Leadership / 09.29.21
For Geo Haynes, the Ticketing Life Is Beautiful
It is perhaps ironic that Geo Haynes had just finished a gig working with the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas when he was interviewed for this article because, as we found out, he truly believes that life is a beautiful thing. It is not just because of what he does for a living. He describes himself as a ticketing consultant now that he has left his full-time gig with the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center in San Francisco to prioritize family. Haynes gets to travel around doing cool things like working festivals for the likes of AEG, Goldenvoice and Another Planet Entertainment. It is because of his own endearing passion for life which, in his case, is centered very much on authenticity and a piece of advice he would give himself if he could go back in time.
Geo at the Life is Beautiful Festival, 2017
As Geo puts it, “Live your life and stay authentically you, right now, and you will thrive in whatever you set your mind to. And also, do not let anyone stop your growth.”
Geo says, “What inspires me is just being around people who enjoy what they are doing, and it does not have to be at the ticket office. I like being around people who thoroughly enjoy life no matter what stage they are at in their lives.”
Life is Beautiful Festival, 2021, main gate crew
Whether it is a friend, colleague or someone in a position of leadership, he values openness and transparency most of all. “Just being straightforward, honest, with no need to sugarcoat anything … be direct. Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
It seems Geo developed this attitude at an early age. “My dad was a coach and educator for 49 years,” he says. “He taught me to value a lot of things — education, keeping your eyes on the goal and to stay financially savvy. My mom was a nurse, a hairstylist and a homemaker, so she instilled in me to always stay strong and wise, and she helped me with my nurturing side. Our family has always had a can-do attitude, meaning we just need to get it done, whatever is needed, to make it work for the family or for life, just do it.”
AIDS Walk San Francisco 2017, volunteer staff key leaders
Over the past two decades, Geo has done it and is still doing it, although he makes it clear that work is not the be all and end all to his existence. “I think music and dance is the greatest love of my life,” he says. “Both of these speak to me on a different level, and each one tells a story in its own way.”
Having been educated in theatre and dance at Texas State University, one might wonder why he did not become a performer. But Geo is delighted to work behind the scenes, “creating magical experiences” by providing great service to customers.
California Academy of Sciences, business systems team
“We are their first point of contact, and we try to share our enthusiasm about where we work in the venue or the artists who we are working for, and showing that enthusiasm makes them be super excited to come into your venue or festival. That is what I love most about any gig or any job, it is helping to create those magical experiences.”
And, of course, he gets a kick out of attending performances too. “My favorite venue is the Chase Center, which is in San Francisco, where the Golden State Warriors play. I think I am kind of biased because I was with them in Oakland and then moved over for the opening of the new arena. What makes it my favorite is that the building itself is just crazy beautiful, but it is also because of the staff who work there. They truly care about the players, the staff and their fans.”
Chase Center Ticketing Operations Staff, 2017
What does he most love about the ticketing industry?
“Our industry is very adaptable,” Geo says with obvious pride. “It does not matter what situation you put our tribe and our ticketing family in, we can make it work. We get in the trenches, and if we have to fold up tables or chairs, if we have to go clean toilets and figure out how to get this building ready to open, we are ready to jump in and do whatever it is [that needs to be done]. I think our job is transferable to any job in any company … If you think about it, we are the accountant, we make sure the staff is happy, we are the counselors, we are everything.”
Friends' peaceful retreat
When it comes to favorite live events, Geo says it is a toss-up between Prince’s last show in Oakland, California, or Beyoncé at Coachella. “They were both great for different reasons. Prince did an acoustic set at the Paramount Theatre. He played the piano by himself and he didn’t have a big band behind him. That was one of his last performances before he passed away, but it is also when I first saw him, even though he came to the Bay Area a lot. I was gifted these tickets and I was so blown away. It was interesting to see the diversity of people just loving Prince, singing his songs … I was very moved by the people who were there and then also, of course, by his performance. As for Beyoncé, well that was the biggest stage show that I have ever seen at Coachella. She really knows how to tap into her fans. Even her dancers, her singers and her band also tap into the fans. I love how she transforms songs and words. She is an entertainer like Michael Jackson was — a true all-around entertainer.”
Credentials/Ticketing crew at Coachella, 2018
When it comes to favorite singers however, Geo’s top choice comes from deep within his heart and is rooted in memories from his childhood. “Pastor Shirley Caesar was my mom’s favorite singer,” he says. “Oh my gosh, I could not wake up on Sunday or even during the week without one song from Shirley Caesar that my mom used to play all the time. To this day, when I hear her, I think of my mom because my mom passed away in 2016. Even if I did not want to hear gospel music itself, it would not matter because my mom played it all the time.”
It is no wonder that, when asked what talent he himself would most like to have, Geo says, “To feel other people’s emotions and what they are going through,” a sentiment that almost certainly comes from his family upbringing. When asked who he most admires, he said, “My parents. I admire them most because of the hardships they went through personally and professionally in their lives.”
Geo has also come to admire many of those whom he has had an opportunity to work with over the past couple of decades, including some who he considers to be his mentors.
Sharon Jones Film Showing with Ticketing Family
“When I first started with INTIX a long time ago, it was John Turchon, who worked with me during my college days at Texas Performing Arts Center. He has passed away. He was a pillar because he is the one who got me into INTIX. He told me all about INTIX. Also, Angus Watson and his wife Chloe with Ravinia Festival, at that time. He is retired now. They took me under their wing when I first joined, so at the beginning of my INTIX journey, it was those two. Then, of course, that is where I met Joe Carter [LA Phil and Hollywood Bowl] and Maureen [Andersen, INTIX CEO]. I have a lot of mentors, and some people do not know they are my mentors. I have learned so much by watching them grow, being on the INTIX Board and being on certain committees with them and just seeing how they carry themselves. My current mentor, who is my previous VP, is Stevie Gray. Before I worked for Stevie Gray, I was friends with her in the industry, so it is a little different because we were friends before she became my boss. I love the way she interacts with colleagues, her staff that she manages and people in general. It is the way she humanizes connecting to everyone on whatever level she needs to connect, but then still staying direct and professional.”
Geo says his long-time relationship with INTIX (he has been a member since 2006, including three years on the Board of Directors) has been invaluable. “It has taught me character building, how to speak in front of large crowds and encouragement of fellow attendees. It helps me share the knowledge I have learned from all the conferences and from other colleagues to bring back to my staff and employers.”
Greg, Matt and Geo (Coachella/Stagecoach best buds)
He says, “I use the annual conference to catch up with colleagues and peers in the industry. INTIX gives me a sense of purpose in our industry and a family like no other. We share knowledge, develop relationships and figure out the trends in different areas of ticketing, arts, sports, festivals and venues. It has been a pillar in my professional growth throughout my career.”
Geo also points out that he is a real fan of articles like this one (likely without ever imagining he would be featured in one). “I like reading these stories because you get to know people through conferences, but you do not see them all the time. Reading about all the extracurricular stuff or their personal life, it is interesting. Then when you see them again or talk through chat on the [weekly INTIX] Wednesday [Wisdom] calls, you can have a whole conversation about whatever was written about them in those stories. It is a wonderful way to connect and stay connected.”
Kalina, Zania and Geo at a farewell gathering
When he is not on the INTIX message boards, at an INTIX conference, involved in committee work or working at various venues and festivals, Geo says he likes to just hang out with his friends and family or dream about lying on a sunny beach in Hawaii, his favorite vacation spot.
“Life is slower there. It is not like New York or any other city. It is very calming going to the beach, going to the sites, and even just hanging with the locals in Hawaii, in Oahu, the Big Island and all the other places. It is just a different vibe. For some reason it relaxes me. I do not have a care in the world when I am there on vacation or hanging out with friends.”
40th birthday gathering
As he enters the next stage in his life, Geo offers this advice (for himself as well as others). “Own where you are in your journey and thrive in your second half of your life. The second thing I would say is it is never too late to pivot, but in my case, it is a pirouette [because I love to dance].”
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