Leadership / 11.30.21
Taking Root and Thriving: Tammy Enright’s Growth as a Ticketing Professional
If one were to compare ticketing to horticulture, Tammy Enright would almost certainly spread herself throughout the garden.
Sharing a quote that she identifies with, Tammy begins, “I always think of professional growth like plants: ‘Aspens grow tall to reach the sun, for sure. But dandelions grow deep, understanding themselves fully so that if some misguided fool tries to uproot them, they would have to try damn hard. And then there’s thyme and other creeping plants, which spread themselves out so much that if you chop a part of it off, it roots wherever it can find dirt to root in.’ I feel like that is what I have done. I have spread myself out, and I have roots in a lot of different places in this industry.”
Tammy got her first ticketing job in 2005 at Arena Stage, a not-for-profit regional theater in Washington, D.C. She was hired by Shawn Robertson, now Ticket Sales Director at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, who she describes as a mentor and dear friend.
Tammy with some of her ticketing family at INTIX 2020 in New York, from left: Ali Barry, Tammy, Dave Winn and Shawn Robertson.
“We have worked together. We have maintained a friendship even after he moved out to L.A., both personally and professionally. We see each other obviously at conferences and during board meetings, but we are friends first and foremost now. He really does provide that level of mentorship and friendship. He falls into the category of friends who are family. He can tell me things that I may not want to hear, but that I need to hear. He will encourage me, he will check in and he has known me throughout my entire career, so he is able to provide really good advice.”
Tammy lived for a couple of years on the West Coast herself and also worked at and opened the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. But she has spent most of her professional life in and around the U.S. capital. She worked for Tickets.com as the client manager to the Washington Nationals until she was furloughed because of the pandemic. During that time, Tammy did some consulting, helped organize and transcribe a cookbook, and, yes, even did some gardening before finding herself firmly planted in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., as project manager in the office of visitor and guest services.
Tammy enjoys an ice cream in D.C.
When it comes to professional knowledge and relationships, Tammy relies on INTIX. She has been a member since 2010 and served on the Board of Directors for six years. “I have been fortunate to have an amazing career,” she says. “I’ve worked in a number of industries across ticketing, and I have worked in several cities. In lieu of having co-workers who I worked side by side with over my 16-year career, I have INTIX members. They are my constant; they are my colleagues, and they are what keeps me coming back.”
Indeed, Tammy says INTIX is her second family.
“I love Maureen Andersen, Dave Winn and Ali Barry, who is my board and conference wife!” she says. “Mardi Dilger is my INTIX mom. We met at my very first conference, and she looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you are exactly the same age as my daughters,’ and she adopted me. I saw her a couple of years ago at a user conference, and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Tammy, you’re going to be an aunt.’ That was her way of saying, ‘My daughter is expecting, I am going to get to be a grandma.’ She has always taken the time to reach out, check in and has really embraced that role that she may have flippantly and jokingly put herself in a dozen years ago. In that same vein, Jennifer Staats Moore was my INTIX godmother. She was the one who I knew through the regional ticketing groups. She said, ‘Hey, the money has to go somewhere, why not you?’ That is what made me apply for a grant to attend my first INTIX conference in Toronto in 2010. The INTIX family is an amazing community of people who understand what you do and why it means so much to you, in both the joyful times and the really hard times. It also provides the resources to be able to work through those moments.”
Tammy with her ticketing family at INTIX 2019 in Grapevine, Texas, from left: Tammy, (back row) Melanie Leis, Shawn Robertson, Brian Butler, Mardi Dilger, (front row) Dave Winn, Ali Barry and Joe Carter.
Tammy says she really admires the young ticketing professionals coming up in the industry today. In 2013, she herself was recognized as the Young Ticketing Professional of the Year, an honor she describes as her most memorable INTIX moment.
“I was the second recipient of that award,” she says, “and since then we have had all past winners at the INTIX conference. So, after I won, I took a picture with Amy Kline, who won the year before me. The next year it was me and Amy, and we got a picture with Russell Thompson, who won the third one. We have taken that picture every year up until New York, when there were nine of us crowded around that year’s award winner. I think I may slightly drive them all crazy every year saying, ‘OK, guys, we need to take the picture,’ but it is really neat to look back at those photos and see how that club has grown and how we support each other. Amy and I joke we are now too old to be considered young, but we still get to be in the picture.”
After 16 years in the industry, Tammy finds it harder to pick her most memorable career moment. But after some coaxing, she was able to narrow it down to two, both equally incredible. One was getting to travel to Houston to watch Game Six of the 2019 World Series when the Washington Nationals managed to stay alive and then go on to win the championship. The other moment was like a scene right out of the Hollywood blockbuster “Night at the Museum.”
“I was working at Smithsonian Enterprises in early 2017,” says Tammy, “and we were both converting ticketing systems across the institution and opening a massive exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. I have this really vivid memory from that time. Two colleagues and I waited until after hours one night and went to the National Museum of Natural History to swap out some hardware. I remember the three of us standing in the rotunda by the big elephant, everything completely quiet. We were all a little awestruck as we just paused and took it all in.”
In any other business, Tammy concedes she may not have had such wonderful and varied opportunities.
“In ticketing, we get to do it all,” she says. “We get to interact with all different departments, no matter what type of organization or type of venue you work at. When you are working in the ticket office, you get to work with the patrons, you get to work with IT, you get to work with development, finance, HR, programming and special events. I am an extrovert. I am a people person. To get to work with such a great group of people and be part of it all, that is really what I enjoy about what we do.”
Given Tammy’s passion for her job and the industry, it is somewhat surprising that what she considers to be her greatest achievement has nothing to do with her professional life.
“Four years ago, I got really focused on my health. I became active. I began to watch what I eat. I joined a sports team. Since then, I have run four half marathons. I call it my Oprah ‘aha moment.’ I was about to turn 34, which is not a milestone birthday, but I was thinking, what do you want your life to be? That really was the before and after moment in my life.”
In addition to running four half marathons, 13 miles each, just for the fun of it, Tammy also belongs to the D.C. Strokes Rowing Club, one of only three LGBT rowing clubs in America.
“I started just volunteering during regattas,” she says, “but it did not take long before I was asked to get in a boat. If, as an adult, I wanted to go play soccer, they would assume I already know how to play. That expectation is not there with rowing. I started in a ‘Learn to Row’ program where they begin by telling you ‘This is the boat, and this is the oar.’ It was my first experience as a member of a team, and I really enjoyed meeting a great group of people and working together toward a goal.”
Tammy, second from right, with members of her rowing team.
Tammy admits she has always admired strong women, whether they are in a boat or an airplane. In addition to her mother and grandmother, she lists Amelia Earhart, the pioneer aviator, as one of the people she most admires. Hillary Clinton is on her list as well. “I put them all into a box of strong women who do not limit themselves. They just find a way to serve and help others.”
And this, says Tammy, is what brings meaning to her own life.
“Service to others. Life is about more than me. Serving someone else, be they a visitor, a co-worker, a family member or a friend. I have the ability to give back and to make someone’s life better or easier, and those ripple effects that go out from there, you never know what one action is going to have a ripple effect down the line, whether it is in that person’s life or in how it comes back to you.”
When it comes to others in her life, Tammy says she looks for friends who have “a spirit of joy, a spirit of empathy,” quickly adding, “I like people who are always looking for the next big adventure. If I work with them, I want them to be dependable. We are all in this together, and you need to know the people around you have your back; that they will show up when they say they will. And, if they are in a position of leadership, I value accountability, whether it be to the public, staff or other stakeholders; that they understand what the work is that they are doing and how it affects the greater good.”
The greatest love of her life, however, is not another human; even one with all those good qualities cannot compete with her dog, a 16-year-old Jack Russell-Dachshund mix named Bailey. “I got him when he was two,” says Tammy. “I think he has been to every office I have ever worked at, so he is a ticketing dog through and through. Bailey was the first ‘spokes dog’ for the Washington Nationals Pups in the Park. I was working there when they started that program, and we got a picture of him sitting in the stadium. In his younger days, he would go all over D.C. We have a lot of great outdoor monuments and parks, but now that he is old, he likes to take naps on the couch.”
Bailey and Tammy on the couch.
Although Tammy leads a fairly active life herself, she admits there are times when she, too, just likes to chill out — sometimes on a couch, but preferably on a beach.
“Any beach, anywhere, anytime. My entire extended family is from New Jersey, so I would spend every summer at the shore with my grandparents, and while my family will still regularly go back to Jersey, I am equally happy going to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. It is a good day trip from D.C., and I will seek out a beach if I am traveling domestically. If I am looking to travel internationally, and get a chance to put my toes in the sand, I will be happy.”
Tammy is a beach-loving ice cream aficionado.
Such times provide a rare opportunity for reflection. When asked what advice she would give herself if she could go back in time, Tammy says she would say, “trust yourself.”
“There is always a path forward, but you may have to look for it, and only you can determine the pace of your journey. Society still has this viewpoint of how people develop through their careers. You start as a worker, then you become a manager and then you become a director. I’ve built such a strong network and so many great opportunities have come [my way] because somebody says, ‘Hey, I’m hiring for this really cool place. Do you know anyone who is interested or would you be interested’ and just saying yes.
“That said, ‘Tammy, what job are you at now?’ is kind of a running joke. But the bigger context is that everyone is on a different path as I mentioned earlier [when talking about various plants and how they grow in different ways]. You know better than anyone else what kind of plant you are. I feel like that is what I have done. I have spread myself out, I have roots in a lot of different places in this industry. It has informed who I am as a ticketing professional.”
She pauses wistfully, then adds, “[My roots] give me knowledge, confidence and certainty in my life. They give me the confidence to say yes to crazy projects and to know my own worth so that I know when to say no to other crazy projects or crazy people. A lot of that is because I have that INTIX safety net under me.”
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Tags: Leadership , ticketing pros