Leadership / 08.16.23
INTIX Members Share Their Hobbies, Part 2
In Part 1 of our two-part feature on INTIX members and their hobbies, we interviewed 20 ticketing and live events professionals to find out what their special interests are away from the job. Not surprisingly, roughly half enjoyed active hobbies involving the great outdoors — everything from hiking to running to playing in a competitive softball league. The other near-half preferred personal pursuits in the quiet and peace of their own homes — reading, crocheting, woodworking and so forth.
This journalist doesn’t know every single INTIX member, of course. So, at the end of that feature, I put a call out to those not interviewed who would like to share their personal hobbies. As with the first article, many respondents have hobbies that take them out of the home, out of the office and into the fresh air.
One such member is Alison Barry, Director of Guest Experience & Sales at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. “Yes, I am an amateur naturalist!” she says. “I love to hike, take nature photos, and be in the great outdoors. My husband and I love to make treks in our region and also seek out the local trails when we travel.”
Barry says such pursuits have helped her greatly in her professional life. Hiking, for instance, helps her escape her fast-paced work environment. She says, “It allows me to clear my mind. Being among nature helps me understand my place in the world. Additionally, Mr. Frog doesn't yell at me about his tickets not being at will call!”
A frog Alison Barry found on a hiking trail.
On some future trek, Barry and her husband may see Pam David, Manager of Ticket Operations for the Ottawa Senators. Her favorite hobby is camping. She says, “I always went camping with my family as a kid, and now that I have kids of my own, it’s something we do with them. We all enjoy being outdoors and doing things off the grid, if you will. Whether its hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc. … just being unplugged and recharging.”
Michael McDermott, General Manager of SECUTIX Americas, is quite the outdoorsman. He says, “I love to cycle, ski, stand-up paddle board, run, hike and hit the gym. I find doing these outside activities allows me to feel the sun, air, the beauty of this planet, which allows my mind to process all the information and decisions in a new way. I find amazing answers and ideas to the issues and challenges that I am managing.
Michael McDermott on a bike ride.
The outdoors has many recreational activities, some newer than others. Russell Thompson, Box Office Manager & Event Coordinator at State University of New York at New Paltz, has found his extracurricular passion in playing disc golf. He calls it “an addictingly fun game” of throwing frisbees, called “discs,” at a metal chained target that is called a “basket.” The game plays very similar to traditional golf.
Thompson says, “The relaxing nature of playing disc golf is why I am attracted to the sport as a hobby. My friend got good and joined the PDGA [Professional Disc Golf Association] as a professional player. I remain extremely amateur but can keep up and enjoy an outing with him and a few others who I’ve convinced to start playing. It’s a welcome, peaceful break from the loud, crowded lobbies, hallways, gates and houses of our buildings.”
Tammy Enright, Project Manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in the office of Visitor and Guest Services, loves both the outdoors and the water. Rowing is her jam. So much so that she is a member of the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, the nation’s oldest LGBTQ+ team.
Tammy Enright and her rowing team.
She says, “My experience with INTIX and live events actually helped me in my rowing. Not only was I used to doing things at odd hours — rowers like to row early and row late — but I got a seat on the club’s board and used my ticketing expertise to help with everything from marketing, community building and engagement. I also found myself turning to my INTIX network — Maureen’s wife, Deb (a professional philanthropy expert), was an invaluable resource to me. When I found myself, in the midst of a pandemic/economic crisis, trying to both fundraise for an LGBTQ+ organization and craft sponsor guidelines that would protect our members and our club, there was no one better to turn to. She gave me advice, encouragement, best practices and documentation. The INTIX network truly is the best!”
John F. Vetter, Box Office Ticket Specialist at Brooklyn College, not only goes outdoors for his hobby. He goes back to the past! In his down time, he is a Civil War re-enactor. He says, “I’ve always been a big American History buff … and it does give me opportunities to meet and engage very diverse people.” This hobby has enabled him to help out with the Greenwood Cemetery Union Graves Restoration project and has found him marching in an annual Remembrance Day Parade. “Now I just do small living history events in the New York area,” he says.
John F. Vetter's Civil War re-enactments.
And then there were those respondents who want to be done with the world for just a little while. Their hobbies involve the comfort of their own home. One such INTIX pro is Jenifer “Jen” LaMorte, Vice President of Business Development at Tessitura Network and INTIX Board Chair. She enjoys playing board games with her husband and friends in her spare time. “I’ve always loved playing games with friends and family,” she says. “It’s become a pastime for us to get together with people we love. You wouldn’t believe how the board game hobby is exploding! There are so many new games to try.”
Bernie Berry, Senior Director of Ticket Services for the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Virginia, prefers the old-school charm of doing crossword puzzles in his down time. This hobby started as a kid when he would read newspapers from front to back and has even recently expanded to the workplace. He notes that such puzzles “keep me thinking on my feet. They help with staying awake during late nights. Plus, I have bonded with staff when we compete to see who can finish the puzzle the fastest.”
Ryan Meyer, Senior Director of Ticketing Services at PGA TOUR, prefers to stay athletically active without going out to a gym or fitness facility: “These days, I love to jump on either the Peloton Bike or the Peloton app. It is a fantastic way to exercise, and if you combine either the Bike or the Tread with the app, I don’t believe there is any need for gym membership. It started back during COVID when I received my bike as a gift. I have been on it regularly since.”
Finally, there was one INTIX professional who agreed to be interviewed for this article whose hobby was a house itself. Anne Vantine, Senior Treasurer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., says, “I suppose restoring a 1920 beach duplex with a friend and box office colleague in Cape Charles, Virginia, has been the hobby taking up any spare time I have. But it is almost completely restored, so I want to get back into some of the hobbies I used to enjoy! I used to enjoy rug hooking; going to see live concerts; watching gymnastics — college gymnastics, in particular, as a former college gymnast myself; reading; and, eventually, I want to get back to playing classical guitar, which was my college minor.”
She concludes, “I think what appeals to me most about my hobbies are that they require creative thinking, learning and a break from the day to day. My varied hobbies and interests help me with my ticketing job because they help me think creatively and actively look for learning opportunities while giving me a break from work. Hmmm, maybe my true hobby is creative thinking and being a lifelong learner, and the things I do for work and for fun foster these hobbies?”
You may be on to something Anne, and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
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Tags: Leadership , Hobbies