDSS? Where are we now and where are we going?

The organization is, plain and simple, in a transition period from a longtime Executive Director to new leadership. And that’s involving the whole organization, through the Board and the staff and the organization’s constituency. So, where CDSS has been from my perspective is the Board has hired an Interim E.D. and they are doing strategic visioning to clarify the search process for a new director. From the outside, it looks very much like business as usual. All the programs are going full steam, all the work is going full steam, the website is vibrant with new activities, publications are being produced. Everything looks as though it’s seamless. And it, in fact, is seamless, but there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

I know you visited two of CDSS’s programs this summer. Anything to share from those experiences?

I was so glad I was able to spend a couple of days at Family Week at Ogontz and at English Week at Pinewoods. Even in a few days I was struck and captivated by the spirit and joy of community. At Ogontz I was swept up in a fabulous intergenerational experience in a spectacular spot of New Hampshire. At English Week it was a pleasure to meet so many longtime CDSS friends and supporters, and the quality of the music, dance and song was inspirational. What fun!

If folks reading this have ideas or concerns about CDSS and the transition going on, what should they do about those concerns?

They should be in touch with Debbie Jackson, head of the Transition team, which is made up of Board and staff. [See here for a list of CDSS committees, task groups, and their members. – Max]

Is there anything you’d like members of CDSS to know about?

I think one of the things I am struck by in coming to this organization – coming from a background primarily in the visual arts, and my knowledge of the interests CDSS speaks to was certainly limited – I am struck by the passion and interest of Board and staff in the work. Both the work of the organization and the very culture that it supports. I want the membership to know that this organization is very serious about its work and the role that it plays in sustaining, promoting, energizing people about the wonderful things that happen in English and Anglo-American dance, music, and song.

The Board has made a big commitment to do some good thinking around what’s next for the organization, how to best prepare it for the next leader, and then hiring a leader. In this process, as always, CDSS needs the support of its constituencies.

Thanks, Marie!

Thanks, Max!

Marie Dalton-Meyer began serving as the Interim Executive Director this May.

 

Marie, could you tell us what your background is?

I’ve been involved in the arts really my whole career. I started out as French and history teacher, and I involved the arts as part of my teaching. I did a Masters in Teaching Museum Education and then I started working for nonprofits in arts and culture. That’s where my heart is.

I worked for a corporation for ten years, in arts sponsorship. I have been executive director or in senior management in half a dozen nonprofits over the years. That’s where my passion is.

The reason I think I’ve stayed in the arts all this time is because, for me, it’s part of what makes life full and interesting. Without the arts, whether it’s visual arts or performing arts, our lives wouldn’t be as rich as they are. Different things feed different people. That’s what feeds me.

And what’s your role at CDSS right now?

I’m serving as interim Executive Director during a transition period. The Board is working with Third Sector New England, from Boston, an organization which does work with nonprofits in all sorts of areas – leadership development, sustainability, operations – and as one piece of that an interim director comes in and leads the organization during a process of the search for a permanent E.D. [Executive Director].

What do you do on a day-to-day basis at CDSS?
What I do on a day-to-day basis is run the organization. I oversee all the programs and all the activities of the organization. I work with staff and I work with the Board. So I function as the director of an organization would. I have the responsibility to make decisions, to move the organization forward, and to support the staff in their work.

So, what has been going on at CDSS? Where are we now and where are we going?
The organization is, plain and simple, in a transition period from a longtime Executive Director to new leadership. And that’s involving the whole organization, through the Board and the staff and the organization’s constituency. So, where CDSS has been from my perspective is the Board has hired an Interim E.D. and they are doing strategic visioning to clarify the search process for a new director. From the outside, it looks very much like business as usual. All the programs are going full steam, all the work is going full steam, the website is vibrant with new activities, publications are being produced. Everything looks as though it’s seamless. And it, in fact, is seamless, but there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

 

I know you visited two of CDSS’s programs this summer. Anything to share from those experiences?
I was so glad I was able to spend a couple of days at Family Week at Ogontz and at English Week at Pinewoods. Even in a few days I was struck and captivated by the spirit and joy of community. At Ogontz I was swept up in a fabulous intergenerational experience in spectacular spot of New Hampshire. At English Week it was a pleasure to meet so many longtime CDSS friends and supporters, and the quality of the music, dance and song was inspirational. What fun!

If folks reading this have ideas or concerns about CDSS and the transition going on, what should they do about those concerns?

They should be in touch with Debbie Jackson, head of the Transition team, which is made up of Board and staff.

Is there anything you’d like members of CDSS to know about?
I think one of the things I am struck by in coming to this organization – coming from a background primarily in the visual arts, and my knowledge of the interests CDSS speaks to was certainly limited – I am struck by the passion and interest of Board and staff in the work. Both the work of the organization and the very culture that it supports. I want the membership to know that this organization is very serious about its work and the role that it plays in sustaining, promoting, energizing people about the wonderful things that happen in English and Anglo-American dance, music, and song.

The Board has made a big commitment to do some good thinking around what’s next for the organization, how to best prepare it for the next leader, and then hiring a leader. In this process, as always, CDSS needs the support of its constituencies.

Puttin’ On the Dance: Northeast organizers’ conference

Following successful conferences in the Northwest and Southeast, this November CDSS is co-sponsoring an organizers’ conference in the Northeast! I’m looking forward to be attending myself; I’ll also be leading a session or two on youth and intergenerationality. Chrissy Fowler is one of the organizers of Puttin’ on the Dance and sent me the following update. – Max

Puttin’ on the Dance

Chrissy Fowler here, CDSS member and all-around traditional dance enthusiast.  I help produce the Belfast Flying Shoes Dance Series, a monthly community and contra dance, and a CDSS Affiliate.  As a dance organizer, I know what a tremendously rewarding but tough job it is to be “puttin’ on a dance” in my local community.

That’s why I’m thrilled to be deeply involved with a project whose goal is to connect and inspire dance organizers:  Puttin’ On the Dance – A Conference for Northeast Dance Organizers. We four conference organizers have all had personal experience with the joys and challenges of dance organizing, and we are eager to provide a forum for sharing ideas, learning new things, building regional networks, and the overall rejuvenation of dance organizers.

What You’ll Find at the Organizers Conference

In October 2009, I had the honor of being in a leadership role at the Southwest Virginia Leadership Conference.  I can testify firsthand to the effect that gathering had on my life as an organizer, and on the many dance organizers who attended.  I’ve heard similar testimonials about other conferences in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest.

Your PotD organizers. Linda, Mary, Chrissy, and Delia.

At PotD you will find experienced and enthusiastic dance organizers leading sessions related to building healthy dance organizations, sustaining a series over time, attracting a solid base of dancers and volunteers, marketing, finances, running sound for dances, working with performers, fulfilling your dance’s mission, and other useful and enriching topics.  But most of all, you will find each other.

This is the clincher for me.  Each other.  Every single time I talk to someone who’s planning to come, I realize just how much we dance organizers have to offer each other.  Sure, we all have our problems, but we also each have successes and strengths, and I can’t wait to be surrounded by folks who can help me puzzle out some of the challenging aspects of dance organization.  Folks who have been there. Folks who get it. Folks like me, but who have actually figured out solutions to particular things I struggle with!  And who are ready to celebrate all of the wonderful aspects of organizing a dance series, across the whole spectrum of contra, square, English country, gender role free, family and community dances.

Attending the Conference

Puttin’ On the Dance is November 11-13, 2011 in White River Junction, VT.  Everything you need to register is here. You’ll find the registration form, ways to finance attendance (including scholarships) and more.  NOTE:  All registrations postmarked by September 1 qualify for Earlybird Rates. (Send in those forms ASAP for discounted fees!)  If you have questions, let us know.

What You Can Do

  • Be at the conference! Current registrations come from across New England (5 of the NE states), New York, and Ontario, and we’ve even got a dance organizer joining us from Jonesborough TN.  We’d love to have YOU there too!
  • Send someone else from your organizing team, if you just can’t make it… or even someone who’s thinking of joining your team.  What a way to get someone invested and excited in dance series organization!
  • Share your ideas – for session leadership, for session content, for other program activities. [Feel free to post them in the comments section here. – Max]
  • Get on our mailing list, and help us spread the word via Facebook, in person. Print a flier!

And trust me, my fellow dance organizers, you don’t want to miss this one!

Chrissy
nedanceorgs@gmail.com

Puttin’ On the Dance:  A Conference for Northeast Dance Organizers
November 11-13, 2011
www.puttinonthedance.org
http://www.facebook.com/PuttinOnTheDance

Chrissy Fowler (ME) Delia Clark (VT)  Linda Henry (MA) Mary Wesley (VT)

Chrissy Fowler is a caller and organizer from Maine. She is co-organizing the Puttin’ on the Dance Northeast Dance Organizers Conference.