Ayla Stephen on her progress in RAMP

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

by Ayla Stephen

by Ayla Stephen

When Geraldine offered me a spot in this year’s Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP), I immediately said, “YES!”. It was the perfect time to take the program. I had just started in my new role as Program & Granting Manager at the Rozsa Foundation and was eager to learn about the suite of Arts Learning programs offered. In addition, I am the Associate Producer at The Shakespeare Company, and RAMP would give me the opportunity to strengthen my skills and knowledge for that role as well.

One of the program components I find most intriguing (and intimidating) is the Action Learning Plan (ALP). The ALP has each RAMP participant choose an existing challenge or opportunity within our organization, and with mentorship from RAMP’s Academic Director Scott Radford (also Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, Haskayne School of Business), we are creating a plan to address it. I was most interested in learning about strategic plans: how to create one, what should be included, and how to make the best use of it. The Shakespeare Company had been hoping to redevelop the education components of our programming, and this allowed for focused time to compile the company’s ideas into an actionable plan.

"What really stood out for me was the idea that a strategic plan is only a list of dreams, unless there are defined steps of action AND a corresponding budget."

The Board Governance session taught by Loren Falkenberg has had the biggest impact on how I am approaching my ALP. What really stood out for me was the idea that a strategic plan is only a list of dreams, unless there are defined steps of action AND a corresponding budget. If a new piece of organizational programming is stated as a priority it should be reflected in the budget so that it is clear what resources are available, possible revenues, and how the programming could affect the overall budget. Approaching my ALP planning with detailed budgets has made the project planning more tangible to me. I’ve been able to determine what could be possible in the short term, what might need a longer time frame, and what might simply be out of scope for us. It will also allow for informed decisions to be made by the Board of Directors and Artistic Producer about the plan I present. It will be an actionable plan, not just a list of hopes and ideas. For examples of past Action Learning Plans, please see the Arts Leadership stories in our Blog on our website: https://www.rozsafoundation.org/news/categories/arts-leadership Here are some specific examples of participants' ALPs that became a reality: Calgary Folk Fest's Secret Sounds Society Edmonton's Rapid Fire Theatre's At Risk Youth Outreach Efforts ACAD (now AUA)'s Life Long Learning Program

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