Tradition vs. Progress...Why can’t we all just get along?

Working in a technology role at an educational/arts non-profit teaches you very quickly how to balance the value of history and tradition with the enormous need for change and progress. History and tradition helped establish our institution - change and progress will take us to (and help us to survive) the future.

I am a proud employee of Interlochen Center for the Arts. Interlochen was founded in 1928 and has long been known as the world center for arts education. Interlochen inspires and transforms thousands of artists from ages 8 to 80 through Interlochen Arts Camp, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Public Radio, Interlochen College of Creative Arts, and the Interlochen Presents concert series.

While has not been around as long as Interlochen, they work to support our mission. It’s easy to see parallels between the passion that we and our students have for the arts & education and’s passion for helping non-profits through technology and its 1:1:1 mission.

Value of Tradition

Many organizations that have a long and dignified history can accidentally rest on their tradition and reputation. Interlochen Center for the Arts was one of those institutions. We must work diligently to make sure we provide our students the tools they need to succeed. It is our responsibility to uphold our Core Purpose, “To ignite lifelong passion for the arts.” And this must be a future facing philosophy. The way we utilize the arts and the way we ignite that passion must lead our students and institution into a future driven by technology. We must implement new technologies, systems, and infrastructure to successfully modernize our work and learning environment. Implementing Salesforce and working with has played an important role in our progress.

Embracing Change and Progress

Our Salesforce implementation was the beginning of our huge leap “out of the woods*". We are very fortunate to have an administration that has placed a great deal of responsibility on the information technology department and all educational departments to put Interlochen on the cutting edge of the arts & education market. We were charged with investing in training of new technologies to create stronger self-confidence and sufficiency with technology by all employees. Our first step was to replace the CRM systems and that is where we began our relationship with Salesforce. This is when I must mention that we would not be able to use a tool like Salesforce without the support provided by through the many benefits that they offer to non-profit organizations. We sing the songs of the greatness of daily. Its mission says that their success comes in their ability to better meet our mission.

Tradition AND Progress...the perfect balance.

*Interlochen is located in northwest Michigan and we occupy 1,200 acres of mostly pine forest settled between two glacial lakes. A common saying is that we must take Interlochen “out of the woods!” (virtually, of course)


Margaret Fako is a Business Architect in the Information Technology department at Interlochen Center for the Arts where she has worked in various capacities since 2000. Margaret has a degree in Music performance and business and “fell” into her IT job in 2007. Margaret helped Interlochen to implement for the Office of Admission & Financial Aid in 2011 and has been co-administering the Salesforce org full time since then. She became a Certified Administrator in 2014 and a Certified Developer in 2015.