Talking to strangers, and making new friends. - Ep. 3

My wife Helen and I often take walks downtown to get out of the house and learn a bit more about the city we live in.  On one of these walks, we passed by a normally closed storefront and were greeted by people inside waving us in.  Right through the huge picture window, two people were gesturing to us to come and join them, like friends at a busy bar saving us a stool.  Surprise, they’re open!  To my excitement, and Helen’s curiosity, we entered the store that was only open on Wednesdays.

After clearing an old rolled up newspaper from the door handles, we stepped out of the cold and into the warm retail arm of Riverview Gardens.  We all chatted a bit about what we do and what we believe.  One of the people there was a guy named Paul.  He was nice enough to listen to what I had to say, and offered an introduction to someone who would be a good person to meet.  Early the next week, Paul sent an email introducing me to Jean Detjen, the Executive Director of Northeast Wisconsin Arts Association (NEWAA).

The next time someone told me that I really need to meet Jean was at a local pop-up art event called The Artery organized by Pulse Young Professionals Network.  It was there that I met Jamison Glisczinski, who I interviewed in the previous post.  After a few minutes of talking to Jamison, he told me that I should really be talking to Jean Detjen, and gave me her card.  It isn’t everyday that someone gives me Jean’s business card, but it is becoming more common.

As you’ll see in the video, both Jean, and her business partner Greg Kinley (NEWAA’s Director of Operations) are on a mission to help artists.  It wasn’t until editing the video that I put two and two together and started to understand why people were telling me to seek out Jean; we have similar missions.

Within a couple of hours after the interview with Jean and Greg, my brother called to see how things were going.  Not expecting his call, I quickly hit record on my computer to capture the moment.  It was nice to share with him all of the really interesting and positive connections that I am starting to see.

It is obvious that Jean and Greg are passionate about what they are doing at NEWAA.  And, it’s refreshing to meet people who just get what you are doing, without explanation.  That understanding helps the conversation flow to more active verbs to determine what we can actually do to help with our missions.

What isn’t obvious, is what those action verbs will turn out to be.  This is the part of the process that I find myself in, understanding the problems by talking to the people who have them, so that I can better pick and test the solutions.

I’ve been asking everyone I talk to if there is anyone they think I should contact.  So far, they have all had a few people on their list, and quite often that person is Jean.

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