Ramadan Kareem

My last day in Area-51 provides just a taste of Ramadan before flying out this evening. Without a doubt, this has been an enormously fulfilling project and although the past five days have been jam packed with activity it has all been productive and worthwhile. The association’s board approved the proposed organizational model capable of supporting required operations so the next step in the process is the implementation stage. One fascinating component of this project is regardless of how different this culture and society might feel, the challenges regarding justification and validation are almost precisely the same with what arts managers experience in the US. This underlying reality framed nearly every component of my work with regard to developing an operational model that will work best based on the variables associated with this operational and cultural environment. In essence, the work wasn’t about finding a fabulous Flat Head screwdriver, rather, realizing that the project needs to be assembled using Phillips Head screws. Stay tuned, once I’m back in the US I’ll have more details.


About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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