Walker Art Center elects founder of Woke Coach as first woman of color to lead its board of directors


Walker Art Center announced that Seena Hodges has been elected chair of its board, marking the first time a person of color has held the position.

“In 2021, it can be hard to believe that we still have firsts “, Hodges said in an email to the Star Tribune. “But the important thing to remember about firsts it is that they are the best indicator of progress. “

Hodges, a human person and in love with art, fairness, intersectional feminism and more, is the founder of Woke Coach, a company focused on customer engagement in diversity, fairness, inclusion, anti-racism and empowerment. The name “Woke Coach” came to him in a dream, and the company’s flagship program is called “From Ally to Collector”, helping people figure out where to start their anti-racism work.

Before this dream came true, she worked in Marketing and Communications at Guthrie Theater, Theater Latté Da, and the St. Paul & Minnesota Community Foundation. She joined Walker’s Board of Directors in 2017 after co-chairing Avant Garden, the museum’s annual fundraising gala. The year before, she launched the Walker’s BIPOC Artist Fund and helped provide Walker memberships to local artists of color.

“Seena Hodges is exactly the right leader for the Walker right now as we embark on a new strategic plan that aims to connect the brilliant creativity of artists to the lived experiences of our audiences,” said Walker’s Executive Director Mary Ceruti.

In another first for the Walker, the newly elected board members are all women, including Vice Presidents Karen Heithoff and D. Ellen Wilson, Treasurer Sarah Lynn Oquist and Secretary Teresa Rasmussen.

“Making history and reaching new heights is something the Walker Art Center has always been known for,” Hodges said. “This is what attracted me to the organization and led me to join the board of directors.”

Born in New Jersey and raised in South Carolina, Hodges is a member of the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums and is currently working on her first book, “From Ally to Complice: How to Lead as a Fierce Antiracist”, forthcoming. early 2022.

She replaces former chairman John Christakos, founder and CEO of Blu Dot, who served for three years. He remains a member of the board of directors and will sit on the executive committee.

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