My bird's-eye view on fundraising comes from my entrepreneurial history. I owned a retail game store in the Detroit suburbs for three and a half years, started a failed website to hook up playwrights and theatre organizations, and now have been consulting for the last two years. I also grew up in an entrepreneurial family, my father owning a series of computer and retail businesses from the time he immigrated to America until he died. The entrepreneurial spirit, that drive to find and create value for my patrons, is infused in everything I do.
That same spirit also led me to organize and curate the TEDxMichiganAve conference in May 2011. The TED organization granted me a license to run an independently organized TED event, one of less than 2300 licenses distributed across the world, to spread ideas on the future of the arts industry. Innovation often comes from the sharing of great ideas and concepts, and this was an opportunity to bring thirteen of the top innovative ideas in the arts world together and get those ideas flowing. The videos are being processed now and will be available to the public soon on the TEDxMichiganAve site as well as the TEDx video feed on YouTube. The best videos will be invited to the main TED.com site where they are likely to be viewed by millions of viewers around the world from every possible industry and walk of life, learning from the arts industry and both our struggles and triumphs.
I went to Michigan State for my bachelors in Marketing and to Carnegie Mellon for my masters degree in Arts Management. Yet despite a long and successful school career, it's my experiences in the private and not-for-profit sector that have been the most instructive. I've had the pleasure to work with some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, play games for a living, consult small business owners on their advertising plans, and raise money for my favorite theatre company in the world, Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
I love and live in Chicago, the new theatre capital of the world. If you doubt that claim, come see what's happening here and your doubts will disappear. I credit a great deal of that to not only the artists, but to a city that values the creative industry here. Don't be surprised to see some political commentary on how to expand that to other cities and the national level as well.
I strongly encourage dialogue. I tend to post about two to three times a week and want to hear back from you in between. Please comment! It is only by discussing these issues that we can all learn and grow as an industry. I'm willing to put myself out there and be wrong, and I love being challenged on my ideas. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.
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