Name: Margaret Lam
Business: BeMused Network, a platform for discovering and connecting with local performing and literary arts.
Industry: Arts & Entertainment
Location: Toronto, Canada
Reason for starting: As innovation emerges in all the major sectors, the performing arts seems to be falling behind, even as artists and audiences embrace new ways of engaging with each other. Having been an artist and an audience myself, I see a tremendous amount of creativity amongst artists who are experimenting with new models. Their work inspired me to build a sustainable infrastructure that empowers independent artist to be the creators, narrators and inspirers that they are meant to be for our societies.
I have taken many less-travelled paths while always following my passion and setting the highest standards for myself. I have been a graphic designer, arts manager, published researcher, and BeMused Network is the convergence of what appeared to others as divergent interests. I recognize the need for business acumen to ground socially-driven enterprises, and zero-in on opportunities where others see none. These are not the typical entrepeurial traits that you hear about, but they are certainly worth watching for unique lessons that others can learn from.
How do you define success? The success of participants active on our network is our success. There are many stakeholders, even though we have a focus on artists and audiences. Venue owners, content creators, tastemakers, everyone is contributing and sustaining the performing arts community with the hope that their collective efforts will amount to something. Our success will be defined by our ability to amplify the potential of the collective into something greater than the sum of its parts.
Biggest Success: The more I reached out, the more I found that people understood what I was trying to accomplish and were extremely generous with their time and resources. The way people have pitched in to help me meet a deadline, sharing their expertise and insight with me- the impact of those things can be hard to measure. Short of funding you, when someone you’ve just met dives into your project fully engaged, it is the greatest vote of confidence in a venture any one could ask for.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Our top challenge is devoting our limited resources as as startup to creating the maximum impact. The vision is clear, but there are many paths that we can forge. We rely on actual conversations and engagement with our stakeholders, and involving them in the design and product development processes from the beginning. We don’t want to solve imaginary problems that we think they have; we want to solve the most pressing problems they are facing.
Who is your most important role model? Every artist that I have ever met is role model for me. Once you dive into the minds of artists, you will recognize the talent, commitment and discipline they have in order to create something beautiful and moving that might not be guaranteed to succeed, but it expresses important aspects of who we are. They bring what isn’t obvious in our everyday lives, to the foreground for us to reflect and consider. It’s a priviledge to find myself working for them.
Edited by The Story Exchange