My name is Nina Clark, I'm a student in the Arts and Cultural Leadership program at the University of Minnesota. I'm currently working as a program officer at a local foundation here in the Twin Cities.

it was really important to me that I participate in a graduate program that was here in Minnesota. I've lived here a long time, I'm really connected to the cultural community here, but I was also interested in gaining more connections. ACL brings in teachers who have a lot of experience in the field, and so I not only get to learn from them and learn from their experience, but I've also had a chance to get to know them as mentors, as peers, and I've already had opportunities to follow up with some of those people and to, sort of, further my connections with them and through them.

The people in the ACL program are intellectually curious. They're very passionate about the work that they do and I found them to be really intelligent, and I've had great conversations with my peers. And many of them are either getting started or they're also mid-career and they're from dance, they're from the visual arts, some of them work in different kinds of museums, and it's been great for me to be able to get more connected to people that are across a breadth of different kinds of cultural organizations.

The ACL program has offered great classes and governance in financial management, and all of those aspects of how different kinds of organizations work is really important to understand. Leadership maybe initially can signal to somebody that you have to be at the top of your organization or even aiming to be a CEO or a president or executive director someday, and that's not what leadership means to me, and I don't think it's what it means in this program. I think that leadership means having the tools and the passion and the commitment to be the best you can in the work that you do and and I do think that this program stresses that aspect of leadership.