Leadership / 01.21.22
INTIX Honors 2022 Awards Recipients at 43rd Annual Conference & Exhibition
It is difficult to find the words to properly express how special INTIX, the INTIX community and its members are to live entertainment ticketing — and to each other.
At the beginning of every year, we gather to impart knowledge, learn about new technologies, share experiences and honor those who are demonstrating the highest level of ticketing expertise, regardless of title, location or organization.
“The INTIX Awards are about celebrating milestones and achievements together,” said Lynne King Smith, INTIX Board Chair. “They help us see the value in what we all do, and create a sense of community, working together and validity in our everyday and not-so-everyday work. In an industry where we are not often noticed until something goes wrong, the INTIX Awards bring recognition for things that went well, obstacles overcome and goals crushed.”
INTIX Spirit Award – David Winn
The 2022 Spirit Award recipient is David Winn, Associate Director of Tanglewood Ticketing/Tessitura Liaison for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), as voted by the INTIX membership. The Spirit Award is given annually to an active member who represents enthusiasm, friendship, participation and cooperation to colleagues and to the industry.
As a 14-year INTIX member and a 40-year ticketing veteran, Winn believes that we must constantly strengthen and support our tribe. He has been of service in many capacities, including giving time on multiple committees. Winn is a seasoned networker, a tireless INTIX volunteer and donor, as well as an invaluable, go-to resource for others.
“I am always available via phone, text, email or at conferences to talk with and support new members,” said Winn upon learning of his nomination. “In fact, listening to new and seasoned members, then sharing experiences and knowledge, is one of the things we do best at INTIX. Some may call it ‘networking,’ [while] others may call it ‘a drink at the bar.’ I think it is the most valuable thing we do.”
Winn believes that participating in the weekly Wednesday Wisdom calls is extremely important. He is giving of his time and opinions in that environment as well, sharing what is going on at the BSO so that others can learn and potentially relate to what his organization is doing. Over the past 18 months, he has also participated in semi-weekly calls with other ticket office managers, while sharing hope with and supporting his fellow INTIX members.
Never one to shy away from volunteering, Winn always shows up the day before the conference to help stuff the WW&L conference bags, which allows him to give back and catch up with other members at the same time. David also supports the organization financially, giving to the COVID-19 Relief Fund and continuing to support the PD&E Fund as well as the Chairman’s Circle.
Winn attended his first INTIX conference back in the days of BOMI in 1988 in Las Vegas. In his own words, he summarized his spirit as “just being myself, goofy as that is, hopefully makes me available and approachable. Whether I am bouncing down the hallway on a red bouncy ball or listening to a fellow INTIX member unburden themselves, I hope that shows that I am human and really just like everyone else.”
True Tickets Young Ticketing Professional – Kevin Berls
The recipient of the 2022 True Tickets Young Ticketing Professional Award is Kevin Berls, Director of Audience Services and Business Analytics for Paramount Theatre and RiverEdge Park. Each year, the recipient of this award is an INTIX member under the age of 35 who exemplifies the future of INTIX and the profession.
Berls has been an INTIX member for three years, attended the 2020 conference and participated in the Mentorship Program as both a mentee and a mentor, sharing his eight years of ticketing experience and expertise with others.
He started as an intern and was promoted to assistant manager, then rose to his current role as Director of Audience Services and Business Analytics by the age of 24. Berls achieved this success by innovating new ideas and procedures that have driven growth and success. Service has been the organization’s top priority, with a year-over-year customer satisfaction rating of 99%, and an 85% retention rate for subscribers.
He is a problem-solver with a leadership style that is described as democratic, progress focused and supportive. At the same time, Berls fosters an environment of open communication and transparency, which has been essential to manage a group of 40 diverse employees. He listens and acts on feedback from the team to work toward long-term growth.
“By forecasting what changes will need to be made in the future, we can help prepare our box office team to be trained well ahead of time and not be rushed at the last minute, have all necessary equipment purchased and installed correctly, and have the team overall feel more prepared and confident when these changes arise,” Berls said in support of his nomination.
He continued, “Finally, being supportive is very important to my management style. When an employee does not feel supported or heard, they likely will not perform at their best and could contribute to an unmotivated work environment. By actively listening to concerns, listening to feedback of what would make their jobs better, and providing goals and benchmarks on where staff wants to be in their professional development creates a sense of teamwork and can spark inspiration.”
While Berls was not able to attend INTIX 2022 in person, he was able to join the awards ceremony via Zoom.
IMPACT Award – Bruno Boehi
In addition to our annual awards honorees, INTIX was delighted to recognize its fourth IMPACT Award recipient in Orlando. The IMPACT Award is given at the discretion of the INTIX Board Chair to recognize an individual, organization, vendor or partner that has provided continuous, consistent, extraordinary and exemplary service and support with a lasting impact to INTIX, its members, our conference and the live event ticketing industry.
The inaugural award was presented in 2019 to Linda Deckard, a public and passionate supporter of INTIX through Amusement Business and Venues Today/VenuesNow; 2020 to Jim Walcott, who retired as President of Weldon, Williams & Lick (WW&L) in 2020; and in 2021 to Albert Leffler, co-founder and employee No. 1 of Ticketmaster.
At INTIX 2022, Board Chair Lynne King Smith named Bruno Boehi, the former CEO of ShoWare, now President of Operations at accesso, as the 2022 recipient of the IMPACT Award.
“He, like so many of us, didn’t choose ticketing. It chose him,” Smith said in her INTIX Awards ceremony remarks. “And his impact to our industry — starting with one of the first web-based platforms, online seat selection, white-label sales pages, cobranding and everything else we now take for granted — is huge.”
The platform Boehi and his team created made it possible to build everything yourself, with no intervention or help from an account manager. However, nobody sat up to take notice at the time.
Boehi continued to do what good technology companies do. He built good technology with good people. Regardless of the new industry players who came and went, he was unflappable and continued quietly building good software. Every challenge was important, even if it meant climbing on the roof of the server building to fix a cooling unit. Indeed, in this particular instance, there were tickets to sell, and the repair service was taking too long to arrive, so he simply took things into his own hands.
“It is so often the quiet, steady work that gets overlooked,” King said.
She continued, “And so today, I want to introduce you to someone many of you may not know, yet [who] has contributed greatly to the way we sell tickets today — technology that helps us all create magic. His now over 200 global employees and 1,200 seasonal employees can attest to his ability to solving problems, and make better technology for ticketing, with a desire to stay out of the spotlight. So, for that last part, I apologize … and I’m proud to shine the light on him for just a moment.”
Outstanding Ticket Office – Blumenthal Performing Arts
The 2022 Outstanding Ticket Office is Blumenthal Performing Arts. Each year, this award is presented to a ticket office with an exceptional reputation for customer service. The ticket office staff must function skillfully and professionally as a team while maintaining a standard of excellence.
Blumenthal has been an INTIX member for 22 years and in active operation since 1993, and as a team, they thrive on giving solution-based customer service. The policy may say “no,” but this team always strives to provide creative and flexible solutions for their customers. The ticket operations team takes guest feedback seriously and takes the time to speak with customers, offer them a resolution, then take the steps needed to ensure that the issues are not repeated.
In support of Blumenthal’s nomination, Richard Powers, Director of Ticket Sales and Customer Service, shared, “Our customer service team is adept at thinking outside the box to make sure our guests leave every interaction on a positive note. Our team members consistently go above and beyond to ensure that each guest is listened to, valued and assisted with their questions and concerns.”
The Blumenthal ticket office is knowledgeable, connected and involved in their community ticketing services to partner organizations, resident companies and clients. They take on new challenges with a passion to succeed, drive and generate new revenue, offer solutions and thrive on taking on new programs and technologies. They are also flexible, proactive and specialize in strengthening their connections to their customers.
Over the past year, the Blumenthal ticket office team has also been pivotal in bringing back staff, customers and the arts with an entirely new type of event experience.
“Our most complex challenge this year as a ticket office was bringing the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit to Charlotte,” said Powers in his nomination comments.
Powers continued, “While we were very eager to bring this opportunity to Charlotte, there was a risk factor for us to venture into a field of art in which we had little experience and a financial risk with a significant up-front cost for this exhibit. For one, we did not previously have experience in timed-entry events. This was a challenge, from testing how best we could implement this feature to figuring out how to integrate our online ticketing system with a secondary platform. The different types of tickets offered also challenged our staff to think about tickets in a new way. They were tasked with differentiating between the different benefits included in the unique ticket types, explaining how flex tickets worked, with guests being able to arrive a certain amount before or after the time on their ticket, and adding merchandise items to their ticket order.”
Ultimately, to succeed with Immersive Van Gogh, the team implemented new features, integrated new online functions, did it safely with social distancing, kept employees working and the doors open despite a pandemic and floods.
Outstanding Ticketing Professional – Ashley Voorhees
The 2022 Outstanding Ticketing Professional is Ashley Voorhees, Associate Vice President of Administrative Service for Omaha Performing Arts. This award recognizes a colleague who sets a standard of excellence for other INTIX members with regards to leadership, achievement and professionalism.
Throughout her 25-year career, Vorhees’ focus has been on making the most significant, positive impact that she could on her organization and its patrons. With simple gestures that facilitate the customer experience — from reseating guests and lending an ear then helping out after a bad customer experience to taking a picture of a little girl visiting the theater for the first time with her grandpa — she continues to make a difference. Vorhees also improves the customer experience through complex projects and overhauls of processes and procedures that need retooling, often leveraging technology and data to make those improvements.
“When I think back on a career that has spanned 25 years, it’s difficult to choose only one achievement to call my greatest,” said Voorhees, humble as always, upon learning of her nomination. “Maybe it was at the start of my career when I was still a senior in high school, and I was working part-time and my first experience was working a 16-week run of The Phantom of the Opera in Salt Lake City. Or my time with Broadway Across America where I helped bring Broadway across the country and played my part in growing the subscriber base and launched tours like Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Wicked.’”
She continues, “Quite possibly, it is the last 12 years I have been at Omaha Performing Arts where I have been able to revamp our accessibility needs on the website and at the venues, oversee the Ticket Omaha box office who answered more than 44,000 phone calls during the 2018-2019 season, and restructured the department to provide more streamlined processes and strategized ways to stay relevant to our patrons during the pandemic. There’s still so much more to come and so many more accomplishments to be had. Some days it feels like I am just getting started.”
Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award – Bernard Berry
INTIX’s highest honor is The Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2022 recipient is Bernard (Bernie) Berry, Senior Director of Ticket Services at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.
This award is given annually to a member who has made a major contribution to the ticketing industry by helping set standards of excellence in all aspects of ticket management, and who has been actively involved in the continuing development and organization of INTIX.
Bernie has been an enthusiastic INTIX member for 21 years. In that time, he has served on the Nominating Committee and chaired INTIX 2018 in Baltimore and has recruited members by being an example of the association’s values.
In ticketing for over three decades, he has consistently brought professionalism and a spirit of community building to his business practices. Bernie leads by setting an example of enthusiasm for customers, which leads to outstanding customer service and interaction, and believes that making and having fun doing this work is the easiest way to learn.
Over the years, Bernie has had a long-term career goal of looking to and learning from his peers to create a shared mentality of building to success as opposed to competition. He uses one word to describe his leadership style: professionalism. And by showing his professionalism, he is confident that his work tells the story to his staff.
In Bernie's words, “ticket management is not an island but rather part of a larger picture that works to make the patron experience at all the touch points to ensure that live entertainment is included in our customers lives. Help show others what you have learned from others. Lead from the heart!”
Bernie was unable to accept his award in person but did join us by Zoom. In addition to offering thanks to the many people who have helped him in his career, he encouraged everyone in attendance to continue coming to INTIX. “Make sure it is in your budget,” he said, “because it is very important.”
Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!
Tags: Leadership , INTIX 2022