How repositioning Milk Crate Theatre opened new horizons of sustainability and social impact


Milk Crate Theatre’s CEO, Jodie Wainwright approached us on the recommendation of one of her Board Directors who knew us well.  Jodie had stepped into this new leadership role from within the sector, bringing passion, energy and a commitment to taking Milk Crate Theatre more sustainably forward. Like many Arts organisations, their funding future was precarious even before COVID19. In Milk Crate’s favour was a strong and cohesive board, a trusted Chair, and an appetite for bold strategic thinking and decision-making. Above all, the Chair and Board were committed to backing the CEO, enabling her to take a lead on the strategic mapping.

Our journey together

We met with the new CEO, and quickly established the basis for a good strategic thought partnership. We agreed that one of our common project design approaches would be ideal:

  • Preparation Coaching Sessions with the CEO
  • Facilitated Strategic Planning session with the Board and CEO
  • Implementation -focused Coaching Sessions with the CEO

This approach would enable the CEO to test and flesh out her thinking, participate more completely in the Board sessions, and have a sounding board for the expected critical and tricky task of realigning the organisation to a new direction.

Our work together achieved transformation in three key ways:

  1. It confirmed that the untapped opportunity for the organisation lay at its very heart – its' orientation towards being an Arts entity. In its' place the organisation would elevate its' ability to generate participant outcomes.
  2. It flowed this insight into every aspect of the organisation: From service design to funding strategy and staff structure.
  3. It set new goals and partnership-based approaches that strengthened the impact on both beneficiaries and the reach of Arts outputs.

The next phase of the Milk Crate Theatre story is now beginning. As an organisation they have financial opportunities that they did not have before, and a stronger, more robust social impact strategy. The CEO is assembling the team she needs to deliver on the strategy, having navigated the hard territory of structural change.

The learnings for other organisations are that strategy sometimes means a genuinely robust analysis of how you are positioned and structured. Sustainability and social impact are invariably intertwined. To do this work well often doesn’t need large-budget external consultants or deep and broad data analysis. With a healthy Board, a sound leader and some external facilitation and coaching, an organisation can access it's own wisdom, and find new life and a new direction, aligning its strategy, service model, funding and structure to be fit for the emerging future.

For Arts organisations this is a story of hope amidst challenge.

"We genuinely enjoyed the support from Leadership Space as they walked beside us on our journey as a leadership team. It involved carving out space to realign our strategy and team to set ourselves on the path to achieving our full potential. I am confident we will be able to access new funding, and will be able to deliver even greater social impact as a result. Thank you."
– Milk Crate Theatre

If your organisation needs to go through a transformation, or you would like a confidential CEO coaching discussion, please contact us at or call 0400 405 323, as that’s what we specialise in.



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