Profile by Lorrie DeFrank
Cinda Sherman was a Marketing Matters graduate, August 2012
Cinda Sherman’s enthusiasm for the upcoming changes to the magazine she created 18 years ago is palpable. She credits her mentors in Jacksonville Women’s Business Center’s Marketing Matters program with providing the visionary jolts she needed to take Arbus Magazine where she believes it needs to go.
Accustomed to being the person others go to for marketing expertise, Cinda felt she was in a rut with the arts and business publication’s focus. “I’ve got the art side down,” she said. “I’ve got to get back to building the business side of Arbus.”
Scheduled as an hour introduction, her first meeting with mentors Cantrece Jones and Everette Seay at the San Marco Starbucks turned into an energetic three-hour brainstorming session. “My mentors are wonderful—excellent and engaging,” said the publisher. “They’re helping me market new life into Arbus. The timing couldn’t have been better.”
Since completing the Financial Matters course early this year and Marketing Matters this summer, Cinda said she has a “whole new respect” for JWBC and its programs for women business owners. Guided by her mentors, she revisited her business practices and developed a fresh perspective for her product. In fact, one improvement will include a closer relationship with the JAX Chamber and providing Arbus readers with more information about the programs and events.
Cinda’s situation validates that Marketing Matters offers useful information for women entrepreneurs at any level, even those with decades of business experience.
Her mentors agree.
“In the case of Cinda, who is comfortable operating in an environment where she knows her readers and advertisers, having people come from different backgrounds helped her understand other markets she can penetrate with this valuable tool … her successful business,” said Everette, managing director of EMS IV Consulting.
Cantrece, owner of ADG Marketing who has participated in most JWBC programs herself, called Marketing Matters a phenomenal program because the quality of expertise it offers would be unaffordable to many women. “There is always fresh, pertinent, great information to share with women business owners at any level,” she said.
A cultural upbringing
A graduate of Flagler College with a degree in business and finance, and sub-major in art history, Cinda was working as a stockbroker for Raymond James Associates nearly 20 years ago when the market crashed. Temporarily living in a friend’s basement, the daughter of artistic parents reconnected with the supportive arts community that influenced much of her youth. After the family moved from Toronto, Canada, and via the Carolinas, to St. Augustine when Cinda was 8, she performed for four years in Cross and Sword, a re-enactment of the founding of St. Augustine. “I grew up in theater,” said Cinda, who also enjoys photography and playing the guitar, especially the Spanish flamenco guitar that belonged to her father.
Combining her passions, Cinda founded Arbus Magazine to promote art education and businesses in the community. Her desire was to make art and culture more accessible and less intimidating to people of all walks of life “by taking the art off the walls of the museums and out into the community” and helping readers understand that “the arts are not a luxury; they contribute to valuable economic prosperity.”
Despite skepticism of her ambitious venture by even Cinda’s close friends, Arbus continually grew to a readership of about 100,000. Published seven times a year and funded by advertising, the free magazine is available at museums, coffee shops, physicians’ offices, restaurants and other locations throughout Northeast Florida. Subscriptions are also available. Arbus also publishes Scene, a pocket-sized, map-based art and cultural guide to galleries, museums, fine dining and shopping.
Back to business
Cinda hopes Arbus’ changes will help people “get it” that a strong cultural community is essential to economic growth, tourism, education, children’s issues and health. She was recently named to the board of Cathedral Arts Project, a program to foster art appreciation in underserved children.
Arbus’ new features will include articles by Florence Haridan, executive director of Character Counts! in Jacksonville, on how successful CEOs connect such virtues as respect, trust and responsibility with the bottom line as well as with the community.
And, where others see a gridiron, Cinda sees a canvas.
Recognizing the importance of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the area’s economy, Cinda is working with player Eben Britton to write stories that show how football is an art through its physical challenges and human connections. The offensive tackle happens to be the grandson of actress Estelle Parsons. In addition to other features that humanize the players, the magazine is working on plans that will lead to exciting events to raise art awareness through partnerships with the Jaguars, major sponsors, children’s hospitals and local artists.
Everette predicts that Cinda will run with her marketing plan and surpass her goals. “She’s a disciplined and motivated individual,” he said. “Her magazine can really grow and expand beyond the niche she already has in Jacksonville. I see nothing but bright things for her down the road.”
“I honestly feel she has one of the best publications on the First Coast,” Cantrece said. “I truly believe this is going to catapult her magazine in the community.”
About the author:
Freelance writer Lorrie DeFrank is a former Pennsylvania newspaper editor and reporter. She later worked in management for the City of Jacksonville and University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville.