Cultural Quarterly
Fall 2008
Volume XXI, Number 4
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Emerging Cultural Leaders

Broward Cultural
Division Launches

Emerging Cultural Leaders Program
By Helene Foster

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The cultural leaders of the future are preparing today, as 15 young professionals in Broward County take part in the Broward Cultural Division’s new Emerging Cultural Leaders Program. This initiative, which began in September, will help these individuals learn about the importance of sustaining cultural organizations to enhance life in our community.

When they complete the program, the 15 participants may receive recommendations to serve in a variety of volunteer leadership positions in cultural organizations and councils. They were selected after a competitive two-month application process. After submitting their resumes and biographies, along with a cover letter outlining their service to the community, professional endeavors and their desire for inclusion in the program, there was the usual waiting game, of course.

“Applying was both very exciting and nerve-racking,” explains Stanley Zamor, a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator and qualified arbitrator. Zamor sought out the program as a way to cultivate his interest in the community. “I truly felt it would be an honor to be part of something this progressive on the ground level.”

“I enjoy civic involvement and in the next two years I hope to learn how I can create opportunities for diverse cultures in Broward. I hope to learn how we can impact those around the county,” he says.

Grace Kewl-Durfey, arts management specialist for the Broward County Cultural Division, explains that the Emerging Cultural Leaders Program was formed to “keep the mission of the Cultural Division moving forward.”  Originally geared for just 10 participants in its inaugural year, there were so many “solid” professional candidates that the program was expanded to 15, she adds.

The Emerging Cultural Leaders Program will help “groom” tomorrow’s cultural leaders. Participants in the program are required to attend a variety of meetings, workshops and events that will help them learn about the cultural industry in Broward County. They will also be assigned to one or more

Emerging Cultural Leaders Class with BCC memebers
Emerging Cultural Leaders Class with BCC memebers

Broward Cultural Council Committees, assisting in areas such as advocacy, arts education, planning, public relations, finance, the Artist Hall of Fame, cultural diversity, the micro credit committee and global arts and culture, says Estelle Lowenstein, chair of the Emerging Leaders Committee.

“Because I have an interest in the arts and giving back to the community, I thought that the program was the next logical step in learning more about our local arts programs,” says Charlotte Sundquist, 28, international operations manager for Bennett Marine Inc.

Business owner Evelyn Hale says that she joined the program to “open the doors to other opportunities.” She wants to expand her cultural and professional horizons and learn about other civic opportunities.

The professionals range between 21 and 40 years of age, and getting them ready for volunteer cultural leadership positions is a major goal of the program. “There are 550 cultural organizations throughout Broward County and it will be important to have leaders available who know the system, and can provide leadership and advocacy,” says Mary Becht, director of the Broward Cultural Division.

For Carrie Hill, 28, the program will be quite a welcome addition to her education and professional background. “With my career I work with a couple of boards, but until recently I have never served as a board member. The program looked like a great opportunity to gain experience and potentially lead me to a board position in the future,” she says. Hill currently serves as a special projects coordinator for Waste and Recycling Services and is a classically trained clarinetist.

Fellow program participant, Laura Aker, 28, agrees. The internal audit manager for the Broward County Clerk of Courts looks forward to the networking opportunities offered by the group. “I believe that through this program I will meet other community-minded young professionals and enjoy friendships and networking,” she states.

The professionals are both excited and ready to help organizations in Broward County. Although they hail from different careers and backgrounds, all of the participants share a love for the arts. By partaking in the Emerging Cultural Leaders Program, they will be well equipped to serve in new capacities and help enhance and grow Broward’s cultural community.

Current plans call for the Emerging Cultural Leaders Program to be offered again in 2010.  Individuals who are interested in the program should contact Grace Kewl-Durfey at 954-37-7869 or gkewl@broward.org.

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