Literary New York State (LitNYS)

CATEGORY: Succession

About Face – A Guide to Founder Transition, is a 61 page monograph presenting 8 case studies of founder transitions at community arts organizations including: AMAS Musical Theatre, The Children’s Carnival, The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center, the Guild Complex, Third World Newsreel, Thurber House, and the Caribbean Cultural Center.

The monograph contains a detailed study of Just Buffalo Literary Center, the organization founded by the author, in which Founder, Board, Support Staff, and New Leader points-of-view of are discussed. Also considered are knowing when to leave, finding the right consultant, the search process, and post-transition compensation for the founder. Useful appendices of tools and instruments developed during Just Buffalo’s transition process are included such as the founder’s task-oriented job description, a job announcement for the position opening, interview questions and a scorecard for evaluating interviewees.

The Fall 2002 Grantmakers in the Arts Reader’s review of About Face, offered that “this monograph contains a rich range of individual and organizational experiences. Most founders will recognize themselves and their organizations in one or more of these scenarios…It is a must read guide for any board dealing with leadership transition—founder or otherwise…(About Face) includes information and insights of interest to any founder considering her or his own leave-taking.”

About Face – A Guide to Founder Transition. Copyright © 2001 by Debora Ott. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, this book, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author and publisher. Individual rights revert to the authors on publication. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to Bright Hill Press in Treadwell, NY or via e-mail at:

A softcover printed copy of this monograph can be purchased by emailing the author at: ISBN: 1-892471-10-8

Leadership Succession Outline/Tip Sheet by Deborah Ott

Advice on the pitfalls of founder succession and transition from the founder and former Executive Director of The Writers Center.

Never Be Second: On Succession

This roundtable, covering succession issues, was held virutally through CLMP on 06.08.04.