Breaking The Glass Ceiling Back In 2004

Adaptistration People 037One of my all-time favorite interviews is from 2004 with Marianne Lockwood. At the time, she was serving as executive director for Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) after spending 20 years with the ensemble growing it from a tiny vanity ensemble project into one of the first, and arguably, only genuine new model orchestral performing arts organization.

Although female executives were certainly not unheard of at that time, there were far fewer than we enjoy today.

In that sense, Lockwood was a genuine pioneer but a female executive was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to being a trailblazer. OSL was a sort of unicorn among orchestra management philosophy and artistic structure at that time. A perfect example was Lockwood’s response when asked how she went about recruiting senior managers.

“By word of mouth,” says Marianne, “we don’t go looking for candidates from arts administration programs or from the recycled pool of [League] candidates.”

By all means, take the time to read both installments; for Millennial readers, this is precisely the sort of history you need to internalize and for everyone else, it never hurts to remember a time when the phrase “new model” meant something very different than what we know today.

An Interview with Marianne Lockwood Part I An Interview with Marianne Lockwood Part II

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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4 thoughts on “Breaking The Glass Ceiling Back In 2004”

  1. Dear Drew, what an unexpected surprise! Having been retired for 6 years now but still on the board, I feel so incredibly lucky to have done what I did and that St. Luke’s thrives more than ever. I, of course, had a lot of help from my friends, especially the musicians. I am forever grateful that I had the chance to create and nurture this wonderful Ensemble. Thank you so much for this piece!

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