JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — The Britt Music & Arts Festival's board of directors announced on Tuesday that Britt president and CEO Donna Briggs will retire from leadership of the organization at the end of 2021.
Briggs has been with Britt for 11 years, and 10 as president and CEO.
According to the board, Briggs told them of her intentions to retire earlier this year. The board has since hired the Pasadena-based firm Morris & Berger to conduct a national search for new candidates, with plans to name a successor by December 31.
“Briggs started with Britt while it was facing substantial fiscal challenges from the economic downturn in 2010," said former board chair Mike Burrill Jr. "She helped the organization develop a new business model to lead us into the future. For the next decade, she followed that plan and Britt is stronger now than ever because of it.”
“I cannot overstate Donna’s impact during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dominic Campanella, current chair of the Britt board. “Performing arts venues like Britt were the first to close and have been the last to re-open. The extraordinary challenges we faced during the last 18 months created the ultimate leadership test. Throughout it all, Donna has remained steadfastly committed to Britt’s mission. Indeed, as a direct result of her tireless effort, Britt was one of the only performing arts venues in Oregon that avoided employee layoffs. Simply put, Donna has ensured Britt’s survival. Thanks to her, we will continue bringing the magic of music to Southern Oregon for many years to come.”
“Donna understands the power that music has to bring a community together and has worked tenaciously during her tenure at Britt to fulfill our mission," said the board's last chair Kelsy Ausland. "She has spearheaded the fundraising and implementation of critical capital improvement projects– from the small performance garden featuring local artists; the improvements to Front Street and parking for artists buses that benefit the surrounding neighborhood; the addition of handicap accessibility throughout the venue; and the expansion of the reserved seating area. Donna has made Britt a stronger, more inclusive, and dynamic arts non-profit, ready to succeed into the future.”
Briggs will continue in her current role until the end of the year. Britt said that she will be retained to provide consulting services as needed for up to twelve months after her last day — a long-term plan that Britt said is designed to ensure "the most successful leadership transition possible."
“It has been my great privilege to work with an exceptionally dedicated and skilled team of staff, board and volunteers," Briggs said. "I am exceedingly grateful to everyone for all that we accomplished together over the years. From the hiring of our brilliant Music Director, Teddy Abrams, to the implementation of a successful business model, to the numerous capital projects and the recent trials of managing COVID-19; these were achievements that required a committed group of gifted, tenacious individuals who came together to work relentlessly for our common vision. I am also very proud of our robust year-round education programs. Lastly, I am grateful to my husband, John, and my children and grandchildren who stood by my side no matter what challenges we faced.”