PITTSBURGH: Four local arts organizations—City Theatre Company, the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Pittsburgh Public Theater—have appointed Fatima Bunafoor to be their shared Talent & Equity Director, in an effort to address common staffing challenges and inclusive human resources objectives. The cohort of theatres seeks to advance better practices related to human and personnel management, including developing and sharing learning policies around hiring, retention, staff development, and organizational culture in an industry-setting partnership model.
“The impetus of the shared Talent & Equity Director position was born out of a previous project on which we collaborated to create a six-month cohort focusing on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) training with 15 local arts nonprofits and funders,” said Hayley Haldeman, executive director of the Mattress Factory, in a statement. “By pooling our resources, we can meet our common challenges while also creating an environment where we learn and evolve together.”
Additionally, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center will participate in a series of staff trainings directly tied to EDI in conjunction with the larger cohort.
Bunafoor is an equity and management professional who has dedicated her career to human rights, racial justice, education, and creating systems of accountability. A native of Bahrain, she moved to the United States in 2010 to participate in the NESA Undergraduate Exchange program through the State Department, and sought asylum in 2011 due to her work documenting human rights violations by the Bahraini government against political prisoners. She has worked in the government as well as the nonprofit and private sectors. Bunafoor holds a B.A. in International Studies from Juniata College and an M.S. in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She previously served as a manger of special projects with the Office of Equity and Engagement at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and as a diversity and program coordinator at CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
“The Director of Talent & Equity role is an opportunity for the arts cohort to put into practice all their EDI goals and learning,” Bunafoor said in a statement. “I am excited to build this role and collaborate with the arts cohort. The commitment that leadership made through this hiring process and the commitment to collaboration are great examples of incorporating equity in every aspect of organizational practices.”
The new role is made possible in part by grant support from Art Equity Reimagined’s Collective Action for Reimagining Fund, through which the cohort was able to hire the search firm Equitable Hiring Group. Over 50 human resources and diversity and inclusion professionals were considered for the position.
The leadership council managing the cohort includes Hayley Haldeman; Heather McElwee, executive director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center; Lou Castelli of Pittsburgh Public Theater; Denise Church of the August Wilson Center; Pam Lezark of the Mattress Factory; and Clare Drobot and James McNeel of City Theatre.
City Theatre Company is Pittsburgh’s home for bold new plays and provides an artistic home for the development and production of contemporary plays that engage and challenge a diverse audience. Renowned for its Young Playwrights Festival, City Theatre is the largest performing arts organization not located in the downtown Cultural District.
The Mattress Factory is a site-specific contemporary art museum with a mission to say “yes” to artists. The Mattress Factory hosts artists from around the world and around the corner who live and work at the museum as they create site-specific installation art that transforms spaces in its two historic row homes, converted mattress warehouse, and surrounding neighborhood.
Pittsburgh Glass Center is one of the premier glass facilities in the U.S. and is a vibrant contributor to Pittsburgh’s thriving cultural landscape. The Glass Center cultivates an inclusive and welcoming environment that encourages the casually curious and the master artist to learn, create, and be inspired by glass and shares the passion for glass locally and globally to advance a more accessible glass community.
Pittsburgh Public Theater is dedicated to serving as a true public theatre for the Pittsburgh region, producing more than 120 performances each season and welcoming over 70,000 guests. The Theater is committed to education and engagement initiatives and innovative community partnerships and is renowned for its exceptional mix of programming, featuring classics and fresh new works.
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center showcases nationally and internationally renowned performing and visual artists and supports and nurtures the local arts community. The Center’s programming connects the community to the rich, substantive artistic content that reflects the African diaspora and is named for Pittsburgh native and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson.
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