Celebrating Women Leaders in the Arts & Cultural Sector for International Women’s Day 2020

International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, is happening this Sunday, March 8 — and while the Blackbaud Arts & Cultural team and I try to live every day in its spirit, we’d also like to take this opportunity to recognize a handful of the women leaders in our community who we admire and whose achievements inspire us to continue to strive for a more equal world. 

First up is Colleen Dilenschneider, the Chief Market Engagement Officer for IMPACTS, a global leader in predictive market intelligence and related technologies, and the publisher of one of our team’s favorite websites, Know Your Own Bone, which shares data and analysis about how cultural audiences think and behave. We love Know Your Own Bone because it uses data to help cultural organizations stay relevant in today’s ever-changing world. I had a total fan-girl moment meeting Colleen when she delivered the Arts & Cultural track’s keynote at bbcon 2019 in Nashville last October. Her thoughts on personal facilitated experiences (PFEs) being the most remarkable way to connect with an audience are still influencing us.  

Next is another role model of ours: Aubrey Bergauer, the Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Leadership & VP of Strategic Communications at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Admirers of Aubrey will be familiar with her groundbreaking work in her previous role as Executive Director of The California Symphony. There, she implemented her ‘long-haul model’ to audience development that resulted in a dramatic increase in concert attendance, younger audiences, and more donors. We look to Aubrey as a leader in new audience development, member and donor engagement, marketing, and administration tactics. And coming very soon, we will be interviewing Aubrey on Blackbaud’s sgENGAGE Podcast on all of the above — so make sure you subscribe to be notified as soon as it goes live. 

Last but certainly not least on this celebratory list, is our Charleston neighbor and longtime friend, Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections and Operations at the Gibbes Museum of Art. In addition to managing the museum’s permanent art collection and overseeing museum operations plus logistics for its active exhibition and loan programs, Zinnia is also the President of The Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC)have learned a lot from Zinnia during our mutual endeavors at Museums Advocacy Day over the past couple of years, and I admire her for her leadership in the region and for her dedication to the GibbesIn fact, we’re speaking with Zinnia on an upcoming #shareyourculture webinar about how she helped bring a touchable, 3D relief print of Thomas Sully’s iconic 1823 painting “Mrs. Robert Gilmor, Jr.” to the Gibbes and sparked an ongoing conversation there about how to create more accessible programming. 

These are just a few of the countless women in the arts and cultural space who we we’re grateful to work with. We hope you’ll join us and the others around the world celebrating International Women’s Day on social media by using the hashtags #IWD2020  #EachforEqual and #shareyourculture to share with us those whom you admire.