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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"This is exactly how theatre artists are able to incite change."

Leah Canel '21 | Arts Entrepreneurship Major | Theatre

Hometown | Highland Park, IL

As a student who spends most of her time pursuing theatre studies and how I can use theatre as a forum for social change, I have very limited formal background in software, start-ups or business. So, I was very intimidated to fly to California and be an active participant in the core curriculum of this program.

My biggest challenge in the first couple sessions of this course was overcoming a crippling fear that my questions would expose my lack of knowledge in the specific fields of the presenters and label me unfit for this type of program. However, as I listened to the largely successful entrepreneurs disclose stories of their own personal insecurity and struggles, and credit courage and grit to their success, I quickly realized how ridiculous it was to hold back my questions. When I felt liberated from this irrational fear, I was able to ask clarifying questions and was shocked at the number of connections I was able to make between the work of the presenters and my studies at Lehigh.

For example, today at his company Bullpen Capital, Venture Capitalist Paul Martino clarified the business model of identifying a market need and then navigating how to best meet that need in a way that is cost efficient and effective, even if that means taking an unusual approach. In fact, we learned the value of going off the beaten path through his example and subsequent successes. This is exactly how theatre artists are able to incite change. They recognize a lack of awareness or conversation about important themes and topics and create pieces that spark awareness and discussion to meet the need. This experience has not only changed my confidence to capitalize on the information I do know, and use it to boldly seek the answers that might surprise me.

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