Leadership / 05.25.22
Immediate Past INTIX Board Chair Lynne King Smith Looks to the Future
Like so many professionals in our industry, Lynne King Smith fell into ticketing — in her words — “by accident.” During the 1990s, she and her husband ran an Arizona-based nonprofit called YouthForce and developed a deep database for the organization’s newsletter. They eventually started working with promoters on concerts and live events.
She fondly says, “We did everything from group sales, security and radio ads to securing venue contracts and, finally, ticketing with our first event in 1997. The rest is history as TicketForce was spun off in 2003 [of which, she served as CEO], selling tickets in all 50 states and Canada [and] serving hundreds of venues.” The business was sold in 2019, and Smith has no regrets. “We had an amazing run with some of the best people in ticketing.”
As Smith rose through the ranks of the ticketing and live events world, so too did she rise through the ranks of INTIX. Today, she is the current Past-Chair of the association and remains proud of her time at the reins. “My goal was to build a highly functioning board with all directors participating and feeling heard in our meetings,” she says. “I focused on that, and I hope we grew in those areas.”
Her favorite memories as Chair include working closely with Anthony Esposito and Amy Graca — then Past-Chair and Chair-Elect, respectively. She says, “We had a lot of laughs along the way and made a great team of three!”
One quality that has always served Smith well is that she prides herself on having been a “lifetime learner.” She says, “I earned my business degree while my kids [she has three daughters] were in grade school and I was working full time. I literally soaked up everything I could at every job along with the degree program, and it prepared me to become the CEO of our multi-million dollar company. I continue to read, put new ideas to practice and grow as much as I can.”
Currently, Smith coaches CEOs, executives and mid-level leaders through peer groups with Vistage International. She currently works with more than 35 such leaders in various roles. “I absolutely love every minute!” she says. “It’s incredibly rewarding to work with leaders and help them create better companies; make better decisions; and, ultimately, build better communities. It doesn’t feel like work at all.”
She has also found time for some fun side pursuits based on other passions and interests of hers. For instance, she is the founder of Illegal Modern Cocktail Kitchen. She says, “It is now called the Sotol Modern Cocktail Kitchen. It’s a rooftop bar at the top of a commercial real estate building in Gilbert, Arizona, that we built in 2018 to give a home to TicketForce. It now houses Sotol and my other fun project, Thrive Coworking for Women, along with office space and a ground-floor brunch spot.”
Smith has also stayed engaged in her local community, including a run for mayor in 2020, served on the Mayor’s Business Advisory Council, and been a member of the Gilbert Arts, Tourism, & Culture Board. Outside of Gilbert, she has held several positions with the League of Historic American Theatres, the International Association of Venue Managers and more.
Ticketing, though, remains just as big a passion and interest. So much so that she is always eager to give counsel to young women just starting out in the profession. “Shoot for whatever your North Star is and never stop learning,” she says. “Also, don’t do anything you aren’t getting joy from or work for people who don’t respect what you bring to the table.”
And, finally, stay realistic. The country and the world continue to weather tough times, and live events have seen some of the worst side effects of the pandemic and the ensuing economic turmoil. Smith says, “I’m actually not optimistic on a macro-level and think we all need to be prepared for the economy to right itself at least in early 2023, if not later this year. There is currently a lot of pent-up demand for live events. But as inflation increases and things become a little more normal with demand, we’ll have to be smart about how we price events to meet slower demands. That said, I am optimistic about the new technologies coming to market and new opportunities for many in our industry to find new ways to contribute and build amazing live event experiences for fans!”
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Tags: Leadership , Lynne King Smith