Staff Profile: Joanne Steller

Joanne Steller

Executive Emeritus





Read Joanne's bio>>


What I work on

I’ve been a member of the senior management team at TRG for nearly 15 years, most recently as the Vice President of Strategic Communications. My last role at TRG focused on developing client relationships, especially with new prospective clients. I work with Jill and other team members to make introductions and match client needs with ways that we can help. I’m now retired and help advise TRG strategically.


How your career has evolved

My career has now spanned 44 years, 3 cities, and lots of travel in between. It all started with my high school junior class play, Headin’ for a Weddin’. The faculty sponsor handed me a clipboard and asked if I wanted to help sell tickets. The play sold out. My first jobs were in journalism, PR, and special events. I came to TRG from the Kennedy Center, where I headed advertising and marketing departments. My time at the Kennedy Center was an incredible 17 years in arts management as well as an exciting glimpse into the world of celebrity. At TRG, I started as a senior consultant and also managed the consultants in the days when there were just a few of us. I had a portfolio of clients that I really loved—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Washington Ballet, North Carolina Symphony, Joffrey Ballet, to name just a few.


My career high point

There have been so many highs. One is being alongside a client as their results become real. One of the great highs was standing in front of the board of directors at Alvin Ailey and watching Sharon Luckman show how our counsel in revenue management and pricing efforts helped the company earn $1 million more than they had the previous year.

Art matters to me and my TRG colleagues. We have a role I call “minding the talent.” We counsel and support all those with operational responsibilities in the offices and in the wings. We make it possible for the artists on stage or whose works are on display to do what they do. That contribution to making art really matters too—and it’s that role that’s fulfilled me.


What I love about the arts

I love that the arts give us the virtual experience of real life; it’s transformational. I am healed by music. I am uplifted by dance. I have learned a lot about life by sitting in a dark theatre and watching amazing stage productions. The lessons I learned sustained me when my life started imitating experiences on stage. I thought of the play Wit when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remembered the main character’s terror at the disease and grace in the face of it. That just gave me hope.

Biography: Joanne Steller

Now retired, Joanne Steller served for 15 years as a TRG consultant and management team executive. Most recently, her focus was developing client relationships, especially with new clients. For most of her tenure led TRG’s professional development and communications efforts that bring best practice ideas to arts and culture conferences and workshops nationwide. She was a principal contributor to TRG’s website, webinars, and TRG’s blog, Analysis from TRG Arts. Since joining TRG in 2000, she managed consulting services for the company and has been lead consultant for a broad portfolio of clients including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, Washington Ballet, and numerous orchestra, dance and theater companies as well as festivals, arts centers and museums.

Prior to TRG, she was marketing director for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She was responsible for promoting some 600 different programs annually that ranged from 12 subscription series to international cultural festivals to one-evening events and national launches from the pre-Broadway American premiere of Les Miserables to the Center’s opening of its Millennium Stage where free performances are offered every day.

Ms. Steller began her career as a newspaper and broadcast reporter and moved into agency and department store public relations in Boston and Washington. Through a store promotion of a National Symphony Orchestra “Radiothon” fundraiser, Ms. Steller met Henry Fogel, then NSO Executive Director. Mr. Fogel recruited her as NSO’s marketing director, beginning Ms. Steller’s 17 year career at the Kennedy Center and in the arts.

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