Shayla James balances her time as a researcher and teaching artist in the non-profit sector. She is a multi-instrumentalist whose work is rooted in community engagement, empowerment and collaboration across disciplines. Shayla is the Education Program Manager for Blindspot Collective. She has taught for Arts for Learning, and has volunteered in the Learning and Community Engagement Department at the San Diego Symphony. Also, she volunteers as the Vice Chair of Rising Arts Leaders San Diego. As a contracted non-profit researcher, her interests include assessment and evaluation, education, cultural policy and EDAI (equity, diversity, inclusion accessibility) principles.
Shayla received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Coe College. She attended UC-San Diego for a Master of Arts degree in Music with an emphasis in Integrative Studies (Ethnomusicology and Critical Studies). She enjoys hiking, putting together puzzles and performing with her rock/pop band.
Now let's hear directly from Shayla!
What made you want to join the YNPN board?
My work is primarily in the arts and culture sector, so most of the non-profits I have been involved in are arts based. As I became more interested in non-profit work, I saw how there are many issues and experiences that overlap across non-profits. Access to (arts) education, mental health, affordable housing, and the work of direct service providers are topics that come up frequently in my work.
I realized that I wanted to expand my knowledge of the non-profit field, collaborate across sectors, and help empower our emerging non-profit leaders, so I decided to apply to join the YNPN San Diego board.
What is your favorite thing about your career thus far?
My favorite thing about my career so far is probably the thing I sometimes complain about. I live a puzzle piece life, meaning, in one moment I’m a performer, in the next I’m an educator, then in another moment I am researching arts evaluation methods. I love the variety because I am learning something new everyday and I get to know many people in different environments.
What would your "perfect" day look like?
My perfect day is doing a little bit of everything I love to do. Ideally I would practice the piano or viola, go on a hike, see the ocean, read, teach, go to a concert, eat ice cream or donuts, and see my family and friends (not necessarily in that order)!
What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a part of YNPN San Diego?
The most fulfilling aspect of being a part of YNPN San Diego is going on a journey with my peers on and off the board. We make decisions together, have professional development and socials together, discuss our careers and support each other.
What would you say to someone on the fence about becoming a member, or even joining the board?
If you are on the fence about becoming a member or joining the board, just go for it! You are gaining a community of friends and determined professionals who are willing to give advice and share their expertise.
Thank you, Shayla, for all you’ve done for YNPNsd! Learn more about our Advisory Board here!
Photo courtesy of Sofi Seck Photography