I started this blog in October 2007 primarily as an exercise for myself. I knew that I had an interest in arts philanthropy, and I had a number of thoughts on how to do it effectively that I wanted to write up and share with the world so that they could serve as a reminder to myself in case I ever got a job in that field. I also wanted to provide a way for my friends back in the NYC music scene to experience business school vicariously through me, since I knew that was a path that most of them wouldn’t ever take for themselves. I wasn’t sure that I could fit blogging into my schedule, though, and I was worried about being able to continually come up with new material after I burned through my initial set of topics. After balancing on the fence for a while, Createquity was finally born when an advisor of mine at business school (thank you Nancy!) encouraged me to create accountability for myself by setting a date when the site would go live and announcing it to all of my friends. That way, the threat of public embarrassment at disappointing other people’s expectations would motivate me to get off my ass and make this happen.
I had no idea then that Createquity would one day become as widely read as it is now. I frankly could not have imagined that there were more than a handful of people who might be interested in the same set of esoteric subjects that interest me. Nonetheless, today somewhere in the range of 1000 people, including a number of folks who I respect very much and a whole lot more who I have never even met, have now come to rely on this blog for engaging, well-written, and edifying content.
I don’t exaggerate when I say that I have Createquity to thank, either directly or indirectly, for much of the work I find myself doing today. This past year, I’ve been invited to contribute to blog salons, facilitate roundtables, give radio and video interviews, conduct workshops, present at conferences, serve on steering committees, and work on some pretty exciting projects, all made possible either wholly or in part by the profile this blog has created for me. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m truly grateful for the personal and professional opportunities that have come my way.
I’ve written a fair bit in the past about the concept of “emerging leaders” and my own experience early in my career as someone who felt that I wasn’t being given a voice equal to what I had to contribute. One essay in particular lays out my philosophy about the need for us to continually welcome new people into the club:
Most of all, [leadership is] about opening up the important conversations and decisions about our future to everyone, not just the select few who have always had those conversations and have always made those decisions. Generational transfer is all well and good, but if the only result is fewer gray hairs and balding heads among the power elites of our field, we will have completely missed the point of our moment in history.
Now that that dynamic has turned around for me, I want to be sure that I strive to take my own advice and model the behavior I’ve been advocating for from our field’s leaders. I know from participating in projects like Edward P. Clapp’s 20UNDER40, some of the panel discussions I’ve attended or participated in, and the sheer number of people who read this blog, that there are others out there who, like me three years ago, have something to say and no meaningful venue in which to say it. I’m also keenly aware that Createquity’s success, and therefore my own, was possible because people who did have a voice in the field, people like Tommer Peterson and Moy Eng and Stephanie Evans and Barry Hessenius, were generous enough to share some of their spotlight with me.
That’s why, today, I’m creating the Createquity Writing Fellows program. The full announcement is here, but the short version is that, from February through June, one to three individuals will serve as featured contributors to the site. They’ll receive the benefits of exposure to Createquity’s audience, which is highly specialized and includes some of the most powerful movers and shakers in the nonprofit arts sector; the opportunity to pursue writing assignments aligned with their interests; and extensive (but friendly!) editorial guidance from me. Assuming all goes well, we’ll do it again and new Fellows will be selected each semester from now until we decide not to do it anymore. Following the fellowship semester, the writers can either continue contributing to the site as interest and time permit or move on to other projects. Thus, over time, we should hopefully build up a corps of qualified, trained correspondents covering a range of issues, which will make the site much more interesting and fun for everyone involved.
Once again, thank you to all who have followed along with this adventure, whether it’s been for three months or three years. And if you know anyone who would be interested, please do share the announcement with them at your earliest opportunity.