Client Spotlight: Forward Momentum Chicago
Forward Momentum Chicago (FMC) provides high-quality, affordable dance education programs to children in lesser served communities that would not have access to dance education. Although FMC is a fairly new organization, its Founder and Executive Director Pierre Lockett has been in the Chicago dance education field for 20 years. FMC is currently in 21 schools, providing dance to 99 classrooms and over 2,400 students and hope to receive a Creative School Fund in December to expand their programming. This past summer, they had an incredibly successful inaugural Summer Dance Camp with over 65 students that attended all-day dance camp for six weeks.
In 2015, FMC came to the Art & Business Council to help them create a workflow system that gave their employees a more streamlined process to manage growth. The volunteer consultant team conducted a current and future state needs assessment, created four key job descriptions for growth and developed a system for an intern and volunteer program. This immediately led to the hire of a new marketing and communications staff member and helped Pierre more fully shift into the role of Executive Director while delegating marketing to their new hire.
After these HR changes had been made, Pierre and his team were ready to tackle their first ever strategic plan. This successful project changed the board’s perspective and helped them think about the future. Pierre and his team are already implementing their newly created strategic plan. They have restructured their board meetings, added two new board members, will hire a paid consultant to focus on fundraising and are looking for our assistance in the future with a branding and board structure project. By working with A&BC on their management areas, Forward Momentum is able to focus on what they do best: dance education.
Now that A&BC has helped FMC with its workflow and HR needs, Pierre can focus not only on being the Executive Director, but what he deems his most vital role at FMC – mentoring his students. Mentoring is important to Pierre because that's how he got where he is today; by someone taking an interest in him and taking the time to cultivate his talents.
Pierre is paying it forward by mentoring Travon Williams for the past five years. Pierre encouraged him to take dance class with his friends after meeting him at the Joffrey Ballet. Travon and Pierre discovered he had talent and he is now a student at FMC through After School Matters. Pierre helped Travon get into the Chicago High School for the Arts where he is now a junior and has taken summer intensives around the country from Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Austin Ballet, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and others.
Not only is Pierre guiding Travon in his goal to dance professionally but also helping to make the right decisions on everything from classes, proper attire, work ethic and how to act professionally in such a small dance world. Pierre teaches his favorite motto to students: If you can look at a situation and say you gave it 100%, then you can walk away from it.
When his students feel that they’ve given it their all and can walk away, Pierre feels that that is when he knows his work and training are complete. FMC is just one of the many A&BC client organizations making great contributions to the Chicago community.