May 20, 2017

Leadership Greater Washington welcomed Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center, for an engaging conversation on leadership topics with Richard Bynum (’13) of PNC Bank – our host and sponsor for the series. LGW members were enthusiastic to sit down with Deborah, for an honest discussion surrounding her role as the artistic and administrative director of the “Nation’s best performing arts center.” 

As the president of the Kennedy Center, Deborah balances both performing arts and business. Her philosophy behind leading an artistically vibrant, and successful organization is rooted in prioritizing strategic principles and creativity.   

“If you want to do a great job, you have to have a foundation on which the artists can stand.” 

Rutter has been vocal about continuing to provide arts education- on the national and local level- for the next generation. By offering training and service learning opportunities, the Kennedy Center will ensure that emerging young artists are prepared to lead. 

“Organizations have to be grounded locally. You are only as good as the people coming through your doors. Communication and empowerment are the best way to get yourself out into the community.”

When asked about her thoughts on local leadership, Rutter described her vision to make the Kennedy Center the premier location for entertainment and arts education in Greater Washington. A place where residents and audience members can connect to performing arts and feel welcome to attend the theater. Rutter will continue to focus on increasing investment in the region through arts programming in neighborhoods and inviting local artists to the stage.

Rutter is currently cultivating a new strategic plan, that will transform the Kennedy Center into a “matrix organization which will improve how we deliver, and what we deliver.”As a leader of innovation in her field, Rutter maintains core values that have helped her to achieve the level of success she has.

“It's about the mission, how we can engage lives and make lives better.  Become a student of your institution. We are all citizens, and we have a responsibility to give back.” 

On May 29, the Kennedy Center will celebrate the 100th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s birth, launching the 35 Days of Giving Centennial Challenge, offering everyone an opportunity to play an active role in promoting President Kennedy’s legacy. Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your knowledge and insights, concerning leadership, culture, and innovation. LGW members thoroughly enjoyed the content of the discussion and the opportunity to hear from a national leader in the arts. 

View photos from the event here.

Lessons in Leadership occurred on May 17, 2017