Sarah West, the former Utah community development director for the Sundance Institute, will join the Park City Institute as managing director on May 5.
Sarah West, the former Utah community development director for the Sundance Institute, will join the Park City Institute as managing director on May 5. (Photo courtesy of the Sundance Institute)
The Park City Institute, which has been bringing world-class performing artists and global thinkers to Park City since 1993, is looking toward the future and announced Friday that Sarah West will be the nonprofit organization's first managing director.

West, who was the director of Utah community development for the Sundance Institute, and has sat on the board of directors for Ballet West, will work closely with Teri Orr, the executive director for the Park City Institute, on strategic planning and new growth opportunities.

"I will also work with Teri on fundraising and will continue to build on the great efforts the organization has been doing with community relations," West said during an interview with The Park Record. "I will also be involved with the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concerts at Deer Valley Resort, TEDx events, the Strategic News Service Future in Review Speaker Series, TED-x and the Mega-Genius Supply Store and IQ HQ."

Orr said the Park City Institute has been trying to find a way to hire a managing director.

"As someone who is a founder of a nonprofit organization, I'm acutely aware of what can happen when a founder leaves unexpectedly through the founder's decision or a board of director decision," Orr said. "I've watched other nonprofits in the community struggle when a founder has rapidly left an organization that doesn't have a succession plan in place.

"So we have been looking at the position for quite a while, but haven't had the resources to put one in place," she said. "We received an anonymous gift that allowed us to take that step. And this is a step to create a succession plan so that when I'm no longer here, the organization will become even more successful. Nothing would make me sadder than to leave the organization in such a state that it couldn't continue."

West's first day is Monday, May 5.

"I decided not to take any time off and start working with their talented and dedicated staff to learn about their programs," she said.

A couple of months ago, Orr mentioned that she was looking for someone help elevate the Park City Institute, West said.

"We started casual conversations and they started getting more serious as time went on," she said.

At the same time, West began feeling that the position would offer a great alignment with her entrepreneurial spirit, love of the arts and dedication to the Park City and Summit County community.

"I was delighted when she offered me the opportunity to be managing director," West said.

West plans to use the skills she learned at Sundance to benefit the Park City Institute.

"There are so many shared relationships between the Sundance Institute and the Park City Institute," she said. "This community is so dedicated to the arts, so a lot of those relationships have already been established through my seven years at Sundance.

"I will continue to build on those in my new role with Park City Institute," West said. "I'm excited to be a part of their team."

Looking back, West has nothing but good memories about the Sundance Institute.

"The Sundance Institute is an amazing organization and I'm so grateful to have spent seven years representing the Utah community," West said. "I'm grateful for this opportunity that will allow me to stay in this community. I am raising two little boys, so this is exciting for us."

Orr has known West for a number of years as a friend and colleague.

"What is unique about her is that she brings experience of not only working in a nonprofit, but being on a board of a nonprofit, which are very different perspectives," Orr said. "She has worked with Sundance, which has international appeal and that allows a greater pool to draw from when you're looking for donors."

Orr is especially pleased that West is a Park City resident.

"She grew up here," Orr said. "She knows the community and worked in the community and has an understanding of the diverse audience the Park City Institute has. We're very lucky to have attracted someone of Sarah's caliber to this position and look forward to all the places we will go."

For more information about the Park City Institute, visit www.ecclescenter.org.