by Lisa Mackay
Kodie Rollan was initially hired in the fall of 2019 as a dramaturg, to update the scripted part of the Rozsa Admin Fundamentals Training (RAFT) program. Having done this, he then joined Ayla Stephen in facilitating the course when it first went online, after realizing that the content worked better online with two facilitators. When Ayla moved over to handle Rozsa Grants and Awards, we brought on Toyin Oladele as the second facilitator. Needless to say, Kodie is now a pro at RAFT, but the June 24-25 session will be the first time he will teach participants in person.
"To be honest," he said, "I'm both excited and nervous about doing this for the first time in 2 years but I think what I'm most excited about are the connections everyone will make in the room. Being a theatre artist, I know just how special it is to be in the same room as your collaborators and learn together so I'm excited for that energy to be in our first in-person session! " Kodie comes naturally to teaching arts management with a Master's degree in Arts Leadership from Queen's University. He is also a playwright, dramaturg, actor, and producer, and brings special insight into how the program applies to working artists and arts administrators alike. "This program is beneficial for both artists and arts managers," Kodie explained. "A lot of times I feel like there's a big separation between the two and it's important for us to talk to each other and understand each other's worlds. I think there are great practical skills that you learn in this program such as how boards work, a chance at creating budgets and understanding how financials work in the arts, and what it takes to plan events and programs. Whether you're an artist or an arts manager, these are skills that are important for everyone to have." Kodie enjoys leading the program. "This will be the sixth time I've facilitated the program and honestly, I feel like I learn something new each time," he enthused. "The beautiful thing about what we do at RAFT is that we continuously update the program after every session. This is important, especially when considering the ever-changing nature of our work. It's hard to pinpoint exact and specific things that I've learned because as much as I facilitate the program, I also learn from all the participants. Everyone comes from such different and unique backgrounds that we try to foster a less didactic model so that we all continue to learn from each other. " Participants have nothing but great comments about Kodie, and Toyin. “Kodie and Toyin are experienced and know what they're talking about,” said one participant. “You can tell they are passionate, experienced, and knowledgeable. This makes the sessions fun and engaging,” wrote another. The feedback from participants drove home the success of this pairing and the materials. “The RAFT program has taught me so much about the inner workings of a non-profit organization,” read one evaluation. “The clarity of the course material and effectiveness of its presentation made it such a great experience. I will use everything I learned in this course daily, and am super grateful for the education. Thank you Kodie, Toyin, and the Rozsa Foundation!” Applications will be accepted for the June session until May 12. If you are interested in learning more, please visit rozsafoundation.org/raft for the full details.