Testimonials

HEADLONG

“Diane inspired fearlessness…”

“Direct, pragmatic…with an extraordinarily sensitive intelligence…”

“Diane created the conditions for all of us to bring our best thoughts and best selves to engage in the toughest questions. The process was hugely successful…”

- David Brick and Amy Smith, Co-Founders

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“We asked Diane if she would lead the most important strategic planning process in our 20 year history by creating and facilitating a process that involved multiple retreats, Co-directors, board members and consultants.  With the departure of one of the 3 founding co-directors we needed to reinvent the structure of our organization.  And more importantly, the two of us remaining Co-Directors needed to embark on a deep and delicate soul searching to determine if Headlong was going to continue at all.  Diane inspired fearlessness in putting all our cards on the table in a process crafted with tremendous insight and understanding.  Direct, pragmatic, and with an extraordinarily sensitive intelligence, Diane created the conditions for all of us involved to bring our best thoughts and best selves to engage in the toughest questions.  The process was hugely successful and Headlong continues now on the right footing for the right reasons.  And with joy.”

 

– David Brick and Amy Smith, Co-Founders




   

ORLANDO BALLET

“She helped our organization overcome tremendous hurdles and make amazing strides.”

“We all found her guidance to be exactly what we needed”

- Robert Hill, Artistic Director / Dierdre Miles Burger, School Director / Katherine Fabian, Managing Director

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“In the three years that Diane Mataraza worked with the Orlando Ballet, she helped our organization overcome tremendous hurdles and make amazing strides. Working with the Board of Directors and senior staff, Diane guided the Ballet through a capacity building process that included much needed changes to our governance policies, the implementation of an in depth yet realistic strategic plan, and so much more along the way. She took the time to get to know us individually as well as the organization as a whole, information which came through in her assessment and advice, making the outcome all the more successful. We all found her guidance to be exactly what we needed to shepherd the Orlando Ballet into its 40th Anniversary Season in the best possible position!”

 

-Robert Hill, Artistic Director / Dierdre Miles Burger, School Director / Katherine Fabian, Managing Director




   

ARTS COUNCIL OF OKLAHOMA CITY

“We couldn’t be more pleased with Diane’s work.”

“Her contemplative, firm resolve to achieve an excellent result for her clients is evidenced in all aspects of her process.”

- Peter Dolese, Executive Director

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“I had the pleasure of working with Diane over an 8 month period of time as she provided an in depth analysis of our Community Arts Education Program here at the Arts Council of Oklahoma City crafting a comprehensive 10 year plan for the program.  Her work was outstanding.  She spent countless hours interviewing stakeholders throughout Oklahoma City and the surrounding counties.  Many more days were spent fleshing out interactive relationship opportunities and assessing the program, essentially taking it down to the studs and visioning a complete remodel.  We couldn’t be more pleased with Diane’s work.  Her contemplative, firm resolve to achieve an excellent result for her clients is evidenced in all aspects of her process.   She took great care to validate the program where it was performing well and to flesh out the areas in which improvements could be made.  Her work has fundamentally changed the way the Arts Council of Oklahoma City manages our community arts education programs.”

 

 

– Peter Dolese, Executive Director




   

MID-ATLANTIC ARTS FOUNDATION

“It was a pleasure to work with a team that was able to design and complete a process that was unique to the task and produced the desired results.”

“They listen, they understand, and they respond to a client’s needs.”

- Alan Cooper, President and CEO

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“Mataraza Consulting was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (known as PennPAT)  by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and its four Funding Partners—The Heinz Endowments, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the William Penn Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Created in 1997, PennPAT has supported the ecology of presenting and touring for Pennsylvania’s performing artists, both within and outside the Commonwealth and is credited by artists and presenters as the most comprehensive statewide program ever created in the nation to support touring artists, their presenters, and their communities. PennPAT’s  $9.06 million investment of its four Funding Partners leveraged more than $19.7 million in performance fees for 296 PennPAT artists, making it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to have high quality, professional arts experiences. Diane Mataraza and her research colleague Surale Phillips were initially commissioned to evaluate the program’s progress from 2009 – 2012. Part way through this project, with funding shifts the rest of the field was also experiencing, the scope of our project changed to become a comprehensive report of the program’s 17 year history.  Diane and Surale were by our sides at every step in deliberations with the funders to amend the project scope. They then capably carried the project forward completing the research and the comprehensive PennPAT report.  They crafted multiple strategies to test the various program elements and to assess the programs impact.  They even surveyed organizations and individuals who had not used the program to learn about barriers to participation.  It was a pleasure to work with an evaluation team that was able to design and complete a process that was unique to the task and produced the desired results.  They listen, they understand, and they respond to a client’s needs.”

 

-Alan Cooper, President and CEO




   

CULTURAL ALLIANCE OF YORK COUNTY

“In the years since creating our plan, Diane has remained connected and concerned about our progress.”

“If you are fortunate enough to be able to engage Diane in your project, you have gained a friend with the experience and knowledge you need to guarantee success.”

- Mary Anne Winkelman, Executive Director

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“The Cultural Alliance of York County contracted with Diane Mataraza to conduct a Community Cultural Plan in 2008.  She came highly recommended.

Diane created our plan after hearing from thousands of York’s citizens during a year of one-on-one-meetings, group meetings, surveys, and attendance at various functions throughout the County.  The plan she developed created a path for the Cultural Alliance to become a more influential agency in our community in general, but especially in our creative community.

In the years since creating our plan, Diane has remained connected and concerned about our progress.  She has returned many times to help with presentations, give advice and counsel, and assist in forming our next steps.

Diane is much more than a consultant.  Diane is a friend.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to engage Diane in your project, you have gained a friend with the experience and knowledge you need to guarantee success.”

 

-Mary Anne Winkelman, Executive Director




   

GRANTMAKERS IN THE ARTS

“She goes the extra mile to make sure the results are relevant, clear, and substantive. You can’t do better than working with Diane.”

- Janet Brown, Executive Director




   

CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT ASC

“I think that Diane is the most talented cultural planner in the U.S. I highly recommend her.”

- Robert E. Bush, Jr., President and CEO




   

CONSERVATION CENTER FOR ART & HISTORIC ARTIFACTS

“Diane is the consummate professional – organized, diplomatic, and focused.”

“Diane is a big thinker, who helped us to look beyond “what is” to “what could be.”

- Ingrid E. Bogel, Former Executive Director

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“We have had the pleasure of working with Diane Mataraza on several major projects. Our relationship began with the creation of a strategic plan for our organization and led to the development of a statewide preservation plan for Pennsylvania called Imagining the Future. Diane is the consummate professional – organized, diplomatic, and focused. She is a big thinker, who helped us to look beyond “what is” to “what could be.” She provided energy, enthusiasm, and leadership that helped us to begin a transformative process that has changed the way that we think about and implement our organization’s mission. ”

 

-Ingrid E. Bogel, Former Executive Director

 

To whom it may concern:

I had the opportunity to work very closely with Diane over a three-year period when I was the Executive Artistic Director of the Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, PA from 2004-2009. The organization was several years out of plan and we hired Diane to help us develop a five-year strategic plan that also included as one of its key components a two-year operating plan.

Diane immediately became a partner with me and the Village. Seasoned in this work, she engaged in numerous conversations with me, the managing director, the board, and the staff about the Village, its mission, and the execution of our programs. She independently evaluated our financial documents and for the first time in the organization’s history we understood our current participant rate costs (which turned out to be astronomical because we had only 20 teens participating in our numerous programs). On subsequent visits she expanded her conversations to include core neighborhood constituents and community-based organizations. She attended Shared Prosperity meetings and had an opportunity to speak with community residents, faith-based organizations, and local business owners.

As you can imagine, an organization cannot function well with two simultaneous planning processes. Diane also helped me and the Shared Prosperity staff integrate our work so that we were communicating the same messages about the Village and its ability (or lack thereof) to implement new community initiatives. She also helped us pursue a course of action and communication plan.

Probably most important, Diane helped the organization craft a strategic plan that was specific to our needs. There was nothing “cookie-cutter” in her approach and she digested considerable archival information about the organization so that she could truly understand its strengths and weaknesses. Over its twenty year history, the Village had developed an organizational culture that heartily embraced innovation and the next great idea, but it was not as keen about strengthening existing programming. The Village had also become an organization that said yes to new endeavors (particularly when seductive funding was attached to these projects) without asking the important question of whether these activities fit into its mission. We suffered from poor internal communication and often did not meet our agreed upon deadlines. Diane created a plan that addressed all of these problems, a document that had easy to understand (and convey) goals and objections, yet also contained a detailed operational component that was absolutely necessary for our organization to successfully implement the plan. Diane was exceptionally patient during the approval process and vetted the plan several times with the board until it was finally approved. After approval, she met quarterly with the board and staff to address completion of annual operational goals and to modify the plan where necessary.

The actual strategic planning document was both professional and beautiful, conveying the unique aesthetic of the organization. It was exceptionally user friendly, well-designed, and we were eager to share it with our funders. Having the plan helped us garner significant organizational capacity support to restructure our staffing and to improve our internal communication systems which included acquiring new phone and computer hardware. Because of Diane’s determination that our sustainability depended upon increase participation rates in two years we increased our number of youth participants from 20 to 200.

Diane is also just a great person to work with. The Village is not a place for the faint of heart. It is located in a community of North Philadelphia where the median income is around $15,000 for a family of four. The physical environment suffers from considerable urban blight and there is a good amount of drug use and gun violence in the community. It’s a tough place and can be intimidating at first glance. Diane never flinched and this was incredibly important in a community where trust is hard to come by. She has superb cultural competency skills and is able to communicate with a diverse group of constituents without ever feeling forced or false. You always feel like you are talking to the same integrous Diane whether she is in front of a funder or sharing a meal with a community resident. This is such an important skill to have when engaging a community in redevelopment conversations. And while she was not hired to be an executive coach, she was exceptionally generous with her time, giving this first-time executive director considerable sound advice and mentoring that helped me execute the plan’s goals while more effectively managing the board.

As I said at the beginning of this letter, Diane is a stellar consultant. What you will learn after you hire her, is that you have hired more than a consultant, you have actually acquired a very seasoned colleague who will not only have your back, but who will also push you and your organization toward excellence, while doing everything within her power to bring your project to fruition. Simply put, she is amazing and you will not regret your work together.

All the best,
Denise “Kumani” Gantt




   
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