Hello SLP blog readers,
Yesterday was our “SLP arts and culture day.” We were all looking forward to our tours of the Polk County Museum of Art and the Polk Theater, as well as a viewing of The People Who Live There. We started our day off with some Uncle Nick’s breakfast sandwiches and a unique talk from Stacy Campbell-Domineck, the President and CEO of CareerSource Polk.
Stacy spoke primarily about her career path, and the preconceived notions she’s overcome along the way. The primary example was her experience as the newly hired CEO. She explained that she was hired in September and by December was ready to hand in her resignation. So, what happened? Her board realized that she just was not like her predecessor. Stacy did things differently. This didn’t just have to do with the fact that she was an African American woman from Mississippi. There were age gap and management style issues.
Eventually, some of the board members resigned, but this opened opportunities for new companies and leaders to join the CareerSource board. The point was, at the end of the day, you can say that older people are “all work-no play” or that younger people are “lazy,” but these descriptions are so negative that they’re useless. Stacy encouraged us to think about diversity in the workplace not as something that needs to be uncomfortably addressed, but as a tool for success. She didn’t just focus on cultural diversity either. She told the story of an unlikely team in their finance department and how an older White woman quickly developed a mentor-mentee relationship with a young Mexican intern that helped them both grow professionally. The ultimate takeaway was that through open-minded collaboration, diversity can turn from something that trips you up in the workplace, to an asset for the company.
After Stacy’s presentation, the participants carpooled to the Polk Museum of Art. There, we saw first-hand some of the new exhibits. The museum changes their presentations every 3-6 months and builds them from a combination of its private collection, donors, and collaborations with other museums. Our docent emphasized the “open to interpretation” nature of art, and the quality of our museum and its curator, Dr. Alex Rich. Last session we heard from Dr. Rich, and he highlighted the relationship between the museum and our community. It’s an amazing asset and wouldn’t be possible without the support of Lakeland’s philanthropic spirit.
That spirit, as well as the fundraising efforts of the museum, has manifested in plans for in a 14,000 square foot expansion that is sure to draw even more people from the Central Florida region to Lakeland.
After our tours of the museum itself, everyone made their way over to the historic Polk Theatre. It’s undergoing repairs right now, but we were lucky enough to get in for a tour. We heard all about its history, how it’s played into the growth of the city, and what sort of programs it runs today. As I learned more about the history of the theatre, I felt like my appreciation for it grew. Funnily enough, that was a key theme of the documentary we watched when we arrived back at Catapult, The People Who Live There.
The film provided a look into what makes the city of Lakeland unique as viewed through the lense of the families that occupy its historic homes. The documentary highlighted all of SLP’s points of emphasis. Lakeland’s a big town, but not too big. There’s art, there’s community, and most importantly there’s opportunity. After viewing the documentary, we got the opportunity to hear from one of the filmmakers Campbell Rice and one of the film’s producers Paige Wagner. They spoke about how they came up with the idea, the process of developing the documentary, and what’s next for them. Paige is a real estate agent focusing specifically on historic homes, and she talked about how it helps to literally “buy-in” to your community. Paige and Campbell make it a priority to have “relational equity” with their city. They said that if you pour into your city, it will pour back into you.
After hearing Campbell talk a little bit about the blooming art community here in Lakeland, we had the oppourtunity to hear from one of the city’s more recognizable artists, Bump Galletta
Bump is a professional illustrator that has made his career out of creating minimalist art of, and for, Lakeland. Bump is a self-proclaimed super extrovert, and it’s how he’s gotten so many of his opportunities. If he’s at a market or pop-up, he says he’s always introducing himself, being kind, and getting to know the people he’s talking to. Especially in a city like Lakeland, this is how you can make connections and create chances for yourself to succeed. Aside from the business side of Bump’s art, he told us a little about his story. 5 years ago, he was in a life-changing cycling accident, but without that having happened, he never would have worked towards quitting his day job and doing art full time. What started as therapy for one of the worst things that’s ever happened to him, has turned into his life’s work.
After Bump’s presentation our tour of the Joker Marchant Stadium was rained out, so SLP ended a bit early, but we met back up at Catapult for our social – the Lake Mirror history tour. We learned all about the birth of the city, as well as the development of Lakeland’s “first civic center.” Our tour guide was excellent, and I learned so much, especially about the tunnels that may or may not exist underneath the Lake Mirror arches.
Next week will be a bittersweet one, but I’m looking forward to telling you all about our Industry Day and graduation ceremony.
Until next time,