Johnson Board Fellow: Nathan J. Iglesias, MBA ’11
Project: I worked to improve the Hangar Theatre’s corporate sponsorship program. I recognized an information gap in the materials they were using to solicit new corporate sponsors and I conducted primary research to answer those questions.
Challenges: The biggest challenge was maneuvering through the bureaucracy; the Hangar board is huge and while it is relatively agile, it's still tough navigating in a new area when you don't really understand or know what's been attempted before, who may be extra sensitive to certain agenda items, and how to get even small details hammered out in a short period of time.
Strategy: I established my reputation among the board members. I volunteered for events that had nothing to do with my project and attended as many committee meetings as possible simply to build credibility, have some face time, and identify who the movers and shakers in the organization are. After that, I developed alliances and maintained momentum; 1 year is a very short amount of time to achieve anything when you're new to an organization.
Outcome: My project is ongoing, but so far has been extremely successful. I've had very positive responses from current corporate sponsors who view the survey I'm administering as a step in the right direction for improving dialogue and feedback for the Hangar. The research is also arming me (and the Hangar) to create much more persuasive literature, which will financially substantiate corporate sponsorships.
Value: I learned to be ambitious, but realistic. Going in and making a big offer with shiny, impressive slides will only hurt you when you can't deliver. I knew this going in, but this experience has really reminded me of this somewhat pessimistic reality. I've also been reminded of the importance of coalition building; I can't be successful and I shouldn't be successful if the Hangar board doesn't fully endorse my ideas and my project (not to say they shouldn't push-back, of course).
Feedback: Lisa Bushlow, Hangar Theatre executive director, wrote: “Nathan and Sam were amazing collaborators. Together, we carefully chose a project for each of them that – when completed – would truly enhance the Hangar Theatre's operations. This program provides a win-win partnership. The Johnson Board Fellows have the opportunity to learn from a professional, not-for-profit like the Hangar (with an extraordinary reputation for its governance by its board of trustees). And the Hangar Theatre simultaneously benefits from the creative, intuitive skills that each Johnson Board Fellow brings to our community.”