Today we’d like to introduce you to Glenda Masters.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I currently wear two hats. I’m the Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. I was brought in just over three years ago to lead the startup of the City’s new cultural arts division. It’s really exciting because I get to work with our creative community to develop public arts and cultural programing. Outside of my day-job (whenever I can fit it in) I recently launched a new business, Accelerate Arts, and I provide business and leadership coaching for other arts administrators and creative entrepreneurs.
My family moved to Lee’s Summit over three years ago. I’m originally from Chesapeake, Virginia and made my way here by way of 13 years in Denver, Colorado. I’m also I’m a classically trained violinist and have been a musician for as long as I can remember. In college, I studied music business because I was drawn to learning about the business side of creativity. Even back then I resented the stereotype of the “starving artist” and was committed to learning how to support myself financially while having a meaningful career in the arts. I didn’t want to just be a performer, I wanted to know how to support myself as a business person.
I tend to be someone who finds a way to accomplish whatever it is I set my mind to do. I knew I wanted to work in arts administration and to eventually lead an organization. So I made sure that I always had an internship lined up during every summer break, on top of taking classes and working a paying job. That strategy helped me land my first “real” job with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra right after college in 2004.
One of the greatest (and scariest) things I’ve ever done was pack up and drive across the country by myself at the age of 24 to start a new life in Denver on my own. I packed up whatever I could stuff into my car because I couldn’t afford a U-Haul. Including my 70lb black lab who took up the whole back seat!
During my 13 time in Denver I earned a masters in nonprofit management from Regis Jesuit University and worked in fundraising for several nonprofit arts organizations and municipal cultural departments. Denver’s also where I met my now-husband who is originally from Missouri. When our son was born in 2014 we began thinking about moving closer to family. So I kept my eyes open for arts administrator jobs around Lee’s Summit and we was excited for the opportunity to start working with the City of Lee’s Summit as its first cultural arts manager.
The Kansas City region is abundant with resources to support business entrepreneurs and artists. As I got to know the local arts community I saw an opportunity to help small and mid-sized arts organizations and artists better manage the business of creativity. Thinking back to my college mindset of wanting to create a meaningful career in the arts, I decided to create my coaching business Accelerate Arts. After spending close to 20 years in the arts I wanted to share my experiences and lessons learned as a way to support people like me who may be starting their own arts administrator journey. The timing felt right to formalize the plan that had been tucked away in my mind for several years and launch Accelerate Arts.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There were definitely struggles along the way. But I learned early on that if I was willing to work hard and put in the sweat equity, the universe would put people in my life who noticed my perseverance and would want to help. I can’t explain it, but no matter how hard things seemed to get or how defeated I felt, I would always end up landing on my feet at just the right time.
I can’t pinpoint any specific challenges because I’ve been thrown so many “you’ve got to be kidding me” obstacles throughout my life that I’ve lost count. I also think it’s because I never let the challenges get the better of me. That’s not to say that I never got kicked down, because I certainly did. A lot. But I wasn’t going to stay down. Even before realizing what personal development even was I had a knack for looking at challenges through the lens of potential opportunities. That mindset has really helped me push through the hard times and eventually reap the rewards on the other side.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I created Accelerated Arts | Coaching & Consulting because after a 20-year career as an arts administrator I grew tired of seeing my incredibly talented colleagues feel overworked and undervalued. I had achieved success for myself as an arts administrator and I was ready to give back to the very community that helped shape who I am today.
I’m a business coach for arts leaders, administrators and creative entrepreneurs. My purpose is to support those who work in the arts, gain balance in their lives, make big decisions, and overcome the hidden mental blocks and limiting beliefs that can stand in the way of achieving success and happiness.
I am fueled every day by the vision that a strong arts sector, led by informed and confident leaders, can create a beautiful and compassionate world for everyone. I believe that when we elevate ourselves, we help elevate others. I also believe that the arts are the means to the end for communities wanting to create strong neighborhoods, thriving schools, healthy communities and well-being and economic development. The arts are not the results, they are the tools. I’m committed to helping arts administrators and creative entrepreneurs develop the tools and strategies that will help them reach their goals.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
My husband calls me a “translator”, which I thought was the perfect way to describe what I do every day. I speak the creative language and the analytical language. I understand those who lead with the head and with their heart. (Can you feel those Libra vibes yet?) With my background in music and business, paired with my career of working for both nonprofit and municipal arts agencies, and throw in being an entrepreneur myself, I’ve become an interpreter across the various sectors. I help creatives understand business practices and how to work with their local government. Likewise, I help the business world and public sector understand the tangible and intangible value and impact of the creative community.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.acceleratearts.com
- Instagram: @accelerateartscoach
- Facebook: @accelerateartscoach
Glenda Masters, Laura Engaman, Rachael Fitch