The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has named its new president. Tom Kaiden takes charge after serving as interim director for the last 6 months – since president Peggy Amsterdam died of cancer.
As president, Kaiden will continue what Amsterdam started.
The Cultural Alliance began in 1972 as a service organization with nine members, since then it has become a cultural and political advocacy group with 396 members. Kaiden contributed to that growth as Chief Operating Officer under Amsterdam.
Kaiden says he inherited big shoes from Peggy Amsterdam.
“Peggy was an incredible special person,” says Kaiden. “All of us who were lucky enough to work with her, really benefited from being in her circle. But the work that she started here is really important to carry forward. All of us feel strongly that we want to advance that legacy.”
Board chairman Hal Real says they were going to begin a national search for a new president, but, with Tom Kaiden on board, they stopped searching.
“I always say, ‘You get your respect by your actions, not by your title,’” says Real. “Tom certainly exemplifies that. But now he has the title with it as well. He and the staff will go through a series of fresh looks at what everybody’s role has been and what they would like it to be, and he can help make a determination about what the right structure is going forward.”
Under Kaiden, the Alliance hopes to double regional engagement in cultural activities by the year 2020.