Introducing ISTA’s new Chair of the Board, Sheila Healy

10 February 2019

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Sheila Healy as ISTA’s new chair of the board.

For the first time in ISTA history we embarked on a process of advertising internationally, shortlisting and interviewing for this post. The board created a sub-committee comprised of trustees Rob Warren and Emily Ross who steered this process. Sheila was appointed in November 2018; attended her first trustee meeting in January 2019 and assumed the role of chair, post the meeting. Iain Stirling who has been ISTA’s chair since 2011 will continue in an advisory capacity until he leaves the board in May 2019.

About Sheila…

Sheila has a life-long commitment to creativity, diversity and engagement in the arts. As Chair of Arts Council [South West] and a trustee of its National Council she contributed significantly to major policy development and investment decisions across a range of art forms: from theatre to dance, music to museums, as well as increasing creative collaboration and touring across the globe.

As Chief Executive of Cornwall and Shropshire Councils and as a director with central government she led on strategic change and improvement programmes, working with business, charitable organisations and local communities. She also played a key role in the development of the Walsall Art Gallery, The Ikon [Birmingham] and Tate St Ives. She was Chair of The Audience Agency and Audiences Central. As a trustee of Kneehigh Theatre she helped them become an internationally as well as a nationally renowned theatre company.

Sheila now acts as an independent consultant and advisor for the arts and culture.

Why Sheila, from our pool of applicants?

The board made the following conclusions about Sheila from the application and interview process:

– Her leadership and experience with other non-for-profit arts organisations spoke for itself. She is respected by several top arts and theatre organisations in the United Kingdom.
– She showed genuine enthusiasm and interest in what ISTA provides for students and teachers around the world and has a passion to be involved in what we do.
– She has had a lot of experience in strategic planning, meeting management and facilitation, finances and aligning committee work with an organisation’s vision and goals.
– Her references supported that she is approachable, objective and will be available to listen actively to all stakeholders of the organisation.
– Her recommendations showed us that she has taken the lead in recruiting and developing board members, helping to engage and develop her board teams.
– Her references spoke highly about how she had been a constant support and consultant in complementing her executive directors.

From Sheila

“I was drawn to ISTA because of its core values and how this translates into equipping and empowering young people through their experience of theatre making, by its collaborative approach and its international perspective. I felt I had the skills and experience to undertake the role of chair to help sustain and build on the great work of the organisation.

“My first impressions of ISTA are that it is a strong and much loved organisation, made up of people who are passionate, creative and caring (as well as fun to be with!). Although ISTA has grown considerably over the years it has remained true to its unique approach and it is not afraid to try new things and acknowledge the challenges facing our changing world.

“For the first 12 months I will be working closely with Sally and the board to look at our priorities and how we best work together to achieve these in a strategic and sustainable way. Collaboration is at the heart of all that ISTA does so it’s key that in developing the organisation we are actively hearing from and engaging with the ISTA community – its teachers, artists and students.

I’m delighted to have been appointed as chair of the board and very excited to be working with such a great group of people.”