Q & A With New Board President David Nygren

D Nygren

The Ojai Music Festival is pleased to announce the appointment of David Nygren as president of the board of directors, effective August 2014. David, who has served on the Ojai board since 2011, is the founder and CEO of Nygren Consulting LLC, which specializes in mergers and acquisitions, board effectiveness, organizational strategy, and executive competency assessment. His company balances Fortune 500 for-profit businesses with the non-profit sector where he works extensively with health systems and arts institutions including the New York Philharmonic and New World Symphony.

David was also the executive vice president at DePaul University, where he was awarded rank and tenure in the department of Psychology, teaching organizational theory and design, leadership, and corporate governance.

He assumes leadership of the board after Stephen (Mike) J.M. Morris, who served an extraordinary year of service as president. Mike will continue to serve on the Festival’s executive committee for a smooth transition.

Recently, David spoke with us about coming on the Ojai board, as well as his favorite Ojai moments.

OMF: What are some of your most memorable moments from past Festivals?

DN: My favorite moments are in the splendor of what we experience only here. I marvel at [artistic director] Tom Morris’ brilliance in convening artists from around the world in this beautiful setting and at the spell of their performances.

These have included the toy piano concert in the Libbey Park playground, the surprise appearance of the marching band last year, and early morning concerts at Meditation Mount. What strikes me over and over is the profound humility of the musicians when they take their bow, show their delight, and rejoice in the intimacy of the audience.

OMF: You have served on many non-profit boards and are often asked to serve; what made you choose the Ojai Music Festival?

DN: My willingness to join and support the Festival comes from a deep love of music and my belief in the power of creativity to change the face of the world. As a result, I make personal investments in organizations whose intent it is to advance the common good.

There is nothing quite like Ojai where this level of creativity is inserted in the beauty of the Ojai Valley, where the mountains and the music are in harmony. The most talented artists come together here to express their potential and give us that gift. I have traveled and visited many festivals on other continents…None compare to the experience of the Ojai Music Festival.

OMF: What are you looking for when you join a board?

DN: When I think about joining a board, I think about my passion for the mission of the organization, and I expect the same drive, commitment, and enthusiasm from my fellow board members. On the Ojai Music Festival board, I have found a group that professes a love of the mission and whose eyes light up as soon as we talk about Tom’s programming. This group is intellectually alive, deeply committed financially, and anxious to know about the next innovation.

In Ojai, we have a committed board, extraordinary artistic direction with Tom Morris, and an exceptional guide in [executive director] Janneke Straub.

OMF: Your consulting firm is well-known for facilitating company and organizational growth through effective leadership and long-term strategies. What would you say today’s challenges are for arts non-profit organizations?

DN: The challenges of all arts organizations today are relevance to the communities they serve and financial viability. Neither will hold back the Ojai Music Festival, which is the most deserving arts organization in Southern California. It is my hope as the new president, that California and beyond will continue to support the enormous innovations that are happening in Ojai.

Read about Nygren Consulting >>