It’s that time again! First off, so pleased to announce the arrival of Ryder into the WESTAF family! More details below in the Technology & Innovation section. And, I returned safely from an unbelievable trip to Bhutan. Truly a place unlike any other. If you want to see some photos let me know! Speaking of photos, here are some good ones from our October meeting in Denver, including the trustees meeting, the gallery session and our time with the MAC.
Here are some updates from the last two weeks largely provided by the excellent Leadership Resource Team (thanks, all). Let’s jump right in.
ALLIANCES, ADVOCACY & PUBLIC POLICY
The Alliances team has launched the FY20 Advocacy Funds program with a December deadline. Alliances is currently managing the upcoming Executive Director Forum in Reno, NV in January 2020. The Alliances team is also finalizing a strategy for supporting federal advocacy activities in 2020, which will soon be announced to partners in the western states. Director of Public Policy David Holland attended the Wyoming Arts Council’s Arts Summit: Equity in the Arts from November 7-9, where he met with members of the Wyoming Arts Alliance and other arts leaders across the state.
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION
The finance & administration department is focused on preparation for the year-end audit as well as major changes in the department. Lauren Wilson is now managing all client activity for ZAPP and CaFE as well as all accounts payable and receivable and she is supported by our new part-time staffer, Jessica Martinez. Lauren has handled the transition well, but it’s a large volume of work while she is also training Jessica. Becca Dominguez has taken on all HR administration from Becky Brown and is now focused on learning operations and office management from Seyan Lucero and Janae De La Virgen. Amy Hollrah and Becky are focused almost entirely on audit prep: WESTAF and ZAPP financials must be translated from cash to accrual accounting for year-end. The auditors require all documents to be uploaded to their site by mid-November. Once the bulk of the audit work is handled, the team will focus on improvements and innovation for FY20.
RESPONSIBILITY & INCLUSION
Chrissy Deal and her team (Madalena Salazar and, soon, Lani Morris) are gearing up for a busy year-end and early 2020. Chrissy is wrapping up WESTAF’s collaboration with Zoo, Arts & Parks in Salt Lake County, UT and will be reviewing the summary report and recommendations with their leadership later this month. She and Madalena will be finalizing the TourWest grant application in preparation for a mid-January 2020 launch and work with Seyan Lucero to develop a training schedule to prepare Lani for her new role as grants coordinator in January, as well. Finally, Chrissy is working on an exciting collaboration with South Arts, our fellow regional arts organization which partners with 9 state arts agencies, to initiate an Emerging Leaders of Color program for arts administrators of color working in the region. Chrissy and the program faculty—Salvador Acevedo, Tamara Alvarado and Margie Johnson Reese—are eager to connect with rising leaders beyond the WESTAF region and look forward to strengthening our relationship with South Arts on such an important effort.
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
The MarComm team (having so many great pictures from the board meeting!) created an online photo gallery as well as the Facebook page to bring some personality to the website and social media. They also drafted and sent the November edition of WESTAF’s Update Notes and kicked off planning for the joint ED Forum and Board of Trustees meeting taking place this January in Reno. Planning is also underway for an email marketing campaign for CaFE and a content strategy for the blog, as well as creating a marketing plan for CVSuite’s Emsi report offerings. The team is also creating a system for tracking marketing metrics for all tech projects to measure campaign performance for initiatives planned for launch in Q2.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
This week was the first week with Adam Sestokas back from paternity leave, Ryder was born 21.5 inches and 8 pounds 9 ounces. He is currently 23 inches and breaking into the double digits. Picture below! The technology team has ramped up this past week refocusing on what needs to be finished and what is a priority for Quarter 1. Feature planning for CaFE and ZAPP have continued with wireframes being created in conjunction with their respective teams, including a new admin interface for CaFE and Early bird/late fee mockups for ZAPP. The team has implemented some pieces of these specifications to ensure their technical practicality. On Wednesday, there was a site outage experienced by CVSuite, and it was resolved by 5pm that day. CVSuite is about to have a college class use the tool, so its infrastructure is being worked on to accommodate the amount of additional usage that can be expected. A bug was tracked down involving metropolitan statistical areas. Public Art Archive has two new clients with significant collections, one with over 5,000 works. The tech team is reviewing resource constraints for the import process and verifying minimal manual import work that will need to be done. The team is working to test the Collection Management version 5.2 with all of its onboarding tools. GOSmart has been working through problems with its paneling process. The team is following up with Brownrice to ensure any quality issues are addressed and reviewing what devices and versions of devices users are paneling on that are not Desktop computers. In-house development and knowledge of the GO Smart application increases with each week, but it is a system that had been worked on for many years. Smaller tickets are being finished up by the team in house and the code base is being documented by the internal team.
Within the office work continues as well as Conference Rooms are being reevaluated for their practicality for sales demos, and we will be working on locations that suit our staff’s needs. Planning has begun with the Operations team on cycling out the computers that have served the staff well for the past 7 years. The current phone system is presenting some challenges to 21st century operations and the team is working towards replacing and patching together the older phone equipment until we are able to switch phone systems as well.
After a fabulous meeting with the Board of Trustees in October, the business team and product managers are energized to move forward with their Objectives and Key Results, which will be tracked in Asana, a task-management system we use at WESTAF. Asana has been helpful with cross-department collaboration and resource allocation. The whole business department will be focused on planning and metrics gathering in Q1.
The CaFE team is revisiting the e-blast fulfillment process and pricing to better meet the needs of customer budgets and staff resources. CaFE brought in $19k in e-blast sales in FY19—but not without a lot of dedicated staff time. We think we can refine and relaunch the service even better and increase revenue by at least 30%.
The CVSuite team will meet with Emsi on Dec. 4 in Denver for data training and introductions with their new director of strategic partnerships. David Holland also continues to represent CVSuite through his involvement in roundtable conversations held by Americans for the Art’s new Creative Economy Advisory Group. The team had an official hand-off meeting to operationalize the execution of the curriculum launch. A tentative deadline has been set for launch in classrooms in August 2020 with communication milestones in January 2020 for distribution and beta testing.
GO Smart is on track to meet Q1 revenue goals. We are continuing talks and demos with Black Belt Community Foundation, though our contact is no longer with that organization. We are awaiting a response from Andrea Noble-Pelant in Alaska after sending her renewal paperwork.
PUBLIC ART ARCHIVE
The PAA team is signing two new clients to the Collection Management System, for a combined total of $6,000 in new revenue. The clients are Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Santa Monica Office of Cultural Affairs. Both clients will also subscribe to the Collection Showcase feature.
ZAPP recorded a 10% increase in application submissions for the month of October, a positive sign to start the new fiscal year. We also scheduled a meeting with the American Craft Council, a former client that left for a competitor, to discuss ZAPP updates and the possibility of bringing their nationally-renowned shows back to ZAPP.