History of Executive Leadership

Executive Secretary Position

Historically, ACDA-MN has been a volunteer organization of colleagues promoting and working for the advancement of choral music in the state. During the early decades of the organization, the programs and events of ACDA-MN grew in scope and quantity. In the 1990’s it became increasingly apparent that the responsibilities of coordinating volunteer activities in ACDA-MN were growing beyond the capabilities of volunteer workers. Members began to realize the extent to which ACDA-MN was dependent on the dedication, effort and time of three individuals: the President, the Past President, and the President-Elect; a concern was expressed that the duties of these offices were becoming too large a volunteer commitment (6-years) for choral conductors who were also full-time working professionals. There was also some thought that the every 2-year “changing of the guard” negatively impacted the day-to-day operations of the organization and more consistency would be beneficial to the health and long-term progress of ACDA-MN. With membership approaching 800 and with thirteen major annual activities sponsored by ACDA-MN, officers were indeed becoming overwhelmed by the details of their volunteer leadership positions. At the same time there was an expressed desire to make the president’s position more ‘idea/vision/proposal’ oriented and less burdened with the day-to-day administration of ACDA-MN.

It was concluded by the membership and State Board, that the organization had outgrown what volunteers alone could handle; the need for a paid Executive Secretary to assist the President and Board in their duties had become apparent. The intent was to lighten the president’s load so an active choral musician could serve as president and lead with vision; the executive secretary position would then take on most of the administrative duties. Consequently, at the ACDA-MN State Board meeting on January 17, 1997, the Board took the historic action of establishing the part-time position of Executive Secretary and established a time line and procedure for filling the position. Wayne Kivell was hired and took on the duties of Executive Secretary effective July 1, 1997. Wayne held that job for twelve years.

Executive Director Position

In 2008, Wayne along with state treasurer Chuck Hellie announced their impending retirements. The officers, the State Board and membership of ACDA-MN began a dialogue on what the future would hold. The executive secretary and state treasurer positions had grown immensely from their inceptions; some of these jobs' duties could be completed on a part time basis, but there were many weeks when the obligations were definitely "full time" and then some. Members and the Board felt that the organization was on borrowed time; they held discussions about what a new position might look like. An Executive Board retreat with paid consultant Eric Runestad, secured with funding from a grant, helped jump start the serious dialogue and planning that would be needed to move forward. As awareness grew of the multiple duties involved, a realization dawned of how different the position would probably need to become. A new job description was created incorporating duties of both the former executive secretary and state treasurer. Consequently, the new, expanded position began to take a more concrete identity: Executive Director.

Over the course of the 2008-09 fiscal year, the State Board laid out the plan of how a full time position would be paid for. A presentation was made to the membership at the 2008 Summer Dialogue proposing the creation of the full time position of Executive Director, and open discussion between members and Board ensued throughout the week. In a special meeting, the Board made the momentous, unanimous vote to establish the new position. Following an established timeline for posting, interviewing applicants, and filling the position, Bruce W. Becker took on the responsibilities of ACDA-MN’s first full-time Executive Director on July 1, 2009.