glór – DeVos Programme Learning
glór Director Gemma Carcaterra and Office Manager Emily O’Dwyer discuss their participation in the DeVos Programme and how it has led to an increase in confidence in their organisation and an opportunity to develop their strategic thinking. | Interview by Margarita Vásquez Cárdenas
Established in 2001, glór is a venue dedicated to showcasing national and international culture and arts in Co. Clare. Daily programming spans several disciplines from music to theatre and fine art, ensuring something new and exciting is available for audiences of all ages to enjoy. They work to promote each event enthusiastically, but keep an eye on their long terms plans by increasing their family engagement and partnering with local business.
“Affirmation that what we are doing is already on a high level, in line with national venues” was for Gemma an important motivating take-out of their year-long participation with the DeVos programme. “The organisation has a solid knowledge base and the programme has given a boost for everybody to take that base to the next level.” This has given the team confidence that they are on the right track, but crucially, that there’s room to learn and grow. The team’s confidence is reflected in their involvement with local community and has given them assurance when seeking funding and promoting events.
Gemma and Emily note that team members’ active participation with DeVos through its learning tools has been enormously beneficial and allowed for improved synergy within their core staff. This is a dynamic that is contributing to the flow of ideas within the organisation and feeds into every department and activity. In terms of their programming they are clear on what their spikes are and are moving toward more aspirational programming. This activity is helping the team to project what glór wants to be doing in the next three to five years. As an organisational exercise, it is allowing the team to create a shared vision by developing specific glór-themed events.
Regarding strategic planning, Emily O’Dwyer considers that focusing on their marketing and online presence from an organisational point of view, while having a long-term planning hat on “has taken the weight off from a marketing perspective, because things come through more naturally, there is less pressure and more excitement”. Equally focused on short-term planning they are developing new ways of furthering their relationship with their community, in particular bringing on new individual and corporate memberships. They have recently partnered with Shannon Airport and are continuing previous successful alliances with Dromoland Castle and other businesses. glór is also finding new ways of creating buzz around key spikes in their programming and looking into income generating opportunities within their marketing materials.
According to Gemma and Emily, the individual and corporate membership programme, has received an important refocus via the DeVos Programme. While glór was retaining its membership at 100%, they recognised the need to focus further on this area. “We have invested more in the development resource and we are now bringing in new memberships” as well as “comfortably going for bigger names”.
Looking at the programme itself, glór has found that beneficial relationships have been established throughout the year. “The mentoring provided by DeVos has been phenomenal! Every time you interact with someone like Brett Egan of the DeVos Institute, or Aubrey Willaert of The Kennedy Center, you are reenergised”. Although the programme can be quite intense, one of its strengths “is that they talk about the difficult questions that maybe we don’t want to ask, and they do so in a safe environment” says Gemma. The DeVos team’s experience, drive and enthusiasm have sparked a noticeable uplifting change within the organisation and the participants. “We’re all small organisations, we’ve all got limited budgets and very limited resources, and in the pressure of the day to day you sometimes forget to look at the bigger picture; and that is what DeVos has done for us.”
We have to start thinking differently. While America is well ahead in terms of fundraising and sponsorship, I believe this is the direction we will have to go, even if it takes twenty years… we can’t stay where we are, we have to develop and grow. Gemma Carcaterra