Meet the Conference Team: Liv Nilssen
Sector Strategy Lead
Co-presenting Development Directors roundtable
Addicted to change 🎆
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Spektrix
As Sector Strategy Lead, I work with the whole team across all our offices to identify and address some of the big picture challenges and opportunities we face in the performing arts sector. In the last year that has meant a focus on GDPR, an ever-increasing need for contributed income, and industry skills gaps and shortages. At Spektrix there's a lot to do to ensure we are meeting the needs of the sector and continue to build on client success.
What were you doing before Spektrix?
My most recent role was Interim Development Director at the Royal Court Theatre, prior to that I worked in a variety of fundraising roles across the US. With over fifteen years experience in performing arts fundraising, delivering for a single organisation at a time, I was thrilled to join the Spektrix team last year and have the opportunity to impact the success of over 375 clients.
What’s an average day at Spektrix for you?
One of the best things about my role at Spektrix is that no day is ever the same as the last. However, I am always doing what I can to ensure we are on the lookout for great ideas from and for our fundraising users. I also spend a lot of time working with our teams on delivering exceptional training and consultation.
How did you get involved with Spektrix Conference 2018?
The Spektrix Conference is an absolutely vital part of our offering to our clients so I’ve been involved from the planning stages. We decided early on that we wanted to focus on leadership because we saw a gap in accessible career development content that was targeted at arts leaders. It has been really interesting to see that the recent report on skills shortages and gaps commissioned by Arts Council England has found substantial gaps around leaders’ confidence in marketing, fundraising and digital skills. I think this report lends credence to the need for this kind of conference and I hope it will go some ways to help close that gap.
What does leading for change mean to you?
My last boss, Vicky Featherstone, a truly inspiring leader and the Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, often said to me, ‘I’m addicted to change!’ Vicky inspires me because she passionately and clearly sets an unwavering vision but equally, she listens to anyone who wants to work with her to achieve it and empowered us all to make it happen. I see the same patterns here at Spektrix as we work through constant change and the drive to never settle.
Like Vicky, I am also addicted to change. I want to see our sector grow and thrive, I know we can always be better, more resilient, more efficient, build and grow. But I still have a lot to learn about how to achieve that change, how to inspire and empower others and how to do it all in a sustainable way.
We talk a lot here at Spektrix about leadership at every level and what it means to show others a better way forward. I know we are looking forward to sharing some of these insights with you at the conference. But I am just as excited about learning from our clients and other experts in the field who have some brilliant lessons to impart on leadership.
What’s been your favourite moment of working on Spektrix Conference?
I am co-presenting on two sessions, one a breakout Development Directors Roundtable with Katie Cotton of Chichester Festival Theatre and the other is a session on using data to lead change with Dettie Ellerby of Exeter Phoenix and Liz Hall of Bradford Theatres. Hearing these remarkable womens’ stories about leading for change in their own organisations has been extremely rewarding.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Spektrix Conference?
I am excited to help share Dettie and Liz’s stories and to learn more about collaboration and negotiation. But more than anything, it’s been two years since our last conference and I am most looking forward to seeing all our UK and Irish clients in one place and having those great serendipitous hallway conversations with peer leaders which really make for a great conference.
What would your advice be for someone attending the conference for the first time?
Leave some time for those chance encounters and conversations with other attendees and don’t just stick to people you already know. Strike up a conversation with someone from another region, another area of expertise, or a different type of organisation. It’s amazing what we can learn from our peers but equally amazing what listening to someone with a slightly different perspective can reveal.
What are you most looking forward to in Leeds?
I'm excited that we're hosting our “The Arts and the deal - Negotiating for the future” session in Leeds Art Gallery, which is just across the road from Leeds Town Hall. It's one of my favourite places to go to when visiting Leeds, so it's fantastic that Spektrix Conference delegates will be able to leave the day with lots of leadership takeaways and having seen some great art!