Leadership / 07.12.23
Kelley Monts de Oca’s Ticketing Career Is Coming Full Circle at Playhouse Square
Kelley Monts de Oca’s time in the ticketing and live events industry stretches all the way back to her college days. She began her professional ticketing journey when she was hired as Box Office Manager for Otterbein University’s Theatre Department while still a student. From there, she was hooked.
After graduation, she got a job in the Ticketing Department at the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA). She spent four years there before relocating to Durham, North Carolina, to take on the Ticketing Manager position at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). During a recent interview for our Women in Ticketing series, she recalled, “Six months after I started. I was promoted to Director of Ticketing. After 10 years at DPAC, I moved on to my current position as Director of Ticketing at Playhouse Square.”
In this position, she oversees the Ticketing Operations for this Ohio venue’s 11 performance spaces and half-dozen resident companies. So, what are her primary duties and responsibilities? Many, as it turns out! “I oversee all event, parking and miscellaneous item builds,” she says. “I direct the ticketing function, staffing and budgets for all box offices, providing guests with the highest level of customer service. And I oversee and assist in the creation of season ticket renewal packages for Broadway in Cleveland, Broadway in Akron and the Children’s Theater Series, as well as design the renewal and purchase web pages and invoice forms.”
She also works with the ticketing provider — in this case, AudienceView — to facilitate system enhancements and improvements. In addition, she prepares sales reports for Playhouse Square’s executive leadership team and oversees list management, including pulling lists and creating custom reports as needed. Finally, she manages data storage, processes, quality and cleanliness all while providing best practices to all departments within the organization.
Of all those tasks, she definitely has a favorite part of her work: “Seeing how all of our hard work translates to an unforgettable experience for our guests! The magic of live events will never be lost on me.”
But there are certainly challenges and aspects of her job she finds hard. Monts de Oca says balancing the workload of an extremely busy organization with the fast-paced, “need-it-done-now” demands of the industry can be quite taxing. She says, “In our industry, there’s a lot of ‘hurry up and wait,’ and then race to the finish line. It’s sometimes hard to continue to thrive in the chaos.”
In her toughest times, she relies on lessons learned from her years in the ticketing and live events industry. She says, “One of the most important things I have learned was to think critically and question everything. Just because something has always been done one way does not mean it’s the right way!”
And with this indeed being our Women in Ticketing series, Monts de Oca has some specific advice to give to any young women reading who are just starting out in the business and hoping to achieve some of the success she has had. “Don’t make yourself small.” she says. “We have every right to be just as loud and proud as our male counterparts!”
And along the way, there will be joys and successes, both big and small. At the very least, there will be great topics of discussion to share at cocktail parties and outings with friends and family. One of her favorite anecdotes from her time working ticketing is when chef, author and Food Network host Alton Brown went on tour for the first time and sent a care package to all of the ticket offices he worked with. “None of us will ever forget what it felt like to be recognized in an industry that doesn’t always recognize us,” she says.
And, of course, we have the benefit of interviewing Monts de Oca here at the beginning of the second half of 2023. So, is she generally optimistic, pessimistic or a mix of both regarding the rest of the year and the business? She was quick to respond: “Three years ago, there was little optimism to be found. So, as long as the business is still growing and thriving, I find it hard to be anything but optimistic!”
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing