Unscripted. Unstaged. Mirjana Galovich.

Unscripted. Unstaged. is an interview series from Laura Murray Public Relations that speaks with fascinating artists, advocates, administrators, and other individuals who keep the Canadian artistic community visible, viable, and vibrant.
This week we spoke with Mirjana Galovich, currently the Executive Director, Marketing & Communications, at the Banff Centre. Her work experience in arts marketing, communications, and development is vast and impressive, having worked with numerous organizations, including Ballet BC, The Arts Club Theatre, Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver Museum, and BCAMA – to name but a few…

Q: Let’s say we run into each other at a party – how would you introduce yourself?


If at a private party, I’d introduce myself with just my name. Depending on the situation and people around me, I’d soon tell them that I am passionate about: arts, beauty, love, friendship, harmony, good manners, dance and music, big futurist ides, spirituality…but if at the ‘networking, schmoozing’ party I’d add that I am a maximizer who turns organizations into Bigger, Better, Better Known and More Profitable entities. From this response, people are then usually interested in learning HOW I do it.


Q: If we checked your nightstand, what books would we find you reading right now?


I am currently re-reading “The Ten Faces of Innovation” by IDEO’s co-founder Tom Kelly; “First break all the rules – what the world’s greatest managers do differently” by my idol and management guru, Marcus Buckingham; “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins, and, of course, the new VOGUE magazine!


Q: If we checked your computer, what favourite sites would be bookmarked?


FastCompany; Who’s blogging What; HubSpot; Huffington Post; Museum 2.0 Blog; LaPlaca Cohen NY; and many more.


Q: How did you come to do what you do – was there a defining moment you can tell us about?


It all happened organically and naturally. I started as a journalist and arts critic back in the late 80s and early 90’s in the newsroom of the National TV network in former Yugoslavia. After moving to Canada my first contracts were with big international conferences, such as the International AIDS Conference and InterAction Council (a body comprised of the international former Presidents and Heads of State), then came OXFAM Canada, the Ministry of Multiculturalism, and others. One day, while at CBC TV, I job-shadowed Peter Grainger, an arts reporter at the time (he is now with CTV). We went to the Symphony and I was intrigued by a woman who seemed to be organizing everything for Peter and liaisoning with the orchestra. “Who is she and what is she doing?” I asked Peter. “She is a Publicist,” he replied. A few BCIT courses, many bought drinks and lunches later, I got my big break in arts publicity with the Playwright Theatre and Peter Hinton (the current head of English Theatre at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa). I had a fantastic mentor in Jon Sttetner (the former Arts Club and Playhouse General Manager) who showed me the ropes in marketing, and from there, gradually, I became one of the best arts publicists and sought-after marketers in Vancouver. My clients ranged from small independent theatre and dance troupes to the Toronto International Arts Fair to Bard on the Beach, Ballet BC, Fringe and Chutzpah! Festivals, Dance Centre, Opera and Symphony – you name it and I did it.


I was always big on professional development and learning. I have attended a number of local, national and international marketing conferences over the years, became active as a Director on CPRS and BCAMA Boards of Directors, learned and consulted on audience development, business development and strategic marketing and branding; got passionate about leadership and organizational development, employee branding and the operational side of the business – this helped me develop a four-step organizational transformation process, which I applied to the Museum of Vancouver rebranding project. This project received the Canadian Museums Association’s award for ‘best management project.’


And that was a true pivotal moment. Transforming arts organizations into Bigger, Better, Better Known and More Profitable institutions is a true passion of mine. My system is a hybrid of organizational transformation, branding, marketing and organizational development. No marketing or branding campaign can be successful if it is not followed by a deep, simultaneous change inside the organization.


Q: When it comes to marketing, is there a particular campaign or a poster, advertisement, or promotion that made a significant impact or that stands out in your mind?


I did so many of them in the past 18 years…and few I still remember clearly. The big campaign I ran for the Playwright Theatre festival, including writing all the copy for TV and radio promos (Peter Hinton said they sounded like a best European opera!); as well as an extensive campaign for the Fringe Festival and one of the most exciting – the Museum of Vancouver’s campaign for the “Movers and Shapers” exhibit done in collaboration with Steven Cox of “Cause+Affect.”


Q: Lastly, what inspires you?


Change. Big ideas. Big thinkers. Finding out how to make something work on its optimal level. What makes someone or something successful. Reading. Still devouring all forms of art. Talking with people.


Categories: MPMG