"Never say never": A day in the life of a business development director

Third Sector Promotion New Art Exchange

Kate Lockart tells us what it's like to be a business development director at the New Art Exchange

Kate Lockart
Kate Lockart

The New Art Exchange (NAE) is an award winning and nationally acclaimed arts organisation. They are looking for a director of business development to join their senior management and executive team to spearhead income generation, commercial opportunities and organisational resilience.

In an organisation "full of inspirational activity and entrepreneurial mind-sets", we spoke to Kate Lockart for a glimpse into a day in the life of a business development director at the New Art Exchange. 

Tell me about the New Art Exchange and the work you do to promote diversity

The NAE’s high quality exhibitions and projects improve access to and representation in the arts sector through programming designed with culturally diverse audiences. We work with our local community, BAME artists and partner organisations that share in our vision of ‘arts from diverse cultures for all’.

What is involved in a typical day of a business development director at NAE?

Assessing and updating fundraising priorities to determine actions over the coming week and month, meeting with colleagues to understand new projects and talking to existing and potential funding and delivery partners and collaborators.

What is the best bit about your day?

Taking 5 minutes to go into the gallery to see people enjoying the exhibitions and hearing passionate, committed artists talk about their work.  What’s even better is knowing that successful sustainable funding NAE have secured makes this happen.

And what is the biggest challenge?

Communicating everything NAE achieves and the impact it has. We work our mission of ‘stimulating new perspectives on the value of diversity in art and society’ into everything we do.  Securing sustainable funding as opposed to purely project, time limited funding. 

Why would someone want to do this role?

It’s fascinating, challenging and rewarding. I learn something new every day and get to work with great people with exciting and innovative ideas who want to make a difference. 

Who is your inspiration?

There are lots of inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting… it would have to be Amanda Rigali from Cause 4 - a truly authentic leader and speaker.

'An aura of boxing' exhibition at the New Art Exchange, January 2014

What is it that you love about charity retailing?

We have diversified our income mix from just grant funding to commercial trading (café, hires, merchandising) and wider commissioning/consultancy work to generate a steady stream of income.  It’s bringing the commercial mind-set and approach into the third sector. Only the fittest survive!

What is it like working for NAE?

There is never a dull moment! The programme team, the public and the artists we work with make sure that the building is full of inspirational activity and entrepreneurial mind-sets.

Tell us about your team

We’re lucky to have an amazing team. From our very talented producers through to our front of house staff, everyone is dedicated to making the public’s experience welcoming and interesting.

What makes a good business development director for an organisation like yours?

Being organised and planning ahead is essential.  Thinking entrepreneurially, boldly and strategically is vital. Willing to take risks and seizing opportunities that are sometimes out of the norm. A person that never, says never!

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