We had the good fortune of connecting with Skye Barker Maa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Skye, how do you think about risk?
I’m probably overly comfortable with risk. One of the first things you learn in small business is that A LOT of your ideas will not work out and some will be disasterous. Others will work but not in the way that you intended which starts an uncomfortable evolutionary process. The more comfortable you become with failure the more comfortable you are with taking the next risk. I’m always surprised by what works and what doesn’t. If someone on my staff introduces an idea I am often willing to give it a shot even if I think it might fail because, “what if?” I think the lessons that you learn through failure and through flirting with risk are the path to more successful ideas.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My employment career is all over the place which is consistent with the path of most entrepreuers. I’ve worked in sales, community outreach, politics, and the arts. All are unique and provide the diversity of perspective that is important to try and approach a new business creatively. Small business is never easy. It’s exhausting. Work/life stability is difficult especially if you have children. I’ve learned to try and slow down. You move so fast as a business owner. My particular disease is jumping at an idea too quickly without proper planning. This serves me and is my Kyptonite. Finding balance between the impulse for forward motion and stability is my greatest challenge. I continue to work on this. My brand is based in a deep care for the community. Our hope is to “build better humans through the arts”. We want students to walk away from us with the confidence, discipline, and skill to succeed in other areas of their lives. I tell my teachers, “get the letter”, meaning, be dedicated and fully present, your goal as a teacher is to one day get a letter from a student that says, “You changed my life. You showed me what was possible.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely take them to Stanley Marketplace. My loyalty and affection are high. I would take them for a picnic each day at a different park in the city. Denver is interesting in that we identify ourselves by neighborhood – Capital Hill, Highlands, Sloans Lake, Park Hill, Central Park, etc. Our neighborhood identity is strong and all are a unique flavor of the metro area. I would take them to the mountains and to Colorado Springs. The drive is beautiful and accessible.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My music school and theatre company are located in the Stanley Marketplace. My special shout out would be to Stanley leadership, Jonathan Alpert and Mark Shaker, and Ally Freedman/General Manager. The Stanley Family of business owners is a constant source of support and information. Our leadership has given us a construct for success during the pandemic reinforcing the values of the Marketplace. They are innovative and always at the table to guide us.