What I work on
I work with different arts and cultural clients to help them meet their revenue and growth goals. TRG is a data-driven company, so part of my job is to dig into the data that the organization provides. I then help them to craft strategies, predict financial results, and work with them in ways that enhance their short-term and long-term results. I see myself as a thought partner and a coach to my clients, as well as a kindred spirit. In my background leading arts organizations, I’ve been on the implementing side of a consulting relationship, and so I can connect with our clients in a very genuine way.
How my career has evolved
I started out earning a bachelor’s degree in conducting, and I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I realized that I didn’t want to be stuck in a room studying scores day in and day out but I couldn’t leave the music. I transitioned into a career in arts administration and was accepted into the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program through the League of American Orchestras. From that, I was hired as CEO of the Baton Rouge Symphony. After six years, I was recruited away to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic where I was CEO for nine years.
My career high point
The highpoints of my career have been situations where I’ve been able to affect long-term organizational change, financially or cultural. Baton Rouge Symphony was near bankruptcy when I arrived. To be able to see them through to a very positive financial situation was one of the most rewarding things of my entire career. It’s absolutely amazing what healthy arts organizations can do artistically when they don’t have other challenges that take the focus away from the art.
What I love about the arts
I can’t imagine a world without music, theatre, paintings, dance... Art serves so many different purposes. It’s such a holistic experience that inspires, challenges, entertains, educates. I think about when I was in Baton Rouge during Hurricane Katrina. Our concert venue was being used as a shelter for rescue workers. During that first concert afterward, there were so many new people in a packed house. You could tell that people just needed to hear live music as a community. There was nothing thematic about the program, but it provided an experience where people could escape and feel community as they were re-building. It’s one of the most memorable performances of my career. I’ve been asked “why the arts?” a number of times. I think experiences like that concert make it difficult to put the “why” into words. That feeling was indescribable.