Meet Este Darin-Cooper, our State Manager in NSW and ACT
Este Darin-Cooper on supporting, advising and connecting people and organisations doing great things
Este Darin-Cooper is our new State Manager in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. To book a one-on-one consultation with Este, complete our appointment form.
What attracted you to the role of Creative Partnerships State Manager?
The arts has played an outsized role in my life since childhood. The opportunity to bring my skills to Creative Partnerships Australia, an organisation that puts building a sustainable cultural sector at its core, was a powerful proposition. I’m thrilled to be starting in the role.
Can you give us a bit of background on your pre-Creative Partnerships life, as well as some career highlights?
It’s been a windy road….so here’s the quick version. After studying Engineering/Law, I practiced as a commercial lawyer for a few years with a focus on emerging technologies, before ditching the suits and grabbing some cardigans to join a Federal Government agency where I led data strategy and initiatives with the private, public, not-for-profit and start-up sectors.
More recently, I’ve been working with artists, social sector organisations and the philanthropic community on a few fronts: I co-founded a philanthropic foundation that supports and invests in the arts; I led a team at Social Ventures Australia designing capacity building and mentoring partnerships with early stage, community-led organisations; I’ve advised a range of arts organisations to build networks of support and diversify their income; and I’m a Board Member of two small-medium arts organisations, Force Majeure and Beyond Empathy.
The consistent highlight? Supporting, advising and connecting people and organisations doing great things.
You have a long-standing passion for the Australian arts sector as an adviser, board member, philanthropist and advocate. What do you love about it?
I could go on for pages but it comes down to one key thing. The power of the arts to connect people with themselves, their community and others.
Are you noticing any new trends or approaches to philanthropy that present a particular challenge or opportunity for the arts sector?
Like all sectors, philanthropy continues to evolve and innovate. I’ve observed three factors that are shaping the profile of giving in Australia: a growing sophistication from the corporate sector in its approach to social responsibility, and staff and client engagement; a baby boomer generation exiting the paid workforce; and a ‘next’ generation of philanthropists with their own set of ambitions and expectations.
But in some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same. Philanthropy continues to be about building meaningful connections and creating shared value.
As one of our State Managers you provide on-the-ground support to arts organisations through our coaching and mentoring service. What would you say is your #1 priority in this role?
Each artist and organisation is different, with unique strengths and priorities. My #1 priority is to support artists and arts organisations to articulate their own purpose and priorities, and build practical ways to take supporters on that journey with them.
From your experience, what three qualities or characteristics does a successful, sustainable arts organisation possess?
- A deep understanding of the arts ecosystem and the organisation’s unique contribution
- Commitment to building and leveraging a network of partners and supporters
- Capacity to use quantitative and qualitative data to tell the organisation’s story.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to arts organisations who are looking increase the level or diversity of support they receive from the private sector, what would it be?
No-one said that building partnerships with the private sector is quick and easy! It takes effort and commitment, but the value is deep.