2015 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Recipient
Danielle Biggs fell in love with dance when she was just two years old. She earned her degree in Dance and Arts Administration from Elon University and remains a passionate supporter of the arts. But she has coped with “fleeting bouts of imposter syndrome” on her way to becoming a “fierce female leader” and changemaker in her community.
What do you remember most about receiving the Sullivan award? Were you surprised?
I was very pleasantly surprised when I received this award! When I learned I was a recipient, I eagerly researched a bit more about the Foundation and about previous national recipients. It was incredible to join the company of so many great leaders. I figured that, as an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow and a student leader on campus, I was being recognized for the work I had done to foster community in my four years at Elon. It was magical to be recognized in this way, and my award still sits proudly on my dresser, now in my “home office!”
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I studied Dance and Arts Administration in undergrad, and I currently work as an arts marketer and fundraiser. I feel blessed to still be working in this field amidst a pandemic. This time of shuttered performance halls and museums has offered us all insight into a world without the power and healing transformation that can come from gathering to take in live performance. I first fell in love with dance when I was two years old and was mesmerized by dancers in my childhood church. Arts and culture are one of the most ancient methods to archive our shared human experience, and I enjoy being a stalwart [arts supporter] through my professional work.
Are you involved with any community service or community outreach now?
I recently graduated in the inaugural cohort as a Majority Leader of the Supermajority Education Fund, a leadership development training program designed for fierce female leaders with aspirations to change the world. I learned about civic action, sparking community change and various issues pertaining to political elections and beyond. Out of this opportunity, I have been able to lead virtual sessions with middle- and high-schoolers about civic action and leadership. These experiences have enlivened me and encouraged me to continue factoring community outreach into my professional and personal endeavors.
The Foundation promotes positive social change in its programming and overall message. What are some social issues that matter most to you today?
There are various social issues that matter most to me. As a Black woman and Afro-Latina, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration rights and women’s rights are core to who I am and the family I come from. Additionally, I am passionate about the federal funding of our arts and culture, education reform and protecting our precious planet with smarter environmental economic decisions.
If pressed to give one piece of advice to younger people, what would you tell them? What have you learned as an adult that you wish you’d known earlier in life?
Just be you. Always. All ways. The latter half of that is engraved in a bracelet I wear every day and bought for myself about three years ago on Valentine’s Day, created as a collaboration between Mantraband and the poet Alex Elle. For so many years, I tried to fit into the leadership shoes of others or felt the tug to alter aspects of myself to meet the needs of a group or even had fleeting bouts of imposter syndrome. However, I am enough. I have always been enough. I would tell younger people, “You are enough exactly as you are.