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People First

Organizations exist to help humans flourish collectively.

Humans do not exist to help organizations function.  

We support organizations in their efforts to empower and uplift the talents and capabilities of the people in the organizations and the people engaged and served by the organizations.  Our experience in the creative sectors has taught us that often when there are chronic issues, the organization must change to support the people, rather than insisting that the people change to support the organization.

Similarly, when we engage with clients or each other, we are engaging with human beings, and adapt our own ways of communicating, thinking, and being present to best connect to each other. No two people are the same, and individual circumstances can change in an instant, so continual adaptation is a way of life and space has to be made for that to be a reality.

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Creative Evolutions is People
Team Work is the Only Work

All activities undertaken by Creative Evolutions are done by teams of people using their lived experience alongside a focus on empathy and listening.  The collaborators involved with Creative Evolutions is constantly expanding by design, and every collaborator has permanent rights to the ideas they create and are invited to have permanent financial stakes in Creative Evolutions.  Our Managing Collaborators have set the vision for Creative Evolutions, and assumed the responsibility for caring for all collaborators, clients, and partners in all Creative Evolutions activities.

Collaborators are also invited to be listed here on the Creative Evolutions website, starting in January 2023.

Managing Collaborators and Co-Founders

Calida N. Jones is an accomplished musician, social justice advocate, and educator with more than 25 years of experience in performance planning, workshop and curriculum development, volunteerism, project management, and teaching in private and public institutions. Working with arts and cultural organizations across the nation, she has led efforts in advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. Passionate about intentional purposeful teaching and community engagement, her personal mission is to ensure that children with limited resources have access to musical opportunities and activities. She is also deeply committed to correlating the art of teaching to life skills and community building through the lenses of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. She continues to be a regularly-sought after International Speaker, Coach, Violinist, and Music Educator. Calida activates her philosophy of community building, inspiration, actionable solutions, and hope through motivational speeches, workshops, and coaching individuals all over the globe. Most notably, she recently had the opportunity to speak to over 500k individuals in Amravati, India. There, she shared the “Impact of Kindness”. A TEDx speaker in San Jose, CA, Calida has had the privilege of speaking at prestigious institutions such as the Yale School of Music, Duke University, The Connecticut State Capitol, and The Hartt School. She has received numerous honors during her career, including a scholar fellowship at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Fellowship, Grammy Music Educator Award nomination, the Connecticut Arts Hero Award for the Waterbury region, and the Father Thomas H. Dwyer Humanitarian Award for her work in Waterbury, Connecticut. In addition to being the Founder of CNJ Associates, she also recently co-founded an arts ecosystem called Creative Evolutions, a Human-Centered Adaptive Ecosystem that Creatives Actionable Solutions for Creative Individuals and Organizations. Calida has sat on many boards to include the El Sistema USA board, Sound Crossings Music Board, and as a councilwoman for the Connecticut State Arts Council. Currently, Calida serves as the Board President of the Connecticut Arts Alliance, a state-wide advocacy membership organization. Calida holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in violin performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master of music degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from The Hartt School. For more information on Calida, visit

Douglas R. Clayton brings more than 25 years of experience in the arts and culture industry, specifically within opera, theater, and arts service organizations. Passionate about innovative business models in the arts and culture sector, his driving purpose is to create more equitable and effective ways for talented and committed people to be creative and successful in our society. Prior to founding CE, Mr. Clayton was a Senior Vice President at Arts Consulting Group working with a variety of national leaders and creative organizations in strategic planning, business analysis, and executive search. Before that, he served in various roles at Chicago Opera Theater, ultimately becoming General Director in 2017. In this role, he redeveloped the organization’s artistic identity and led the creation of a robust strategic planning and community engagement process that reversed a multiyear downward trend in audience attendance and donations. He also strategically prioritized recruitment and retention of key individuals, leaving the organization as the only multimillion-dollar opera company in the United States with an all-female executive leadership team. As the Director of Programming and Operations for LA Stage Alliance prior to moving to Chicago, he used his multifaceted background to advise hundreds of performing arts organizations throughout the five-county Los Angeles region. He collaborated on multiple national infrastructure and marketing initiatives and was instrumental in the development and launch of the arts and culture focused customer relationship management system. Mr. Clayton oversaw the complex rules administration and online voting systems for the LA Stage Ovation Awards and initiated an innovative resource-sharing facility in Los Angeles for small and midsized theater companies. Additionally, he served as the Chair of the Host Committee for the record-breaking 2011 Theater Communications Group national conference and was a member of the Directors Lab West’s steering committee. Mr. Clayton has worked artistically as a stage director, playwright, and performer and has hands-on experience as both an artist and producer with a range of theatrical unions in the United States, including the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors’ Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, and United Scenic Artists. Mr. Clayton holds a bachelor of science from the University of Southern California and earned a master of business administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2018 he was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list as a leading innovator in the business of culture.

“He's really an arts entrepreneur,”
-Michael Kaiser, chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland
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