Another very interesting person I heard at the CEO conference on Friday was Lisa Canning. Well-known for Entrepreneurthearts.com, Lisa Canning is a prominent face of arts entrepreneurship these days.

Lisa Canning with her baby at CEO

She founded the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, which has a two-year post-graduate certificate program that could be of interest to many Lawrentians. Their mission: “The IAE is committed to helping our students discover meaningful solutions to one essential question: As a person committed to the arts, how do I develop the knowledge and skills to create a successful, meaningful and sustainable life in today’s world?” Ms. Canning has started six highly successful ventures in the past twenty-some years. She sold all of them to start the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, except one: the one that is about her “baby,” the instrument she has played since her childhood, the clarinet. Lisa’s Clarinet Shop is still helping musicians of all levels find the perfect clarinet. Even when she was running those earlier businesses, Lisa hired artists and helped them build on their artistic skills and develop entrepreneurial skills. Artists can use their empathy and ability to connect with people to become successful entrepreneurs. Rather than pitching the “what” to a customer, it is much more important to make a human connection around the “why” and the “how.” This is good advice to anyone–Gary Vaughan was telling me on the way home that in any business, people buy from you because they like you. As Lisa said, she never has to talk about price, because it becomes a secondary issue to the customer. She is certainly a very kind and very emotional person, and I believe that she can teach a lot to artists about “entrepreneuring their art.” I hope we can get her to Lawrence in the not-so-distant future.