by Juliet Izon
They are the news makers, the go-getters, and the style setters, working in front of the cameras and behind the scenes to make Philadelphia a better place to live and work. In their own words, nine of the city’s most influential women talk about their challenges, triumphs, and future plans.
Anne Ewers is president and CEO of the Kimmel Center, Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater. Whether with Broadway or jazz, she’s working to hit the right notes.
Definition of power:
The ability to inspire others, to embrace the vision, and then to work together toward its achievement.
I’ve always had one, if not two, sometimes three, mentors at a time, for different purposes. I feel very strongly about the value and importance of having mentors and actually being a mentor. I would say the most influential was Lotfi Mansouri. He was the general director of the San Francisco Opera and was my mentor for close to 30 years.
From the day I started, in July 2007, to April 2008, we were able to retire a $30 million construction debt, build an endowment from $40 million to $72 million, and garner a $10 million gift to start our festival. And we closed the season in the black with a $1.6 million surplus. So we’ve been busy. I’ve had plenty of other successes at the Kimmel Center, but I would say that is the greatest. It made such a difference in the way the city perceived the Kimmel Center after that. It was like a cloud was lifted from management and from the board.
About the arts:
I believe that we are feeding people’s souls. You can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have something that inspires you, that lifts you up, that takes you to a new realm, that helps you connect to your inner self in a way…. I just don’t think without the arts that is possible. The vision for the Kimmel Center is transforming lives daily through the arts. We’ve thought about that for a long time. Whose life are we transforming? It’s everyone. It’s the person on stage, the staff member who’s working here, it’s the little kid who comes into the plaza and looks up and sees that fabulous glass art.
Words to live by:
To me, the word “no” just means a longer time getting to “yes.”
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