COCA Building Exterior

COCA Organizational Update | JAN 12

Dear COCA Community,

I am writing to let you know that I will be stepping down as Executive Director of COCA as of July 2022. While this decision has been difficult and layered with emotions, I am confident that it is the right time. I firmly believe that COCA is in a position of tremendous strength, poised to thrive under the next generation of leadership, and that I am ready for new opportunities and challenges on my professional journey.

When I took the helm as Executive Director, my goal was to help ensure that COCA would be here to serve future generations, that it could endure and stand the test of time. Together, we successfully launched and completed our Create Our Future campaign to expand COCA’s campus and impact; built our financial depth by increasing endowment and reserves funds; developed our staff and redesigned the organizational structure; created new programs and partnerships to broaden our reach to make the arts more accessible; weathered a global pandemic; and perhaps most importantly, sharpened our commitment to equity, evolving our training, practices and culture to ensure that COCA is truly a house for all people. The work has never been easy, but it has always been worth it. COCA is firmly rooted and prepared to flourish.

This team and place have been my second family and home for my adult life. Every single day I am in awe of this extraordinarily talented Staff and Faculty who constantly strive for excellence, move mountains to meet the needs of our students and community, and manage to inject humor and fun along the way. It has been an honor to work side by side with you.

It has been deeply motivating to partner with COCA’s Board and supporters—an ambitious, generous, compassionate, and innovative group of believers who have made so much possible for our community. Thank you for trusting, supporting and collaborating with me and our team as we’ve taken bold leaps and achieved some audacious goals. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve collectively accomplished.

Although the mission—to enrich lives and build community through the arts—is deceptively simple, COCA’s impact is profound. My 24+ years at COCA have been the most fulfilling, challenging, and inspiring years anyone could ever hope to have in their career. It has never been just a job to me. COCA becomes a part of you. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this uniquely St. Louis made institution.

Rest assured that over the next several months, I am committed to working with the Board and Staff to help prepare the organization for this important leadership transition and meet its aspirations for the future. COCA is just getting started and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead!

With gratitude,

Kelly Pollock