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Britt Announces Retirement of President & CEO Donna Briggs

Published: September 7, 2021

MEDFORD, OR — The Britt Music and Arts Festival’s Board of Directors is announcing the planned retirement of Donna Briggs, President and CEO of Britt Music and Arts Festival, effective December 31, 2021.  Briggs informed the Board leadership of her intentions to retire earlier this year.

Former Board Chair, Mike Burrill Jr., stated that “Briggs started with Britt while it was facing substantial fiscal challenges from the economic downturn in 2010. She helped the organization develop a new business model to lead us into the future.  For the next decade, she followed that plan and Britt is stronger now than ever because of it.”

According to the Board’s Immediate Past Chair, Kelsy Ausland, “Donna understands the power that music has to bring a community together and has worked tenaciously during her tenure at Britt to fulfill our mission.  She has spearheaded the fundraising and implementation of critical capital improvement projects– from the small performance garden featuring local artists; the improvements to Front Street and parking for artists buses that benefit the surrounding neighborhood; the addition of handicap accessibility throughout the venue; and the expansion of the reserved seating area.   Donna has made Britt a stronger, more inclusive, and dynamic arts non-profit, ready to succeed into the future.” 

“I cannot overstate Donna’s impact during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dominic Campanella, the current Board Chair. “Performing arts venues like Britt were the first to close and have been the last to re-open. The extraordinary challenges we faced during the last 18 months created the ultimate leadership test. Throughout it all, Donna has remained steadfastly committed to Britt’s mission. Indeed, as a direct result of her tireless effort, Britt was one of the only performing arts venues in Oregon that avoided employee layoffs. Simply put, Donna has ensured Britt’s survival. Thanks to her, we will continue bringing the magic of music to Southern Oregon for many years to come.”

After eleven years with Britt, ten as President and CEO, Briggs says, “It has been my great privilege to work with an exceptionally dedicated and skilled team of staff, board and volunteers. I am exceedingly grateful to everyone for all that we accomplished together over the years.  From the hiring of our brilliant Music Director, Teddy Abrams, to the implementation of a successful business model, to the numerous capital projects and the recent trials of managing COVID-19; these were achievements that required a committed group of gifted, tenacious individuals who came together to work relentlessly for our common vision.  I am also very proud of our robust year-round education programs.  Lastly, I am grateful to my husband, John, and my children and grandchildren who stood by my side no matter what challenges we faced.”  

The Britt Board of Directors has engaged Morris & Berger to conduct a national search for a new President and CEO.  Based in Pasadena, CA, the firm specializes in non-profit and performing arts organizations and has an exceptional track record in placing qualified executives.  Britt plans to have a named successor by December 31, 2021.

Briggs will continue in her role as President and CEO until the end of the year. Thereafter, Briggs will be retained by Britt Music and Arts Festival to provide consulting services as needed up to twelve months immediately following her last day of employment.  This long-term succession plan is designed to ensure the most successful leadership transition possible.