New Realities: The Changing Business of the Performing Arts

New Realities: The Changing Business of the Performing Arts

Workshop Overview

A three-day workshop designed for working professionals in the performing arts. Delivered at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University's Gabelli School of Business in New York City.

This program allows executives across art forms and regions to better understand the organizations they work for, gaining a fresh perspective and new ability to tackle issues that may have seemed insurmountable. It also provides essential information on performing-arts-industry trends in earned and unearned income. In addition, participants come away with new approaches for building a useful network of contemporaries as sources of advice and counsel.

Arts professionals complete this workshop with new leadership insight and practical skills that help them not only to survive in today's arts climate, but to flourish.

Topics covered include leadership, developing new strategies, marketing in a digital world, using social media effectively, understanding crowdfunding, integrating planned giving, and board development. The curriculum features case studies and includes time for participants to discuss their specific institutional concerns.

Low-cost Fordham University housing is available. View photo gallery.

Participants receive a certificate of completion from the Gabelli School at the end of the program.

Three-Day Structure

Whom is this Workshop For?

The ideal audience includes heads of small arts organizations and members of middle management at larger arts organizations.


Fordham University Lincoln Center campus,

62nd Street and Columbus Avenue, midtown Manhattan


Thursday, June 8, through Saturday, June 10, 2017

Program Cost


Group discount: after the first registration, each additional registration from the same organization will receive 20% off the tuition cost.

Law school spaces

Features and Benefits

  • Program led by Dr. William Baker, a faculty member at The Juilliard School and the creator of the well-respected class Understanding the Profession: The Performing Arts in the 21st Century, and Martin Kagan, who has been a senior executive in numerous major theatrical venues and companies

  • Guest speakers from renowned arts organizations, including Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), globalFEST, and other successful philanthropic interests.

  • Program content specific to the issues and concerns of arts organizations contending with a competitive landscape

  • Marketing and fundraising insights, information on best practices, and new ways of thinking

  • Networking opportunities with faculty, speakers, and classmates, including an opening reception and a farewell dinner at a Manhattan restaurant

  • Tickets to arts performances at an exclusive discounted rate

  • Subsidized on-campus accommodation at a competitive rate of $125 per night. Participants who opt for Fordham accommodation will stay in McKeon Hall at the Fordham University Law School, 150 W. 62nd St. This is an unbeatable location right across the street from Lincoln Center and a stone's throw from Central Park with access to all major metro transport, restaurants, and attractions.

  • An enriching and unforgettable experience in the heart of the country’s cultural capital

  • Certificate of completion provided at the close of the workshop


Dr. William Baker

Dr. William BakerDr. William Baker directs the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy, and Education at Fordham University. He is also a distinguished professor of management at IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, and president emeritus of WNET-Thirteen, New York’s public television station and a flagship American public broadcaster.

During his 21-year tenure as WNET, Baker raised more than $1 billion. He helped to start many cable networks, launched the successful programs of Oprah Winfrey and Charlie Rose, and helped to establish the Discovery Channel and the Disney Channel. Earlier his career, he was president of Westinghouse Television and chairman of Group W Satellite Communication. 

Baker is the recipient of seven Emmy Awards and two Columbia Dupont Journalism Awards, and he is the executive producer of the theatrical film and PBS documentary The Face: Jesus in Art. He is co-author of the 2008 book Leading with Kindness and is host of the public television series of the same name. He also is the co-author or author of five books including The World's Your Stage (Amacom, 2016), Every Leader is an Artist (McGraw-Hill, 2012), and Down the Tube: An Insider’s Account of the Failure of American Television (Basic Books, 1998).

Baker holds a BA, MA, and PhD from Case Western Reserve University and seven honorary doctorates from universities in America and Europe. His interests include astronomy, horology, and polar science, and he is believed to be the eighth person in history to have stood on both the North and South Poles.

Tom Burns

Tom Burns is an organizational consultant who heads the Urban Ventures Group, a firm he founded in 2003 to offer specialized planning, assessment, and program development services to public, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations. His areas of expertise include planning and strategy development, organizational and program assessment and design, multi-organizational collaboration, and executive leadership. For most of his 40-year career, he has focused on issues best tackled through a systems approach combined with collaborative problem-solving, often involving multi-sector partnerships.

He has worked with organizational clients in the areas of economic revitalization, neighborhood improvement, education and workforce development, arts and culture, and human services delivery. Throughout his career, Burns has also worked extensively with national philanthropies including the Casey, Ford, Knight, Kresge, Prudential, Rockefeller, and Wallace Foundations, as well as the Lilly Endowment and the Pew Charitable Trusts. He has directed more than a dozen national program evaluations in the urban revitalization field. Much of his work at the state and local levels has involved the development of plans and strategies for improving conditions in urban core areas; for example, he has provided program and organizational assistance to community-based and citywide nonprofits, partnerships, and intermediaries and support organizations in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and his home city of Philadelphia.

Over the past decade, he has spent a larger share of his time on plans and assessments aimed at improving the access of lower-income individuals to jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, and on strengthening civic and public-sector leadership. Nearly all of his engagements have involved a blend of strategy formulation and organizational planning, with a strong emphasis on defining and measuring results.

Before launching Urban Ventures, Burns served for 15 years as the founding director of the OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, a national nonprofit research and consulting organization based in Philadelphia. Prior to that he was on the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, served on the senior staff of Wharton’s Management and Behavioral Science Center, and was a group director at the Fels Center of Government.

Burns holds an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master's degree in management and urban planning. He received his PhD in 1980 from the Wharton School.

Robin Colner

Robin Colner

Robin Colner is an acclaimed digital and social media marketing strategist, university educator, and corporate trainer. An MBA graduate of the Wharton School of Business, Robin has more than 20 years of technology-enabled product development and direct and online marketing experience. She has held senior marketing positions at leading advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson and Fortune 100 corporations including Citigroup and American Express.

As the founder and CEO of DigiStar Media, a digital and social media marketing agency, Robin is dedicated to helping businesses, professionals, and nonprofit organizations drive traffic to their websites, improve their brand reputations, acquire customers, and attract leads using social media and content marketing techniques.

Robin is also the founder and director of Fordham University’s digital and social media professional certificate program as well as the instructor for the social media classes offered by Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies. She also teaches social media classes at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business.

Robin is a sought-after speaker and seminar instructor on the subjects of “how to use social media for personal branding and career advancement” and “how businesses and professionals use social media to generate leads and sales.” She specializes in training businesses and organizations to leverage social media to engage prospects, attract new subscriptions, amplify the impact of advertising and public relations campaigns, and implement successful integrated marketing programs. Robin also coaches nonprofit managers, board members, donors, and interns on the best techniques to become effective brand advocates on social media.

Alan Fishman

Alan Fishman

Alan Fishman served BAM as chairman from 2002 to 2016 and continues to serve as chairman emeritus. In addition to his service to BAM, he serves on the boards of several private companies and other nonprofit and civic organizations and is chairman of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

He has had a long and successful career in the financial services industry, including serving as president of Sovereign Bank and president and CEO of its predecessor, Independence Community Bank. Currently he is chairman of Ladder Capital Finance.

In addition to all of his other contributions over the years to BAM, Fishman and his wife, Judith, were leadership funders for the construction of the BAM Fisher. The Fisher’s 250-seat flexible theater is named the Judith and Alan Fishman Space.

John G. Fox

John G. Fox is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer and producer of documentaries for public broadcasting with experience across a range of media. He was series producer of Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, a nine-part PBS series that won the Christopher Award, the coveted Peabody Award, and three prime-time Emmys. He also produced a major DVD-ROM expansion of Heritage that won top honors at the Los Angeles Digital Video Festival. His recent documentaries have received several Telly Awards and the Golden Davey Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts. He has directed almost two dozen comedy films for Saturday Night Live and has worked as director under contract for many of the major Hollywood studios, working with producers including Richard Zanuck, Dino DeLaurentiis, and Douglas Wick. More recently he was executive producer of a fledgling theater series for PBS, the pilot for which aired in 2015. Fox has taught filmmaking at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Naomi Grabel

Naomi Grabel became the CEO of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic in 2016, following eight years as director of marketing and creative services at Carnegie Hall, where she led major sales, brand, and digital campaigns. From 2006 to 2008, Ms. Grabel was director of marketing and development for Sydney Opera House, where she led a rebranding project and launched the first-ever philanthropy program for Australia’s leading arts center. Prior to that, she was vice president of marketing and communications for Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and managing director of Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater.

Grabel has served on peer review panels for the National Endowment of the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council and was on the executive committees of the League of Resident Theatres and of the Greater Philadelphia Theatre Alliance. From 2011 to 2014, she chaired the board of Doug Varone and Dancers, and from 2009 to 2011, she served as co-president of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She was a founding board member for Audience 360, a New York City-wide arts data initiative. She presently serves on the board of overseers of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and the advisory board of the National Center for Arts Research based at SMU. Grabel is affiliated with Park Avenue Synagogue, where she serves as the vice chair of the music committee.

A faculty member at the Yale School of Drama teaching arts marketing, Grabel has guest-lectured at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Duke University, SMU and Texas A&M. She is a regular speaker at industry conferences across the arts spectrum. Grabel is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the University of Pennsylvania.

Martin Kagan

Martin Kagan

Martin Kagan is a nonprofit executive with more than 30 years of senior management experience leading a variety of nonprofit organizations, primarily in arts and culture. In these positions, he has proved his ability to design, develop, and implement innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to leadership, strategic planning, facility-building, finance, marketing, board relations, consensus-building, grantmaking, fundraising, and administration. 

Today he is the executive director of cultural affairs at Pace University, where he oversees the university’s contracting and marketing of all cultural and arts presentations as well as the operation, administration, and budgeting of its theatrical venues, including the Schimmel Center for the Arts. He is also an adjunct professor at Pace; he teaches a course titled Managing Creativity and has developed and taught one titled Governance and Stakeholders in the Arts.

Among Kagan’s prior positions are executive director of the Paul Taylor Dance Company; senior director of development at the Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports; managing director of the John Anson Ford Theatre and the Ford Theatre Foundation, Los Angeles; executive director of the Alex Theatre, a 1,400-seat theater in Glendale, California; vice president of the annual fund of the Music Center of LA County; president and CEO of the Dance Gallery, Los Angeles; executive director of OPERA America Inc. in Washington, D.C., and the first full-time general manager of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

He has most recently been a board member of the Bruno Walter Foundation and the New York Choral Society. He serves as board chair of Fresh Start Foods, a Philadelphia nonprofit, and as a board member of the Consortium of Eastern Regional Theaters.

Kagan’s educational credentials include a diploma from the Harvard Institute in Arts Administration; a master’s degree from York University, Toronto, Ontario, in environmental studies in planning and administration of the arts; and an undergraduate degree in geography and planning from Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Kagan is a citizen of both the United States and Canada.

Neal P. Myerberg

Neal P. Myerberg, an attorney, is a principal in the firm of Myerberg Philanthropic Advisors, a company providing fundraising consulting and strategic planning services for nonprofit and charitable organizations, foundations, and philanthropists.

He is the instructor for the introductory and advanced planned giving courses in the Columbia University master’s degree program in nonprofit management.

Myerberg was national director of charitable giving services for Bernstein Investment Research and Management; CEO of the department of planned giving and endowments at UJA-Federation of New York; and founder and the first president of FJC, a New York nonprofit organization, where he is a permanent member of its board of directors.

Myerberg formerly served as counsel to the Council of Jewish Federations, Inc., as well as its director of endowment development. He worked as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., specializing in estate and gift taxation, and engaged in the private practice of law in Maryland, where he was elected State’s Attorney for St. Mary’s County.

He is the author of numerous articles and papers dealing with supporting foundations, philanthropic funds, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and planned giving. He also was the creator and editor of Endowment Review, a national quarterly endowment newsletter, and the professional newsletters Tax Planning Tips for Professional Advisors and Estate & Tax Planning With Charitable Gifts.

Myerberg has been a frequent speaker at the National Conferences on Philanthropic Planning and at programs sponsored by the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The New York State Society of CPAs, regional planned giving and estate planning councils, and many local and national nonprofit organizations.

He has served as a resource to The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NBC Dateline on the legal and tax aspects of charitable giving. He has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of The Journal of Gift Planning.

For many years, Myerberg was a regular presenter for Consumer Reports magazine and Consumers Union at programs for consumers throughout the country on tax and financial planning strategies using charitable techniques.

He is a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and the New York University Wagner School of Public Administration.

Isabel Soffer

Isabel Soffer has been at the forefront of global music programming in the United States for more than 25 years. She directs Live Sounds, a company that produces, creates, and curates music and dance programs in New York and across the country; its work is devoted to preserving and cultivating innovative and traditional music from around the world to build bridges and engage audiences. Soffer also is co-founder and co-director of globalFEST, a groundbreaking annual festival and year-round service organization that runs a touring fund, co-produces the Wavelengths conference, and curates a national tour, as well as stages at festivals and events. She is also DJ for the program ForeignExchange on Little Water Radio.

Soffer has developed and produced influential music festivals, tours, symposia, Grammy-nominated recordings, film festivals, and gallery exhibits. She regularly collaborates with international cultural institutions on a variety of projects in the United States and abroad, and serves on numerous local and international conference panels and juries.