CHRC's "Preparing for Succession" Project

The Cultural Human Resources Council has received approval from Canadian Heritage for its long-awaited "Preparing for Succession" project, which takes on important HR issues concerning leadership in the cultural sector. With a generous funding commitment from the Metcalf Foundation, the project is now ready to move ahead. 

The human resources topics addressed by the project mirror those that the Alliance will raise at our June 9 conference, re:generation / BC Cultural Roundtable 2016, concerned with the next generation of leadership in our sector. The Alliance is pleased to include as part of our conference program a presentation on "Preparing for Succession" by Liz Shorten, Managing Vice-President of the B.C. Producers Branch (B.C. Branch) of the Canadian Media Producers Association. 

The HR Issue

Over the past decade cultural managers and board members across the country have expressed concern about succession in cultural organizations and companies, as a generation of leaders are on the verge of retirement. Where is the next generation of leaders? who are they? and are they ready to and do they want to take on the mantle of those who have led for decades? They come with digital skills to function in a digital age, but have they acquired the wisdom and corporate experience to marry their digital savvy with strategic, analytical and critical thinking and vision that are paramount in leadership? Do they have the understanding and ability to position their cultural organizations at the heart of their communities and as economic contributors to our country?

How CHRC Is Addressing It

CHRC is convinced that mentorship is a key piece in this puzzle—taking the brain trust of our most seasoned and successful cultural leaders and putting them into mentorship situations with some of the sector's brightest rising stars: our leaders of tomorrow. CHRC will be calling on the generosity of the mentors to commit to this project, and will issue a call for proposals for mid-level managers to participate as mentees. 18 mentorship teams will be set up in the first year and 24 in the second year. Mentor/mentee matches will not necessarily be dependent on geographic location or even discipline. They will be provided with an excellent array of mentorship tools and resources which CHRC will be pulling together from across the sector.

Another key piece in this puzzle is CHRC's HR Management Toolkit which will serve as a base for the learnings of the mentorship teams.

Modus operandi

CHRC has established a Steering Committee of senior cultural sector leaders to oversee the project and has hired an experienced Project Manager, Annalee Adair, former national Director of ArtsSmarts, to lead the project, working closely with CHRC's Executive Director, staff and Board. CHRC has engaged PATAC partners to work jointly on the revisions to the HR Management Toolkit. They have hired well-respected arts consultant, Sibyl Frei, who helped write some of the tools, to undertake the revisions. CHRC's modus operandi is to always work with the practitioners—those in the field/in the sector who get the issue and have the creativity and inspiration to find solutions.


A series of interactive webinars will be produced that will rally the mentorship teams and give them shared experiences around their learnings. The webinars will also stand alone as teaching tools for cultural managers going forward.

Further Conversations on Cultural Leadership

Join the Alliance on June 9 for re:generation / BC Cultural Roundtable 2016 at New Westminster's Anvil Centre to hear Liz Shorten's talk on CHRC's "Preparing for Succession" project and other presentations on issues of emerging leadership in the cultural sector. Click here to learn more about the conference program



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