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Elizabeth40

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Cornerstone Theater Company, Inc.
January 2, 2012

I am a former employee of Cornerstone Theater Co. I came to this company with a positive spirit that was broken. I was told in my interview that I would never move up. Their Value Statement states, "We believe society can flourish when its members know and respect one another, and we value theater made in that spirit." - In my short time there I witnessed first hand: 1) the separation between Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras and the Company. Due to TJSF's language barrier they were intimidated of asking questions, and felt a hierarchy between the Company. 2) The Artistic Director, Michael John Garces, was feared as well and known for getting angry, what my co-worker called, " putting you in your place." I will remember my first conversation with him. I was making some lunch for myself as he spoke with a co-worker and tried throwing his trash in the can. My co-worker told him (I'm paraphrasing) " Michael, you know, you missed?" to which he responded, " I know, but I'm the boss so I'm the King I'll leave that for less kingsley people..." I was not respected by the upper management, and the week after I shared how I felt about the unethical work relationship I had with the GM I got fired. I am okay with being rejected; however, I feel that it is important for me to share how I was treated. 3) Still on RESPECT, being fired without cause...I know this is legal but it is unethical, and I did not deserve to be let go on the basis that the new Manager, Sara Adelman, may be OCD. An example of this was one time I was filing in her office I asked her if she'd like me to place one file in my desk. To which she said yes but then asked me, "so are you going to do that right now, or?" I let her know I'd file it as soon as I finished up in her office, and she said agitated, " I touched it," and placed it on my desk. I felt very uneasy at witnessing her demeanor and smirked nervously. She then raised her hands and chest and said, "what!"
The following pieces of the Value Statement "We value art that is contemporary, community-specific, responsive, multilingual, innovative, challenging, and joyful.
We value theater that directly reflects the audience," made me feel so happy to go to work everyday. I only had an issue with their management; however, I feel it is important to share so that any donor can try changing the management practices being used. Unlike I, who felt worthless in a company that values Respect, I hope you will take action. I hope you will question the work being performed by the Managing Director and Artistic Director. I was punished for not knowing but they are just starting to learn as well. Crucial information was just being taught to the MD, where the money is going, how to deal with workers comp. issues, etc....
We value the artist in everyone. - I was taken away the opportunity of becoming more involved in the process because taking out the trash was high priority. As a former employee, Cornerstone Theater Company is below my expectations because of their lack of proper leadership that can set an example to the staff (New Generation of Artists). Additionally, a leadership that promotes ethical relationships in the workplace which ultimately leads to a more productive collaboration. They fired the previous General Manager via email leaving me to deal with the mess and then gladly taking on the role of guiding the new manager. Little did I know, after I'd show her all I had barely been taught, she'd say," I feel like I cannot give you projects because you might not complete them." In Performance Studies we see everything we do as a performance, so when I was there working without proper breaks, I was an artist. Was I valued, no. I was not valued as a person let alone an Artist. There were many financial errors and personnel errors which I can gladly speak about to you if you are trying to help their management team. Thank you for taking the first step, Elizabeth. ( Information shared is real, may be paraphrased, and to the best of my knowledge.)

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Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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