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Holly Blondin, Michael Galanter, Nancy Polstein, and Marvin Webb
compiled by Elaine Bernstein

Current MBA students Holly Blondin, Marvin Webb and Nancy Polstein, and alumnus Michael Galanter (MBA’00) have stories to tell about their successful careers in the performing arts.

Holly Blondin

Holly Blondin began dance lessons at age four in the Flint (Michigan) Cultural Center, followed by voice lessons in the Center’s Music Program and an acting stint in the Flint Youth Theatre throughout high school. She went on to receive her BFA in Musical Theatre performance from Western Michigan University and studied graphic design at Parson’s New School of Design. Holly knew early on that discipline, pursuing what she loved most, and being part of a community that shared her passions would shape her life.

In 2003, Holly launched a small greeting card business, Holly Blondin Designs, at the National Stationery Show in NYC’s Javits Center. It was because of this experience that Holly decided to go to business school, and she chose Baruch because of its strong entrepreneurship program. Her goal is to give back to the arts by starting a business that would help professional artists gain business knowledge. She believes that helping artists to manage their money and careers will contribute to lifting the arts out of the non-profit sector and to building a stronger arts community. In her first semester at Baruch her business concept, ArtmeetBusiness, was accepted for the 2009- 2010 Baruch College & Merrill Lynch Entrepreneurship Competition. Her group did not walk away with the Grand Prize, but they did create a solid business plan and gained the knowledge needed to move forward.

Holly was Marketing Coordinator for Raandesk Gallery of Art and is currently Marketing Associate at The School at Steps at Steps on Broadway. These opportunities have solidified her plans to build a business that supports the arts community. As a creative artist with a professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations, and an anticipated MBA, Holly is ready to achieve her goals. Holly is a dual major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship and expects to graduate in December 2011.

Michael Galanter

Michael Galanter has made the transition from a career in the arts to a career in accountancy with aplomb. Success in both careers required ability, dedication, a clear sense of purpose, and lots of hard work.

In his first career as a Lyric Tenor, Michael came to international attention as the winner of The Rosa Ponselle International Competition’s Tullio Serafin Award and Critic’s Choice Award. After graduating from the Juilliard School, he performed extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and the Middle East. Operatic roles include Ferrando in Cosi fan Tutti, Camille in The Merry Widow, Alfredo in La Traviata, The Prince in Transformations, Cassio in Othello, Sucre in Simon Bolivar, The Wizard in Many Moons, Naraboth in Salome, and Romeo in Romeo et Julliette. In addition to his work in Grand Opera, Michael also interpreted numerous Gilbert & Sullivan characters, including the leading tenor roles in The Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore, The Mikado, The Gondoliers, H.M.S. Pinafore, Trial by Jury, and Iolanthe. Equally at home on the musical theater stage, he has appeared in West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Baby, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Sound of Music among others.

A popular concert and recital singer as well, Michael appeared with the Midland/Odessa Symphony, Savannah Symphony, Orquesta Nacional de Costa Rica, Virginia Symphony, Cairo Symphony, and the San Angelo Symphony.

In 2000, Michael graduated from Baruch College with an MBA in Accountancy as a member of the Jack Nash Honors Program. Michael started his “second career” as a summer associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers and then joined the Internal Audit department at SIAC – a subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange. Over the next four years, he advanced professionally to become a Principal Auditor, earning certifications as a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). In 2004, Michael joined the SIAC Finance Department as a Director, and then took over the Finance Decision Support function as a Managing Director for The New York Stock Exchange. Currently, Michael is a Vice President in the Corporate Audit Department at Broadridge Financial Solutions (BR). He also recently earned the title of Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Nancy Polstein

Nancy Polstein’s parents never had to wonder where she was as a teenager. If they couldn’t see her they could hear her. Nancy started playing drums in the seventh grade, and by high school was playing in rock, punk, and garage rock bands. She’s been playing steadily ever since adding country, blues and bluegrass bands to her expanding resume. Nancy has toured, recorded or played live with Cheri Knight (six-week national tour), the Silos, The Friggs, Palymyra Delran, Star City, Will Rigby, The Pillcrushers, The Fields, Spike PrIggen and The Bedsit Poets. Currently she performs/records with singer/songwriter J. Sherman Godfrey and rocker Paula Carino. Venues include The Mercury Lounge, Pianos, The Living Room, Tramps, Irving Plaza and small clubs in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn. Nancy started out studying classical percussion at Syracuse University, but found it too limiting and transferred to New York University where she could pursue a broader major in Music Industry and still continue to study performance theory. As opportunities to work with established “signed” artists increased, Nancy was in the envious position of having to decide whether to keep a day job or go into music full-time. She opted for a more structured lifestyle and has enjoyed a successful career with a company that does post-production work on commercials for high-end clients. Nancy decided to work in administrative and financial, rather than the creative side, so she could continue to play music at night. She has struck the right balance and happily has the stamina to make it all work. Nancy recognizes that playing drums is physically demanding. She admits “Every night is not going to be your best night, and you have to learn to forgive yourself. The number one thing is to enjoy yourself, because if you don’t then your band-mates and the audience won’t enjoy themselves either.” Nancy is undecided about her major. However, once she completes her MBA she plans to work with small businesses in her home borough of Brooklyn to help them set up financial systems for their operations.

Marvin Webb

Marvin Webb moved from Kansas City, Missouri to New York City in 1989, with “$500 dollars and a dream” to study at the Martha Graham Contemporary School of Modern Dance. Marvin’s 17-year career as a contemporary dancer and choreographer is remarkable in that he was never between jobs in the profession that he loved. Marvin had a bumpy start when he was placed in the lowest level class at the Martha Graham School (the class intended for injured dancers), but he found his focus and was later invited to join the group’s “second company,” which tours the U.S. Marvin later moved on to dance and tour (40 states and 30 countries) with other choreographers in the New York City area, mostly performing at the Joyce Theater and St. Marks Church, both major venues for modern dance. He then went on to the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange outside of Washington, D.C. while being involved in choreographic commissions and solo performances which became a significant part of Marvin’s lengthy career. Marvin completed his MFA at New York University, which he says turned him into an artist in the fullest sense. Marvin adheres to certain fundamental propositions which he learned early on: it is important to pursue what makes you happy; doing what you love is not a nine-to-five proposition; nothing lasts forever. He also learned that to thrive in the arts you need to be resilient and entrepreneurial. Marvin explains that “creating something from nothing is something I have done over and over in my life. I believe any goal, even the seemingly impossible, is attainable as long as the end point is known. The milestones are created by working backwards and then attaining a grasp of each step along the way. Liz Lerman referred to milestones as flashes of brilliance. I call them mini-goals. When Liz created new works she gave us choreographic assignments. She’d say, “It’s 1710; you’re on a ship going to a new land; several shipmates have perished; you’ve not seen land for weeks; food is running out; I’ll give you 30 minutes to make something.” I set up mini-goals: visualize movement(s) I could not physically do; break each movement down as my mind’s eye saw it; mold the movement to my body; and investigate tempos. The company considered me the ‘prolific’ one as they depended on me to design large, detailed movement phrases in an instant with little or no instruction.” At Liz Lerman, Marvin became involved in running the company. This segued into working with an organization that advises foundations on fund-raising for LGBTQ issues. His next career move is to work in human resource management with an emphasis on training and staff development, once he completes his MBA with a dual major in Organizational Behavior/HRM and Marketing.