Popular, world mu­sic and art ser­vices or­ga­ni­za­tions of­fi­cer at the On­tario Arts Coun­cil

NOW Magazine - Class Action - - EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS -

My cur­rent job en­tails man­ag­ing grant­ing pro­grams and some work in pol­icy cre­ation, as well as con­tribut­ing to the over­all pol­icy di­rec­tion of the OAC.

I have a bach­e­lor of mu­sic from McGill and I did an MBA at York Uni­ver­sity’s Schulich School of Busi­ness with a spe­cial­iza­tion in arts and me­dia.

When I lived in Mon­treal, I was in a band called Atomic Broth­ers and a reg­gae band called Equal­izer. At the time, the mu­sic in­dus­try model was chang­ing and I wanted to know more about how mu­sic would be sup­ported in the fu­ture.

At York, the whole non-profit thing took me by storm. I thought I was go­ing to learn about the mu­sic busi­ness, but when I got there ev­ery other type of busi­ness was so dom­i­nant: fi­nance, con­sult­ing, real es­tate. So it was in the non-profit stream that I found peo­ple and ways of do­ing things that were in line with my val­ues. In essence, it pushed me out of work­ing in tra­di­tional in­dus­try. I’ve never worked for a record la­bel.

I al­ways tell peo­ple you have to be pre­pared for that cul­ture. If you’ve never been in a cor­po­rate cul­ture be­fore, the MBA pro­gram does a re­ally good job of sim­u­lat­ing that.

One course in par­tic­u­lar, cul­tural pol­icy with Joyce Ze­mans, gave me the ins and outs of pol­icy and the play­ers in­volved at all three lev­els of gov­ern­ment. From there, I saw the po­ten­tial for the non-profit sec­tor to sup­port not only mu­sic but cul­ture in gen­eral. Iron­i­cally, I did an MBA to learn about the non­profit sec­tor. Of course I also learned gen­eral skills: ac­count­ing, fi­nance and statis­tics.

I had a mo­ment when I re­al­ized how slowly change hap­pens. It’s not a bu­reau­cracy thing; it’s re­al­iz­ing how many peo­ple have a stake in what you’re do­ing. It’s the fact that many, many years of pol­i­tics have come be­fore, and if you want to do any­thing, you have to ac­count for all of it.

In­sti­tu­tional mem­ory is get­ting longer, so if I want to make a mu­sic pol­icy, I have to think about its im­pact on folks who en­tered the in­dus­try 30 years ago as much as peo­ple who en­tered it five years ago and peo­ple who will en­ter it five years from now.

The MBA pro­gram pre­pared me for that re­al­ity; I find that I know the con­text we’re work­ing in at the OAC much bet­ter than oth­ers. I know what hap­pened to the OAC in the 90s, what peo­ple have tried to do pol­icy-wise and the his­tory of fund­ing mu­sic at the Canada Coun­cil and FAC­TOR.

Peo­ple who have a broad range of skills look­ing to bridge the worlds of the prac­ti­tioner and the pol­icy-maker will excel at this job. I in­ter­act with artists, some bu­reau­crats and peo­ple in busi­ness. A busi­ness de­gree is good for those into num­bers and po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy but who don’t want to be re­searchers.

If you are the type of per­son who likes to fo­cus on one thing, this isn’t the job for you. You aren’t do­ing the same thing ev­ery day. Rather, you get dif­fer­ent snapshots each day.

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