Leadership / 01.31.23
INTIX Honors 2023 Awards Recipients at 44th Annual Conference & Exhibition
There are really no words to express how important INTIX, its members and the broader community of ticketing professionals are to live entertainment.
Each year, we come together at our annual conference to exchange knowledge, learn about new technologies and share our experiences. We also celebrate those who have demonstrated exceptional ticketing expertise, regardless of their title, location, or organization.
Without further ado, here are your 2023 INTIX Award recipients!
INTIX Spirit Award – Jon Secunda
The 2023 Spirit Award recipient is Jon Secunda, Director of Ticketing for the University of Nebraska, Omaha, as voted by the INTIX membership. The Spirit Award is given annually to an active member who represents enthusiasm, friendship, participation and cooperation with colleagues and to the industry.
As an INTIX member of more than two decades, Secunda is a dedicated committee member who currently serves on the Mentor and Membership committees. The Mentor Program – and seeing others succeed – is nearest to his heart. “I am proud of my local Omaha ‘ticketing tree’ with several assistants and managers who have worked in my departments moving up to higher positions of ticketing management,” Secunda said upon learning of his nomination. “I love it when my colleagues, new to the industry or not, ask me for advice. Lord knows I have leaned on them and INTIX at critical points in my career.”
Secunda has helped mentor committees and he is active in recruiting new members too, believing strongly in what INTIX has to offer. Additionally, he is an invaluable go-to resource for others, a tireless INTIX volunteer, donor and workshop moderator.
“At the most elemental level, I have always tried to support the consistency of membership, conference attendance and conference participation,” said Secunda. “I have always thought that conference attendance brings INTIX into full view of your organization and affords a better understanding of what we are about and how ticketing affects all areas of the business.”
Secunda is thankful for the lifelong friendships he has cultivated through INTIX, for everything he has learned and for the accumulation of great conference experiences. And while he has given so much of himself, Secunda believes he can still give more. As he gets closer to retirement, Secunda says that means “an almost certain deeper involvement with INTIX volunteerism.”
True Tickets Young Ticketing Professional – Jessica Lee
The recipient of the 2023 True Tickets Young Ticketing Professional Award is Jessica Lee, Director of Ticket Operations for the Atlanta Braves and Truist Park. Each year, the recipient of this award is an INTIX member under the age of 40 who exemplifies the future of INTIX, the profession and the industry. The recipient also embodies the ideals of INTIX and demonstrates growing leadership, innovation, customer care and critical thinking skills.
Lee has been an INTIX member for six years but is already a seasoned pro with 12 years under her belt. She began her career through internships at PPG Paints Arena and in minor league baseball, then moved into full-time ticket operations roles in Major League Baseball, first with the Houston Astros and then home to Georgia and the Atlanta Braves.
In 2022 alone, Lee managed a regular season, postseason and five full stadium concerts that brought almost 3.4 million fans through the gates and generated more than $160 million in ticket revenue. She directly oversees financial reporting and settlements, digitized reporting thereby eliminating the need for paper, and works closely with her organization’s ADA coordinator on accessibility and access.
Lee is actively involved as a member and board member of GATPA, her regional ticketing group. With INTIX, she has given back as a committee member, committee co-chair, conference speaker, moderator and mainstage panelist.
When it comes to leadership style, Lee gives her team autonomy and helps each person find a role in the industry that best suits their skills and dreams.
“I want our staff to strive to not only further their careers but also their knowledge bases,” said Lee upon learning of her nomination. “Most of our staff has an area of the business that they own. Typically we give them a year when they are first hired on so that they can learn how we go about doing things and over that year, we can identify what area of the business would fit them best. Over the next year, my goal is to make sure that every person has a backup. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn more and learn about a side of the business they may not have been as aware of.”
Outstanding Ticket Office – Ravinia Festival Ticket Operations
The 2023 Outstanding Ticket Office is Ravinia Festival Ticket Operations. 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, accuracy and precision in public and internal accounting functions.
Ravinia has the historic distinction of being a founding member of BOMI and has had continuous membership since the first conference in Milwaukee. Over the past year, the team has fully absorbed all customer service, information services, gate and parking staff. Long regarded for great customer and donor services, they refocused to provide extraordinary customer experiences. To accomplish this goal, they have taught more than 120 organization employees how to offer the best customer service interactions regardless of where they are in the park.
Instead of working to resolve customer issues retroactively, the Ravinia ticket office team streamlined customer communications by empowering their services groups to utilize tools to solve customer issues in the moment, in real-time. This helps to ensure the best possible experience for Ravinia’s customers.
While focusing on this customer service mission, the Ravinia team overcame challenges related to ever-changing ticket operations. This included helping their community heal to music after a local tragedy plus adding a new festival and gala benefit concert to their season.
“This [past] summer, Ravinia presented the inaugural Breaking Barriers Festival, a new festival celebrating the diverse artists and leaders in the vanguard of classical music today and for future generations,” said Duncan Moss, Senior Associate Director of Ticket Operations for Ravinia, upon learning of the ticket office’s nomination. “The festival included over 16 semi-private events in one weekend with four public-facing major performances all in the middle of Ravinia's busy summer concert season.”
Ravinia’s four-person full-time team delivers on their organization's values by focusing on purposeful service with their 350,000+ annual patrons, donors and fans across a program of 100 concerts over 100 days. They also work with their local communities to make connections and create partnerships with 200 local organizations. Through its Reach Teach Play program, music education remains accessible to thousands of students throughout the greater metro Chicago area. “All of these lead to why Ravinia does what it does,” said Moss. “We believe in the power of shared, live music moments to inspire ourselves and the world.”
Outstanding Ticketing Professional – Lauren Dugan
The 2023 Outstanding Ticketing Professional is Lauren Dugan, Senior Ticket Manager for Oak View Group - Moody Center. This award recognizes an INTIX member who has demonstrated standards of excellence, precision, achievement, service and professionalism. The recipient has exhibited ongoing support of INTIX, its membership and its mission through involvement and participation.
Dugan has been an INTIX member for six years but is a 17-year industry veteran who has led ticketing teams at multiple venues across the United States. She started in ticketing in 2006 at her college basketball arena. Most recently, Dugan was directly responsible for creating the entire infrastructure, policies, procedures, hiring, training and ticketing foundation for the new Moody Center arena in Austin, Texas. In just over six months of opening, the Moody Center became Billboard’s top ticket-grossing venue in the 10,000 to 15,000 capacity category and the 10th top ticket-grossing arena of any size in the world according to Pollstar.
When it comes to communication, Dugan’s nominator says she is second to none, both internally and externally with client partners. “My philosophy has always been that my job is to create an environment for a client or promoter that shows the ticketing department is inviting, understanding, proactive, and hardworking,” said Dugan in support of her nomination. “While a customer is absolutely important, we would not have the customers without the client or promoter who brings the shows to our building. I work to ensure that I am doing all that I can for the client or promoter to be a success with the shows they are bringing all while ensuring that my department and entire building team is being successful.”
On top of being efficient, an expert in operations and thinking outside of the box, Dugan has served on multiple INTIX committees, including the Education and Mentor committees. To that end, she is a great mentor for young professionals early in their careers.
”I am proud of the effort I have provided not only with these promoters and shows, but also the knowledge I have been able to pass along to those under my leadership,” she said. “When I started in 2005, I had a great leader that would take the time to further explain the industry to me, taking me under their wings and showing me the ropes. I am as successful as I have been because of them. I will never forget that and take it upon myself to ensure I also pass along my knowledge to those in my department that are looking to progress their career. I am pleased that at the majority of my previous venues, my assistants took on my role shortly after my departure.”
IMPACT Award – Patricia G. Spira (Posthumously)
In addition to our annual awards honorees, INTIX was delighted to recognize its fifth IMPACT Award recipient in Seattle. The IMPACT Award is given at the discretion of the INTIX Board Chair to recognize an individual, organization, or partner that has provided continuous, consistent, extraordinary and exemplary service and support to INTIX. The award recognizes the lasting impact to our members 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. In 2020, the award was presented to Jim Walcott, who retired as President of Weldon, Williams & Lick (WW&L) that year. In 2021, Albert Leffler, co-founder and employee No. 1 of Ticketmaster, received the IMPACT Award. And in 2022, Bruno Boehi, the former CEO of ShoWare, now President of Operations at accesso, was named the recipient of the IMPACT Award.
In Seattle, Board Chair Amy Graca presented the 2023 IMPACT Award to Patricia G. Spira to honor her and her legacy. The award was accepted by her children, Ann Spira, Ellen Spira Hattenbach and Dr. Jim Spira, who took the stage as the room stood to applaud and honor the INTIX founder. The remarks to honor their beloved mother, delivered by Ellen Spira, also paid tribute to all the members of the organization she founded 44 years ago:
“Thank you for bestowing on us the INTIX IMPACT Award. Thank you to Maureen Andersen for extending today's invitation. For your warm and hospitable accommodations and your ever-loving friendship. To Amy Graca, for her leadership and giving us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thank you to the entire board of directors, the sponsors, the vendors, the exhibitors, and to each box office professional who fills this room and the industry worldwide. Thank you. Thank you to those who were there from the start, and who knew our mom almost as long as we have.
"It is so fitting that the INTIX IMPACT Award is dedicated to someone who has had continual and lasting impact. Because indeed, Patricia Spira had a life filled with enduring, lifelong, widespread and deep impact on us and on anyone who came in contact with her. What kind of impact? One was giving birth to four Spira children – my brother Jim, my sister Ann and myself, along with our eldest brother David, who right now is with mom and dad watching from the center seats in the highest of all balcony sections, heaven.
“Another lasting impact as evidenced here today was giving birth to this incredible international association born as BOMI and growing up into what is now a maturing and enduring INTIX.
“Mom raised us in somewhat the same fashion she raised INTIX. With her dedicated guidance, her devoted care, and her unconditional love. With her leadership, vision, actions, mentorship, and her way of making everyone feel [that] I'm here for you. That Patricia G. Spira gave birth and raised us in a similar manner really makes us all family today. Jim, Ann and myself accept the INTIX IMPACT Award on behalf of our families, from you, our family.
“Impact. From my sister Ann, mom was her artistic and entertainment soulmate. Mom mentored Ann straight into the profession, enriching her life with an understanding of how to be a leader straight from the heart. She taught Ann that connecting to people all over the globe is richly rewarding and that collaborating is exponentially productive. That sharing challenges as well as best practices is essential to growth. And here's my favorite. She taught Ann that drama on the stage and not in the office is where drama belongs.
“Impact. For my brother Jim, mom was the epitome of never giving up on pursuing one's dreams, nor shying away from a vision. At age 44, she went back to college to finish her degree, and her four children witnessed her educational pursuit and her commencement ceremony. Then. Well, you all know what happened next, because here we are today. BOMI, once a seed of an idea, blossomed into an international phenomenon. Talk about impact and vision. Even in mom's retirement, Jim was inspired by her continual contribution to help fledgling performing arts organizations. And I can attest Jim inherited our mom's drive and perseverance performed with kindness and humility. We're guessing Mom had this kind of impact on many of you here today.
“So when Mom passed away not even a year ago, Maureen Andersen was one of the very, very first to call. She shared and shed more light on our mother's impact than our family had ever known. She illuminated mom in ways we could not see, because to us, Patricia Spira was mom, the mom who cheered us on at high school musicals, wrestling matches, at colleges and throughout her career. The mom that chaired the Parent Teacher Association and endless fundraisers. The mom who went to work, did the grocery shopping, walked the dog, played cards with us and opened our eyes to the fabulous world of theatre, sports, symphony, opera, ballet and Broadway musicals.
“To everyone. We may not know the precise words mom would say today, but we sure can speak their essence. She would not want this award about her but about all of you. What you have accomplished, the challenges ahead, and the Patricia G. Spira inspiration of yes, be here for one another, share knowledge and best practices, and together we're going to get this done. Lead from the heart. And by all means, take care of one another. Mom would turn this award right back, facing each of you and say, ‘You all have made an impact on me.’ By accepting this award, you are giving her children the gift of keeping mom's legacy and lasting impact alive, those to whom she gave birth, her children and her association. Jim, Ann and I truly thank you, our INTIX family, for this awe-inspiring moment and remembering our mother, your friend and colleague, Patricia G. Spira. Her impact lives on in perpetuity in each of us and in all of you. Thank you so much, and now the show must go on.”
Following the presentation of the fifth IMPACT Award, Graca revealed that there was also a second recipient for 2023.
“The funny thing about being the Chair of the Board and picking the INTIX Impact Award is that I also own the rules,” said Graca. “My team sitting back there [would say] I tend to live that style almost every day. So that being said, I have chosen to give another IMPACT Award this year.”
IMPACT Award – Angela Miles-Powell
Back in 1989, Angela Miles-Powell was working part-time in a laundromat while studying engineering at Christian Brothers College. She was discovered by a man named Charlie Ryan, who invited her for an interview and subsequently hired her to work at Ticket Hub. Miles-Powell wore many hats for the Select-A-Seat operation, from answering phones to sales at the counter in their retail stores.
After a couple of years, there were some significant changes, both with Miles-Powell’s studies and her employment. She did not see a future for herself in engineering, so she changed her major to English. On the work front, Ticket Hub merged with Ticketmaster in 1991, and Miles-Powell became the lead event creator. After graduating, she went into ticketing full-time. Miles-Powell has never looked back, taking over as a general manager in 2006 and ultimately rising to the position she holds today, as Regional Vice President of Venues and Promoters at Ticketmaster.
Having spent more than three decades in the business, Miles-Powell takes our industry and her job to the next level when it comes to customer service and getting to the root cause of a problem. She truly cares about each and every person she comes in contact with and wants to help, Graca shared in her remarks.
Miles-Howell has supported INTIX for many years. She has supported the clients that attend, the vendor booths, and has been to numerous conferences. She has also been a real advocate encouraging people to attend, helping those who are newcomers, and has a vision for the future.
Making an impact is something we all strive to do. Graca emphasized that Miles-Howell has provided continuous, consistent, extraordinary service and support with a lasting impact on INTIX members, programming, conference, and the live ticketing industry.
That impact was evident as numerous videos congratulating Miles-Powell were played. The accolades were heartfelt, passionate and ever so gracious. She was described as a “champion for women,” “a lethal combination of experience, knowledge, tireless work ethic and unmatched personality” and “a key connector.” And this was just scratching the surface.
“As you can tell from these videos and the wonderful smiles, there is a common theme. Hard work, dedication, commitment, perseverance, determination, leadership, and grit,” said Graca. “Angela, together with everyone in these videos, everyone in this room, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for setting the example. For going the extra mile, becoming the leader we all need, and making us feel like we are all important. You have a gift, you have a talent, and we appreciate you sharing it with each of us. Congratulations on your 2023 IMPACT Award.”
Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award – Kay Burnham
INTIX’s highest honor is The Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2023 recipient is Kay Burnham, Founder of Perceiving Possibilities.
This award is given annually to a member who has made sustained and quantified contributions to the standards of excellence in the ticketing and live event industry. The recipient has demonstrated consistent and sustained involvement in the continued promotion, support, and development of INTIX, its membership and mission.
“Where does one start to describe the experience and knowledge that Kay has given continuously, generously and freely to INTIX and to the not-for-profit performing arts in our industry,” asked Burnham’s nominator.
Indeed, over 23 intention-filled years as an INTIX member, Burnham has played many roles and given so much of herself. She has been a frequent speaker, helped others as a mentor, and the list goes on. Committee member. Committee chair. Conference committee member. Donor. Board chair. Chair of the nomination committee. Member of the executive committee. Leader of the process for INTIX to have a strategic long-range plan. As well, Burnham was the keeper of the bylaws and governance review process. She did all of this alongside a full-time, executive leadership position at a major performing arts center.
“I have always been a forward and people-first leader,” Burnham said in support of her nomination. “I spent most of my career with one organization, starting out answering the phones part-time and working my way up to being the Vice President of Guest Services, overseeing multiple areas totaling 450+ staff and volunteers.”
Burnham added, “Over the years, I also put people at the forefront, both my teams and the patrons. Making people the priority allowed me to craft patron-friendly policies that earned us loyal customers. Even as subscription renewal rates around the country lowered, ours remained steady or growing, no matter the programming. Internally, I crafted programs for the ticketing department to enhance employee morale and engagement, which paved the way for the company's overall employee engagement program.”
Today, Burnham is engaging with ticketing professionals in a new way, through her recently formed consulting firm, Perceiving Possibilities. She has reinvented herself and is helping the industry through leadership training, as a speaker, in editorial interviews, and by always sharing and caring. Indeed, Burnham’s service to INTIX in giving back to colleagues and the industry is seemingly endless.
Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!
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Tags: Leadership , INTIX 2023 , INTIX Awards