13. Establishing a Business and Being a Change Agent in the Arts and Culture Sector with Alison McNeil
Alison McNeil discusses how she hopes to increase accessibility to the arts and culture through her company McNeil Creative Enterprises, LLC (MCE). In this episode, we talk about how her start with dance and her focus in research, evaluation and assessment while in school lead into her becoming a champion for the arts.
We also discusses the power of connection, creating strategic goals, working with a mentor and how to choose the right accountant.
- Alison is a strategist that works with arts and cultural organizations.
- She is a trained African and jazz dancer and has also taught dance.
- In school, she mainly focused on research, evaluation and assessment.
- She served on several dance related boards like Step Afrika and has served on dance grant panels.
- She breaks down what research, evaluation and assessment means, but says in general it is used to determine impact.
- Looking at what you’re currently doing, what you’d like to do, and how to use your insights from what you’re doing in the field to grow your program – Alison
- She started MCE in 2016 after working on several side projects for the last couple of years.
- MCE at its roots is committed to the sustainable growth and increase visibility of arts and culture in communities.
- To help her establish the MCE brand she asked herself three questions:
- What do I want to do?
- How do I want to describe it?
- Why do I want to do it?
- She wants MCE to commit to being a change agent that helps organizations change the way they operate.
- TIP: In the entrepreneurship world this notion of relationship building often times gets you the projects you end up working on.
- Worked with a great graphic designer that was almost like a consultant that helped her work through her content.
- She wanted her site to be warm and engaging and also professional and relatable. That helped guided the color scheme and picture choices.
- She teaches online strategy courses geared towards art and culture leaders that cover positioning and impact management.
- She set three-year strategic goals for her business in the areas of finance, professional development and impact.
- Through SCORE she found a mentor that regularly holds her accountable.
- She talks about hiring an account and choosing the right one.
- There is power in writing down what you envision – Alison
- We discuss the power of connection and how that leads to opportunity.
- Dance is expression and music is breathing – Alison
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