Richard Mukamal


Retired corporate executive, entrepreneur and non profit executive. 

B.A. Social Sciences, Western University, Canada 1980

Work Experience
1980-1988 Abbott Laboratories (Canada)
Pharmaceutical Representative in Alberta and British Columbia
Product Manager, OTC Products

Corby Distilleries Limited (Montreal)
Progressive Marketing positions from Product Manager to Vice President, Marketing
National Sales Director, Corby Division

Hiram Walker (USA)
Vice President, Category Director, Liqueurs

President, The Farmington Group
Consulting business in strategic business management with an emphasis on marketing and category management. Successfully acquired business with Elizabeth Arden (Canada), Nissan (Canada), Novartis Consumer Health (Maalox, Triaminic), Motorola Cellular Phones.

Co-Owner of Chelsea Square Limited, a family owned, Toronto Based investment company.

Volunteer Experience
Board Member, Temple Shir Shalom for 7 years
Board Member Ramblewood Association Master Board 3 years
Co Founder and Chairman, Crescendo Detroit 2 years
Vice Chair, NAESIP 1 ½ years

Connections/Expertise w/ El Sistema-inspired programs
I am co-founder of Crescendo Detroit, an El Sistema Inspired non profit that reimagines the approach for Detroit’s kids. Beginning it’s second year and following extensive on line research into the El Sistema philosophy, I have received strong positive feedback of our work from several individuals with intimate knowledge of and experience running El Sistema programs.

As Vice Chair of NAESIP for the past 18 months, I have many occasions to engage leaders in the movement in discussion and have reached out to many of them to understand not only how to lead Crescendo Detroit, but how to add value to our members in NAESIP.

Special skills/professional expertise/resources/connections that the candidate would bring to the board

Being retired at a relatively young age, I have decided to dedicate myself to volunteer work. I am able to dedicate my time between work on the National Board and leading the Board of Crescendo Detroit.

Board Experience
In addition to my work as Vice Chairman of NAESIP and Chairman of Crescendo Detroit, I have served on the Board of my Temple for over 7 years, including a brief term as Vice President, Finance. I chaired a committee on Board Operations with the goal of making the Board more efficient and professional. I also served for several years on the resident’s association of my community. At the request of the Superintendent of my local public school district, chaired a committee which publicized the urgent funding crisis facing public schools in Michigan and was a champion of music education during a period of declining budgets.

Strategic and Marketing Skills
I have over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing both as a chief marketing officer of a $100 Million Canadian liquor company and as head of my own consulting company specializing in strategic management.  I have strong expertise in long term strategic planning, facilitation and leadership development. I have managed a portfolio of premium international brands including Beefeater, Courvoisier, Canadian Club and Dom Perignon. As a consultant, clients included: Elizabeth Arden Canada, Nissan Canada, Motorola USA, and Novartis Consumer Health (Maalox and Triaminic).

International Experience
I am a dual national (US and Canada) who lived for 26 years in Canada in several Canadian cities including 11 years in Montreal, during which I learned to speak French fluently. I have travelled extensively through Canada and the US as well as the UK, France and Australia. I have great deal of experience in dealing people from different cultures, including my own family which is from Iraq and Jewish. Finally, my close partnership and friendship with Damien Crutcher, Founder of Progression Inc. (of which Crescendo Detroit is a part) and assistant pastor of his church has brought me a growing and ongoing understanding of the African American culture, which is vital to the success of El Systema in the US.

Network and Connections
Over the years I have built up a diverse and growing network of people from a variety of backgrounds including professional musicians, grant writers, politicians, and non profit executives. This list includes individuals from the Detroit Symphony and Detroit Chamber Winds, local jazz musicians, college professors, educators at Interlochen, Michigan state representatives, school board members, a successful grant writer and a Director of Strategy at the Children’s Defense Fund. Most of individuals are aware and very supportive of Crescendo Detroit and will be very supportive of the national organization as well.

My background as a strategist, former corporate executive and small businessman has given me the opportunity to develop the skills and experience of not only working at a national and international level, but also very much at a local and even neighborhood level. Importantly, this has allowed me the opportunity of not only creating strategy, but then making sure that it works tactically at the local level by embracing feedback.

Why the candidate wishes to serve on the board
My tenure as Vice Chairman of NAESIP leaves me with an even greater desire to contribute to the organization and movement that I had when I first joined the organization. I have had the great pleasure of serving with individuals who are not only inspirational, but highly intelligent and just plain nice.

As Chair of the Strategic Management Committee, I led discussions with the committee resulting in a clearly defined view of the long term and short term initiatives that we must undertake in order to add value not only to our members, but to the movement at large. I attended an important strategy meeting in September 2013 in Boston with representatives of the leading “voices” in the US movement and provided important and unique insights to the group. I have served on the Communications Committee, tasked with relaunching the El Sistema USA website following the generous donation of its assets by Founder Mark Churchill. 

I believe that the Alliance is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the development of El Sistema in the US through strategic partnerships in Music advocacy, providing a grassroots driven platform for knowledge and discussion through social media and our website, through the creation of a National Youth Orchestra and in providing practical and tangible value to our members. 

“Richard Mukamal has been a tremendous asset to the Alliance’s development and pioneer in developing an El Sistema inspired program in Detroit, MI. As the inaugural vice-chair of the Alliance, Richard led the Strategic Management Committee, which provided sound guidance for our strategic thinking and partnerships. His background in strategy and marketing is exactly what the Alliance needs as we move forward with a powerful website and desire to launch a national youth orchestra project.”

– Stanford Thompson, Chairman, NAESIP

“Richard has been an active and outstanding member of the ESUSA/Alliance Board of Directors during the organization’s critical first year of inception.  He served as Vice President of the Board and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee where he demonstrated his keen gift for strategic thinking and great reliability in goal-setting and follow-through.  He is a supportive team member, a sharp thinker, an active do-er, and an articulate voice who always keeps in mind the ultimate mission and vision of the organization in any decision.  He is always willing to jump in and serve where needed and has a true dedication to the mission.  His corporate background provides an important balance in the current make-up of Board membership.  In addition, his personal experience as a trumpet instructor with the El Sistema-inspired program, Crescendo Detroit, provides an added dimension to his contributions that informs the organization’s aim of strengthening the national network of El Sistema inspired programs.   It is with highest regard that I recommend Richard for a second term on the Board of Directors.”

– Camille Kolles, Board Member NAESIP

“I’m writing you today to endorse Richard Mukamal for re-election to the Board of Directors of the National Alliance of the El Sistema Inspired Programs.

I was impressed with the level of professionalism, efficiency and amount of much needed common sense that Richard brought to the table while leading the Strategic Management Committee. It was so refreshing to work with him on the plan and I feel confident to speak for many of the Board Members when I say that we all learned a lot from Richard’s extensive experience.  Knowing his background as a former corporate executive, strategy consultant, and a former vice president of marketing, it doesn’t surprise me that our strategic planning process went so smooth, being thorough and comprehensive at the same time.

I think one of the main challenges that non-profits face nowadays is lack of organizational business approach and lack of business background within the administrative staff. I find that incredibly important to the growth and sustainability of any organization. Having Richard on the NAESIP Board gives us first-hand access to business mindset and expertise that is a much needed asset, not only to the Association but also the whole field.”

– Anna Pietraszko
Miami Music Project


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