Skip to main content


Becoming an Adaptive Leader

Offered in cities and regions around the country,  Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators (ALACI) is a nationally renowned leadership development program presented by CultureSource. ALACI engaged cohorts of up to 20 first-time executive and artistic directors (with approximately one to five years of experience in their role) of nonprofit arts and culture organizations (or organizations that sustain significant cultural programs in their portfolio of services).

Meet the Southeast Michigan ALACI Cohort

Diana Abouali, Arab American National Museum

Karisa Antonio, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Sarah Clare Corporandy, Detroit Public Theatre

Miah Davis, Detroit Artists Market

Kathryn Dimond, The Scarab Club

Christian Greer, Michigan Science Center

Kris Johnson, MSU Community Music School-Detroit

Jennifer Jones, Title Track
Washtenaw County

Ali Lapetina, Women of Banglatown

Jova Lynne, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Mike Michelon, Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Ann Arbor

Toni Moceri, Allied Media Projects

Marie Patton, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Susan Westhoff, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center
Ann Arbor

Hananiah Wiggins, Neutral Zone
Ann Arbor

Learn more.

The six-month process of seminars, executive coaching, virtual learning, and practicums that aims to equip leaders to navigate complexity, ambiguity, and opportunities for change in their organizations. Across this experience, seasoned facilitators work alongside the participant leaders to explore new strategies for supporting organizational innovation and adaptive changemaking.

The ALACI program sparked an important shift in my critical thinking about organizational development. It really has been the best professional development experience that I have had since becoming an executive director and has been critical in shaping my leadership, responding to the pandemic, addressing racial injustice, and supporting my community.

Lori Roddy
Executive Director, Neutral Zone

Program Activites

The elements of the program, over six months, have been carefully designed to reinforce each other and achieve maximum impact for participants and their communities.

Three full-group, two-day seminars for all participants together

  • Held over four months, each for two days
  • Faculty include leadership experts, seasoned process facilitators
  • Seminar elements: learning modules, practical exercises, small group work, reflection, and coaching
  • Leadership competency review and Belbin Team-Role Preference analysis for each participant
  • Individual executive coaching throughout the program

Note: The dates for Seminar two have changed to April 18 and 19, 2024.

In-organization and In-community Practice

  • Defined opportunities for each participant to engage in new practices and guide adaptive work in their organization
  • Opportunity in phase two of the program (the second five months) for participants to work individually and/or together in small groups to address complex challenges in their community

Virtual Learning program

  • Short videos, available on demand 24/7, on key topics in adaptive leadership and managing an adaptive change process – such as identifying complex challenges, building an innovation team, generating innovative strategies, creating an effective project framework, designing experiments and prototypes, and enrolling others

Individual Executive Coaching

  • Participants will benefit from regular individualized phone counseling by a qualified executive coach, as follow-up to the seminars and virtual learning, and in parallel with participants putting new approaches into practice.

Information Session

In this virtual information session, CultureSource executive director Omari Rush and seasoned process facilitator Liz Dreyer discuss the practice of adaptive changemaking and answer questions about the program curriculum. Previous program participants Lori Roddy (Neutral Zone) and Suma Rosen (InsideOut Literary Arts) also share their experience and its benefits to their leadership.


Applications for Southeast Michigan ALACI have closed. Sign up for our newsletter to find out about future sessions of the program.

Interested in bringing ALACI to your city? Get in touch.


Melissa Dibble

Executive Coach

Melissa Dibble has always found herself in newly created positions, and she acknowledges she is most comfortable starting from scratch, building functional frameworks to support conceptual ideas. At EmcArts, in addition to serving as Managing Director until 2019, Melissa was a lead facilitator for many of EmcArts’ programs. She has worked with organizations, large and small, in all arts disciplines across North America. These organizational partnerships to foster adaptive change by facilitating Innovation Teams across multi-month processes of exploration, experimentation, and emergent new behaviors and practices include the Public Theater in New York City, Galveston Historical Foundation in Texas, Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC, and Tapestry Opera in Toronto, among many many others. She has also delighted in working with executive directors through EmcArts’ Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators (ALACI) program in multiple cities, guiding their journeys to develop their adaptive leadership understanding and practices.

Liz Dreyer

Lead Facilitator

Liz Dreyer’s career has focused on helping people see and do things differently; helping them work creatively towards possible solutions to problems they have previously found immovable. She does this by building practice spaces that are open, welcoming and safe enough to allow people to bravely lean into discomfort and risk. Throughout her career—from founding and leading a successful for-profit/non-profit hybrid to the process facilitation, design, and trainings focusing on adaptive change and equity in the arts and culture field—she creates spaces for clients, artists and participants to think, develop and evolve.

Liz’s work on the design, delivery, and management of Adaptive Change workshops, convenings, and coachings have been implemented in more than a dozen cities across the United States and in Canada. Undergirded by innovation and adaptive change frameworks, grounded in the situations and real issues of each organization and community, the cohorts develop organizational awareness, supporting peer-to-peer sharing of effective “next” practices, devising adaptive responses to complex challenges, and building the necessary skills and capacities to design and implement innovative initiatives. Communities include Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Charlotte, New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto.

Naimah Wade

Executive Coach

Dr. Naimah (Nye-e-ma) Wade is the founder of Nvision Learning Solutions, a boutique consultancy that allows people to expand their personal and professional capacity through customized learning experiences. For 18 years, she has been designing and facilitating transformative learning interventions that equalize access and opportunity in business, higher ed, and nonprofit sectors. Dr. Naimah prides herself on a reputation of resilience in the face of challenges and on her own personal brand of open-hearted leadership. She prioritizes projects and programs that cultivate leadership identity and support the development of women and girls. To make an impact in these areas, she serves on the advisory board as an education advisor for Pretty Brown Girl and on the advisory committee for the Detroit Women’s Leadership Network.

Dr. Naimah holds a B.A. in Marketing from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. with a focus in Organizational Development, and a Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology, both from Wayne State University. She is a 2018 alum of the German Marshall Fund’s esteemed Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) and a 2019 alum of the Culture Source Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators (ALACI) Adaptive Leaders Fellowship.

Why this program now?

Arts and cultural organizations are continuing to experience prolonged hardship from the aftereffects of the pandemic and turbulent economic conditions. This demands not so much improvement in existing organizational strategies, but departures from past practice—innovations in program formats, equitable engagement with diverse publics, creative use of the technology, organizational structures and governance, and new partnerships. ALACI trains seasoned and rising leaders to rehearse adaptive leadership—a set of practices that empowers leaders to act as collaborative hosts and imagine innovative solutions to challenges in the sector.

Why Southeast Michigan?

At arts organizations across the region, we are steadily welcoming new leaders to our sector, many of them first-time executive directors and CEOs. These professionals have expressed a desire for arts and culture-focused leadership development, something they have struggled to find elsewhere in Southeast Michigan. The Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators program is the first of many that will expand the robustness of CultureSource’s professional development offering for arts leaders and member organizations.

This program helped me to develop an experimental mindset around problem-solving that has been advantageous during and after the pandemic. Through the ALACI fellowship and other EmcArts programs I’ve participated in, I’ve been able to build a set of tools that have been invaluable in guiding the Anton Art Center to learn our way through situations or contexts that have no clear path forward.

Phil Gilchrist
Executive Director, Advancing Macomb

More Information

Questions? Contact Program Manager Goode Wyche III at [email protected]

The Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators program was designed and for years presented by the nonprofit arts consulting group EmcArts. CultureSource integrated EmcArts into our organization in 2022, making their unique and high-impact leadership development programs permanent offerings in our portfolio of services.

Program Fees

Each participant’s organization is asked to sponsor their fellow’s participation with a financial commitment of $2,000.

Applicants who are employees of CultureSource member organizations automatically receive scholarships of $1750 towards the program’s cost.

We are asking for organizational financial commitment as a means of ensuring that each individual has substantive backing for a program that will not only provide benefits for the individual and the organization but will also require ongoing organizational investment and support for the fellow to practice adaptive leadership skills.

In Memoriam

EmcArts co-founder and long-time president Richard Evans passed away in 2022 after battling an aggressive cancer. Before his passing, Richard spearheaded the integration of EmcArts into CultureSource—securing a permanent Southeast Michigan home for the practice of adaptive changemaking that he pioneered in the cultural sector.

EmcArts, a social enterprise for innovation and adaptive change in the arts, worked for over 20 years to strengthen the capacity of arts leaders and organizations. Richard designed and implemented a sustained series of groundbreaking initiatives designed to help arts organizations design and manage innovation and adapt to changing environments.

CultureSource is dedicated to honoring Richard’s legacy by continuing his work of ensuring the sustained vitality of our most cherished arts organizations.

Stay Current with CultureSource!