Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Governance Reform
Transcendence Theatre Company began as a nonprofit with foundational ideas rooted in the desire for inclusion and diversity. The very use of the word “transcendence” was to connote the core value of community interacting with the theatre company to create a unique experience. Community in this context having a broad meaning that should represent all elements regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or abilities. These key tenets remain as true today as when we began many years ago.
We are also conscious that our performance as an organization and leadership team has not always met the high standard we set for ourselves. We have faced the same pitfalls and errors that many young organizations, whether enterprises for profit or non-profit, encounter as they grow from start-up to maturity. Our processes were incomplete and not entirely formalized. Decision making was sometimes performed with a focus on the need to move quickly or balance limited financial resources against other core values. Therefore, at times decisions made might not have been adequately explained, and the results have created unintended consequences in assessing actions or motives.
The management team and the Board of Directors are stewards of this business and the legitimate lapses in our performance and even the appearance of inequities is ours to own and correct. After careful consideration, the following are the steps that will be taken in the hope of solidifying the trust, respect, and support our employees, performers, and the community expect and deserve.
- Transcendence hired Right Size Media in 2020 to facilitate workshops for our leadership and staff on diversity, equity and inclusion awareness and education. Some of these workshops took place already and we plan to hold others in the coming months.
- Transcendence will evaluate the outcomes of these workshops and engage further resources as needed to provide online tools and ongoing education for our board, leadership, and staff to move us forward.
- Transcendence will establish a committee with diverse memberships of employees, leadership, board members, and community members to draft a DEI statement and action plan for implementation.
- Transcendence is interviewing and will engage an outside HR professional or firm to review, assess and implement the following:
- All human resources functions, including employee relations, people and workplace culture practices within the company and provide a report of findings and recommendations to the Board of Directors for implementation as early as possible this year.
- Review of the organizational and management team structure for all governance levels of the company and provide a report of findings and recommendations to the Board of Directors with the intent to build an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace within our company at all levels.
- Establish a new non-executive HR presence to serve as an independent ombudsman to company staff for any concerns, grievances, or questions with an escalation directly to a committee comprised of the independent members of the Board of Directors.
- Transcendence will strengthen the governance of the organization by increasing the number of independent, non-management board members to ensure independent governance. An expanded Board of Directors offers different perspectives to help our organization in reaching diversity, inclusion and equity goals as well as provide accountability, access, and outreach to our community. This process will be an urgent focus for us to complete this year.
The Transcendence Theatre Company is committed to an ongoing effort of embracing our responsibility to provide more conscious ways of cultivating a culture of connection and actions.
Transcendence Theatre Company’s mission is to create extraordinary experiences that inspire others to go beyond their usual limits and live the best life ever. Our philosophy includes a commitment to: Performing Arts, Arts Education, & Community Engagement. Our work is rooted in having this philosophy inspire individuals and communities to dream freely, to reach ever more of their potential and, in so doing, contribute to Sonoma’s ongoing development as a brilliant cultural center.