Executive Program Q&A with Adam Grosswirth

By ,     Aug 30, 2017

Adam Grosswirth

Adam Grosswirth is the Membership Director at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, where he is responsible for planning, implementing, and maintaining services, programs and benefits for 200 member theatres across the country, including two annual conferences, surveys, publications, member discounts and online services. He is also Managing Director of the Upstart Creatures, an off-Off-Broadway company that produces theatrical events accompanied by multi-course meals that are free to the public. Adam previously spent ten years as a stage manager, during which time he worked on many Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and developmental productions, and spent three seasons as the Stage Management Supervisor at the Williamstown Theatre Festival under the artistic direction of Roger Rees.

Program Coordinator

Royce Hodnett

"Fundraising and Finance felt the most immediately applicable, and were the main draw of the program for me."

 

Like many of us, Adam learned much of what he knew on the job. He was looking for a way to gain some concrete knowledge that could be used to enhance the work he had been doing for several years. Read how participating in the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy gave him specific tools and frameworks to more confidently contribute to the organizations for which he works and volunteers.

Can you tell me about where you were when you first applied to the program? Were you working? Where and what was your position?

I'm the Membership Director at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, a non-profit that provides services for theatre companies and producers around the country. In addition to that, last fall I took on a volunteer role as Managing Director of the Upstart Creatures, an off-Off-Broadway company that produces theatrical events accompanied by multi-course meals that are free to the public. (I think I actually may not have started with the Upstarts yet when I applied, but the timing worked out well!)

What were you specifically hoping to gain by participating in a continuing education program, such as this one?

My career path was not traditional. I was a stage manager, and made the transition to administration. I never went to grad school or really took any sort of business or arts admin courses. I'm still (happily!) at the first job I got in my career transition, nine years later, and while I've learned a ton on the job, I wanted an opportunity to learn some of the "right" ways to approach things like finance.

What ultimately made you decide to participate in this program as opposed to other programs?

Honestly, I wasn't really aware of others! I'd participated in a couple of smaller NAS programs before, so I was on your mailing list, and I just loved the sound of this. I wasn't looking for it until it was there.

How did you find the time commitment/workload? How did you balance this with a full-time work schedule?

Mostly good! There were a couple of weeks when I had a lot going on -- big work events or travel (or travel for a big work event) -- and it was a little tough, but everything felt structured in such a way that I never stressed too much about it, and everyone was in the same boat. I wanted to keep up for my own sake, but if I fell behind here and there it wasn't the end of the world and it was easy enough to catch up.

I generally blocked out some time on the weekends to do my coursework, which only took a couple of hours per week.

What was your favorite course or session? Why?

Fundraising and Finance felt the most immediately applicable, and were the main draw of the program for me. I also really enjoyed the leadership work that we did in person in Philadelphia, and have been trying to apply that regularly.

Tell us about your experience with the online learning component.

I loved it! I haven't been in school in 20 years, so honestly it was really useful to be able to pause and rewind (and occasionally speed up) the videos. I'm mostly paperless anyway so I took my notes digitally and was able to copy and paste slides in, which was handy too. Discussions with my classmates and Teaching Fellows online felt completely natural, given how much time I spend on social media anyway, especially after meeting in person in Philadelphia.

What are the top 3 most valuable skills/takeaways from this program?

Much more concrete grasp of budgeting and finance concepts and terminology.

Active listening techniques.

Logic models and other frameworks for planning and strategy.

What would you say to a colleague in the arts field deciding whether to attend this program?

Do it!

 

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to Adam for sharing his experience in the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy with us. If you would like to learn more information, click here.

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