Building Better Boards with Teajai Travis

Taejai Travis is a past participant from our Growing Creative Careers: Windsor and Region, Building Better Boards cohort. This cohort was aimed at supporting, growing, and sustaining healthy boards of directors in local Windsor-Essex arts & culture organizations. Participants worked closely together to address a wide range of topics such as board structures, effective recruiting, roles and responsibilities, and policy and planning; sessions included a focus on peer learning.

Teajai Travis, Executive Director, Artcite Inc.

Building Better Boards

By Teajai Travis, Executive Director, Artcite Inc. (Windsor, Ontario)

Briefly tell us about yourself and what motivates you in your current role with Artcite Inc.? 

I am a local artist and educator, specializing in manifesting dreams into reality. I was born and raised in Waawiiyaatanong (Windsor) and continue to live and serve my home community. I currently work with Artcite Inc. as the Executive Director (2021), and what motivates me most about my current role with Artcite is the tremendous potential I see in the organization and the exceptional legacy that had been plated by its founding members and carried forward by generations of local and regional creatives.

What are some of the opportunities you see when it comes to improving board governance for arts and culture organizations in the Windsor-Essex Region (and beyond!)?

Improving board governance is necessary for any organization but the great opportunity that presents itself with arts and culture organizations in Windsor-Essex is the sharing, celebrating, reconciling and promotion of stories that make up the diverse tapestry of our regional landscape. I’m talking about equitable representation in respects to our diverse populations. A range of experience and intelligence informs the fiduciary wellness of an organization and having access to the tools to properly tune the governing gears of your organization will pay dividends into the health and longevity of your mission statement.

What were some of the objectives you had going into our program, and how did it help you advance or address those objectives?

Going into the program my objective was to collect resources and bring them back to the organizations I work with. I was also a bit curious to know how other arts and culture organizations were managing coming out of a pandemic.

What is one major takeaway or piece of advice from the program (and/or your experience) that you’d like to share with others who are trying to build better boards?

The program is enriched with information that would be of great value in the archive of any organization. Just the resources alone are worth a few weeks of participation, but what I valued the most was the opportunity to build, collaborate and network with other organizations. The program creates a support system and relieves any feelings of aloneness.

What are you and your board looking forward to next at your organization? 

Our goal is to become an A+ rated organization with our funders and to establish practices that support smooth board transitions that value institutional memory. 

Artcite is celebrating its 40th anniversary and we’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000.00 for 40 years of service. The money will be invested back into the community through artist micro-grants, scholarships and programming. (To learn more and make a donation, visit Artcite’s 40th Anniversary Fundraiser.)

About Artcite Inc., Windsor, Ontario 
Artcite Inc. is a non-profit, artist-run centre for the contemporary arts, dedicated exclusively to expanding the visibility of contemporary arts within our region and advancing the professional presentation, promotion and animation of contemporary art forms.

To stay up-to-date about Artcite visit, or follow Artcite on Facebook and Instagram.

Looking for more tips on how to build better boards? The following links were curated by our Growing Creative Careers: Windsor facilitator, Nadja Pelkey, as resources to help arts organization staff and board members reflect critically about their current processes and create action plans to improve governance and leadership in the organizations they serve:

For details about Growing Creative Careers: Windsor & Region: