Friday, April 11, 2014

Leadership Bluegrass 2014

Nashville Skyline - Early Morning

BMI Headquarters

BMI Headquarters - Our Home for Two Days

Early Thursday morning on March 20, 2014, twenty-two somewhat bleary-eyed people showed up at the impressive BMI offices in Nashville for a three day event called Leadership Bluegrass, LBG is an annual seminar bringing together people young and not-so-young from all corners of the bluegrass world for a three day seminar and personal growth experience focused on developing and nurturing lesership with the industry. Ranging in age from late teens to early seventies, coming from as close as Nashville and as far away as England, Alberta, CA, Nevada, Texas, Maine, and New Hampshire, we had little in common besides our love of bluegrass music and a desire to learn. Three days later, the LBG class of 2014 emerged from the plush offices of the law firm Bone McAllester Norton, housed high in the Tennessee Bank building, as friends and colleagues who have joined a fifteen year long line of future leaders, many of whom have become well-known names occupying key positions in bluegrass music and IBMA. 

Claire Lynch Welcomed Us for the LBG Alumni

Facilitator Trisha Tubbs Was There for Every Minute

Liz Allen Fey Presented Elements of Organizational Development

A Group at Work
Nate Lee, Anna Somerville, Pattie Hopkins, Alane Anno, Matt Merta
Mark Dillon, Lizard Thom Case, Chris Luquette

Rick Sparks, Richard Bicknell, Sherrill Blackman

Jamie Deering

Mark Dillon

Amanda Smith

Our functions in bluegrass were varied almost beyond belief: agents, music publishers, event promoters, artists, talent bookers, students, photographers, journalists, association presidents, equipment and instrument manufacturers, college professors, songwriters, talent managers, music teachers, and publicists, and the owner of a Nashville bar. We met under the very professional efforts of facilitator Trisha Tubbs, a Washington (State) based consultant with long experience in facilitating intensive workshop and professional growth experiences in business and industry as well as being a bluegrass event producer and long-time IBMA member who, along with other members of the Planning Committee, has designed and built LBG from its beginning in 2000. The design of the intensive three day experience served to create an environment meeting two major purposes: to help us learn more about many aspects of the bluegrass business, and to meld us into a cohesive group joining with past attendees at LBG and the wider world of bluegrass music. Slowly, but surely, each person emerged as a unique individual, not a role, a job, or a stereotype. The process proved itself to be involving, challenging to intellect and personal skills, and deeply rewarding. 

Nate Lee

Chris Luquette

Matt Merta

Rick Sparks, Sherrill Blackman, Cass Scripps, Richard Bicknell

Pam Gadd

Ashlee-Jean (AJ) Trott

Matt Slocum

Throughout the three days we were exposed to dynamic leaders from the music world of Nashville, which styles itself as Music City. Liz Allen Fey, a specialist in leadership development and strategic planning, spent time with us examining our vision and standards as they apply to emerging as leaders, after which we had an opportunity to meet in groups to explore our styles and report to the larger group in a format we designed. We were encouraged to explore new ideas and to move outside our comfort zones, a movement each person at LBG experienced at various times during the workshop. We learned that moving beyond our own boundaries allows growth to happen. We all developed as individuals and as a group within a larger group. We thought and talked about the business of developing a band, a festival, a song in order to obtain sustainability, to be able to continue in our roles. A panel of three entrepreneurs helped us look at the role of the entrepreneur, seeking new ways to develop audiences by finding the holes not filled by others. We examined our own anxieties about risk taking and our tolerance for it as we sought to stretch ourselves. And then we were presented with a wonderful opportunity to examine the development of a single artist through his career, viewed from the outside as largely successful, as Sirius/Xm's Bluegrass Junction station manager Kyle Cantrell interviewed bluegrass and country singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale about his most interesting career. Jim emerged as a very real person sharing himself within a trusted group. Kyle showed himself to be the fine interviewer those of us who admire his work on satellite radio have all seen, a consummate interviewer who finds the niches where truth lies.

Resource People
Kevin Grosch - Entreprenuership 

Jim Lauderdale Interviewed by Kyle Cantrell
Artist Profile 

Jim Lauderdale

Copyright 2013
Dan Keen - Former ASCAP VP - Belmont College Prof

Jon Weisberger - Song Writer, Artist, IBMA Chair

Stephanie Taylor - Attorney, Fiddler

David Crow - Attorney, Fiddler

More Participants
 Seamus Brady from United Kingdom

Alane Anno

Taylor Coughlin

Lizard Thom Case & Matt Merta

Mark Dillon & Matt Slocum

Throughout the three days, we were frequently repositioned in order to make sure we met and interacted with as many people at the workshop as possible. At work sessions and at meals, we were placed with different people at every opportunity. This strategy encouraged us to avoid spending too much time with people we already knew, and to encounter each person, getting to know and understand everyone in both work and social settings. This strategy avoids cliques from forming and facilitates broader networking.

Pattie Hopkins

Patrick McAvinue

AJ Trott

 John Goad

Vickie Vaughn

 Claire Ratliff

Tom Kopp - IBMA Foundation - Bluegrass in Education

 Nolan Lawrence - The Hillbenders - LBG Alumni Volunteer

Another Presentation
Sherrill Blackman, Anna Somerville, Matt Merta
Claire Ratliff, Jamie Deering, Vickie Vaughn

One of the great mysteries for me has been the process by which Professional Rights Organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) assure payment for artists and writers while protecting them from copyright invasion. An expert panel including former ASCAP vice-president Dan Keen, attorney Stephanie Taylor, artist and IBMA President Jon Weisberger, and attorney David Crow explained the process while role-playing a contract negotiation – exciting and fun. IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell explored the state of the bluegrass industry before Tom Kopp, Executive Director of the Bluegrass Foundation and Belmont College's Michael McClain looked at music education culminating in the whole class playing a tune on Deering Goodtime banjos. Half-way through the workshop looked like a good time to break into groups to undertake a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) exercise in small groups on a music topic of our own choice, and presenting our findings to the class. The working day ended with the Della Mae team meeting with us to discuss their emergence as a band, and the teamwork beyond mere talent it takes to achieve such heights. The day ended with a Taco supper and jam at the new IBMA headquarters.

The Artist's Team - Della Mae
Lee Olsen, Erick Jaskowiak, Liza Levy
Kimber Ludiker & Jennie Lynn Gardner 

Kimber & Jennie Lynn

Lee Olsen & Erick Jaskowiak

Kimber Ludiker

Emilee Warner - Master Interviewer

Taco Supper at IBMA Headquarters

Alane Anno - Doing Her Thing

Tom Kopp & Trisha Tubbs

Ted Lehmann

On Saturday morning we re-adjourned at the law firm of Bone McAllester Norton on the sixteenth floor of the Tennessee Bank building with stunning views of downtown Nashville including a small peek at the Ryman Auditorium. Everyone was tired, but willing as two more stimulating and thought provoking presentations focused on the awesome possibilities and demanding knowledge explosion of the digital world followed by an exploration of new kinds of venue for presenting music, including cruise boats and caves. After lunch the workshop concluded with a series of exercises designed to help us bring closure to the event and place it and our learning into the context of our lives.

Conference Room at Bone McAlister Norton

Nancy Cardwell - IBMA Executive Director Presenting

Navigating the Digital Jungle
Stevie Escoto & Jay Frank 

Silent Auction

It's Real Work, Too

Trisha Tubbs

 At 5:00 P.M. on Saturday afternoon we left, carrying home with us a series of experiences and friendships that will affect each of us differently over the long term. Some of our new friends we'll see at jams, festivals, and at the World of Bluegrass while others we may not see again. Nevertheless, we've formed a bond between us and with the many others who have preceded us at Leadership Bluegrass, reaffirming our commitment to the music, helping continue its growth and health, while learning and growing together. Pretty good outcomes for three days in Nashville.

Leadership Bluegrass - Class of 2014

Row 1 - Alane Anno, Ashlee-Jean Trott, Vickie Vaughn, Pattie Hopkins
Row 2 - Nate Lee, Mark Dillon, Claire Ratliff, Amanda Smith, Taylor Coughlin
Row 3 - Seamus Brady, Matt Slocum, Lizard Thom Case, Pam Gadd, Chris Luquette
Row 4 - Matt Merta, Rick Sparks, Cass Scripps, Daniel Perry, Anna Somerville, Ted Lehmann
Row 5 - Sherrill Blackman, John Goad, Jamie Deering, Patrick McAvinue, Richard Bicknell

My apologies to Daniel Perry.