After completing SDR (sales development representative) training I have been calling dental practices around the country and setting up meetings for our sales “closers”. I have learned that it is extremely hard to steal 10 minutes of a doctor’s time during the summer, especially specialists like oral surgeons and endodontists. It is my job to get passed that and set up a meeting through an office manager. I make anywhere from 150-200 calls a day. Our daily goal is to schedule at least seven meetings. That’s obviously an extremely small percentage when you’re making so many calls. We deal with a lot of rejection but it’s nice to have team members doing the exact same thing across the table so we can all laugh it off together. I am reaching my goals and also stretching beyond here and there so far. I work about 10 hours a day so it does get exhausting, but the work environment makes it easy to want to work.
I am certainly living the NYC grind. I wake up at 5:30am to workout, then catch the train at 8am and get into work just before our 8:52am team huddle every morning. I usually work until between 6 and 7pm, then head home to have some dinner and prep for the next day. I am a fan of being on the go and productive so this is the perfect environment for me!
I think that I have established a strong relationship with my two supervisors, the three other Student Services employees, the band program director, and the front desk receptionists. These are the people who I work with on almost a daily basis. There are many more people who I have met but only see once in awhile, and I met them all at the same time so it is hard to remember names. There is also a difference between Merit staff and the private instructors. I do not really work with the instructors, and it is their supervisors who I get to interact with more.
Usually, the library is locked when it is not Open Hours, but an instructor will knock on the door and come in to take an instrument or a piece of music. I always have to introduce myself first because they sometimes won’t, and I have to make sure they sign out the instrument and music because some of them think they don’t need to follow the rules. But I try to be friendly and I am working on remembering names and faces.
So far my duties at Merit have been split between the music library and the student services department.
In the library, I have learned how to catalog music and instruments into the online library system, along with keeping track of the instrument fleet via two different spreadsheets. Keeping track of instruments is very important because we loan the instruments out to students to take home for the whole summer. We have to keep track of the conditions that the instruments are in before and after they are used by students. Certain damage to instruments will be covered by Merit, but in some situations, such as if the instrument has been damaged by the same student numerous times, the family will need to pay for repairs.
In the library, students can also purchase reeds, sponges, and other items that they may need for their instrument. They can also come and hang out in the library during open hours.
My main project in the library has been to catalog and box band music. We are working on reorganizing the entire library so that music is more accessible. This is extremely important because if a piece of music is not cataloged properly or cannot be found on the shelf, a teacher might order a new piece of the same music, which can be extremely expensive.
In the student services department, I have been working on enrolling students into their camps and classes. Merit is also trying to have clear records of past BRIDGES, now renamed as Merit Music in Communities, sites. These are offsite schools where Merit runs a music program. The goal is to have students in the program end up coming to Merit after they leave elementary school. Right now we are two years behind, so I have been entering students into the system from 2015.
I have been fortunate enough to work with an excellent team. Everyone is young and on the same page, but also really accomplished. I talk to our CEO regularly. We have an open office and work collaboratively. My sales team here was a part of a startup called SinglePlatform that was acquired for $100 million, due in large part to their success in building the sales team there. We are using the same philosophies that were used there to have those same successes here at Simplifeye.
I have been able to network like crazy out here. Our team goes out for drinks weekly and I get the chance to talk on a more personal level with everyone and pick their brains. This time is especially important for me since I’m trying to build relationships out here. Everyone says once you’re involved in one startup out here it’s easy to find connections at almost any startup.
I also went to the LU alumni summer meet up last night and got to meet some more LU alumni!
The summer is usually a slow time for The Weill Music Institute (WMI) because most of the planning time happens between June-August in preparation for the 2017-2018 season. Despite the slight lull, I have been charged with a diverse set of tasks including sitting in on meetings, planning a personal project, and helping out with Social Impact Programs (SIP) events.
There are always very exciting meetings that I get to sit in on and even engage in sometimes. My favorite meeting that I have been able to be a part of was a meeting between the Social Impact Programs team and The Apollo Theater’s Education Team. This was my first time encountering how WMI interacts with an outside organization that works similarly to how they function (i.e. a company with some type of auditorium(s) with an in-house education and social impact team). This meeting was a follow-up to their first meeting where they talked about the context of each program. What was originally a meeting about sharing ideas, quickly turned into an active think tank for how each team could offer the other support in the similar programs that each organization was putting on separately. I have observed collaborations many times while I have been here the past few weeks, but it was exciting to witness what strong relationships between organizations can help them both achieve just by listening and having a dialogue about how they can improve upon what they already have. In addition to being able to see how important genuine, and not just transactional, relationships are in the world of the arts, I was also able to see how collaboration can diversify programming. Even though one organization can have the best ideas for how to have rich and diverse programming, that can only take them as far as the brilliant minds that are within that organization. Through having these important dialogues and brainstorming with other groups who are doing similar things in different ways, an organization can grow and flourish with fresh perspectives on ideas.
Most recently, I have been working on a project that will help form a plan for creating a community for the 70+ artists that work throughout the Social Impact Programs. When my supervisor and I were first coming up with an approach for this project, we outlined the different steps that I would need to complete before I could create a concrete report on my findings. The first step in that process has been the most difficult part of the process for me so far. My first step was to do a self-reflection about my own values in the relationships that I have with people, specifically as an artist and my relationship with other artists and as an administrator and my relationship with artists. My supervisor and I have been talking a lot about relationships and the complexities of them in different contexts. In business relationships, transactional relationships are often the norm. A transactional relationship is a relationship where both parties operate out of self-interest and both parties will only work out of reciprocity. When this type of relationship forms in arts communities, the community cannot function well and can only operate at surface level. Through doing my self-reflection, I couldn’t help but notice that my immediate reaction was to get into that transactional mindset when I’m working. My initial thoughts kept going back to “when I am employing artists, what do I give them and what do they give me, what qualities in my relationships with other people benefit me or what qualities do I possess that will benefit them.” It is dangerously easy to view people as a means to give you something when you’re in a working mindset. How often are we asked to help with a project at work or in school, only to think “if I do this for person A, then person A can help me out with this project down the road in return”? I’ve realized that the end goal is the relationship that you’re forming with the person that you’re helping or working with, not what you might “get” from them.
It has been a dream for me to work at a large music organization like Carnegie Hall, so being able to work at WMI this summer has started to paint a picture for what a future in arts administration could look like. I am not only learning about what a realistic career could be like in my field, I am learning what it takes to become a leader in this field.
The BDSI program has 45 participants, but I work closely with two others on a specific project, Olivia and Alejandra. They have been extremely helpful to the project, and we cover each other’s weaknesses pretty well. We also get along very well which makes the work day really painless. Aside from other participants, I also work closely with a graduate student, Greg, a professor at the University of Michigan, Hyun, who supervise and guide our project. To stay in touch with participants from the program, I’ve joined the Facebook group for the program (and have added a good amount of them as friends) I also plan to keep the emails of the faculty I have met here to stay in touch with them. The program has exposed us to a considerable amount of leading researchers in biostatistics and other students who share an interest for data science. I really have no expectation to meet anybody else from the program; I’ve met an outstanding group of people already.