MISSION STATEMENT

Transcendence Theatre Company’s mission is to create extraordinary experiences that inspire all to cherish life and live it to the fullest.
We believe that life is a work of art. We are passionate about being free to transcend usual limits
as we serve and uplift our community, with a focus on Performing Arts, Arts Education, and
Community Engagement. Our work is rooted in inspiring individuals and communities to dream
freely, to reach ever more of their potential, and, in so doing, make a profound difference in the
world.

VALUES

Our commitment to these four values is at the heart of everything we do:

LIFE IS ART: We commit to creating extraordinary experiences onstage and off
COMMUNITY: We commit to joyfully inspiring our community and beyond
BELONGING: We commit to cultivating a culture of belonging, without a sense of otherness as we practice Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Unity
FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY: We commit to wise use of all resources entrusted to us

OUR COMMITMENT

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Transcendence is interviewing and will engage an outside HR professional or firm to review, assess and implement the following:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  5. 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.

PROGRESS AND ACTION

Updated July 14, 2021

In February 2021 Transcendence Theatre Company reenergized our commitment to:

  • Ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness are fostered by educational programs and operational practices throughout our organization,
  • Ensure our company’s employees are provided robust human resource support with formalized escalation using independent channels, and
  • Ensure our board of directors expands with non-management members who reflect our community and provide a higher degree of independent governance for our organization.

Since then, we have implemented numerous action steps to move our goals and commitment forward. Below is a snapshot of our progress and accomplishments to date. However, the work continues on many fronts and will be constantly evolving to meet the needs of the many constituencies we serve. The actions defined below are not all inclusive of steps which will ultimately be taken. They represent the work activities specified to this date. It is expected more action items will be added to in-progress sections as further areas are investigated and initiatives planned or undertaken. As such all the activity should be viewed as on-going and changing.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Beginning in 2020, Transcendence hired an independent, experienced firm to conduct workshops for our leadership and staff on diversity, equity and inclusion awareness and education. Building on that foundation, we are taking specific diversity, equity and inclusion next steps to move our organization forward.

  • Continuing workshops for staff, leadership, and board members in 2021.
  • An independent firm sent a survey to our entire staff for anonymous response on topics such as diversity, equity and inclusion to obtain valuable perceptions and ideas for improvement.  In addition, the survey contained a series of questions focused on the climate of the employment experience within our organization to assess strengths and identify areas for positive change.
  • Following the completion of the above survey, the same outside firm will compile the anonymous results into a report to be shared with the company leadership and Board of Directors. These results will then inform the required decisions on additional training, policy and procedure modifications, and areas to be addressed by the board leadership, executive team, and staff.
  • The Board of Directors is drafting the guiding Charter for a broad based DEI Committee to be comprised of diverse members representing the interests of employees, artists, supporters, leadership, board and thought leaders of the larger community.   Subsequently, specific committee members will be selected and a workplan established to meet the goals of the Charter and provide on-going perspective to current and future DEI initiatives.
  • Results from the employee survey have been analyzed by both the leadership team and an independent firm and action plans completed to address areas for positive change
  • Transcendence Belonging Charter draft completed with reviews by leadership team, independent directors, and independent DEI consultants
  • DEI workshops calendared for all seasonal staff including self-based training and in-person workshop
  • DEI workshops held by professional DEI consultants for cast and staff of “My Hero” production and all full time employees
  • Transcendence Creative Teams have created a process to discuss, debrief, and provide context for all musical selections
  • Land acknowledgement practices have been incorporated into first rehearsal rituals and also are recognized in Transcendence programs
  • All cast and staff of each production and education program will have mandatory DEI training
  • Transcendence Belonging Charter made available to the public and all Transcendence employees
  • Professional DEI consultants established the curriculum for employees to be provided with consistent and continuous training.
  • Professional DEI Consultants completed and shared the results of an employee survey, the progress achieved, and the action plan moving forward.

Human Resources

Transcendence engaged an independent HR firm to review and assess all human resource functions. During 2021, this firm will provide a report of findings and recommendations for potential improvements that the Board of Directors will review, evaluate and implement as appropriate.

  • Engaged existing Professional Employment Organization (PEO) to design and establish a process that provides non-management staff members a direct escalation path for all HR/Employee Relations unresolved or sensitive issues, concerns, claims or grievances to the Independent Board Directors.
  • The HR firm and management have established a new non-executive HR presence serving as an independent ombudsman supporting 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.
  • Re-introduced HR Representative to entire company staff to communicate details of outside non-management HR Representative and Independent Board Member escalation process.
  • We are currently reviewing the company management structure and departmental resources and processes in relation to business needs that will allow efficient and effective delivery of the organization’s core missions for 2021 and beyond. This will include assessing the company existing organizational chart, staffing within each department, role descriptions and roles and responsibilities for all staff.
  • Management has provided a licensed emotional support professional that is available to all staff and casts.
  • In addition to full-time employees, all seasonal employees are provided a survey that will be reviewed and analyzed at the end of the summer to assess strengths, obtain valuable perceptions and ideas for improvement within our organization, and identify areas for positive change.
  • All artists participate in an “Artist Reflection” where they can openly share feedback on their experiences.  Artists also may access any member of the leadership team to schedule 1-1 feedback.
  • All seasonal & full-time employees begin with an orientation that shares in detail the company’s mission, values, policies, programming, DEI training, and resources available during their engagement with Transcendence.

Governance and Accountability

  • Created and Approved Director Duties and Responsibilities document (job description)
  • Enlarged membership of the Board Nominating Committee
  • Created summary profile of identified and qualified potential board members and prioritized potential candidates based on their ability to best meet criteria established by the Board to maximize organizational needs.
  • Completed preliminary assessment of qualified potential prospects
  • Created rank-order of qualified potential prospects
  • Identified interview team & interview process
  • Began interviewing potential candidates based upon the rank-order above to mutually discuss the job description, their resumes and the Company Mission documents
  • Elected two independent directors bringing Board of Directors to 7 members with majority of 4 independent, non-management directors   The 2021 objective is to attain the maximum number of directors as allowed by company bylaws. That number is nine, and all new directors will be independent.
  • We are committed to nominating and electing two additional independent directors in 2021.
  • The officer position of  President of the Board of Directors is now held by an independent board member.  The former President transitioned from that position, remaining a director and leadership team member.
  • Transcendence Belonging Charter unanimously approved by Board of Directors
  • Transcendence Belonging Charter made available to the public and all Transcendence employees
  • Transcendence Board of Directors is currently creating a Transcendence Belonging Council

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