Green is a color associated with the environment and is linked with the idea of growth and renewal. The Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC Green Case Study Series is designed to introduce the types of projects the team lends its expertise to, as well as share some of the resulting questions, ideas, and lessons with a hope that it prompts exploration, growth, and innovation for other teams.
The Atlanta Music Project
The Atlanta Music Project (AMP) has done more in its 10 years of service to Atlanta children than many organizations do in 30 years. Founded by Dantes Rameu and Aisha Moody, the organization has grown to include a staff of 12, 20 faculty members, and a Board of Directors. This dedicated team has engaged in external partnerships for the purpose of delivering the highest level of classical music training to Atlanta students in communities that lack these opportunities. The Board of Directors is passionate about AMP and fully committed to a learning agenda that allows them to understand the arts and nonprofit sectors to best represent the organization. AMP could have easily created programming focused solely on sending all its students to conservatory training programs after completion but saw a greater value in using music to expose students and their families to a broad landscape of educational and musical options. The result is hundreds of current students and graduates who have found their way to college, trade schools, other artistic endeavors, and civic service. AMP has succeeded at the more difficult challenge of creating leaders vs. singular experts.
Like many organizations, AMP spent the early days of the pandemic attending to the needs of students and their families. The Board of Directors joined the administrative team in donating and fundraising to help families make ends meet as they managed a variety of losses related to COVID-19. As the world began to cautiously emerge from the pandemic, the AMP team decided to launch its 2023-2026 strategic planning process. TDB Group Strategic Advisory, the management consulting company of Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC, was asked to create a strategic planning process that was equally ambitious as the prior plan which delivered a beautiful new AMP learning and training facility. This process required that we help the team consider how to leverage their unexpected MacKenzie Scott gift to build satellite programming, add technology to the new AMP facility that could have the benefit of dramatically increasing program reach, and focus on developing communications and marketing that could help tell AMP’s story as a vehicle for building more expansive and long-term partnerships.
Traditional strategic planning typically calls for a lengthy process involving a ton of in person meetings and at least one day-long retreat, and it hinges on working through the scheduling challenges of competing calendars. TDB Group Strategic Advisory is versed in the traditional process but over the years has worked to create a streamlined strategic planning process to serve our varied partners and their needs. At AMP’s request, we deployed a hybrid process that met the organization’s needs. Here are some of the most important elements that were included:
- The Strategic Planning Committee consisted of board and staff members and was tasked by the Board of Directors to move the process on their behalf. This helped tremendously with decision making, while also ensuring varied opportunities for the full board to engage and weigh-in.
- Our team met for bi-weekly check-ins with the primary contacts (one board and one staff member).
- The TDB Group Truss Framework™ was used to facilitate and organize the process.
- We created tools that helped the primary contacts easily share process updates with the full board and staff.
- We invested the most time in capturing a stakeholder voice, but recognizing busy schedules, we gave equal attention to interview and focus group modalities.
- Electronic tools were used to encourage engagement and capture a wide range of ideas.
- One full-day retreat was planned and eagerly attended with large and engaging breakout groups.
AMP didn’t seek perfection in their strategic planning process. They sought connection to one another, they sought how to deliver to their students and their families more completely, they sought clarity about how to move forward when the ground under our feet feels in constant motion, and they sought how to continue to use the arts to create relevance and hope.
Our vision at Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is to galvanize 1,000,000 leaders. It was so much fun to spend time in partnership with AMP and continue our efforts to build and support representative leadership. We are excited to see the AMP 2023-2026 Strategic Plan serve the brilliance of their students and their community and are humbled to be of support. Learn more about AMP, and consider a gift to help more children use music to advance their lives.
Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is a certified National Supplier Development Council Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) woman-owned company. The company is comprised of a suite of brands, including TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm, as well as Looking Forward Lab, which offers a full-service learning engagement model focused on Gen Z workplace development and support for their managers.