Leadership / 12.22.21
2021 Recap: INTIX’s Women in Ticketing Series
Among INTIX’s most popular series of articles this past year has been our “Women in Ticketing” features in which a different top woman leader was profiled. These articles, which were brought to the readership by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program, kicked off the year with a profile on Paciolan’s Senior Director of External Operations, Lisa Langham.
At the time, she was looking forward to serving as conference co-chair of the virtual experience that was INTIX 2021. She remarked, “I can’t wait to see how conference participants like the virtual world that Maureen Andersen and the conference team have put together with Virbela. I mean, come on, you can arrive to the conference in a speed boat! How cool is that?”
Post-conference, we ran an interview with self-described “ticketing chameleon” Phoebe Joecks. For the last decade, she has been an independent contractor primarily focused on ticketing and running ticket offices. She has also provided support to her husband, John Burton, CEO of UrsaLeo. The San Francisco-based startup specializes in digital twinning technology that maps physical assets to a digital platform — a technology that Joecks noted “could very well be applied to the live event industry.”
Next up was Lori Garza, who was then the Patron Services Manager for Denver Arts and Venues. At the time of the interview, the various COVID-19 vaccines were starting to make some headway in getting people back to feeling comfortable with attending live and in-person entertainment. She shared her thoughts on where she hoped 2021 would be headed:
“I think we will continue to see a hybrid of virtual and live events. I believe there is a place for both once we return. There are many folks out there who want live events, but for some reason — economic, health, etc. — this is not possible. If we look at this with the right lens, we can make events more accessible across the board.”
Looking ahead to a better year than 2020 was the interviewee for our April “Women in Ticketing” feature, Lori Murphy. Faced with limited seating capacities at the time, the Washington Nationals’ Assistant Ticket Manager stated, “I’m happy to see fans in the stands, and I am hopeful that we can do it in a way that will keep me and my office mates safe and continue to provide a great experience for our fans. Learning how to adjust from 42,000 fans for a game to now a maximum of 5,000 fans is going to be different, yet we’ll manage.”
In May, we ran a profile of INTIX legend Jennifer Staats Moore, who is sometimes referred to as the “Godmother of Regional Ticketing Groups.” A leading proponent of regional ticketing since 1999, she created the RTA Starter Kit, which has since been used as the blueprint for starting a new regional ticketing group; co-founded the Women in Ticketing group on Facebook, which has grown to more than 800 members; and has long worked with INTIX members to form and maintain regional ticketing groups in their communities.
“Supporting and promoting INTIX and the greater ticketing community is my passion,” she said. “I try to live my life by the maxim that ‘To whom much is given, much will be required,’ and I’ve been fortunate to receive so very much from the relationships I’ve built with INTIX and its members during my tenure.”
Subsequent interviewees were excited to be included as part of this particular series of articles, because they were eager to give counsel to young women just starting out in the ticketing and live events space. Christy Grantham, Director of Ticketing for The Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, (click here) advised, “Make yourself more useful than you have been trained to be. Offer solutions to problems or challenges that no one else in the office has noticed or talked about yet.”
Rebecca Throne, Head of Ticketing for Burning Man Project, (interviewed here) advised, “Be curious and learn everything you can along the way. Ticketing and live events are inherently interdisciplinary endeavors. You have an opportunity to learn from all the teams involved: marketing, finance, operations, etc. Take advantage of that.”
And Wendi Yanez, accesso Technology Group PLC’s Sales Director, urged in her September interview, “When a leader opens a door, don’t be afraid to walk through it. You’ve got this. And when you get the chance, be a mentor and open the door for another woman who needs it.”
As we moved into the fourth quarter of 2021, there were added layers of hope expressed by the women ticketing professionals featured in the column. COVID-19’s delta variant was making headlines, and the omicron variant was about to garner international attention. But many live events were back on, and those sports and arts enthusiasts who had received their vaccines and booster shots were showing increasing levels of comfort returning to stadiums, arenas, theaters and other performance spaces.
But there was still some hesitation, and our interviewees were keeping expectations in check. Cate Foltin, Business Manager for the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Michigan, commented (click here), “We just opened our season last Friday [her interview was conducted in early October], and we had a great audience come out for a tribute group. It went smoothly overall. But that same show in a non-COVID-19 year would have been a sellout. At least through the holidays, I think we’re going to see a slower start to our season. We’ve been seeing a shift in people’s ticket-buying patterns. People are waiting closer to the event to purchase their tickets. Walkups are occurring more than ever.”
Broadway was represented in our November profile of Christine “Chris” Stasiuk, Head Treasurer of the historic St. James Theatre’s box office. One of Stasiuk’s many tasks has been “dressing the house properly” when necessary. “Let’s say there’s a show where we didn’t sell the entire house,” she said. “Well, how do we make it look for the folks on stage that they are playing to a full house? It’s about moving people around, positioning them in areas where the applause booms and it looks proper for the performers, and they have the feeling of a full house. Inventory management is one of the unsung jobs we do.”
Finally, INTIX rounded out the year with Anne Vantine sitting down for an interview. Vantine is Senior Treasurer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She offered one of the best descriptions of what it’s like working in the ticket office: “Even if your path is to be an executive director at a performing arts organization someday, working in the box office is the best place to gain important knowledge about how an organization runs because just about everything that happens in the organization at some point will be touched by box office in one way or another. Let’s face it. It takes very special skills and passion to be a career ticketing professional. It’s not for everyone. We are a rare and fun breed!”
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing