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LEADING QUESTIONS: Stolen spotlights IRT fundraising

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with one of central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Like the company actors on the Indiana Repertory Theatre stage, Managing Director Steven Stolen has assumed many different roles over the course of his career in the arts, both as a performer and administrator. Trained as a tenor, Stolen has performed leading roles in such operas as "The Magic Flute," "Candide" and "Cosi Fan Tutte." Developing a career off the stage, he has been a faculty member at five different universities, including a 15-year stint at Butler University capped by an appointment as the institution's executive director of development and campaigns.

IRT's managing director since late 2006, Stolen, 52, has taxed many talents, including supervision of finance, marketing, community relations and strategic planning. But fundraising remains central to his position. In the video below, Stolen provides advice on developing relationships with sponsors. True to his roots as a performer, Stolen thinks of the task more in terms of a collaboration than a sales pitch.



In the bonus video below, Stolen reveals his favorite book on not-for-profit management and its somewhat counter-intuitive message: Finishing the year with a lot of money left in your coffers isn't always such a good thing.

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