Lessons from the Arts Community

This week, I attended the Arkansas Arts Council awards banquet.  I thought I was there to honor Martin and Melissa Thoma as they accepted their award for Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts in recognition of the tremendous amount they do both personally, and in services in kind.  Governor Beebe was entertaining and on point as always.  I was happy for my friends and their well deserved recognition.  What I did not expect was to get a lesson in leadership.

Nicole Capri, Resident Director and Director of Education at The Rep was recognized in the Arts in Education Category.  In her acceptance remarks, she thanked and credited her teacher and mentor, Joel Ruminer– which was already a nice touch.  I may have been the only person in the room who did not know it, but Joel is evidently an icon in the dance community who Gregory Hines once recognized as the best tap teacher he ever met.  In her acknowledgement, Nicole shared with the packed house the wisdom she got from Joel just before she taught her first tap class:

  • Be very specific.  Tell them exactly what you want.
  • Never apologize for expecting excellence.
  • And, don’t forget to tell them when they did a good job!

Not a bad mantra for leaders in all fields.