Leadership / 06.19.23
Mentoring Matters: 8 INTIX Members Share Their Experiences
In the ticketing industry, mentorship plays a significant role in the development and success of professionals at various stages of their careers. As the industry continues to evolve, the guidance provided by these supporters is invaluable. All of the professionals we have interviewed this year for our “Getting to Know You” series have either benefited from mentors or taken on the role themselves. Their experiences highlight the importance of mentorship in fostering growth, sharing knowledge and cultivating meaningful connections.
Brian Arnone has had a long and varied career in ticketing. His LinkedIn profile lists at least 21 different roles in the 25-plus years since he started in the business at 19. From his early days in customer service at BASS Tickets in Northern California to his current position as CEO at DipJar, Brian attributes his long-term success to the guidance and support of influential mentors.
Among those who played a pivotal role in Brian's growth and development are Pete Bramson and Dana Carrigan, who oversaw operations and client services, respectively, at BASS Tickets, providing guidance during Brian's early days in the industry. Additionally, Andrew Dreskin, the co-founder of TicketWeb and Ticketfly, played a crucial role in Brian's journey, as did Marc Jenkins, the CEO at Patron Technology, where Brian served as President, CRO and Senior Advisor.
“When you look at my career, it is not the most glorious career or anything,” he says. “But when you look at it and dissect it, you can see those moments where … there's this tweak or situation that happened where key people took the time to help, give me an opportunity, or shape me.”
And shape him they did. Today, Brian is well known and respected as one of the best and brightest in his field, having excelled in key leadership roles for ticketing companies experiencing phenomenal growth. Along the way, Brian came to believe that strong leadership involves standing beside your team members, having their back and providing support.
“It is not [a leader’s] job to tell you that you are doing things wrong, or you are doing things necessarily right all the time,” he says. “Their responsibility is to help you grow as an individual and collectively within the company. When you look at the companies that I have worked for that have succeeded, they have had really strong leadership from people who took the time to share with and explain what was going on with not just the business, but their interactions at the highest levels.”
Brian also understands the importance of giving back, especially to young professionals.
“There is a responsibility that a lot of us have, especially someone like me, who was given [mentorship] early in my career, to give it back. And sure, you are trying to talk to prospects, and you are trying to drum up business and increase revenue. That all has to be part of it. But there is an underlying part to INTIX that is special in your growth as an individual and as part of this industry,” he says.
Also read: Executive, Advisor and Investor Brian Arnone Has Worn Many Hats in Ticketing
Jamie Vosmeier has had a fascinating career trajectory. From his humble beginnings in telephony to his current role as Director of Ticket Services and Sales at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, he is thankful for the mentors who have helped him along the way.
One who played a pivotal role in Jamie's career was Charlotte Young, whom he worked with during his time at the local telephone company in Indianapolis. “She taught me that I had value as a people leader. She held me accountable in a way that I had never felt accountable. I have held on to that. It was a whole career ago. It was 25 or 27 years ago that I worked with her. I still hear her words. I think a leader empowers their people, trusts and develops them.”
Jamie’s transition from telephony to ticketing happened serendipitously. It was during a phone call to purchase season tickets to the Broadway series in Indianapolis that Jamie's career took an unexpected turn.
While jokingly asking if they were hiring, Jamie was surprised to hear a positive response. He seized the opportunity, left his job with the phone company, and embarked on a new adventure promoting Broadway shows. This leap of faith led him to a fulfilling career in the entertainment industry, where he has thrived ever since.
Today, Jamie is grateful for the opportunities he has been given and the incredible team he works with at The Fox. He cherishes the joy and emotional impact that the entertainment industry brings to people's lives, acknowledging that it is a unique and rewarding field.
Also read: Jamie Vosmeier Went From Telephony to Ticketing With Music in His Heart
Charles Edinger lives a busy but harmonious life in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with Michelle, his wife of 30 years; their four adult children close by; and an abiding faith in God. While his job as Director of Ticket Operations for Ticket Star, a division of PMI Entertainment Group, helps him provide for himself and his loved ones, he finds meaning in helping his church and supporting his community.
While he has given much to his church over the years, Charles has also received an abundance of grace and credits his friend Pastor Randy Ott for mentoring him in the Christian faith and the business of running a church. He says his faith inspires him to be more patient and understanding toward others.
Charles also acknowledges the significant impact that mentors have had on his career. One of his early mentors was John Dederich, who, he says, “taught me a lot about the entertainment business.” during his initial years at PMI Entertainment Group. Later, when Charles returned to the company in 2002, Ken Wachter was the president and became an influential mentor for him.
Having experienced the benefits of mentorship firsthand, Charles values honesty and a willingness to serve others, qualities he admires in his leaders, peers, colleagues and friends.
Also read: Charles Edinger Counts His Faith, Family, Friends and Ticketing Among Life’s Blessings
If more than four decades in the live theatre business has taught David Thomas anything, it’s the value of having an accomplished mentor. In his case, he had one of the best, having spent the first 25 years of his professional life under the wing of Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the legendary London-based theatrical producer behind such hit shows as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Misérables.” His 25-plus years working for Mackintosh had a profound impact on Thomas’ own career. He still remembers the day when he was given a particularly important piece of advice.
“A legendary company manager once told me, after one particularly horrendous incoming (which is when the public is allowed into the building), ‘Managing a West End theater is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, young man. To do it as yourself, that is. But to try and do it and not be yourself, David, well that’s just impossible. Bring yourself into the building, and all the answers will be there for you,’” David says.
He continues, “So, when trying to advise people on an approach to problems, roles or professions, I believe it is vital to stress the importance of them also bringing their own individual personalities, talents and creativity into the mix. While pointing out the near impossibility of achieving anything much without being able to do that. By the way, that much-loved company manager also gave me half a dozen of his dress shirts to get me through to my first salary check.”
Mentorship takes many forms, but it certainly takes a very special person to literally give someone the shirt off your back to help you get started in the business.
David with Elton John on a Billy Elliot thank you trip to Las Vegas.
This year, David signed up for the INTIX Mentor Program, where he aims to give back. In doing so, he will undoubtedly inspire and guide the next generation of theatre professionals, drawing upon his journey and the wisdom imparted to him.
Also read: David Thomas on Zigzagging Through the Wonderful World of Ticketing
Shawn Robertson, Ticket Sales Director for the Center Theatre Group (CTG) in Los Angeles, has built a highly successful career in the entertainment industry over more than 30 years. In his current role, he oversees six departments that generate over $50 million in annual ticket sales for CTG’s Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre and Kirk Douglas Theatre. But behind his achievements lies the influence of mentors and the significance of mentorship in shaping his path to leadership. Reflecting on his journey, Shawn acknowledges the profound impact that mentors have had on his personal and professional growth.
“It is going to sound like I am sucking up, but [INTIX President and CEO] Maureen Andersen is my mentor, not only about ticketing but how to be a human being,” he says. “When my mom was sick 10 years ago, and we were at the conference in Orlando, I had to be on the phone every day because she was recovering. She eventually passed away a few weeks later but was in South Florida, about two hours south of Orlando. Maureen was checking in with me every day because she had lost her mom the previous year. She reminded me that it is a universal feeling, but each one is unique to you because it is your story and your parent.”
Shawn continues, “Also, one of the things I learned from Maureen professionally is adaptability. I knew her at The Denver Center for so long, then she reinvented herself and worked for AudienceView, and now she's been with INTIX. In that respect, I would say Maureen has been one of the most influential people whom I have never actually worked with. Obviously, I worked with her while being on the INTIX Board of Directors, but it's not like working [together in a day-to-day role].”
Shawn also counts a person he worked with three decades ago as an important influence on his life — and it is not because she was his supervisor or a mentor in the truest sense.
“Alison Barry has been a mentor for me professionally and as one of my best friends,” he says. “She is my INTIX wife, and I am her INTIX husband. I learned so much from her because we were both kids. We were both in our early 20s when we met, and now I think of how much has changed in our lives. Her daughter is graduating college. It makes me feel older than dirt to think that I remember before she even met her husband, got married or had kids. [So, two mentors] for different reasons, but similar because they are also just good, kind people.”
Shawn and Ali.
Shawn's journey highlights the transformative power of mentorship and the importance of paying it forward. As a member of INTIX, he cherishes the opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals and share ideas. Recalling the overwhelming experience of his first INTIX conference, Shawn makes it a point to welcome newcomers and provide them with the support and guidance he once received.
In Shawn's words, "My entire career has been lifted up and, in some ways, changed by INTIX." The organization and its vibrant community have provided him with lifelong connections, deep friendships and a platform for professional growth. He values the helping hands extended to him during challenging times and understands the responsibility of supporting and nurturing the next generation of leaders.
“I've gotten so much from INTIX that it is my duty to pay it forward and pay it back to those who helped me and those who are coming behind us. I'm the older generation now when I used to be the younger, so the generation before me did that for me. It's my job to do that for those coming next.”
Also read: There Is Always Lots of Love in Shawn Robertson’s Ticketing Life
Julie Porter Cardenas
Julie Porter Cardenas, Senior Product Operations Specialist at Paciolan, has had a remarkable journey in the ticketing industry. Reflecting on her experiences, Julie cherishes the memories and acknowledges the significant role that mentors played in her professional growth. She passionately believes anyone can find a home in ticketing and attributes much of her success to the support and guidance she received from others.
Recalling her early days in ticketing, Julie fondly reminisces about her first job and the lessons she learned. She says, "I love so much about [ticketing]. I have been with Paciolan for 17 years. I work with some incredible people. I have been given opportunities at this company to grow … Our President and CEO, Kim Damron, has always been great, and Dave Butler before her (he is retired now), at finding a place that is a great fit. The person I work for, the people I work with, are some of the highest performing, kindest people. When I look at who my closest friends are, many of them have come from Paciolan, are still at Paciolan or are clients of Paciolan. It is more than a job for me. They have always believed in me, had faith in me and given me opportunities. I feel so incredibly lucky to work here."
Julie, second from left, and some of her Paciolan colleague friends.
Julie acknowledges the impact of her mentors at Paciolan, highlighting Robin Stanley, a developer at the company. "She is an incredible human. She is an example of being one of the best you can be in your field and being kind at the same time, being generous in spirit and so quick to help, wanting to help ... It is just an incredible joy to work with somebody like that and to have that as an example of a leader, colleague, human and friend."
Another mentor who has greatly influenced Julie is Maureen Andersen. "I have known her a long time,” Julie says. “I met her before I started working for Paciolan, when I was a client. We were going to onboard with Paciolan, and Maureen was part of our implementation team. She came walking in the door and I said, 'I recognize you from somewhere.' It was from years of INTIX … Maureen is a great example of being true to yourself. I love that. Knowing who you are and keeping things moving. She has navigated her career in a way that I admire and respect, and she has done that while being true to herself. That means something to me."
Julie's mentors have been instrumental in shaping her professional journey, but her passion extends beyond her immediate circle. As a member of INTIX, she values the opportunity to learn from and share with others.
"It is a great organization to be a part of,” she says. “I love it.”
Also read: Ticketing Has Given Julie Porter Cardenas More Than She Ever Dared Dream
Carol Foreman has worked in live events for over 30 years, serving a single annual event — the NCAA Men's College World Series. She started as an intern with a meeting and convention planning company and was mentored by Dan Morrissey, who later became director of marketing and events for the College World Series of Omaha, Inc., the nonprofit that organizes the series today. Carol started on the operations side, became Ticket Manager in 2010, and today serves as Director of Ticketing.
Regarding mentors, Carol gratefully acknowledges the guidance she received from Dan Morrissey and Kathryn Morrissey, Dan's wife and the organization’s former executive director.
“[Kathryn] is someone who would listen to you and provide the feedback that you needed. She was also one of those people who very much would happily do whatever it took to make the event successful, whether that meant picking up trash on the sidewalk or answering a phone call … Dan and Kathryn started me on my career, helped me along the way and were people who I could look up to.”
Carol’s involvement with INTIX began after she started working on the ticketing side of the Men’s College World Series. Another member recognized how it could help her career, then wanted to share the knowledge, growth and feeling of community that comes with INTIX.
“That is about the same time Josh Logan started working with the NCAA. In our meetings over the next year or two, he asked if I knew anything about INTIX. I said, ‘No, I don't.’ He said, ‘Well, I really think you should join. I think it would be beneficial if you were a part of this organization. I've been a part of it for a while. I think you'd get a lot out of it.’ Josh instigated things and got it approved for me to join, then attend the conferences.”
Carol is now an active participant, having branched out to join committees. At the 2023 conference, she shared her experiences working with the INTIX Mentor Program.
When Carol wanted to learn more about the ticket office, she reached out to Jon Secunda, Director of Ticketing for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a mentor for her through the INTIX Mentor Program. Jon offered Carol a job in their ticket office to gain more experience. “I have enjoyed working in a different environment and learning new skills. While I have not been able to work there in a while, I hope to start taking more shifts in the coming months to continue to understand that side of ticketing.”
L-R: Nick Retzlaff of MECA, Seattle Kraken mascot Buoy, Carol and Jon Secunda at Climate Pledge Arena for INTIX 2023.
Also read: Carol Foreman Hits a Career Home Run Working on a Single Annual Event
With over 16 years of experience working for major league hockey, basketball and soccer teams, Hayley's life is deeply intertwined with sports. As such, she recognizes the value of teamwork and believes strongly in sharing her knowledge with others, both on and off the playing field.
In her current role as Senior Director of Ticket Operations and Administration for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), Hayley leads a staff of over 60 full-time, part-time and unionized employees. This team supports four of the six major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. MLSE teams include the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and their minor league farm teams.
MLSE ticket operations, administration and reporting team (2022).
Hayley believes in finding people with strong character traits, then helping them develop the skills necessary to succeed. Her emphasis on building a culture of trust, honesty and authenticity is a testament to her understanding of the importance of mentoring and a supportive environment.
“I have always believed you hire the person and train for skill,” she says. “When people are authentic, open and have the ability to make critical decisions while being themselves [but are also] mindful of others and can honestly convey what they are thinking or believing, you have an amazing colleague and teammate to help build culture and people … I admire people who live their most authentic lives. They speak their truth, follow their dreams and build others up along the way.”
Helping others grow is an important part of Hayley’s professional and personal life.
“I continue to learn about human behavior and leadership to support those around me in a more meaningful way. I know this sounds cliché, but seeing others succeed and get where they want to go or helping people make choices to better align with their values drives me personally and professionally. As a leader, I think sometimes we can forget the privilege we have in helping those around us, seeing their potential, growing their confidence and seeing them flourish.”
Also read: From Biomedical Sciences to Ticket Operations, Hayley Chapman Takes the Cake in Ticketing
Editor’s Note: Learn more about your INTIX peers in our “Getting to Know You” series. Members who want to join the INTIX Mentor Program as a Mentor or Mentee are encouraged to visit the INTIX website to learn more.
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Tags: Leadership , GTKY