Organizational Culture at Cheekwood

Article written by Allyson, a graduate student in the dual MAAA/MPA program at SPEA. During the academic year Allyson serves as a Graduate Assistant at the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation and as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Wilkerson. She is currently interning with Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art in Nashville, TN.

I am completing my third week at Cheekwood, here in Nashville. It has been a wonderful experience so far! Everyone here is so friendly and willing to help out their coworkers. It is a really great environment to work in. It seems like the staff here are treated really well and are shown appreciation for the work they do. This is really awesome to see in light of the various employee and union protests seen in other arts organizations around the country recently. It really feels like Cheekwood does a good job of recognizing and appreciating the people who work here.

Another one of my favorite things about the organization so far is how well everyone communicates. Every month, there is an “All Staff Breakfast,” which is really unique. It seems like a really fun way to get all of the departments together and update everyone about what all is going on. Different staff members give brief and informative presentations on what is going on in the various departments. Cheekwood also holds a “Logistics” meeting every Thursday morning as another way to update staff on the activities and events happening on a regular basis. Neither of these meetings are mandatory, but most people seem to attend and it is a really efficient way to communicate with the entire staff. It is also a good way to meet and hear from people I don’t work with on a regular basis.

Even in these first few weeks, I feel like I have started to get a really good idea of the type of organization and environment I want to work in when I graduate. I highly value good communication and I believe employees work harder when they feel appreciated and noticed for the work they do. I will have to start writing down questions to ask employers in my interviews when I start applying for jobs to get the best feel for different organization environments.

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