Leadership / 03.29.23
OVG’s Arseneau on Her Job, the Future and a Music Legend Serving Her Easter Dinner
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
The Easter holiday weekend is almost here. For many, it’s a time of church services, family gatherings, dyed eggs, and baskets full of candy and other treats. For ticketing and live event professionals, it’s often a busy weekend of Major League Baseball, Masters golf (this year, at least) and various concerts. The hard-working Audrey Arseneau will never forget the one year where she worked harder than that fabled bunny.
“It was a few years ago, and we actually had five Garth Brooks shows over the Easter weekend,” she says. “Just one would have been exhausting. But we had two of the five in one day! I was away from my family the whole weekend. Garth is very much a family man, as well. So, because it was Easter, he had catering put on a full Easter dinner for everyone working. I was with our accountant at the time. It was early, so we decided to go down to catering and beat the rush. Who happened to be in there? It was just Garth! He was getting his own and his wife Trisha’s dinner. I was in line behind him, and he was getting his ham. He turned around and saw me waiting behind him. And in his sweet, Southern accent, he asked, ‘Do you want some ham, dear?’ And for some reason, I said, ‘I don’t like ham.’ I really don’t. I like turkey! What was I thinking? I should’ve taken his generosity. But he was very nice. And, yes, he did serve me my turkey!”
Such is life in the line of work of some INTIX members. Based in Ontario, Canada, Arseneau is Director of Ticketing for the Oak View Group (OVG). What does that job entail? “We have three venues — an 18,000-seat arena; a 2,000-seat theater; and a smaller, 550-seat theater. I am also Regional Director of Ticketing for the Ticketmaster OVG 360 Building. I’m responsible for the creation, maintenance and execution of all the events at our three venues, and then I also oversee the day-to-day operations of the box office as well our group sales department. Then, as the regional director, we provide guidance and support to all of the Ticketmaster venues under the OVG 360 umbrella.”
Arseneau is not one of those ticketing pros who has done a lot of moving around over the course of her career. Actually, she has pretty much stayed in place geographically. Professionally, though, she has risen through the ranks. “I am still in the same box office I started at,” she says with pride. “When we started, we were a city-run building. Then we were taken over by Global Spectrum, and then Global Spectrum transitioned to Spectra. And now OVG has taken over Spectra.”
“I think, like everyone else who has a job in this industry, I didn’t plan on being in ticketing. Yet I always loved the live music industry. But as someone who didn’t have any musical ability, I never thought I could spend my days talking about music and tickets. But here we are. I started as a ticket seller. I needed a part-time job after my son was born. I knew someone who worked in the box office. They were hiring, so that’s how I got my start. I did that for 10 years. I always wanted to learn more, and I asked questions. I eventually dabbled in the finance department for a bit and learned that side of the industry. And then I learned the events side, from load-in to load-out. Eventually, I got the full-time job of assistant box office manager about 10 years ago, and I’ve been lucky enough to work up to a manager position, then senior manager. And now I’m the Director of Ticketing!”
Having just related the Garth Brooks story, Arseneau said the favorite part of her job is definitely the cool people she has met over the years. And not just celebrities willing to serve her pork or poultry. “Some of my closest and dearest friends I’ve met through INTIX and through being in this position,” she says. “It’s really nice to be able to send a text to a friend like, ‘Ugh! Aisle offers!’ And they get it. It’s hard to know someone who knows your day-to-day life and struggles, who gets it and knows what you’re going through because they’re dealing with the same issues.”
One of the things she often discusses with colleagues is achieving a better work-life balance. It’s something she has struggled with throughout her career, and the COVID-19 crisis really didn’t help: “We had that break in the pandemic where we said, ‘Work-life balance is super important!’ But then we came back busier than ever. It’s definitely still a struggle being away from the family and the kids when you have the long days and the long hours. But it just makes the time I spend with them even more special. Set the boundaries when you’re home. I love that the iPhone now has a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature. Checking emails is then up to me and not when you have notifications popping up on your screen.”
Arseneau likes the fact that she is now considered an “industry veteran.” She especially enjoys those moments when she gets to pass on wisdom to the younger generation of ticket office personnel, especially women. “If you can be around people who have 10-plus years in the industry, be around them,” she says. “Ask questions and soak it all up. To try and explain to people what we do is really hard. But observing people like me and seeing how and why we do the things we do … there’s just no substitute. There are things I do, and if someone were to ask, ‘Why are you doing that?’ I really would have to stop, step back and think, ‘Yeah, why am I?’ because I’ve just been doing it for so long. It’s almost like muscle memory.”
And Arseneau is not done yet by any measure. She still gets excited for upcoming events. She gets even more excited for events she knows are on the horizon but can’t talk about yet. Overall, she is a very forward-thing person. “I am always a ‘the glass is half-full’ kind of person,” she says. “I always look at things optimistically. Being pessimistic doesn’t serve you any good. It’s a new year, and there’s excitement about what is to come. Be optimistic, and don’t worry about what you don’t know. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen later this afternoon, let alone in September or October or beyond. And no matter what people try to tell you, there is nothing — nothing — about ticketing that is life or death. If you didn’t get Taylor Swift tickets, you are not going to die!”
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Tags: Leadership , Ticketing Professionals