Why I Invest
I invest time writing customer service and sales training programs. Why? Because the payoff is that my customers will be well serviced. I invest time in developing products that reflect the Kennedy Center. Why? Because those are the proprietary products that support our mission and can produce additional margins. I invest time in writing a business plan and a retail mission. Why? I need to constantly be thinking strategically about where we should be each year and planning for change instead of reacting to change. I invest time in myself by being an active and participating member of MSA. Why? Because any investment in me will ultimately benefit where I work.
MSA has provided a support network of colleagues. I know I can reach out to anyone at any time and receive an answer to my burning questions or help with a problem. Over the years I have used information I’ve gained through my MSA experience to build a case for supporting Made in the USA product and also to intelligently explain why I cannot always purchase every item in the USA. I have used MSA benchmarks to build a brand new museum store in two institutions. I have learned what UBIT is and through MSA colleagues was introduced to one of the best minds in the tax industry (IMHO) to help me create a solid plan.
I am very excited that MSA will be offering certification and certificate programs because these are additional investments that I can make in myself. I have been with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and now the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts—and always an MSA member investing in myself. The Museum Store Association understands that the investment has always been in me. The association creates opportunities for professionals, whether they are online in the form of webinars or ShopTalk, or in person attending a chapter meeting or annual conference.
Reach out to your colleagues, join the conversation online, get involved, look into the new certificate program, invest in yourself. It might be the best investment you ever make!
By Barbara Lenhardt
President, MSA Board of Directors
Director of Operations, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts