Leadership / 06.21.23
Spektrix’s Nothstein on Staying ‘Curious, Not Comfortable’ in the Ticketing Biz
Bethany Nothstein, Sector Strategy and Community Manager, U.S. and Canada, for Spektrix, grew up in the arts. In fact, one could say she had a front-row seat to the business side of things from a very early age, spending many hours at the community theatre her dad ran. When embarking on her higher education journey, she must have pleased her father to no end when she decided Wagner College’s Arts Administration program would be her chosen course of study.
While at Wagner, she began working at Roundabout Theatre Company in its Special Events department. She would return to Roundabout the following season as a key member of the marketing team. “After that season, I joined the marketing team at Playwrights Horizons,” she says. “Throughout my time there, I held a number of positions focusing on audience services, analytics and database management.”
In 2017, she accepted a position with RPM, a start-up Broadway advertising agency, which led to her current position at Spektrix. The New York-based firm develops ticketing, marketing and fundraising software for the arts. Her current job title is a mouthful, and her duties and responsibilities are many: “I focus on keeping a pulse on the performing arts sector and ensuring that the relevant themes, challenges, and opportunities of the time are shared across our business. Connection is not just important for our teams in the U.S. and U.K., but with our 600-plus global clients as well. I support that connection by bringing folks together via digital and in-person events, as well as industry conferences and more. Through those connections, I am able to support Spektrix’s mission of supporting the sector via thought leadership, educational events, industry sponsorships, and much more that is tied to timely topics and challenges.
Nothstein has come to love the community of individuals she’s had the pleasure of working with. “With my previous history working at venues, I really enjoy getting to meet our clients’ teams and working with them to make the most of their system to ensure efficiency and success throughout their entire organization. The opportunity to connect with industry professionals through the wide variety of events creates endless opportunities to learn about the sector and the individuals who make it such a vibrant and thriving landscape. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this community and for the friendships created along the way.”
But the work is challenging, for sure. The past three years — i.e., the COVID era — have been especially difficult. She says, “Our sector was one of the hardest hit, and pre-2020 there were already a number of challenges facing the industry such as funding and more that have simply intensified. The passion so many of us have for the work that we support can amplify these struggles. However, I believe it makes us all that much more resilient and dedicated to overcoming the struggles and improving the sector.”
She adds that the key is to “remain curious, not comfortable. Very early on in my career, a mentor told me to never stay in a position where I was not learning in some way. I have carried this with me and truly believe it is how I have landed where I am today. It has helped me keep my eyes open and focused on all the available opportunities ahead of me.”
This is wise counsel from an industry veteran. With this being our Women in Ticketing column, does Nothstein have any advice for female professionals new to the profession? “Build yourself a network! The support I received from my earliest days in the industry to today has made this a memorable journey for which I am endlessly grateful. It can be intimidating at times to ask for help or to make an introduction, but I can promise you that walking up to a group of individuals you do not know at an event can lead you to find some of the best friends and support systems that will be by your side for years to come.”
She is especially inspired by the individuals she works with at Spektrix day in and day out. She says, “I am proud of the growth that Spektrix and other organizations are making across the sector in areas such as flexibility in career and the workplace, which I feel will continue to attract a broader community of incredible women and individuals who will help our sector thrive.”
At the same time, she urged anyone reading this looking to her for wisdom to “be prepared for anything.” For example, Nothstein was once working on a gala for an organization and received a very early morning phone call the day before the event to find out the venue had a fairly significant fire the evening prior. Thankfully, there were only a few cosmetic damages and a lot of water that she and her team had to work around. “After reseating the entire event, the team thankfully embraced it all and was happy to tell all the patrons inquiring based on the aroma that, ‘No, we were not serving barbecue for dinner!’”
Looking ahead, Nothstein expressed optimism for the second half of 2023. She concludes, “We have so much to look forward to following some really challenging recent years. I, of course, don’t want to paint a picture where the road ahead is smooth and without its challenges. But I prefer to say it is filled with opportunities. We have been keeping a close eye on ticket sales across our over 600 global arts organizations and gathering insights on those trends and behaviors. When taking this unique view, we are able to see that year-on-year sales are at 95% of 2019 levels. While this indicates that recovery is ongoing, there is a positive outlook with audiences returning in large numbers. Along with that positive outlook, there are new challenges with the shifting consumer perception of loyalty. However, I am inspired by the growing narrative we have been able to share around redefining loyalty. Shifting focus more on the individuals and their journeys as opposed to a singular static funnel or ladder to loyalty is going to make our industry stronger!”
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing