Agile Arts Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector (Devlin McNeil)

July 2020

How do you manage an Arts organization when every aspect of your program is disrupted? Perhaps no nonprofit sector has more challenges right now than Arts & Culture organizations, given the limitations to programming, performances and gatherings.  And with the philanthropic community understandably focused on health and human services, the Arts sector faces even greater needs for agile leadership.  Fortunately, Devlin McNeil, the President & Executive Director of Arts+, provides great insight as to how any organization can adapt and change despite challenges from every direction in episode #48 of the Path Podcast.  In addition to her change management strategies, Devlin and I discussed how she's attracted and retained a very talented team of staff leaders, as well as built an incredibly dynamic board of directors.  She also provides great insight about evaluating and ultimately choosing the right nonprofit leadership role to fit your personal mission and career goals.   

"Hire people who are smarter than you in areas you are not, and let them do their job and move the organization forward together."


Devlin joined Community School of the Arts (CSA), now Arts+, in June 2013. As President & Executive Director, she is responsible for the leadership and management of the organization, facilitates programs and key partnerships, and directs efforts to ensure sustainable funding. Devlin received her BFA, as a non-traditional student, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) with concentrations in Photography and Art History and has completed coursework for the Master of Arts in Arts Administration (MAAA) program at Winthrop University. Prior to her role at Arts+, she worked for McColl Center for Visual Art for 10 1⁄2 years with a brief hiatus of 10 months to work with the Public Art Program of the Charlotte Area Transit System. Her roles at McColl Center included Marketing, Education Director, Program Director, and before leaving her tenure there, Chief Operating Officer. Devlin began her career in non-profit arts management after formerly working for First Union National Bank (now Wells Fargo) and brings a complementary blend of non-profit and corporate experience to her role as Executive Director. She has been a presenter at the North Carolina Arts Education Conference, a panelist for the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro and the Charlotte Area Transit System--where she also served as a curator, and a juror for many art competitions including UNC Charlotte and Scholastics. She has associations with NAEA National Art Education Association, National Guild for Community Arts Education, Charlotte Symphony Guild, Women Executives, and serves on the board of the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund.