The Cultural Revolutionist: Myra Janco Daniels

The Cultural Revolutionist

Myra Janco Daniels

Photographer by Vanessa Rogers at the Daniels residence in Naples

Myra Janco Daniels - The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts

Years ago, an author used the term “rutbuster” to describe Myra Janco Daniels in a business book. Initially a bit offended, Daniels eventually embraced the descriptive (even titling her 2009 autobiography Secrets of a Rutbuster). After all, Daniels has spent her life breaking rules. She became the first woman to hold a senior executive position at a large Chicago advertising firm and the first to hold a professor’s position at Indiana University’s business school—both at the same time. Her retirement to Marco Island was not long-lived. “I am not someone who will fall asleep and snore loudly. I felt the need to get involved here because a community without the arts is a community without a soul,” she says. So Daniels launched a campaign in the early ’80s to establish a one-of-a-kind venue that would house multiple performance media under one roof. While the crusade “wasn’t all peaches and cream,” Daniels continued to push the issue until the internationally known Philharmonic Center for the Arts was born in Naples, establishing it as the cultural leader in Southwest Florida. Daniels served as CEO for the Phil for 22 years before stepping down in 2011. “I feel that if you act with dignity and act for the good of your goal, somehow, someway all things are possible if you believe they are.”