A Message from Interim Executive Director Zhenya Lavy
For 17 years and 4 days, Karen Lane served at the head of Theatre Puget Sound – first, as rental manager (and first employee) for the fledgling organization; finally, as executive director of a vital service “Institution.” In the three months since her departure, I’ve heard many people say Theatre Puget Sound and Karen Lane are inseparable for them and they cannot think of one without the other. Although the conflation would make Karen uncomfortable, it is understandable. Karen frequently was the first person a new-to-Seattle artist connected with in our theatre community. She has welcomed people, shared resources and ideas, and facilitated first connections for their local network.
This is how I met Karen, in a March 2000 interview for a contract job editing TPS’s first newsletter, in her spare, end-of-the-hall office no bigger than a storage closet. She hired me and rapidly became my first friend in this city, and it has been my privilege to support her and TPS with a steady stream of behind-the-scenes work ever since. In September, Karen succeeded in her years-long stratagem to hire me. We envisioned a long partnership leading TPS into its next twenty years.
But we know what they say about best-laid plans of mice and (wo)men.… In November, Karen’s tenure at TPS ended.
There are no handbooks for life or organizational change. Some endings roll-out over years, others catch us by surprise. Some things are handled well, others – in retrospect – could have been handled better. Ours is no different. Throughout, the staff, Board, and I have done what we believed was best given the circumstances of each moment. This executive transition has mostly been quiet, purposefully played out in private moments and actions not to engender suspicions about secrecy or conspiracy but to respect the very confidential and personal nature of what was happening. At the time a public announcement needed to be made, there simply wasn’t much we could say.
I’d like to change that now.