Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Commitment & Aims

At Tessitura, our mission is to enable arts and cultural organizations to achieve their goals.  

We recognize that having a diverse team is not only critical to our commitment to adopt equitable behaviors; it will also fuel collaboration, innovation and creativity as we deliver on our mission. 

Creating an environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable in bringing their authentic selves to work is both our pledge and our passion. Ultimately, providing an accessible and inclusive workplace will allow the Tessitura community to thrive. 

To uphold our DEAI commitment, we focus on four aims: 

  1. Adopt equitable behaviors
  2. Embrace diversity as essential to our success
  3. Create an accessible and inclusive workplace and community
  4. Engage with the Tessitura community on DEAI

Adopt equitable behaviors

We are committed to creating a workplace where everyone is treated fairly, understands what success looks like, and has access to the resources needed to do their jobs well.

Within our company

In 2021, we undertook a company-wide compensation review in consultation with Payscale. This work led to a formalized and equitable compensation structure. We also introduced salary transparency on all job postings. We review our compensation strategy and pay equity annually.

Early in 2022, we introduced a new process to standardize performance evaluations and make them more equitable. Outcomes of this work included the introduction of more formal quarterly check-ins and a better alignment of performance evaluations with overall company goals. 

During annual reviews, team members set learning and development plans with their managers. We invest in LinkedIn Learning for the entire company. A professional development budget also supports our development goals.

Within our community

We continue to evaluate, and to make improvements to, the accessibility and inclusivity of our online and in-person events. We add captions and alternate text to the media on our website and social media channels. We have also offered team training with recommendations and best practices for presenting in virtual events. We continue to introduce accessibility accommodations to our in-person and virtual events.

WCAG compliance for Tessitura e-commerce

With Tessitura v16, TN Express Web (TNEW) has been transformed to provide an accessible and equitable experience for all users. Our objective is for the base TNEW e-commerce site and transactional emails to meet the accessibility standards as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at the 2.1 AA compliance level. Our next steps are an official evaluation and the generation of a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). We will also define our processes for an accessibility review as part of our iterative release cycles.

Tessitura platform accessibility

We are committed to making the Tessitura platform accessible to as many users as possible. Accessibility in the application is closely tied to the underlying technology. Based on our experience making our e-commerce solution accessible, we have determined that the most efficient way to deliver an accessible user experience in the application is to first convert the interface completely to be browser-based. Some of these web screens are now available in the desktop application. As this conversion progresses, we are improving the accessibility in the presentation layer (e.g., color contrast).  After we finish converting the interface, we will update the underlying infrastructure to be compatible with screen readers and other assistive technology.  

For the Windows-based screens in the Tessitura desktop application, our goal is adherence to Microsoft Active Accessibility. Accessible features in the Windows-based screens include keyboard support, color coding considerations and form field labels for screen readers. User preferences are available for individual user configurations. Standard Windows tools including adjusting screen resolution, scaling and using Windows Magnifier can also be used. 

Increasing readability

In 2022, we set a goal to improve the readability of our content. We achieved our goal of ensuring that 75% of the new content we produced aligns with best practice standards for clarity. We maintain this goal and continue to meet it.

Embrace diversity as essential to our success

We recognize that hiring and developing a diverse team is not only the right thing to do, but also necessary for our ongoing success. Delivering industry-leading products and services requires the creativity and innovation that emerges from a team with differing experiences, perspectives, and viewpoints. Our guiding vision for this aim is that the diversity of our team should reflect the diversity of the regions in which we operate.

Within our company

We have made our hiring practices more inclusive to mediate unconscious bias and promote equity and diversity. We create inclusive job descriptions and post salary ranges for open positions. We involve hiring panels in the interview process. We extend our recruitment efforts to increase the diversity of our candidate pool. Our People team assesses and adapts this process annually to incorporate learnings and best practices. 

To measure the effectiveness of our efforts to cultivate a diverse team, we began an annual team census in 2021. The census looks at team diversity through five lenses: race and ethnicity; age; gender identity; sexual orientation; and physical, emotional or cognitive differences. 

We have also set goals to increase the diversity of our Board, our vendors, and our ecosystem partners.

Within our community

We established five online affinity groups as safe spaces to foster connections and dialogue: LGBTQIA+, Neurodiversity and Mental Wellness, People of Color, People with Disabilities and Women in Tech. These groups hold regular online gatherings and in-person meetups at our international conferences. In addition, we have an online forum dedicated to DEAI topics. 
 
We have created a more equitable speaker selection process for the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference (TLCC). We now hold an open call for proposals for all TLCCs so that any interested member of the Tessitura community can submit their ideas. 
 
In 2021, we identified a need to intentionally increase the diversity of organizations in the Tessitura community. We have the data infrastructure in place to measure how many organizations run by and/or serving historically excluded populations are in our community.

Create an accessible and inclusive workplace and community

To retain a diverse team and to benefit from their differing perspectives, we need to create a workplace where everyone feels safe and comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work.

Within our company

Team surveys  

In 2020, we engaged the firm BW3 to conduct our first cultural assessment survey. The data in that survey has informed much of our internal DEAI work to date, and we continue to monitor and assess company culture and team wellbeing. In 2022, we re-engaged with BW3 to conduct our second cultural assessment.  

In 2021, the DEAI Committee introduced the quarterly Safety & Wellbeing survey. The survey comprised of six questions intended to measure a team member's safety levels, work/life balance status and feeling of inclusivity in their department and the company as a whole. In 2023, the survey was updated to a monthly Team Pulse Check survey. In 2024, we began using a professional engagement survey tool to surface trends and identify areas of improvement throughout the organization. 

Team training and resources 

In 2020, we engaged BW3 to provide diversity and inclusion training. They started with our management team and, in 2021, they trained the entire Tessitura team. In 2022, we began a training program for managers to equip them with the skills they need to lead inclusive work groups successfully. We now have ongoing training to prepare all team members to work successfully within a diverse team. To support this work, we maintain an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program. These groups provide infrastructure and support for team members who share a specific aspect of their identity to build community. Current ERGs available to staff are Neurodiversity, Early Career Professionals, and Let's Talk Menopause.

The staff DEAI Committee hosts a series of informal learning opportunities where team members can become familiar with a variety of issues and perspectives related to differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality or disability. These conversations are open to all team members for optional personal development. We also curate regular educational content in observance of significant dates, such as Juneteenth and International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
 
In 2022, we implemented an inclusive language tool in our internal messaging application. The tool checks for pre-programmed non-inclusive words and phrases used in chats and privately suggests better alternatives. We also switched our online meeting platform to one that includes built-in captioning. We are committed to promoting inclusivity in all our communications and helping our team become better allies in the process.
 
In 2023, we introduced a new private, secure feedback platform.  Staff can share concerns or suggestions about safety, wellbeing and company culture. This anonymous tool invites candid feedback while prioritizing the safety of our team.

Within our community

In 2020, we created a process to identify and eliminate the use of harmful terminology. We continually work toward inclusive language in three main areas: in materials such as our website and documentation, in our speech and everyday communications, and in our products. The Marketing team and the DEAI Committee collaborate on ongoing review and assessment of our language use. 
 
In 2022, we completed a review of six online community platforms to improve accessibility in our forums and online community groups. In Q2 of 2022, we began offering live captioning and transcriptions for all webinars and online events. 
 
We continually examine our support and online community technology for opportunities to improve.

Within the arts & culture sector 

In 2021 we established our Career Accelerator. The long-term goal of this program is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the arts and culture workforce. The first pilot group of 23 participants received Tessitura training, small group mentoring and other resources, all free of charge. Each year, the program serves two cohorts of 24 participants each in North America and one cohort of 16 in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The long-term goal of this program is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the arts and culture workforce. The first pilot group of 23 participants received Tessitura training, small group mentoring and other resources, all free of charge. Each year, the program serves two cohorts of 24 participants each in North America and one cohort of 16 in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Engage with the Tessitura community on DEAI

We understand that our community wants visibility into our DEAI work. We engage with our community to inform our internal DEAI efforts, to foster knowledge-sharing around DEAI initiatives within the community, and to create interactions among the community members that are accessible and welcoming. 

In 2021, we developed a Community DEAI Advisory Committee. This committee serves as the primary point of communication for feedback, questions, concerns and collaborative opportunities between Tessitura and our member community. 

In 2022, we began offering quarterly community webinars on DEAI-related topics. The Community DEAI Committee co-curates these events with our team. We have also integrated sessions focused on DEAI into the program of the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference (TLCC).

Structure

In March 2020 we formed a DEAI committee with representation from across the company. This committee meets regularly and forms workgroups, when needed, dedicated to specific areas of focus. 
 
In recognition of the importance of this work, participation in the DEAI committee is not extracurricular. Members devote a portion of their existing working time to their DEAI work as part of Tessitura’s investment in continual improvement. 
 
The DEAI committee is advised by a group from Tessitura’s leadership team and a community DEAI advisory committee. Lauren Kusnierz, Solutions Manager; and Julia Wilson, Project Coordinator—Consulting Services, currently co-chair this committee. 
 
The members of our DEAI staff committee are Jo Boniface, Laura Bowden (ex-officio), Jessie Bower, Christy Carlson, Ara Carrera, Sarah Loveless Compton, Katrin Crosby, Rachael Easton, Beth Gilliland, Matt Ingham, Bobbi Kay, Lauren Kusnierz, Margaret Lehtinen, Ace Robinson, Lloyd Stringer, JD Short, Rachel Vest and Julia Wilson. 
 
In addition, a DEAI leadership group representing a cross-section of the company meets biweekly to move DEAI initiatives forward. This group includes Dana Astmann, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications; Laura Bowden, Vice President of People; Melissa Champ, Vice President of Support; Alex Harris, Group Product Manager; Lauren Kusnierz, Senior Solutions Manager; David Pearce, Chief Operating Officer; Andrew Recinos, President & CEO; and Julia Wilson, Project Coordinator, Consulting Services.

Questions? Comments?

We are committed to ongoing, goal-oriented work and will periodically update this page as that work progresses. If you have a question or comment about our work, please feel free to get in touch.

Community DEAI Advisory Committee

The Community DEAI Advisory Committee serves as the primary point of communication for feedback, questions, concerns and collaborative opportunities between Tessitura and our member community. If you would like to get in touch with this committee, please email CommunityDEAI@tessituranetwork.com.

View the Committee Charter ›

 

Chloe Burton (she/her) Headshot of Chloe Burton with black hair pulled back, clear glasses on, wearing a floral shirt.

Senior Data Insights Manager
The Old Vic
London, United Kingdom

Chloe is passionate about making workplaces and venues accessible and welcoming to all. She believes that diversity, equity and inclusion are the three pillars of accessibility. She dedicates herself to upholding these values.

Chloe commits herself to improving accessibility in the arts and creating accessible spaces. She ensures email campaigns and web pages are accessible. At Hampstead Theatre, she introduced closed captions, audio introductions and touch tours. She facilitated training programs in disability confidence and trans awareness. This training helped colleagues feel confident in welcoming all visitors to the theatre.

Chloe invests in the development and empowerment of staff members. Her ethos as a manager centers around fostering a culture of mutual respect. This leads to a positive workplace, a motivated workforce and happier customers. She initiates new policies geared towards improving support systems for staff. She creates an inclusive environment where staff can bring their full selves to work.

Samantha Cantu (they/them) Headshot of Clayton Dickson

Patron Services Manager
Opera Colorado
Denver, Colorado

Samantha Cantu is a queer, genderfluid, neurodivergent, Chicano activist who hails from a tiny industrial town in Southeast Texas. They now reside in Denver where they are the Patron Services Manager of Opera Colorado. Driven by their own lived experiences of poverty and hardship, Samantha is always willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work needed. Samantha enjoys exploring all the facets of Colorado whilst juggling spending time with their kiddo, tending to their many friendships and giving back to the community. They love singing karaoke, psychoanalyzing fictional characters and playing a good immersive video game.

Clayton Dickson (he/him) Headshot of Clayton Dickson wearing a black shirt and jacket.

Senior Accountant 
KERA
Dallas, Texas

Clayton Dickson is a Senior Accountant at KERA – a non-profit media organization in Dallas, Texas. He is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce tribe and grew up on the reservation. From an early age, Clayton knew that education was important, and he is grateful to the teachers who saw his potential and encouraged him to strive for excellence. Clayton’s main passion is music and he credits his parents who fostered and encouraged his pursuits.  Clayton’s career has been in the arts and culture sector and he hopes to see more people of color pursuing careers in arts administration. 

Clayton’s musical journey began at an early age singing and playing piano in church. From elementary school through college, he participated in band, choir and theatre.  As an adult, Clayton sang tenor with the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the Atlanta Opera Chorus. Before his employment at KERA, Clayton was in the Finance Departments of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta and the Dallas Opera.  

Ten years ago, Clayton discovered he loved running after joining a running club to get into shape. Since then, he has evolved into a long-distance runner and has completed marathons in 8 different states (with a goal to hit all 50). In his spare time, Clayton and his spouse Todd enjoy trying new restaurants and spending time with their two dogs.  

Jane Duong (she/her) Headshot of Clayton Dickson

CRM & Ticketing Manager, Tessitura
National Gallery of Australia
Parkes, Australia

Jane is a queer, Chinese-Vietnamese Australian arts administrator and photographer. She treads with care on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country (Kamberri/Canberra, Australia).

Jane is currently the CRM and Ticketing Manager at the National Gallery of Australia. She previously held various positions at the National Portrait Gallery for over a decade. Her career has focused on removing barriers to access for audiences. She aims to make the arts accessible for everyone, regardless of ability or disability. Her intention is to create welcoming and inclusive spaces for all.

When she is not working in galleries, she enjoys collaborating on photo projects. These include Hold On: Treasures from Rainbows (2022), Raising the Flag: Matter of Pride (2019) and Queerberra (2017).

Jane joined the PhotoAccess Board in September 2023. PhotoAccess is a non-profit organization based in Kamberri/Canberra. It is dedicated to making, sharing and investigating photographic culture. It does this in the interest of artistic expression, cultural participation and positive social change.

Jordan Edwards (she/they) Headshot of Jane Duong

Marketing & Patron Services Manager
Sunset Cultural Center
Monterey County, California

Jordan is a queer, neurodivergent woman who, quite literally, grew up in music venues. When she was a child, her mom worked as an accountant at a rock and roll venue. As a result, Jordan couldn't imagine working in any other industry.  

Jordan oversees the box office, marketing, membership and IT teams in her role at the Sunset Cultural Center. She also provides organizational leadership around project management and efficiency. She is the product owner for Tessitura and all integrated technologies.

Jordan has worked with a wide variety of organization types and venues across the United States. This includes working as an instructor at the Tessitura Center for Professional Development. She has also worked as a consultant for several Tessitura organizations. She finds joy in training, streamlining processes and providing creative solutions.

Jordan has co-chaired the LGBTQIA+ Tessitura Community since January of 2022. They also serve on the Bay Area Tessitura Community planning team.

Jordan often spends her free time playing cozy video games, reading or napping with her cats. She spends most Wednesday nights playing Dungeons & Dragons (she plays spellcasters). 

Isaac Freeman (they/them) 

Ticketing & Membership Systems Coordinator
Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Sussex, England

Isaac works as a Ticketing and Membership Systems Coordinator in Sussex, England. They have been in their role for just over a year. In this time, they have championed access and diversity both for customers and staff by implementing new web features, writing access guides and even marching in the Brighton Pride Parade. Isaac previously attended EU Ticketing Tessitura Community meetups and is very much looking forward to their first conference at TLCC Gateshead. 

Isaac identifies as non-binary and neurodiverse. They are very passionate about helping workplaces implement adjustments to improve the working lives of disabled and neurodivergent people, as well as working with venues to consider how they can enhance their access offerings. Isaac is also a playwright and poet and has a master’s degree in queer studies.  

Nicki LeGrand (she/her)Headshot of Nicki LeGrand

Database Supervisor
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Nicki LeGrand is a Métis woman from Manitoba, Canada. Manitoba is on the lands of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis. Nicki is the Database Supervisor at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and champions the use of Tessitura across the organization. Currently, Nicki co-chairs the Winnipeg Tessitura Community and Women in Tech Tessitura Community. She is a board member for the Manitoba Underground Opera, which gives an artistic voice to those overlooked in traditional opera casting. She is also on the board for the Friends of Lower Fort Garry, which promotes Canada’s cultural heritage through awareness and education.

Nicki is a trained mezzo-soprano. She has a degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Manitoba. In 2023, she obtained a certification in database administration from the University of Calgary. She currently lives in Winnipeg with her husband, Ian. They enjoy trying new recipes on their many barbeques and smokers.

As a member of the Community DEAI Advisory Committee, Nicki will advocate for women in the male-dominated tech industry. She will also make space for Indigenous history and voices to be celebrated and embraced.

Shenette Swann (she/her) Headshot of Shenette Swann with long black hair, a colorful headband, and large white dangling earrings.

Guest Engagement Manager 
Marbles Kids Museum
Raleigh, North Carolina

As a Guest Engagement Manager for Marbles Kids Museum, Shenette Swann has served the downtown Raleigh, North Carolina community for seven years with a tireless love for inclusion. Shenette believes that her living experiences and awareness of intersectionality have equipped her with a natural, yet strategic approach in the necessary bridging of cultural gaps and the need for critical conversations in work environments.  She has been at the intersection of cultural sensitivity and accessibility implementations. Leading the DEAI initiatives for Marbles Kids Museum, Shenette boldly advocates for welcoming spaces. Alongside her CEO, she was responsible for leveraging authentic relationships with the LGBTQIA+ Center of Raleigh to obtain expert resources. Shenette also planned and executed the first ever Black History Month programming for Marbles. She has presented for the National Association for the Education of the Young Child, the NC Science and Engineering Fair, and the Museum of Natural Sciences on the power of play. She is recently a chosen DEAI presenter for the Association of Children’s Museums Conference. 

Shenette stands by her motto: people before projects. An environment of belonging can help any organization grow, thrive, and succeed. When Shenette steps away from the museum, she motivates her community as a dynamic entertainer. She is a performing singer/songwriter and percussionist with available music on all major platforms and sold out shows in her city.

Sheriece Veazey-McNally (she/her) Headshot of Sheriece Veazey-McNally

Manager of Prospect Research
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, Missouri

Sheriece is the Manager of Prospect Research at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She is a member of the development department and the major gifts team. She oversees both prospect research and portfolio management. Sheriece teaches a studio of voice students through UMKC Conservatory’s Academy. She is a singer who has recently worked with MTH, The Black Repertory Theatre of KC and the BMA Community Choir. She also participates in Nonprofit Connect’s BIPOC Nonprofit Professional Roundtable. She graduated from CSU with a master’s in arts leadership and cultural management. She earned an M.M. in voice from UMKC Conservatory and a B.A. in integrative arts from Penn State Altoona. She enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and sewing.