24 Months|105 Weeks|17250 Hours is a blog by Julianne Brienza, CEO/Founder of Capital Fringe based in Washington, DC. Posting running through August 2020 will explore the varied aspects of defining the organizational evolution and structure of a annual Fringe festival to a year round organization through photos and narrative.    

Wriggling: Restructure Shuffle

Wriggling: Restructure Shuffle

In the past four years, I have drafted and redrafted the Fringe organizational chart more times than I can count. I always find it difficult to illustrate organic growth and shifting the organization out of the founder stage. Position, titles have been created and people have come and gone. I have done too much and I have done not enough --depending upon the specific circumstances.

One of my advisors recently asked me when I had reached out for advice regarding a staffing issue, if I was looking to hire a direct report or a strategic partner. I quickly replied that I wanted a direct report. This question has stuck in my head for weeks after being asked. After much reflection, the truth is that I am looking for partners for two key positions. But how do I hire at this level while keeping my vision in tack and the organization’s need for efficiency and to remain nimble.

A recent draft of the Fringe Org Chart. Colors indicated on-board of staff and board annually. Much advice and guidance is need to further this work and process.

A recent draft of the Fringe Org Chart. Colors indicated on-board of staff and board annually. Much advice and guidance is need to further this work and process.

For three or so weeks now, I have been working on the organizational chart so that it can illustrate on one to three sheets that staffing structure that will evolve over the next three years 2019 – 2021 and then the one we will put in place from 2021 – 2030. The objective is to illustrate a path that lifts the organization out of the founder stage and to envision what the organization will look like when I finally step away in a managerial capacity.  

I was tasked by a consultant and a board member to write out all the duties/roles I fill at Fringe. This is an incredibly difficult task for my “Type A” personality. I think of this chart as the opportunity to illustrate what roles I currently fill and to open the window to the founder/staffing dynamic.  

I recently met with a theatre community colleague after the yearly Theatre Washington Summit. She is relatively familiar with Fringe and with me. I shared my organizational chart with her. She asked me really good pointed questions. At one point in the conversation she said that people in the community find me scary. I answered back by asking is it because I am woman and don't manage from a motherly position? She stated that is was primarily because I come off as being too certain or confident.  This comment seemed similar to the “am I looking for a direct hire or a partnership”question.  In producing and sustaining the annual Fringe Festival for over a decade, where I am constantly needing to convince a wide variety of people that unvented content and the democratizing of art forms is worth investment and exploration, I do tend to speak with a declarative tone. It is funny to me as I am actually not really all that confident. I am constantly reaching out to my board and advisors for guidance and imploring my staff to see me as a partner.

Due to staffing changes at Fringe the board and I will be posting a key leadership position mid-March for a start date in May at the latest. I am both fearfully and joyfully anxious about this posting and hiring process. I do hope to find a partner.

Entrance into Larva (Caterpillar) Stage

Entrance into Larva (Caterpillar) Stage

Wriggling and Wriggling

Wriggling and Wriggling