Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Interview with My Dad, Tom Aageson, Co-Founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

"If we start losing cultural diversity, we begin to lose our whole sense of community because community is defined by culture. We want to give people an opportunity to really develop, innovate, and preserve their own culture."

-- Tom Aageson, co-founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

A week, or so ago I interviewed my Dad, Tom Aageson, for a special Father's Day show on the Big Vision Podcast. I've posted an edited transcript of the interview below.

You can also listen to the interview on the player at the bottom of this post, on the Big Vision Podcast landing page, or on iTunes.

My dad is the co-founder of the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship. The GCCE envisions a world in which cultural entrepreneurship creates cultural value, economic wealth, self-determination, and cultural diversity in communities across the globe. Towards that vision, they are creating a networked community of cultural entrepreneurs, cultural investors, and cultural entrepreneurship educators.

In addition to being the co-founder of the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, he is the Executive Director of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Since moving to Santa Fe, he has developed New Mexico Creates, an economic development initiative that creates market links for New Mexico artists and artisans. He is also the co-founder of the International Folk Art Market.

Before moving to Santa Fe, he was the Director of Aid to Artisans, an international artisan enterprise development NGO.

We started our conversation with my dad describing what cultural entrepreneurship is:

Tom Aageson: Cultural entrepreneurship is an effort on the part of an entrepreneur who is very committed to cultural development and sees opportunities. They're really visionaries. They're catalysts for economic development for cultural workers to develop enterprises that are either for-profit, or not-for-profit, it can be either, that generate employment.

They also enrich the community's culture, and they use cultural capital. That can mean, for example, language; it can mean architecture; it can mean food; it can mean artisan work, or artistic work. It's all a resource that can be converted into an enterprise for a community.

They can also use things like creative tourism to develop an enterprise based on people coming to experience the culture.

Can you give an example, or tell a story so that if someone saw it, they'd say, "Oh! That's what that is. That's cultural entrepreneurship."

For example, in my own life, one of the things I started was the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport. A dedicated maritime gallery did not exist before. There were many artists painting part-time in this genre, but none of them really had a market.

We created a sales gallery at Mystic Seaport Museum Stores, and began to invest in developing markets with collectors for artists. We developed; for example, a juried show. We developed an international competition that always had very prestigious juries. That business really caught on, and it produced support for the museum. It also built up a wonderful market to the point where over six for-profit galleries opened up, and began to do business, all the way from Seattle to Annapolis to Newport, Rhode Island. That would be one example of taking an initiative, and starting an enterprise.

Another would be - a friend and I are co-founders of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. We decided to build this market for master folk artists from around the world. This was 7 years ago. It is now the largest international folk art market in the world. It does close to $2 million a weekend that the artists take home to their communities. Forty-five countries are represented, and 130 folk artists are represented. We really created a market for that.

Or you take somebody like Dan Storper, who started Putumayo. He went around the world collecting traditional contemporary folk music, assembled those into themes on CDs, and began national distribution. He created a whole genre we now know as World Music.

There's a woman in India, Darshan Shah, who started a weavers' co-op. That co-op now has 600 women working, and weaving using traditional methods. She takes what they make into international markets in London and New York. She's been in the International Folk Art Market. There are many examples like that of efforts to create markets to help entrepreneurs build their cultural enterprises.

There is a sphere of people who are familiar with the term, "cultural entrepreneurship," but social entrepreneurship has become a more mainstream term. How is cultural entrepreneurship different, or related to social entrepreneurship?

Social enterprise and entrepreneurship started to address social issues in a community. So, it was generally focused on some social issue that was often around employment and/or to develop opportunities for farmers. For example, organic and fair trade yogurt, or coffee, which helps the coffee growers in Latin America.

In the case of cultural entrepreneurship, we're addressing - not necessarily a problem, but sometimes that's true. We're focused on developing opportunities for people who are making their livelihoods in the field of culture.

For example, I'd seen potters in Peru whose tradition was to make clay water jars for their community. They'd bring them into the market, and sell them. Well, with the evolution of mass production of plastics, their neighbors started buying plastic buckets. Their market for clay water jars disappeared.

What we've been able to do is look at that situation. You have talent, you have raw materials, all the skills, but what you don't have is a product that's ready for a different market. We would work with them on product development, and then bring them into new markets. We're really working directly with people who are making cultural-related products. That's the difference between the two.

Why should people care about cultural entrepreneurship, when, in the "do-good" world, they could spend their time on social entrepreneurship, or being "green?" Why is cultural entrepreneurship important?

Giving people an opportunity, especially those who might be losing markets, enhances cultural diversity in our world. We know, through the franchise device and other globalization issues, that we're tending towards becoming very homogeneous. There is standardization that's required in international business, so cultural diversity is really at odds with this.

If we start losing cultural diversity, we begin to lose our whole sense of community because community is defined by culture. We want to give people an opportunity to really develop, innovate, and preserve their own culture. The US is one of the biggest exporters of "culture products." For example, our music, our movies. They come with huge marketing dollars. So, in that case, they're overwhelming local markets with American product.

The reaction has been, on the national level, in many countries, to create cultural policy that lends support to local artists so that they have an opportunity to make their films, music, artistry, paintings, or sculpture, and bring them to market so that they're not overwhelmed by our exports, and the exports from the UK.

People value the expression of creativity coming out of the community, the diversity, and our concern with the issue of globalization making everything the same. On the other hand, globalization offers a tremendous opportunity for people in the cultural community because it broadens, and widens their market.

As co-founder of the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, what role does it play in the field of cultural entrepreneurship?

The role it plays is to really focus on the entrepreneur. There are many people in this cultural field who aren't necessarily entrepreneurial. In all my experience, what I've found is that it's the entrepreneur who can take the idea, develop it, create an enterprise, and along with it, create better livelihoods for people.

Our role is to really help the cultural entrepreneur. We do that through mentoring. We find other entrepreneurs, in, or outside of the field of culture, to help mentor these entrepreneurs so that they can build their enterprises. Therefore, they help themselves, their families, and their community. This is one of the areas where we can do a lot in rural development as well.

A lot of social entrepreneurship work has to be done in urban areas, where many of the social problems exist, whereas cultural entrepreneurship can be done in both rural and urban areas. There are a lot of opportunities there, and we didn't see anybody really addressing this so we said, "Why don't we begin to develop this and get into rural areas?" like New Mexico, which is very poor, and begin to help those entrepreneurs come forward into the market.

How can people get involved in the Global Center's work?

It depends on their interests. They can certainly let us know if they're successful entrepreneurs, and if they think they'd like to be a mentor. They can give the Center financial support to expand its programs. Eventually, we will go global, and there may be opportunities in other countries that people know about, as well. We have a lot of experience in training people to build their cultural enterprise.

What's the path that brought you to this work? What is the path that brought you to spending so much energy on cultural entrepreneurship?

I've always had a heart for artisans and their creative work. I've admired what they do. Out of that I have a basic philosophy which is, "Do what you love and love what you're doing."

I just said, "Maybe we really ought to start this." It was just like this friend, and I sitting down and saying, "Why don't we start a folk art market where one didn't exist before?" We saw the need for that, got really excited, and a lot of other people got really excited. It's the same with the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship.

We've also started a program here called New Mexico Creates which uses our museum shops as a market link for New Mexico's artists and artisans. We were able to increase our buying from $300,000 a year to over a million dollars a year by featuring more of their work, and working with the artists to improve their products.

It came just out of this caring.

Of course, you know that my blog is called, "Have Fun Do Good." How do you have fun and do good?

As I said before, by really doing what you love and loving what you're doing. Out of it comes a lot of fun, and you end up doing a lot of good in a community that can always use an extra hand. Our cultural community is not the highest paid in the world, and anything we can do to build opportunities for increasing their livelihoods is meaningful to a lot of people.

I enjoy what I'm doing, and it results in good.

Is there anything else that you want to add before we close, about the Global Center, cultural entrepreneurship, or anything else?

The website for the Global Center is www.culturalentrepreneur.org. New Mexico Creates is www.newmexicocreates.org. The International Folk Art Market is www.folkartmarket.org. I think people will enjoy looking at some of those sites. Perhaps they'll inspire a conversation, and people can get in touch with me through the Global Center's site.

The intro and outro music was from Kenya Masala's song, "Mango Delight." The closing song was "Bricks" by Crowsong from their album, Crowsong.

If you have suggestions for other people I should interview who have big visions for a better world, please email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nonprofit Blog Tips: Welcome Woman's Day Readers!

Welcome Woman's Day readers!

You've probably found your way here from a shout out Have Fun, Do Good got in the article, How to Start Your Own Charity by Sally Stich in the July 2010 issue of Woman's Day:
"5. Think social networking. Got a website? On Facebook? Get the word out. See HaveFunDoGood.BlogSpot.com for how to start a nonprofit blog."
My posts about blogging are scattered throughout the site, so I've compiled a roundup of them for you below.

If you have any questions, leave a comment here, or send me a note through Facebook, Twitter, or at britt AT brittbravo DOT com. I'm also a fun blog coach (:


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Monday, June 21, 2010

Join Me for a Twitter Chat June 23rd

Happy first day of summer Have Fun, Do Gooders!

If you haven't already, this would be a good day to fill out your Free, Fun Summer 2010 Big Vision Goal Worksheet.

Just wanted to let y'all know that the lovely blogger, Marianne Elliott, posted a short interview with me today up on her blog.

She is complementing the interview with a Twitter chat on Wednesday, June 23 at 12 Noon PT/3 PM ET. You can chat with us by using the hashtag #zpchats

I'm @bbravo on Twitter and Marianne is @zenpeacekeeper

Hope to chat with you soon!

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day Show: My Dad, Tom Aageson, Co-Founder, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship

This month's Big Vision Podcast interview is a special one with . . . my Dad (!) Tom Aageson, the co-Founder of the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship.

You can listen on the player at the bottom of the post, on the Big Vision Podcast landing page, or on iTunes. Here's the direct download (mp3) link too.

In addition to being the co-Founder of the Global Center, he is also the Executive Director of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Since moving to Santa Fe, he has developed New Mexico Creates, an economic development initiative that creates market links for New Mexico artists and artisans. He is also the co-Founder of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Before coming to Santa Fe, he was the Director of Aid to Artisans, an international artisan enterprise development NGO. Previous to that, he was at the Mystic Seaport Museum where he created the Mystic Maritime Gallery, which led to the opening of new markets for martime artists, and eventually spawned six for-profit gallery enterprises across the US.

I hope you enjoy the interview with my pops. I'll post a transcript here in a week, or so.

Happy Father's Day!

Music credits: "Mango Delight," by Kenya Masala, and "Bricks" by Crowsong.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Viva Vegan! Yummy Latin Vegan Cookbook by Terry Hope Romero

If you're my friend on Facebook, you've probably seen photos of my testing out recipes from a new vegan cookbook, Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers by Terry Hope Romero.

Let me just start by saying that all of the recipes I made from Viva Vegan! were delish. They even passed my Colombian husband's taste test.

So far I've made Quinoa-Corn "Chowder" with Limas and Ají (above),
Colombian-Style Red Beans and Arroz con Coco (right),
Costa Rican Refried Rice and Beans, Classic Cabbage Salad with Cilantro Citrus Vinaigrette (below. The cabbage I bought was rotton inside so I shredded up a lot of carrots instead), and Arroz con Leche de Coco (which was one of the most delicious desserts I've ever made, but not pretty enough to take a photo of :) ).

I totally recommend this book with two caveats: 1. most of the recipes do take a bit of time to make, and 2. many of the recipes, not all, require Latin ingredients that might not be available at your regular supermarket. She does include a list of websites where you can order Latin and vegan ingredients, and has a list of suggested recipe for "weeknight cooking" in the back of the book.

That said, I'm psyched to try more recipes from Viva Vegan! If you have any that you recommend, let me know.

Full disclosure: I received Viva Vegan! as a review copy.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Webinar: The Networked Nonprofit with Beth Kanter and Allison Fine

My pals, Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, have a new book coming out early next month, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. Wahoo!

They'll be talking about The Networked Nonprofit at a free webinar, produced by Care2, on Thursday, June 17th at 2pm ET/11AM PT. To register, click here. Five lucky participants will win free copies of the book!

Here's what you'll learn in the webinar:

  • How to understand social networks through social network analysis;
  • How to create a social culture at your nonprofit;
  • How and why you must value relationships as well as transactions;
  • How to embrace experimentation, and work with crowds; and
  • How to break out of those troublesome silos
Marc Sirkin, Autism Speaks's Chief Community Officer, and Danielle Brigida, National Wildlife Federation's Social Media Outreach Coordinator, are presenters too.

You can also join Beth and Allison for their free, virtual book launch party on June 21st at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT. The party will take place on Twitter using the hashtag #netnon, and on ustream.tv (URL to be announced). You'll be able to watch Beth and Allison live online, and chat with them on Twitter.

Beth is donating all of her book profits to the Sharing Foundation, which helps meet the physical, emotional, educational and medical needs of orphaned and seriously disadvantaged children in Cambodia. Allison is donating to the Hope for Henry Foundation, which provides gifts to children in hospitals with chronic diseases.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Your Free, Fun Summer 2010 Big Vision Goal Worksheet

After a little hiatus last month, the Big Vision Goal Worksheet is back! You can download it from Dropbox by clicking here.

I have to say, I think this is the prettiest one yet. You can see the other ones my hubs designed this year by clicking here.

Tomorrow is the new moon, a time when I like to revise, or recommit to my goals, dreams, and intentions for the month, season, and year.

We're also almost halfway through 2010 with the first day of summer coming up on June 21st.

Take a little time this weekend with your worksheet nearby to think about what is really important to you.
  • How do you want to spend your time?
  • What are the things you love to do, but you don't make them a priority?
  • What are the changes you promised yourself you'd make at the beginning of 2010, but still need to take action on?
  • What are goals you had at the beginning of the year that you need to let go of, and change?
As always, I recommend that you start by filling out your 2010 goals first. Then, make your goals for the summer in relation to your 2010 goals. For example, if one of your 2010 goals is to exercise three days a week, make a commitment to exercise two days a week during the summer. You can amp it up to three in the fall (:

Finally, make your monthly goals relate to your summer goals. For example, commit to walking every Tuesday and Thursday after work with a friend for a month. If that doesn't work for you, you can always change the day, time, or activity next month, but for now, make the commitment.

We make these worksheets 'cause its fun for us, but we also want them to be useful to you so please give us feedback about how you're using them, and features you'd like added, or taken away.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Pick Me Up Photo: Gulf Oiled Pelican Before and After Cleaning

I gotta tell you, the more the oil spreads from the BP Gulf oil spill, the more discouraged I become (side note: why is it being called the Gulf oil spill, and not the BP Gulf oil spill?).

It was a photo released on Friday of a little gull covered in oil that really got me. Maybe it's 'cause that is how I feel when I see the extent of the devastation. Covered in heavy, black, viscous liquid, and paralyzed to do anything about it.

Today I found one photo (above) that cheered me up. A combo of before and after photos of an oiled Brown Pelican washed at the Fort Jackson, LA Oiled Wildlife Center from the IBRRC Flickr photostream. IBRRC=the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Amazingly, I also found a link to an NPR story, A Little Bird Mired in Oil Illuminates a Big Problem, on the IBRRC Facebook page about the photo I saw on Friday, and the little gull is alive. Yay!

You can follow the IBRRC's work on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their blog.

If you come across any other pick me up photos, or heartening bits of news regarding the BP Gulf oil spill, please pass them on.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Five Ways to Do More Marketing in Less Time by Kivi Leroux Miller

My pal, Kivi Leroux Miller, has a new book out that I thought some of you might find useful, Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause.

As part of her virtual book tour, she's written a guest post for Have Fun, Do Good about Five Ways to Do More Marketing in Less Time. Enjoy!

No matter whether you want more people to donate to your good cause, to read your blog, or to recognize your name as an expert in your field, you have to make time for marketing. Here are five tips that I've used successfully and that you can too.

1. Decide Who Matters Most to Your Success

If you are marketing to the general public, you are wasting A LOT of time. You can't reach everybody, and only a very small percentage of the general public is likely to care about what you have to say and have the ability or willingness to help you achieve your goals. Focus in on the people who really matter. Are they people of a certain age, means, or education level? Do they have particular skills, hobbies or habits? Where do they go during the day and what do they see and hear there? The best way to do more effective marketing in less time is to focus on the needs and values of a more narrow target audience.

2. Use Filters to See What Matters Most

If social media is a big part of your marketing strategy, it can get overwhelming very quickly. There are just so many blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates one person can read in a day and still get anything done. To help you focus on what matters most, filter the most important voices or keywords to the top of your reading pile. I use a custom page at Alltop to track the top bloggers on nonprofit marketing, fundraising and social media. I use keyword search columns in HootSuite and lists in both Twitter and Facebook to prioritize what I look at first.

3. Organize What You'll Need Again and Again

Collect all that stuff you are constantly searching for to use yourself and to send to other people in one place on your computer. This includes all the different variations of your logos, headshots, and boilerplate text like taglines, missions, and bios.

4. Get Fear Out of the Way

After reinventing the proverbial wheel, the next biggest time waster in marketing, especially among nonprofits, may just be fear -- your own fear and the fear of decisionmakers around you. What will people think if we say this or that? Will they like us? Will they hate us or think we are stupid? You can stop the hand wringing -- and save all the time you spend on it -- by taking a few simple steps. Do your homework on your target audience. Do some small test runs of your ideas and adjust accordingly. Create a crisis plan so you know how to react in case the worst does happen. Then go do it!

5. Keep Track of What Others Are Doing

You can learn a tremendous amount by paying attention to the "big brains" and the "cool kids." Big brains are the people in your field who are always making new connections, seeing things differently, and looking farther down the road than the rest of us. Cool kids are the ones who are leaping in while the rest of us dip in our toes. Watch, listen, and learn from them. You'll save a tremendous amount of time if you simply schedule a few minutes a day to read up on what others are talking about and doing.

Kivi Leroux Miller is president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com, where she blogs on nonprofit communications. She is also the author of the just-released Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause.

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