Letter from the Publisher

Talent Is Everything

Maura Mumball Lane


When we think of talent, we think of the stage. We think of vocal brilliance, dancing that defies gravity and acting that transports us into a story. God given talents of superstars, our divas Barbra, Cher, Bette, make us dream to see them live and share the experience with other fans who adore them. When we think of talent, we think of the writer who creates worlds, captures the human experience, or expresses emotions in real, relatable dialogue.

This fall we will be dazzled by a full calendar of cultural arts and theater offerings. You must make plans for an evening at The Broward Center for The Performing Arts. The multimillion dollar renovation completed last year has turned a good city theater into a spectacular experience. Think of the talent on the design team at Broward that envisioned Club Level. The Club Level is a VIP experience just steps from your seat, where you can enjoy a pre-show cocktail, relax on couches during intermission and sneak out, if need be, to check on a game status. The talented team thought about the end user. What could make going to see live theater better?

What about all the gifted people that don’t get accolades? There are dedicated members of our community that are working diligently to get local productions on stage. The passionate team at Island City Stage promises a season to remember starting with A Perfect Arrangement in November. An expert ticket agent at Island City Stage created the Flex Pass, 5 shows for $135.00, that’s 25% off regular prices. The program is a creative solution to selling early and building a base for all performances. At the beginning of the summer, a new group formed called Opera Fusion and previewed their production of Not In My Town. This weekend is the World Premiere, starting Saturday at the University Theater on the Florida Atlantic University Campus and coming to the Amaturo Theater at The Broward Center next weekend. Birgit Djupedal, Executive Director of Opera Fusion is a visionary, a promoter of unique design. From having her daughter design the show artwork to casting, she focuses on getting the right people to contribute time and talent.

Imagine what happens behind the scenes when a Broadway Across America performance of Rent comes to town in October? Think of the organizers who plan the stay for the cast and crew? Think of the pre promotion team who organizes interviews, appearances and ticket giveaways. The local Broadway Across America marketing team is not only highlighting the 20th anniversary to the fans but also is positioning Rent to new audiences who might have heard the music but never been to a live stage performance.

How does the Arsht Center plan their season? How thrilled are we that there are talented booking agents who enticed Rene Flemming to bring her award winning pipes to Miami and perform with the New World Symphony? The stage designers for the Florida Grand Opera are so talented they can create the streets of Seville for the world of Carmen on the Ziff Ballet Opera House stage, second largest stage in the country 130 feet wide, 70 feet deep, approximately 120 feet high.

As a devoted follower, Jim Collins’ Good to Great business theories, I do believe that talent comes first. Jim states that “great vision without great people is irrelevant. Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where are we going” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” Catching people doing something where their talent shines is the great enjoyment of the arts and business.

At Agenda, we are in the process of growing our talent.  Growing by adding new people and growing by tapping into talents of current staff. Richard Hack our critically acclaimed Editor-in-Chief, discovered his talent for mentoring this summer with our FAU interns Derrick and Daniel Hart. Their project is the coverage of this issue’s “Fall Arts Preview.”  Derrick and Daniel are also involved on some ground breaking Agenda– brand extensions coming this fall. I wish you could hear them, maybe soon you will.

Sue Hotujec, our Director of Sales, has the natural ability to inspire and motivate her team. It is the understanding of individualized management that moves people to do more than what is expected. Kevin Broady is pushing the envelope in design for a weekly local publication. Like the team at the Broward Center, when they created the Club Level. Kevin thinks about how to make each issue better, every week.

When I interview, I ask candidates to tell me the talents they are required to possess for the open position. Some have trouble with the word talent. They think of acting, writing singing, dancing, but eventually they describe themselves with the attributes they think fit the position. This fall, let us enjoy the talents that surround us, and let’s not be afraid to explore our own untapped talents.  We all can’t be in the spotlight, but we all can shine and make the stage brighter, possibly more profitable, possibly more interesting, if we are put in the right seat.