Jim Ward, The Phoenix Symphony

Cultural Riches
from Jim Ward

Jim WardCulture is what defines us as a people, as a community. Here in the Valley of the Sun, culture surrounds us in great variety — including performances by world-class artists and paintings that sell for millions of dollars. This issue of In Business Magazine takes a look at how arts and culture live in the fabric of our community.

Whether or not you enjoy the aesthetic benefit of the different art forms in our valley, you must value the impact that the arts have on our cultural economy. And a cultural economy is vital to our ability to attract and retain businesses and the human capital necessary to achieve our economic goals. Our cultural economy, as measured through economic studies, actually has a greater impact than the myriad of sports events here in Arizona. Industry sectors like medicine and biotech, for example, will not invest in relocation unless there is a robust cultural economy with front-line organizations like a symphony, a ballet, an opera, an art museum, a zoo and a botanical garden. So not only do the arts feed the soul of our community, they are critical to the revitalization of Arizona and the very future of our economic diversification.

But in order to have a thriving cultural economy, it is important for our arts organizations to be managed well and to build sustainable business models. A key to this success is collaboration where arts organizations learn not to compete but actually work together to lower overall expense models and provide greater impact to the community. The Phoenix Symphony, Ballet Arizona and The Arizona Opera, as an example, have joined together in numerous innovative projects with this goal in mind. But all of our arts organizations must work toward a collaborative goal in order to ensure a long-term sustainable cultural economy that can address our economic challenges.

In this issue’s cover story, “Arts & Culture: Can We Sustain It? (Can we afford not to?),” In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh explores the challenges and strategies of the arts and cultural organizations as functioning economic entities, along with the sector’s significant contributions to our economy.

In the “Technology” feature, Don Rodriguez examines advances in tracking technology that is enabling businesses to increase efficiency and improve customer service but introduces challenges in human resources management. In the “Leadership” feature, Stephen Miles probes the subject of leadership style with input from corporate chiefs themselves as to what does and doesn’t work.

The “You Are Here: Worldwide Travel Guide” in this issue includes a look at the Valley’s upcoming arts season, with information about performances and venues. It also goes to more distant destinations, sharing where to go and what to do for winter recreation in nearby states, how to enjoy the holidays in New York City, and what experiences await in the city of Dubai.

With an eye for the angle that matters to the businessperson, In Business Magazine consistently provides information on a broad spectrum of issues and topics. It is with pleasure that I welcome you to this issue of In Business Magazine.

Sincerely,

Jim Ward
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Phoenix Symphony

President and CEO of The Phoenix Symphony, Jim Ward is also a venture partner in the venture capital firm Alsop Louie Partners, focused on early-stage evernet/cloud computing start-ups.

Previously, as president of LucasArts and senior VP of Lucasfilm, Ltd., he led the business growth of the video game company.

Ward has served as chairman of the Entertainment Software Association and, as an executive producer, was nominated for an Emmy in 2007. Recognized as one of Advertising Age’s Top 100 Marketers, among other honors, he is active in area chambers of commerce.

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