Mozart wrote his concerto for two pianos for himself and his sister. Michelle and Christina Naughton, who will play the piece with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, are related even more closely than the composer and his sister. They are identical twins. Michelle is eight minutes older than Christina.
The Naughtons perform the Mozart Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 365 in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22.
The performances mark a homecoming. The Naughton sisters were born in Princeton in 1988.
They also mark an anniversary. Rossen Milanov, who conducts the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in an all-Mozart program and selected Mozart’s K. 365 Concerto for the event, is celebrating his 10th year as PSO musical director.
Michelle was available for a telephone interview with U.S. 1. K. 365 is a special piece for the Naughtons, as well as for Milanov. Milanov conducted the pianists’ Philadelphia Orchestra debut in this piece.
The piece presents similar material for both pianists, Michelle reports. “There is no big difference in terms of complexity,” she says. “Choosing the part to perform is as simple as drawing straws or tossing a coin.”
“The piece has a sibling-like rivalry,” she adds. “It’s a type of conversation, and it’s interesting to guess what Mozart wrote for himself and what he wrote for his sister.”
“The interplay with the orchestra,” she says, “is really a spontaneous collaboration between the pianos and the orchestra. The possibilities for different colors and timbres are enormous.”
Michelle is enthusiastic about playing for the first time with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. “It’s like getting to know new friend for the first time,” she says. “We’ve already worked on the music separately. I expect a big bonding experience as we get to know each other and to find out what we can do together. It will be a new experience — coming together in a new hall, with a new ensemble. There will be a lot of give and take.”
Michelle is conscious that performing as a duo has several advantages for herself and her sister. Thinking of the loneliness of long trips, the first item she lists is “traveling together.”
Then, turning to the evolution of the duo’s history, she cites other pluses. First on her list is “enjoying playing together.” That enjoyment, she believes, leads to “spontaneity while performing.”
“That spontaneity,” she says, “takes a long time to develop. It takes a huge amount of preparation. For us it’s one of the rewards of getting to know each other very well musically.”
When I ask her about the impact of being twins on the spontaneity of the duo, she says, “I ask myself that same question. Maybe it’s having the same training. Maybe it’s having been together throughout our training.”
Then she decisively adds, “But maybe it’s that being twins, we were together a great deal of the time and came to understand each other quite well, often in ways that are not comprehensible. Maybe familiarity saves a lot of rehearsal time.”
And maybe, she adds, familiarity avoids some disagreements when performers plan a program.
Disagreements between the Naughtons are in the moment and evolve into unanimity, Michelle says. “One of us sometimes feels something that the other doesn’t. It’s a matter of individuality. When we finally agree, it’s likely to be something that neither of us suggested originally. Preparing a work is a journey into the unfamiliar. After spending hours trying to figure things out,” she admits, “we really don’t know how we reached decisions.”
“Selecting repertoire is always fun,” she says. “When we’re putting together a recital, we act as if we were putting a meal together. We think about the order of the components and how they fit together.”
“We think of it from the point of view of listeners and consider the themes and the links between pieces. We look into the emotions in pieces from different musical periods. We plan as if it were a journey. Quite likely, the audience is unaware of how we put a program together. We do not expect listeners to be conscious of our process.”
In performance the Naughtons shift roles, Michelle says. “It’s not a matter of leader and follower. We look at a score together and a leader and follower emerge. Who takes the lead depends on the situation. It’s an ongoing dialogue that depends on the music. It gradually becomes clear to us who that should be. I can’t describe it in words. Our rehearsals have an intuitive quality.”
In their daily practice, they sometimes disagree before deciding about details of performance, Michelle says. Their daily disagreements tend to be about pedaling, articulation, and voicing.
Michelle, presumably speaking for both sisters, considers performance “a conversation without words.” Indeed, she says, “Music can express more than words do.”
Trained as soloists at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute and New York’s Juilliard School, the Naughtons have performed separately as well as together. “We have the same size hands,” Michelle notes.
When the sisters perform on one piano, Michelle reports, Christina prefers playing the bass part. And Michelle often lets her take the lower part.
Michelle and Christina, now 31 and based in New York City, were born in Princeton when their father, Jeffrey, was a faculty member at Princeton University. The twins were one-year-old when their father joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Naughtons started piano at age four. Their mother, Shirley, a high school mathematics teacher, was their first piano instructor and taught each of them separately. Michelle and Christina began playing together when they were in high school, Michelle says. “We didn’t think of it earlier,” she notes.
“Music was always a family thing,” Michelle explains. “Both parents love music and wanted to share it with us. Our father, a computer guy, would drive us to lessons, and our mother came along.”
Their ethnic background is mixed. Their mother, who grew up in Wisconsin, is of Chinese ethnicity. Their father’s background is primarily Irish. “I call myself Chi-rish,” Michelle adds. “We’re American, you know.”
They have no other siblings. “It’s hard to know if we have special connections because of being twins,” Michelle says. “I grew up as a twin and never experienced anything else.”
And what would she have done if she hadn’t become a pianist? I ask. And she replies, “Wished to become pianist.”
All Mozart, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. Saturday, September 21, 8 p.m., and Sunday, September 22, pre-concert talk at 3 p.m. and concert 4 p.m. $10 to $100. 609-497-0020 or www.princetonsymphony.org.
Emily Mann’s “Gloria: A Life” has so many intersecting and overlapping facets, the play, also directed by Mann for Princeton’s McCarter Theater, needs to be reviewed from several perspectives, as if it were a cubist painting.
Let’s start with the piece’s structure, a work of genius on Mann’s part.
The Gloria whose life is examined is Gloria Steinem, who first established a reputation in the silent, lonesome profession of writing but made her name as a firebrand speaker, rallier, lobbyist, and spokeswoman for Women’s Liberation.
Mann, charged with blending biography with achievement, takes a mostly linear approach but jettisons the standard narrative for a tone and atmosphere that comes straight from Steinem’s milieu. The overall impression is of series of gatherings, from intimate circle caucuses to full-blown demonstrations, in which Steinem hones and delivers her rhetoric while speaking, between slogans and aphorisms, about how she arrived to some of her conclusions and how experience deepened and sharpened her message.
It’s a remarkable feat, exposing the life, thoughts, and public evolution of a known figure in the exact style that generated that figure’s fame.
We see Steinem as we remember her, tying complex thoughts into four-word phrases, motivating women and others seeking redress from undue restraint and authority with rousing speeches, and employing style and wit many of her colleagues lacked or eschewed as immaterial.
Steinem, portrayed by the inviting, involving Mary McDonnell, is present in all of her liveliness and immediacy. The McCarter audience is often treated as a Steinem audience, prompted to applaud and show cheering approval. The magic part about this is the shilling never irritates. Steinem, via McDonnell, rouses folks, gets their juices going, starts their minds racing, and earns the effect that, in many circumstances, would backfire by seeming thick or coercive.
Steinem/McDonnell — they become interchangeable — state that a purpose of “Gloria: A Life” is to provoke thought and conversation for days, and my bet is they’ll succeed. (The person I saw it with called me twice the next day with revelations and points of insight that continued a conversation that began at show’s end and lasted through an ice cream stop and a 35-mile ride home.)
McDonnell puts a charge in McCarter’s air. She and six castmates create both energy and controversy. The challenges, ideas, and calls for action Steinem brings forth create excitement bordering on electricity whether you agree with everything spouted or not.
Rhetoric is another of the facets.
“Gloria: A Life” reveals a lot. Facts and statistics are bruited as often as opinions, sometimes to provide information or shore up opinions. The relationship between women’s issues and those of minorities, particularly female minorities, Native Americans, and immigrants is clearly and frequently made. Mann and Steinem are both intent on stating that social subjugation and the denial of equality do not operate in a vacuum or touch a single segment of the populace.
Their arguments are interesting, at times arresting. Mann even finds ways to vary issues so all complaints and proposed solutions do not sound the same.
The rhetoric plays for the duration of the piece. Momentum and a perceptible audience will to support Steinem give her points of view the field — and the day.
A downside of that is facts may be cut-and-dried, but what they mean to individuals might not be. An idea that is rational in some contexts could have tentacles that require subtlety or expanded discussion to cover every aspect.
“Gloria: A Life” assumes agreement. It declares more than it couches things in “I’m Gloria Steinem, and this is what I personally think.”
From the idea of presenting a biography in which Gloria Steinem is the subject, this makes dramatic sense.
At times, though, Mann comes off as being just as much an advocate as she is a playwright. Her piece leaves little breathing room for attitudes of “not so far,” “not so fast,” or “that isn’t the only consideration or the entire story.”
Watching “Gloria: A Life,” the tendency is to be so caught up in Steinem’s logic and the sincere crusade she wages, it seems small to withhold applause or radical to shake your head “no” at a Steinem maxim, but “Gloria’s” truth is not everyone’s truth or belief, even if one would not go as far as the depicted Phyllis Schlafly or some callers Steinem endures while on live radio and TV to voice their disdain. It’s Steinem speaking as Steinem, so it’s plausible to have a sense of absolutism prevail. That may excuse, but it doesn’t totally relieve occasional feelings that force-feeding is afoot.
Theatricality is non-stop and abundant. Perfectly chosen projections underscore and illustrate the stadium feeling McDonnell and company create on stage. Mann, as director, has provided much for the eye and ear to take in. Her production moves as much as it is moving.
“Gloria: A Life” has no firm intermission, but it has a “second act,” in which people from the audience become a circle caucus and offer personal stories that expound on what they heard and saw. On opening night, the scripted section was stronger, but some stray comments from the house hit home.
Mary McDonnell is wonderful as Steinem, exuding Steinem’s intellect and the enthusiasm. She is abetted by six who play dozens of characters: Patrena Murray, Brenda Withers, Gabrielle Beckford, Mierke Girten, Erika Stone, and Eunice Wong. Murray is a constant conscience for the piece, Girten a hilarious Bella Abzug, and Stone an inspiring Wilma Mankiller. Beautiful rugs and chests assembled by set designer Amy C. Rubin and perfect costumes by Jessica Jahn enhance Mann’s production.
Gloria: A Life, McCarter Theater, 91 University Place, Princeton. Through October 6, Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday (and Wednesday, October 2), 2 p.m. $25 to $95. 609-283-2782 or www.mccarter.org.
When my dining companion and I stopped by The Deck restaurant in New Hope, Pennsylvania, for lunch on a recent Tuesday afternoon, the last thing we thought we’d need was a reservation. As it turned out, the place was jam-packed with diners, and the reason soon became clear.
Seconds after our gracious host escorted us to the last available table for two, our enthusiastic server, Sonia, inquired whether we were attending the matinee performance of “Mamma Mia!,” set to begin in an hour. When we assured her we weren’t, we were left to peruse the menu at a leisurely pace while staff scurried about to ensure that ticket-holding patrons would make the 2 o’clock curtain.
That gave us plenty of time to survey the decor as well. The Deck makes a great first impression. Part of a multi-million-dollar renovation/reconstruction of the venerable Bucks County Playhouse and surrounding property, its barn-red board and batten cladding on the interior and exterior carries through from the playhouse and references its first transformation from an 18th-century grist mill to its debut as a performance space in 1939.
The interior fittings and finishes make effective use of industrial-style materials, such as exposed ductwork and polished concrete floors, strategically accented with natural wood. The inviting bar to the left as you enter offers casual dining at the bar or a scattering of high-top tables. A bank of monitors over the bar displayed various sporting events, while a strategically placed piano stood ready and waiting for live entertainment in the evening.
In the main dining room metal-framed rollup doors along the wall facing the river display the postcard view of the Delaware River, Lambertville, and of course the bridge connecting the two towns. Dark wood metal-framed chairs, matching tables, ceiling in shades of gray, and industrial-style lighting all work together to craft an impression of quality and thoughtful design.
One aspect of a restaurant that concerns many diners is the noise level in the dining room. Despite the abundance of hard surfaces, a background playlist that seemed to be drawn from popular juke-box musicals and a dining room filled to capacity, conversation between diners at a reasonable volume was perfectly possible, thanks perhaps in part to the discreet sound-absorbing panels attached to the ceiling.
The well-structured menu in the main dining room, served throughout the day, is divided into an eclectic mix at a range of price points. “Snacks” include fried peanuts (lime, cilantro, shallots, and sea salt) priced at $7 and a Charcuterie Board offered for $16. “Grains + Greens” include a Garden Greens salad ($7) and a Laughing Bird Shrimp Waldorf (roasted grape, walnut, grilled pear, butter lettuces, cider + honey yogurt) for $16. The “Seasonal Plates” section offers more substantial fare, including a Grilled Grass-Fed Hanger Steak served with mashed Yukon potatoes, Bearnaise, and “roots-to-river vegetables” and priced at $32.
We chose gazpacho served with a toasted crouton and intensely flavored with roasted tomato, followed by the Chicken Paillard BLT on toasted sourdough and a surprisingly tasty (to this carnivore) “Beyond Burger” veggie burger from the “Picnic” section of the menu. Carrying through with the industrial theme, a mini deep-fryer basket contained a mini Mason jar filled with a spicy mayo-based dressing and a mini clay flower pot heaped with hot, crisped herb fries, and excellent slaw was included for good measure. A Nutella & Dark Chocolate Brownie (candied red beet, Bent Spoon vanilla bean ice cream) reminded us that the diet starts … any day now.
As 2 p.m. approached, we soon had the dining room virtually to ourselves, watching a Dragon Boat glide along the Delaware River as the hoard of sated diners shuffled enthusiastically through the doors and to the theater.
The Deck Bar and Restaurant, 70 South Main Street, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, noon to midnight, and Sundays, noon to 8:30 p.m. 267-270-2989 or www.playhousedeck.com
Stella by Jose Garces
Just across the courtyard along the riverside promenade from the Bucks County Playhouse and the Deck restaurant, you’ll find Stella by Jose Garces, the newest project of his Garces Group.
Since he opened his first restaurant, Amada, in Philadelphia in 2005, Chef Garces has firmly established his credentials as a James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author, and entrepreneur. And the Garces Group operates restaurants across the country. If you’re still not impressed, Chef Garces is one of eight American chefs to have earned the title Iron Chef from the reality/cooking competition program of the same name.
Perhaps equally impressive is the look and feel of Stella (the restaurant is named after the rescue pit bull of the movers and shakers behind the playhouse project, Kevin and Sherri Daugherty). Although the exterior is decked out in the same barn-red board and batten cladding as the playhouse and the Deck restaurant, the interior is fitted out in a bespoke yet understated style in keeping with Stella’s loftier culinary aspirations and with the upscale accommodations offered by the Ghost Light Inn, a boutique hotel offering 12 rooms in the same building and three additional rooms in an adjacent carriage house.
Although the venue has been in somewhat stealth soft-opening mode since the beginning of summer, it is now in full operation and has clearly been discovered; reservations well in advance are a must.
Chef Garces happily responded to my emailed questions prior to my visit to Stella:
What makes New Hope and the Bucks County Playhouse promenade a good fit for a Garces restaurant?
“We think that our hospitality and creative take on classic American fare using some of the best local ingredients fits in nicely with the gorgeous surroundings.”
What was your approach to designing the menu for Stella?
“Our approach was to use American regional cuisine as the inspiration. The landscape of American cuisine is so vast and varied, that it opened the door to a lot of different flavors and techniques.”
How would you describe the experience a first-time guest at Stella can expect?
“Depending on the season the views would change, but a first-time guest would experience the restaurant as a welcoming spot nestled into the riverside. There are also two fireplaces, inside and outside, that really adds to the vibe.”
What will guests at other Garces venues find familiar at Stella? What may surprise them?
“Across all Garces restaurants, the attention to detail on our dishes shines brightly. Our small plate format will be familiar to all of our guests, and we encourage sharing. In terms of a surprise, the first thing that came to mind is our spaghetti pie dish — it’s a take on an American classic that’s a baked spaghetti casserole.”
Now a visit. Stella’s main dining room shows a decidedly upscale, modern, industrial look and feel. There’s seating for 16 at the well-stocked bar on tall black wrought iron stools covered with persimmon hued upholstery.
Several long communal tables in the center of the dining space each seat another 16 or so on intimately spaced stools. Comfortably-spaced two-tops line the wall, and cleverly joined church pews form banquette-style seating.
The menu is organized into “Spreads” that include Smoked Eggplant & Pepper ($6) and Duck Liver Mousse ($8), “Small Plates” such as a salad of local lettuces ($11) and Maryland Peekytoe Crab ($18), and “Vegetables and Grains” like Asparagus Milanese ($12) and Spaghetti Pie ($18). “Meat and Fish” offerings range from Chicken and Dumplings ($19) to Wagyu Skirt Steak ($32).
Portions are reasonably sized and prices are fair value considering the quality of the decor, the quality of the preparations, and the reputation of Chef Garces. Sharing with dining companions is the way to go here.
One word of caution; diners on a strict budget should note that the well-curated wine list is priced in keeping with the upscale surroundings. The wine offerings on Stella’s website at the time this article was prepared included only one bottle priced below $50 (a rose from Provence at $45) and ranged up to a Signorello Estate 2014 cabernet sauvignon from Napa at $300, with a number of offerings in the $50 to $70 range.
That said the combination of setting, decor, cuisine, and the buzz that an accomplished celebrity chef brings to the table can make dining at Stella a stellar experience.
Stella by Jose Garces, 50 South Main Street, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. to midnight, and Sundays, 4 to 11 p.m. $20 valet parking available. 267-740-7131 or www.stellanewhope.com
Kelsey Theater holds auditions for “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, from noon to 4 p.m. Auditions will be held on the Mercer County Community College West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road. Auditions will consist of singing and dancing. Bring a photo, resume, and completed conflict calendar. Performers must be ages 7 to 18. Performance dates are Friday through Sunday, February 28 and 29 and March 1, 2020. For information contact Melissa Gaynor at email@example.com. To register for an audition visit www.kelseyatmccc.org.
Call for Vendors
Bordentown Elks #2085 Women’s Auxiliary seeks crafters and vendors for its Craft & Vendor Show to be held Saturday, November 16, at the Bordentown Elks, 11 Amboy Road, Bordentown. An eight-foot table is $35. Contact Rosemary at 609-915-6754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Princeton Mercer Chamber’s Women in Business Alliance and Stuart Country Day School are partnering to offer scholarships for 11 students to attend the NJ Conference for Women on Friday, October 25. The scholarship is open to young women currently in high school. Applicants must submit a 350-word essay detailing why they want to attend the conference and what women’s leadership means to them. Submission deadline is Friday, September 27, at 11:59 p.m. Visit www.njconferenceforwomen.com/scholarship.html.
Additionally, groups and residents are invited to participate in the Annual Scarecrow Contest on Saturday, October 26. Scarecrows must be made of at least 80 percent recycled materials and will be on view at the Community Center. To learn more and to register, go to www.ewinggreenteam.org/scarecrow-contest.
Call for Poetry
The Princeton Section of the American Chemical Society (PACS) is sponsoring the National Chemistry Week (NCW) Illustrated Poem Contest for students in kindergarten through eighth grades. Students must write and illustrate a poem that fits the 2019 NCW theme of “Marvelous Metals.” Prizes will be awarded for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. Winners will be announced at the NCW Activities Night at Princeton University on Friday, October 25. First place winners will advance to the ACS National Illustrated Poem Contest. Entries must be received by Friday, October 18 .Visit chemists.princeton.edu/pacs.
Leadership in today’s business environment requires not just responding to challenges but thinking strategically. That’s why Christian Rangen, a Norwegian business expert, specializes in teaching strategic thinking to business leaders.
Rangen will lead a strategic simulation workshop on Thursday, September 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Johnson Education Center at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, 1 Preservation Place in Princeton. Tickets start at $350. The event will present participants with unexpected challenges and familiarize them with modern tools of strategy and innovation. For more information, visit www.strategytools.io.
Rangen is the founder of Strategy Tools as well as Engage // Innovate, a global strategy and innovation consulting company. He is also a faculty member at a Norwegian business school and has consulted with companies and governments all over Europe.
Some of his work focuses on the idea of “Innovation Superclusters.” In a recently published paper, Rangen described how companies are collaborating with one another to innovate faster than ever before:
Over the past four years we have had a chance to work closely with policymakers, visionary governments, national transformation leaders, and innovation cluster leaders in Asia, Europe, and the Nordics. Our work has taken us to prime ministers, remote cluster outposts, and inside more than 40 innovation clusters, all intent on building new industries for the future. While the underlying principle of an innovation cluster largely remains the same, there is a small but growing category of larger, stronger, globally oriented clusters. We call them Innovation Superclusters.
The leader is a networker. Merete Daniel Nielsen was firm in her statement “the leader is a networker.” We were halfway into our conversation with Merete, as she repeated the statement. Merete, president of the global cluster network TCI and co-founder of Danish Cluster Excellence Denmark, has observed cluster leadership for over a decade. Working across the Danish and global cluster landscape, Merete has had a front row seat to the development over the past decade.
The leader, in any cluster today, is first and foremost a networker, a facilitator, and an influencer. Merete’s statement completely echoes our findings in interviews and observations.
As we shift from a company-based leadership perspective to a cluster-based leadership perspective, a fundamental shift occurs. The leader no longer holds the formal role of leadership, with its traits, perks, and formal decision-making authority. Instead, networked, influencing, and shaping become key traits. These findings also go far beyond the notion of servant leadership and challenge us to rethink how we describe leadership at the ecosystem and cluster level.
Cluster leadership is nothing like ordinary leadership. Arild sighed, with a big smile. As a long-time IBM sales manager, he had grown his leadership skills within IBM’s Big Data Analytics unit. With a deep passion for the intersection of technology, society, and healthcare, Arild had found a unique opportunity to build and lead the emerging cluster, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster. Under Arild’s leadership, the cluster had grown from a handful of companies and academically minded research projects to an internationally-oriented growth cluster with over 120 members and active business development projects in Europe and North America.
A thriving startup community, a growing investor network, successful market entry collaborations, and the Norwegian Smart Care Lab were some of the early wins for the cluster.
But one thing was clear in observing the rise of the smart care innovation cluster; leading and building an innovation cluster across sectors, domains, and stakeholder groups was nothing like traditional leadership in action.
Network, influence, and a razor-sharp member-focus were suddenly key drivers and key leadership traits for Arild and his team. (Initially, most members don’t know what an innovation cluster is or how they can benefit from it, so building a new innovation cluster from the ground up is a little bit like Henry Ford’s statement about customers and horses….)
From five to eight leadership levels. Long-time faculty and leadership expert Morten Emil Berg at BI Norwegian Business School is a national brand in the field of leadership. His books, easily accessible and focused on the reader (i.e. the leader), not fellow researchers, have underpinned the leadership development and training of thousands and thousands of Nordic leaders over the past 20 years.
Central in Berg’s writing are the five levels of leadership. Berg defines these as:
Visionary: the leader as shaper of the long-term vision, mission, and key cultural pillars of the company and its narrative internally and externally.
Strategic: the leader as a strategist, thinking ahead, seeing strategic moves, disruptive industry changes, and building new transformational business models for the future.
Administrative: the leader’s role in building processes, workflows, administrative systems, and internal policies.
Operational: the leader as a coach, people developer, and manager.
Self-Leadership: the leader’s ability to lead herself, manage time, handle pressure, use positive language, and deal with self-weaknesses.
Building on Berg’s framework, we find leaders in Innovation Clusters work across not five, but eight levels of leadership.
Visionary: The leader must build a large coalition of industry leaders, government leaders, politicians, ecosystem builders and unite them around a strong vision for the cluster. With the distributed decision making across cluster landscapes, the leader has to build a massively compelling vision to a large number of different stakeholders, all with different needs, wants, and agendas.
The visionary cluster leader will be able to unite these behind shared ambitions and shared problems they are trying to solve, problems that can only be solved by working together.
Networked: In our research we find all successful cluster leaders to emphasize the importance of the network and having access to the right networks. Either directly or through their key stakeholders (often the board of directors at the cluster level), the leader fully recognized the critical importance of working in and across personal networks to build and scale the cluster.
A great cluster leader will focus on building and expanding her personal network to cover both cluster members, policy makers, international partners, investment community, accelerators, national innovation agencies, and a number of organizational entities far outside the bounds of the cluster’s operational membership.
The chairman of an emerging global energy Supercluster spent the first six months of his role working in and across his personal network, rekindling relationships, connecting with fellow industry chairmen and CEOs to build interest and support for the emerging Innovation Supercluster.
Strategic: “A good cluster leader has to be strategic — always.” The statement came from the CEO of one of Norway’s largest innovation clusters. The cluster had a roadmap to 2050, with a target to 5X the industry’s value impact. To achieve this mission the CEO knew that strategic thinking, sensing the landscape across the entire industry, from CEOs, policymakers, educators, researchers, startups, investors, corporate innovators, and regulators, was of the outmost importance.
But with limited organizational resources, staff, and funding, a cluster CEO will always struggle with the balance between short-term and long-term focus. In our research we generally find that most cluster CEOs easily get sucked into a busy, operational role, neglecting or at least struggling with the strategic leadership role. This is a fundamental challenge that must be addressed by boards and national cluster programs.
A great cluster will develop a bottom-up long-term strategy, define strategic areas and targets, future business models (critical), KPIs, roadmaps, and a culture of execution at all levels.
Influential: How strong influence does the cluster leader have in her network? With hundreds of members, many of them industry CEOs, professors, and policymakers, the leadership role changes fundamentally from “boss” to “influencer.” Soft power, diplomacy, nudging, and invisible influence can be far more important than any formal decision making.
In our research we found that few cluster leaders were fully aware of this area, acting rather like they were operating within formal, hierarchical leadership structures. Our findings are very clear; they don’t.
Administrative: Fully in line with Berg’s writings, we find that the administrative leadership tasks simply “must get done” within the innovation clusters. Most leaders struggle through this, experiencing an overload of reporting, systems, and reviews, often caused by the financing and requirements by the national cluster programs. Surprisingly, a number of cluster leaders do not use the administrative supporting tools and reporting platforms, designed to ease their job.
Member-Focused: “We work to serve our members” is a common statement found in our interviews. While this is obviously true, it is also a dangerous trap to fall into. If the cluster leader overly spends his time and resources on serving the existing cluster members, he is unlikely to achieve the larger, strategic goals of the cluster.
A successful innovation supercluster will have hundreds of members, spread across capital, entrepreneurship, academia, industry, and government. Any leader, too member focused, will easily be running himself to the ground trying to please everyone.
The right Supercluster leader will focus on the architecture and structure, building an organization that can serve the members, not trying to do everything himself. This proves to be a challenge, as few clusters have a professional organizational model in place and understood across its key stakeholders.
Operational: In traditional companies, business units, departments, and teams, people are organized in a hierarchical and largely formal manner. We expect to find mostly full-time employees and clear manager-employee relationships.
This is not the case in most innovation clusters.
On average, an innovation cluster will often have a CEO and 3 to 4 employees.
In our data set, the range is from 0 full time employees to 45, with a single outlier with 85 employees.
With our definition of EC (Emerging Clusters), GC (Growth Clusters) and SC (Superclusters) we generally find 10 to 45 people in the Supercluster segments.
But we find that most cluster leaders lead, organize, and manage a large number of employees, interim staff, interns, part-time project managers, working groups, special projects, research initiatives, and business development groups.
While the number of formal employees tends to be small, the number of people and staff that fall under the operational management is large, and in some cases very large. This creates highly complex leadership structures and challenges.
In our interviews we find a clear and repeatable pattern that management has clearly shifted from hierarchies to managing ecosystems. Our observation is clearly, for clusters, the age of traditional hierarchical leadership is over.
Yet few cluster leaders have the tools, training, or deep understanding of how to navigate and succeed in this new world.
Self-Leadership: The importance of self-leadership has been on the rise since the 1980s. The ability to set goals, focus on personal performance, strength-based development, self-imposed positive psychology in practice, and a positive developmental belief system are all key pillars of self-leadership.
They also echo many of the criteria cluster leaders mention in their own talks about leadership and leadership challenges in clusters.
Many cluster leaders describe a situation where they mostly work alone, have to set their own goals and targets. They describe a situation of both being busy, but at the same time experiencing a sensation of everything taking much longer than expected. Despite having a large number of members, stakeholders, and board members, most describe a sensation of “working alone.”
These findings fall in the category of self-leadership, or rather leaders applying self-leadership to navigate their new leadership paradigms.
In our work we have been privileged to gain access to board rooms, national transformation leaders, cluster leaders, academics, and well-respected industry CEOs. Through observations, surveys, interviews, conversations, and reflections, we continuously attempt to make sense of new social structures. We believe a growing number of countries will move towards building innovation superclusters and national cluster programs. But we are also aware that the overall understanding of key leadership traits in these cluster structures is generally low to non-existing. Rather, a traditional, top-down, hierarchical mindset is applied to what fundamentally requires a new perspective on leadership.
In our work, and in collaboration with leading academics and experts in the field from California to Copenhagen, from Singapore to Vienna, we hope to contribute to an emerging understanding how we develop a generation of new leaders, leaders who naturally thrive and succeed in the age of ecosystems, networks and Innovation Superclusters.
Keith Bogen, human resources expert, has gotten multiple jobs and countless clients over the course of his career, but hasn’t gotten a single one of those from responding to an Internet listing since 1995. That’s all due to the power of networking, which he does all the time: even outside of work, even at his kids’ Little League games. He says job seekers should even network when going out with friends for a beer after work.
“Most jobs are networking, that’s no secret,” he says. “Eighty percent of jobs are found because you know somebody, not because you applied for something online.”
Bogen will lead a workshop at the Professional Service Group meeting on Friday, September 20, from 9:45 a.m. to noon at the Princeton Public Library. For more information on the free event, visit www.psgofmercercounty.org. His presentation will cover how to network not only for the job you want, but for the next one after that, and the one after that.
“The person who can get you the next job is virtually guaranteed not to be the same person who can make the connection for the next job down the road,” he says. “The lifespan of a job now is two or three years, if you’re lucky. You’re going to be looking for a job pretty soon.” That’s the difference between networking for a job and networking for a career.
Bogen’s strategy when networking counteracts some commonly given advice. “Many job search experts want you to target certain companies, or target certain industries,” he says. “I think that’s wrong and dangerous. By targeting, yeah, you might talk to some people who may be helpful, but you’re going to miss out on other people who may be helpful.” Instead, Bogen recommends networking all the time, even when not at a typical “networking” event or at work. “After work you say, let me go have a beer with my buddies. Your buddies probably have jobs. When you go to the bar, the people next to you probably have jobs. When you go to your house of worship maybe on the weekends, those people sitting next to you in the house of worship probably have jobs. What do you know?”
Bogen says he will tell the stories of people who got jobs by talking to people at their kids’ baseball games, or through other social connections. Targeting a particular company doesn’t take those opportunities into account. Or if they don’t result in anything right away, they might two or three years later. Bogen says he doesn’t draw a line between socializing and networking. “I’m surrounded by a world of people, many of whom I’m friends with and do fun things with, and who also have jobs and careers. As I live my life, I talk to everyone.”
The key, he says, is to make sure everyone knows who you are and what you’re good at. That way, his connections will think of him when they need something done that’s in his wheelhouse.
In Bogen’s case, that wheelhouse is human resources, which he has been practicing for 25 years. He is also a business partner, a generalist manager, and a director for companies. As a consultant, he has worked with more than 40 companies.
Networking comes easily to an extrovert like Bogen. For introverts it’s a bit harder, but Bogen says there are ways to get around natural shyness. One icebreaker is to connect with someone at upcoming networking events beforehand by emailing or making a quick call. “Make sure you know someone before you go,” he says.
Another icebreaker, if you’re in a job interview or in someone’s office, is to look around the space for something to talk about — sports equipment, family pictures, or vacation photos can all provide a jumping off point for conversation. The good news is that introverts are pretty good at making connections one-on-one, Bogen says.
Successfully using those connections to establish a personal brand is a bit trickier and involves perfecting an “elevator pitch.” Bogen says it is crucial to be able to distill your talents and career ambitions into a 30-second spiel that can get the idea across before the person you’re talking to loses interest.
True networking also requires followup. If a connection is made, contact the person afterwards via social media or other means to share information and see if there are any doors that you and your connection can open for each other. “Networking is not a snapshot in time, but a living, breathing thing,” Bogen says.
“It’s a multi-pronged approach,” Bogen says. “You have to make sure people know who you are and what you’re good at.
The Monroe League of Women Voters of is pleased to announce that we will be participating in National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register hundreds of thousands of voters on Tuesday, September 24. The League will be out in force at the Monroe Township Library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. League members will be available to assist voters who want to register or update their registration if they have moved. October 15 is the deadline to register or update your registration in New Jersey.
Every eligible American deserves the chance to participate in this year’s pivotal elections.
Voter registration is the first step to ensuring your voice is heard. We want to make sure every resident who wants the opportunity to vote on Election Day is registered.
Now in its eighth year, National Voter Registration Day has been a game-changing annual nonpartisan campaign to register hundreds of thousands of voters in communities and online. Embraced by a host of celebrities, bipartisan elected officials, and organizations, NVRD leverages the collective impact of thousands of community partners, including hundreds of League of Women Voters groups, nationwide, every year. More than 300 local League of Women Voters affiliates are participating in this year’s NVRD.
The League of Women Voters empowers voters through education, registration, and get-out-the-vote activities in every election. We host candidate and issue forums and registration drives while also providing trusted and timely elections information on VOTE411.org. We believe our democracy is strongest when every voice is heard.
President, Monroe Township League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is working to ensure that all voters are informed about New Jersey’s vote by mail process and are able to fully participate in the November 5, 2019, election.
Voters who applied for a vote by mail ballot for the General Election in 2016, or for any election since then, will automatically receive a vote by mail ballot for the upcoming November 2019 General Election.
These voters may opt out of receiving vote by mail ballots by alerting their county clerk. County clerks are scheduled to begin sending vote by mail ballots to voters on September 21, 2019, so any voter wishing to opt out should act immediately. The election official in each county should be contacted if a change is needed:
In Mercer County, contact the Superintendent of Elections at 609-989-6750.
In Middlesex County, contact the County Board of Elections at 732-745-3471
In Somerset County, contact the election board at 908-231-7084.
Voters who receive vote by mail ballots have the right to either vote using that mail-in ballot or vote using a provisional ballot at their polling place. They will not be allowed to vote on the voting machine. Provisional ballots are paper ballots that are counted after a voter’s eligibility is verified. In the case of voters who received a mail-in ballot, their provisional ballots will be counted once it is verified that they did not cast a vote using the mail-in ballot.
If a voter is not scheduled to receive an automatic vote by mail ballot, but desires one for the November General Election, they must apply. The application deadline to receive a vote by mail ballot through the mail is October 29, 2019. The county clerk must receive the application by that date. Voters can also apply in person at their county clerk’s office until 3 p.m., November 4, 2019.
Any other questions can be directed to your county clerk, or you may call the League’s toll-free voter information hotline, 1-800-792-VOTE (8683). From now through the close of polls on Election Day, the League of Women Voters will be running that hotline to answer any questions or assist with any problems voters might have.
Welcome to the 2019 Fall Arts Preview. As readers will see, plenty of shows and exhibitions and concerts are going on, and we invite you to join in and celebrate both the season and the rich cultural offerings of our region.
Click the links below to see what Princeton-area venues have in store for the fall season and beyond.
We’re kicking off seven weeks of Apple Days Harvest Festivals on September 14, and we invite you to join us! At Terhune Orchards, we love apples — and we celebrate them with the community in the fall. Visit our farm on Saturday or Sunday, September 14 or 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to enjoy all things apple and tons of old-fashioned fall fun.
The theme of our festival is All About Apples. Come pick your own apples, snack on apples, and make apple crafts. Enjoy a tractor-pulled wagon ride around our preserved farmland and listen to live music from Daisy Jug Band (on Saturday) and Jimmie Lee (on Sunday). Enjoy the challenge of our hay bale and corn mazes and take a relaxing, nature-filled walk on our Farm Trail. Visit our Pick-Your-Own pumpkin patch to find pumpkins in all sizes to bring home to display or decorate.
Our festival is the perfect venue for electronics-free family fun! Children will enjoy scavenger hunts, pumpkin painting, pony rides, rubber duck races, face painting, and visits with our barnyard animals. Bring them to our one-of-a-kind Adventure Barn, with creative, interactive exhibits highlighting New Jersey, the Garden State.
When you get hungry, visit Pam’s Food Tent for a delicious lunch of local favorites. Hot dogs, BBQ chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, vegetarian chili, and soup, salads, and more. Take a bite into the season with apple pies, apple muffins, made-on-the-farm apple cider donuts, freshly pressed apple cider, and more. Yum.
All are welcome in our winery tasting room, where adults can enjoy a glass of our award-winning wine. Terhune Orchards Apple Wine, made from our own apple cider, is a customer favorite. Red, white, and several fruit wines are also available for you to try.
Stop by our farm store, stocked to the brim with some of our 33 varieties of apples, our famous apple cider donuts, apple cider, homemade apple treats, and a wide range of fresh organic vegetables and herbs grown on the farm. Explore the display of colorful mums, pumpkins, and decorations that can get your home ready for the season.
For additional apple picking, visit our 27-acre Van Kirk Road orchard (around the corner) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All of the trees are dwarf varieties — the perfect picking height for all visitors.
Please join us on weekends through October 27 for additional Apple Days Harvest Festivals. Admission is $10, ages 3 and up. Parking and access to the farm store and winery are free.
Farm Market Fall Hours: Farm Store – Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wine Tasting Room – Fri-Sun, noon-6 p.m.