Perfecting Your Escalator Pitch

Friday, June 14, 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

There's nothing so terrifying as working out all the details of a proposal for months, and then having just minutes to make the case for it to a funder or decisionmaker. In this interactive session, learn the fundamentals of the perfect pitch, and then pair up and practice on the escalators of the Hilton Minneapolis!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Work out how to pare down your big, amazing, detailed project into its essence.
  2. Practice your presentation, and get in-the-moment, honest feedback.
  3. Leave with a plan on developing the perfect, concise presentation.


Shannon Daut
Manager of Cultural Affairs
City of Santa Monica
Santa Monica, California

Shannon leads the Cultural Affairs Division for the City of Santa Monica, where she works to integrate the arts into all aspects of life in the community. She was previously the Executive Director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts. While there, she re-imagined and re-invigorated the leadership role of the agency in state policy, from tourism and economic development to education and Alaska Native cultural advancement. Prior to moving to Alaska, Daut was Deputy Director of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), where she oversaw the organization's work in the areas of cultural policy and technology. Daut has served on the boards of the National Performance Network/Visual Arts Network, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and WESTAF. Daut received her bachelor's degree in Communication Arts/Film from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her graduate degree in Communication/Rhetoric from the University of Colorado-Denver.

Margy Waller
Senior Fellow
Topos Partnership
Cincinnati, Ohio

Margy Waller is a Senior Fellow at Topos Partnership (a national strategic communications organization), founder and Serendipity Director of Art on the Streets, and was a leader in the transformation of ArtsWave, an arts advocacy and support non-profit. She has served as advisor on national initiatives to Americans for the Arts, LISC, ArtPlace, Kresge Foundation, PolicyLink, and others.

Previously she was Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, with a joint appointment in the Economic Studies and Metropolitan Policy programs. Prior to Brookings, she was Senior Advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton-Gore White House. Before joining the Administration, Margy was Senior Fellow for Social Policy and Director of the Working Families Project at the Progressive Policy Institute. She also served as Director of Public Policy at United Way of America, and Director of Policy Development at Public/Private Ventures in Philadelphia. In 2010, Margy was named one of the nation's 25 most "powerful and influential" nonprofit arts leaders and she comments on arts, community, and strategic communications on twitter: @margyartgrrl and her ArtsJournal blog, The Bright Ride. Waller is a graduate of Northwestern University and The Ohio State University College of Law.