Sunday, May 2, 2010


Good morning

“And the beat goes on………………….”

My apologies for recent over long, drawn out blog postings. I guess I am guilty of the conceit of thinking everything I have to say is really important and necessary. I need to remind myself that isn’t true, to be brief, and that (in the blog world anyway) less actually is more. I promise to try harder to bear that in mind.


The San Francisco Bay Emerging Arts ProfessionalsSFBEAP (an outgrowth of the Hewlett study on generational management in the arts workplace) is hosting a session as part of Theatre Bay Area’s annual May 10th conference in San Francisco (one of the better conferences I attended last year) as part of the After Hours program. Here is a thumbnail description of this important session:

Omni-Directional Mentorship: Beyond Yoda

• Edward Clapp - /20under40

Engage in an interactive 60-minute workshop exploring traditional concepts of mentorship. We’re all familiar with the ordinary structure of a veteran leader mentoring a junior colleague. But what about mentoring up? Or mentoring sideways in networks with your peers? Explore what you have to learn and what you have to teach while envisioning new methods for strengthening leadership in arts organizations.

The concept of omni-directional mentorship highlights the idea that all generations can learn from each other, and is, I think, a very important tool for our sector. Accepting that professional development is a career-long necessity, the reality of several generations working side by side in the arts sector workplace provides us with a unique opportunity to involve everyone in the teaching / learning process. And by doing that we also improve the working environment and build the sense of organization. We need to embrace that concept and take advantage of those opportunities to both teach and learn if we are to maximize our business acumen and become more productive, efficient and smart.

I agree with Michael Kaiser’s assessment in his latest Huffington Post blog:

“We spend billions of dollars to train singers, dancers and actors, and insignificant amounts to train the people who employ them.   I have said it before and I will continue to say it: the biggest problem we face in the arts is a lack of trained arts managers and board members.”

To a large extent we have only begun to empower (and train) our emerging leadership. One problem the SFBEAP  face is that the conversation they have launched is largely a dialogue with themselves. They need to expand that conversation to one that is by and between the emerging leaders and those leaders who currently are in the senior positions. One of the obstacles to both effectively managing the generational divides, and to the ultimate issue of generation succession, is that the boomer generation leadership hasn’t yet fully begun to see and appreciate that it is clearly in their own best interests to spend more time and allocate more resources to making the inter-generational relationship work well for everyone. That’s easier said than done. No older generation seamlessly passes the baton. For a variety of reasons, some good, some silly, there is always resistance to ceding control to those who are coming up in the ranks. Boomers faced it across the board when we were young. Now we just may be the ones perpetuating that resistance. But the more the boomers know what they have to gain (and to lose) by not embracing change, the better it will be for everyone – themselves more than anyone. Talking among the generations is a good first step.

So I urge all my boomer cohort senior leaders of local San Francisco arts organizations (and all those organizations that provide funds or services to those arts organizations) to attend the above workshop on May 10th. One hour of your time. 6:30 to 7:30 pm. $10. Availing yourself of the opportunity to be part of this conversation will, I promise you, be enormously valuable to you as the leader of your organization – even if you don’t have a whole range of generations in your current employ. For example, the Millennials in our sector can be extremely valuable to you as you move to new technologies in your fundraising, advocacy, marketing and audience development efforts. They have both familiarity in this area and great skills many of us older leaders lack, and just as they are anxious to learn what they don’t know from us, they are more than ready teach us skills and perspectives and offer us ideas and thoughts that we desperately need to understand and appreciate. You just may be surprised how much time and money you can save by opening up to what those who are already part of your structure can teach you.

Do yourself a favor. Attend this event and get in on this conversation early. It’s going to be one of the five most important conversations of the next five years.

And speaking of learning more about using online sites to market your organization here’s an upcoming webinar that looks interesting:

Market Smarter with Google and Facebook!

May 11, 2010  -  2:00pm-3:30pm Eastern
Register today:  $25.00

Presenter: Erik Gensler - President, Capacity Interactive, Inc.

Google and Facebook offer a suite of free to inexpensive marketing tools that allow you to target and better understand your online audience. This session will focus on helping arts organizations use Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Facebook advertising to market smarter.

In this 90 minute webinar, you will learn:

• How arts organizations can optimize Google Analytics understand how users are interacting with your site and which user behaviors are tied to sales. We will discuss basic reporting and set up as well as custom set up and ecommerce tracking.

• How to use Google AdWords to increase traffic to your site. You will discover how your orgnization can obtain up to $10,000 in free AdWords advertising per month. You will also learn about the Google Content Network where your organization can place banner ads on thousands of sites across the web from one central hub.

• How to target Facebook users that are interested in the programming your organization offers. You will obtain tips for crafting ads and micro-targeting users to make your Facebook advertising efficient and cost-effective.

Erik Gensler is the president of Capacity Interactive Inc. - an electronic marketing consulting firm whose client roster includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, and Roundabout Theatre Company.

Have a great week.

Don’t Quit.