The Network for Arts Administrators of Color

Mentorship & Sponsorship Program 2.0

Thanks to the generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, NAAC Boston is pleased to announce the launch of the Mentorship & Sponsorship Program 2.0! This initiative is designed to empower and elevate arts administrators and artists of color in different stages of their professional development.

Now in its second year, NAAC Boston’s Mentorship & Sponsorship Program builds upon research showing both that arts administrators of color are under-mentored and that mentoring under-represented categories of professionals (women and people of color)—by itself—does not drive systemic change in the current power structures of our predominately white institutions and sectors.

What is needed is both mentorship and sponsorship. Mentorship provides valuable individual support, guidance, and role modeling, whereas sponsorship focuses on advancement by tapping into resources of power and opening doors that add value to mentoring relationships and disrupt entrenched power dynamics.

The Mentorship & Sponsorship Program 2.0 uses both components of this two-step process to help increase the talent pipeline and propel emerging leaders of color in Boston’s arts sector.

This second year of the program will further build on the lessons from the 2019 pilot program to address the urgent needs of BIPOC arts administrators and artists in light of the impacts of the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19 that continue to affect our sector and community. This year’s program will include workshops and tools for navigating recovery for the entire NAAC membership, as well as fostering connection and support across and between NAAC members statewide and beyond.

How It Works

“I really love NAAC and want to see the best for it. This pilot program was very impressive and to think of the next phase is super powerful.” –Romy St. HilairePilot Program Mentee


For mid-level administrators (4 or more years in the field) as a pathway for upward mobility in the field through supportive relationships with executive-level sponsors who can open doors, provide a seat at the table, and guide toward next-level leadership.


With structured professional development for junior– and entry-level arts administrators (1 to 3 years experience in the field) to accelerate their learning with personalized support from mid-level arts administrators of color.

The Mentorship/Sponsorship program will consist of three components: program pairings and learning cohort, program workshops and panels, and a program toolkit.

Program Pairings: There will be one 6-month cycle for pairings to meet, consisting of 10 mentor/mentee pairings and 10 sponsor/sponsee pairings. Mentors and Sponsors will meet with their charges once a month (virtually or in-person) in addition to bi-weekly email check-ins.

Learning Cohort: All NAAC Members are welcome to join the learning cohort by attending any of 6 monthly workshops alongside the Mentorship/Sponsorship program pairs. Following each workshop, while mentees and sponsees meet with their mentors and sponsors, NAAC members will be invited to convene for a facilitated conversation centered in peer learning and support. NAAC will provide each attending member with a Learning Passport, which we will stamp following each workshop you attend. Participants who collect five stamps will receive a certificate of completion.

Program Workshops: NAAC Boston will host professional development workshops and panels to complement program participants’ learning. Program participants will be required to attend a minimum of 4 learning events over the year. These events will be open to the full NAAC membership and ACOM participants, with a small entrance fee. NAAC Boston will also host four socials over the course of the year, in which program participants will have the opportunity to build networking skills and opportunities.

Program Toolkit: NAAC Boston will partner with NAAC members on “Navigating the Recovery” Toolkit based, providing all program participants with important resources, including: 

  • Arts Admin Glossary 
  • Self-care Resources
  • Legal Services
  • Navigating Racism in the Arts
    • Learning links
    • Books and Reading List for continued learning 


Application: Interested Mentee and Sponsee candidates are invited to submit applications through Tuesday September 28. Mentor and sponsor candidates may be nominated, invited to apply, or may individually elect to apply during this timeframe.

Selection: Final selections and Mentor/Mentee and Sponsor/Sponsee pairings will be sent by October 13th.

Onboarding:  A kickoff event with initial pair meetings will take place October 20th. Participant training events will take place October 26th – 28th.

Program Engagement: Mentor/Mentee and Sponsor/Sponsee pairs will attend monthly professional development workshops, as will the learning cohort. Program pairs will meet one-on-one  following these workshops while learning cohort participants will meet in a facilitated peer discussion.

Conclusion: Program evaluation and closing ceremony will take place March 30th, 2022.

Pilot Program Participants

Five mid-career mentors and five executive-level sponsors were matched with five mentees and five sponsees for our inaugural program, which ran March to December 2019.


  • Lecolion Washington Executive Director, Community Music Center of Boston
  • Harold Steward
    Harold Steward Producing Co-Executive Director, The Theater Offensive
  • Lisa Simmons
    Lisa Simmons Festivals Program Manager, Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Candelaria Silva-Collins
    Candelaria Silva-Collins Community Membership Coordinator, Huntington Theatre Company
  • David Howse Executive Director, ArtsEmerson



  • Marsha Parrilla
    Marsha Parrilla Director/Choreographer, Danza Orgánica
  • Karthik Subramanian
    Karthik Subramanian Interim Managing Director, Company One Theatre
  • Ngoc-Tran Vu Program Director, Associations of Independents in Radio (AIR)
  • Ashleigh Gordon Artistic Director, Castle of our Skins
  • Jazzmin Bonner
    Jazzmin Bonner Program Manager, Stagesource ; Managing Director, Fresh Ink Theatre


  • Adriana Zuñiga
    Adriana Zuñiga Social Media & Sales Apprentice, American Repertory Theater
  • Falyn Elhard
    Falyn Elhard Program Associate, New England Presenting & Touring, New England Foundation for the Arts
  • Rebecca Kelley Executive Assistant to the Producing Co-Executive Director, The Theater Offensive
  • Romy St. Hilaire
    Romy St. Hilaire STEAM Team Program Coordinator, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Fabienne Keck
    Fabienne Keck Curatorial Dept. Coordinator, Institute of Contemporary Art /Boston

Leadership support provided by

Additional support provided by