Leadership / 10.22.19
Angela Higgins in Final Preparations for Inaugural Australian Ticketing Conference
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
Angela Higgins founded the specialist consultancy, Antix Management, in 2007 to provide sales and ticketing strategy for live events across Australia and New Zealand. Before becoming her own boss, she held an array of decision-making roles at such organizations as Disney Theatrical Productions, Backrow Stage Productions and Ticketek. A decade after forming Antix, she joined fellow Aussie and industry veteran Jo Michel to co-found Mission Tickets to drive innovation in live event ticketing sales and strategy and support ticketing professionals education.
Their first Australian Ticketing Professionals Conference will be held Nov. 14-15 at the newly opened BankWest Stadium in Sydney. “After more than two years of planning,” Higgins says, “it’s exciting — and a little frightening — that it will be on next month! Jo and I have many goals for the event. But really what it boils down to is wanting to get a group of smart people from a diverse range of backgrounds with differing experiences together in a room to share their experience, knowledge and ideas.
“My work with Antix has allowed me to travel across the country and the globe — meeting ticketing, sales and marketing professionals and to observe and learn from those interactions,” she says. “It always struck me that while each market has its own unique characteristics and quirks, there were many similarities in the challenges faced across these markets. Learning from experiences and being able to adapt and apply these innovations into other markets has allowed us to achieve results well beyond our expectations. We want to create a forum where this kind of learning can be shared across genres and geographical locations.”
Higgins and Michel are particularly thrilled at the mix of delegates and speakers they and their staff have assembled from across Australia, continental Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. All concerned are hoping for robust, interesting discussions on such topics as dynamic pricing, accessibility of live events, and the use of data and analytics.
“What is really important for us is to create a welcoming and collaborative environment to facilitate such discussions and the sharing of ideas,” Higgins says. “The overall theme of the conference is ‘Change.’ The conference sessions will look at how our industry has evolved, the challenges we have overcome and what we can expect to see in the future.”
She has especially loved having such an experienced partner in this undertaking. “Although Jo and I have known each other for a very long time, this is the first time we have worked together on a project,” Higgins says. “We bring very different experience, expertise and connections to the table. But from our very first discussion, it was clear that our vision for the conference was very much aligned. We could both see the enormous potential for our industry and have set about building it in the spirit of collaboration.”
As is often the case when you tackle such a big project for the first time, though, the reality of the job can be quite different to expectations. Higgins recalls the two sitting down together in the initial planning phase and talking about the division of duties. “But what has ultimately ensured the success of our working partnership has been the ability to communicate and collaborate through each phase,” Higgins says. “When a new challenge or task appears, we talk through the best approach and decide who will take responsibility. We are fortunate to have the support of the entire Antix staff who are equally excited about the event. Particularly, Amy Miliauskas and Ashleigh Ellis have kept everything running whilst Jo and I manage our travel and work schedules.”
With more than two decades of experience in the entertainment industry, Higgins is recognized for her broad industry knowledge and data-driven insights on both local and overseas markets. She is regularly called upon for comment on the live events scene, presenting at local and international conferences on themes ranging from “The Last Two Percent” to “Nurturing Generation Next.”
By far, though, this two-day conference has been one of the best experiences of her professional life. “I am thrilled with the way the industry has responded to the conference,” she says. “Seeing the mix of delegates, sponsors and exhibitors who have rushed to participate and support the event has been overwhelmingly positive. However, the most rewarding part has been reconnecting with members of our community. Jo and I have each worked in the industry for over two decades. In that time, you meet a lot of people and work with them in intense, high-pressure environments. Strong, lasting relationships are built, but the nature of project work means that when each season, festival or event is over, the team moves on to their next project. You may not have an opportunity to work with them again for a long time. Creating the conference has given us an opportunity to reach out to our peers and former teammates.”
Of course, when you do anything for the first time, there are always unforeseen challenges. “Our clients at Antix Management engage us because of our years of experience and proven track record,” she says. “While processes constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of the industry, we are very rarely starting from scratch at Antix. Producing this conference for the first time has meant that we are literally creating a new process or policy, a new template or record for each activity. It’s exhilarating but definitely has me outside my comfort zone.”
Fortunately, she’s been able to fall back on some good counsel she has received over the years. Such words of wisdom have helped her as Managing Director of Antix, and now they are helping her put together an inaugural conference that is garnering serious buzz.
“There are two pieces of advice that have really stuck with me over the years, and they were both from the same source,” she says. “My mentor and dear friend, Pat Boggs, said to me, ‘People who never make mistakes don’t do any work.’ I used to be terrified of making a mistake, to the point that it would deter me from trying something new. It was far easier to stick with what I knew would work than to take a risk. Pat taught me to embrace the mistakes. That’s how you learn. Just don’t make the same mistake twice! Pat also said, ‘There are no problems, only solutions.’ It’s simple but very sound advice.”
Remembering Boggs’ tutelage, Higgins has always been quick to pay it forward and offer advice to those new in the business. Her tips range from “Ask lots of questions” to “Find a mentor that you admire and trust.” The latter is especially sound wisdom to young people and young women.
“I was so fortunate to have strong role models in my career,” she says. “I still look to them to this day for inspiration. I have already mentioned Pat, but in my earliest days working in a ticketing company, my senior manager was Louella Summerhayes. Louella set a great example of leadership. She worked hard and expected a high standard of work from her team. But what I learned most from her was that you do not have to sacrifice kindness in order to be respected as a strong leader.”
Finally, Higgins acknowledges the importance the International Ticketing Association (INTIX) has had in her success. She concludes: “I’ve truly come to appreciate the global community INTIX has built — the sense of belonging that we all feel. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the course of my career, but I have never met anyone who said they wanted to be a ticketing professional when they grew up. People tend to stumble into ticketing through a part-time role. Certainly, for me, it was a casual job to support me through university. Yet more than two decades later, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. When I first heard Maureen Andersen talk about the ticketing community as a ‘tribe,’ I realized exactly what had kept me here. Community has been a constant theme in planning our inaugural conference, and we are so grateful for the support INTIX has provided!”
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing