We recently interviewed ILI Year 3 Fellow Tiffany Vega-Gibson about her experience in arts & culture leadership and her hopes for her ILI experience.
Please tell us what brought you to ILI. What about the program called you to apply? What were your hopes and goals going into the program?
I have been a part of many leadership programs and I was interested in learning how to be a leader through an intercultural lens. I am hoping to learn more about myself and apply why I learn from the partners and fellow cohort members in my personal and professional life. I also had a few friends who were in previous cohorts and they kept on suggesting that I apply. I am also a member of NALAC and ROOTS, have worked for an organization the received funding from First Peoples Fund, and have visited Sipp Culture.
Please share about your work and how you were thinking about both the ideas of interculturality and leadership before your Fellowship.
I am a performing arts producer, arts administrator, and EDI and Anti-racsim facilitator. I almost always work with teams of people who are from many different cultures, so that is mostly what I thought interculturality meant. Leadership to me was being a good listener, being a problem solver, and a visionary. Leadership was also creating an environment where everyone can come into the work as their best selves.
Please share about your experience as a Fellow so far.
It’s been very interesting so far. I wasn’t expecting the training sessions to be what they are and that is really wonderful. It’s a totally different way of working from my previous training and I love the fact that such much of everyone’s hearts are centered in our discussions and activities. The care packages were also a huge surprise because I wasn’t sure what to expect since this year is all virtual. I mean, who doesn’t love to recieve care packages in the mail? I really love my pod and I just really love how much care goes into every single experience. I can be my full, authentic self and there aren’t many places that I can be that.
What has been the most meaningful part of the experience so far? Why?
Honestly, the Pai’i Foundation training has been my most favorite so far. I knew nothing of Hawaiian history and culture really and I feel like I learned so much during those sessions. I love the art making aspect of it and seeing live dancing and music. I meant so much for them to share their culture with us. I truly did feel like I was in Hawai’i.
What has been the most surprising part of the experience so far? Why?
As I mentioned above, the care packages and the training itself. It’s so different from the normal, Eurocentric way I have been taught leadership.
What are you working on now that you think is interconnected to your experience as an ILI Fellow?
My consultant work is mostly EDI and Anti-racism facilitation but my arts admin work requires me to work with folks of other cultures.
Is there anything else would you like to share?
I live in an intercultural household. That has been the biggest learning curve in my marriage probably.
Tiffany Vega-Gibson works as an independent consultant through her performing arts management and DEI consulting company, La Vega Management. She currently serves on the National Board of the Parent Artist Advocacy League and the Board of Directors for Kyoung’s Pacific Beat. She is a certified DEI and Anti-racism facilitator through artEquity and Northwestern University. She is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Previously, she was the General Manager at Hi-ARTS NYC (Formerly Hip-Hop Theater Festival). She holds an MFA in Theatre Management & Producing from Columbia University and a BA in Theatre Performance from the University of Maryland-College Park.