As a Recovering Perfectionist, I was surprised with how stressed I became when challenged with creating this blog post.
I continued to ask myself: how do I want to come across in this post? How do I want to tell my saga of being a working actor turned arts administrator? Do I want to be witty? Professional? Profound?
Decision making has never been my strong suit. No one enjoys when it is my turn to decide on a restaurant. When I was a child, I wrote a list of my favorite movies, so I would be prepared when asked. Oftentimes, my decision making has been linked with how I felt others would perceive me.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I made the decision to move back to my hometown in Madison. However, I was still unsure of where I wanted my career to go next. This decision was scary, I had always felt so sure of being a theatre artist, confidently making that decision in high school and never looking back. How would I come across to others if I decide not to work in theatre anymore?
I began to read career advice books and do a lot of soul searching. Somewhere down the line, the question began to evolve from how do I want to come across, to who do I want to be? This question I could answer. I want to be a leader and a changemaker. I want to be someone who supports nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations. I want to help children. I want to educate. I want to be challenged with creative problem solving. I want to provide my community with more enriching arts opportunities. I want to be an arts leader.
Soon after, I discovered the Bolz Center’s Master of Arts-Business: Arts and Creative Leadership Program. After speaking with Interim Co-Director Rebecca Buckman, I knew that this was where I needed to be. Any doubts I may have had before classes began dissipated the moment I arrived. I was definitely intimidated by the advanced curriculum, but ever since arriving I have been constantly challenged and encouraged to do better.
The Bolz Center has supported my goals by partnering me with local organizations to assist them with their efforts and learn from their experienced leaders. I have been supporting local nonprofits, like Chrysalis, StartingBlock Madison, and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras as their Marketing and Development Associate. I have been constantly invigorated by the variety of opportunities experienced through this program.
As the year progressed, a new question began forming: who do I want to help? From workshops with Inclusive Leadership Consultant David Stewart and a multitude of creative placemaking guest speakers, I have learned more about how to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our work. With only a few weeks left of school, I am inspired more than ever to be an arts leader who provides more accessible, inclusive arts experiences for all.
Decision making is scary because decisions lead to actions. What is scariest of all, is the idea that decisions lead to change. Going back to graduate school, especially this accelerated program has been intimidating, but has driven me even more to make impactful change in my community. The large number of alumni and arts professionals who I met this year have inspired me and expanded my ideas of exploring intended change despite inherent risks. Speaking with and listening to these leaders has helped me gain confidence in myself and has taught me how to trust in my ideas of change.
While there is still intended growth to explore and many more questions to ask and answer, I feel confident knowing that all my decisions have led me to this point. Sometimes, the best decision is to do what scares you. For me, making the decision to be a Bolzie led me closer to discovering who I want to be, who I want to help, and how to be a leader for positive change.
Now I just need to choose a restaurant to eat at after graduation.