“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.” - Benjamin Zander
Every day in business school, the halls are abuzz with students prepping for interviews and searching for future jobs and internships. Many companies travel directly to Grainger Hall to conduct interviews for current MBAs. However, in this capacity, being part of the Bolz Center is a little bit different than other specializations. Since most arts organizations do not necessarily come to the Wisconsin School of Business to scout for candidates, we have to take it upon ourselves to seek out and develop connections with the leaders in our field. Often, we invite them to class to speak, and sometimes we go on trips to meet them at their organizations. On Friday, November 8, we went on such a trip to Milwaukee!
The day began with a tour at the Milwaukee Public Museum, which boasts an extensive collection from all over the world, including a fantastic replica European Village. Afterward, we sat down for a panel discussion with two Bolz alums, Kelly Gauthier, the director of major and planned gifts for MPM, and Jack Bradway, the special events coordinator for the Harley Davidson Museum. Rounding out the panel was the director of individual and planned giving from the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum. It was a great experience to be able to ask the three arts professionals direct questions about the state of their organizations and their future goals. The differences between the organizations provided for some fascinating comparisons and contrasts!
After a brief stop for lunch, we continued on to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Wisconsin’s largest theater company. Once there, we participated in a roundtable discussion with another group of arts leaders that included representatives from the Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Ballet, First Stage Children’s Theater, Present Music, and the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). Each representative offered a unique perspective and set of experiences in the arts, and they all agreed on the increasing need for collaboration within the artistic community. New partnerships help open them up to new audiences while also allowing their vision and mission to grow. After the roundtable discussion, we capped the day off with a quick tour of the facilities at the Milwaukee Rep, and then climbed back aboard the bus to head for home.
The one thing that really resonated with me on this trip was the commonality in leadership traits amongst the people we connected with. Each leader took it upon his or her self to work with their employees to help them maximize their own potential. By pushing people to become the best, their organizations have thrived. It was one of the best practical examples of effective leadership I’ve learned about since arriving here!