Leadership / 01.05.22
The ‘Building Resiliency’ Panel Will Be One of INTIX 2022’s Most Important
If ever there was a panel discussion that’s needed at this time, it is the one that INTIX 2022 will be hosting on Wednesday, Jan. 19, called “Building Resiliency, Navigating Change and Resisting the Return to ‘Normal.’” We’re going on two years now of constant change, adaptation and organizational shifts thanks to COVID-19 and its variants. Ticketing and live event professionals have endured a maelstrom of challenges that has resulted in new processes and savvy programming.
The “Building Resiliency” panel will not only touch on these processes and programs, it will also give a forum to four leading industry pros who will relate how they have made it through the pandemic era. One such panelist is Ashley Voorhees, Associate Vice President of Administrative Services for Omaha Performing Arts. “We will discuss implementing digital ticketing; maintaining patron experience while rebuilding a department; and, hopefully, turn the corner from constant pandemic whiplash to a more thoughtful, empathetic and sustainable mindset,” she says.
Another panelist is Kay Burnham, former Vice President of Guest Services for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. “One of the new processes we introduced at Segerstrom Center was how we communicated with the staff,” she says. “We implemented Slack [business communication platform] and encouraged staff to assist each other as well as look to the management team. With a hybrid team, it was the only way to ensure everyone could get timely answers. Additionally, it allows staff to go back and review what has been happening on their days off. We also made sure to have fun channels, like pet self-care. Creating a sense of community when you can’t be together can be difficult. Having fun channels allows the staff to take a break and get to know each other, which always helps with collaboration.”
Like Burnham, Voorhees also plans to speak from personal experience at the session, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. EST. “A strength of mine is adapting to change,” she says, “and I knew my department would need to have support as we saw performances constantly canceling or rescheduling. I worked with department heads to identify individuals within their departments who had the bandwidth to also learn the role of Patron Service Representative. Basically, the few members on my team were able to train the organization on all things ticketing. Now as we’ve been able to regrow the ticketing department, I now have a team in place to help support during the busier times.”
Among the key questions Burnham, Voorhees and the others will seek to answer are “How do we make these changes sustainable?” and “How do we build resiliency in our organizations as we look to the future?” Also joining the discussion will be Jenifer LaMorte, Tessitura Network’s Vice President of Business Development. “We’ve convened a group of industry leaders who have faced many of the same challenges that were seen across our sector since the beginning of the pandemic,” she says. “Like all of us, they had to innovate and iterate quickly to be able to greet their audiences in safe and sustainable ways. Rather than recount the tale of the last two years, this session is about frameworks learned, opportunities taken and looking forward.”
LaMorte continues, “Whether we’ve made lemonade out of lemons, learned new tools for building new teams, or made care [and] support and sustainability the foundation of our workplace, each panelist has had unique experiences in guiding change. Change management, building an internal team culture, finding empathy for ourselves and our patrons, and resiliency will be the themes of our discussion.”
The fourth “Building Resiliency” panelist is Joe Carter, Director of Sales & Customer Experience for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He hopes to speak of recent positive changes that will also be good for the long term. “Key to any long-term effort is the ability to be flexible,” he says. “We all learned how to be more at ease with change, and to take those chances to impact better opportunities for the future. Fear of how a vocal portion of our audience will react has often kept organizations to be slow to change. There will always be that vocal portion; you just need to know what will work for the entirety of your audience and manage those who don’t react well to change so that they feel heard and appreciated anyway.”
Burnham concurs, adding, “There has been so much change that the only way to truly manage it is with grace. Creating an atmosphere where it is OK to make mistakes, even big ones, because someone forgot things changed is a must. It’s also important to make sure your staff understands why the change is happening, the benefits of the change, and if the change is expected to be permanent, temporary or an unknown duration.”
LaMorte noted that, in her preparation for the Jan. 19 session, she has been most fascinated at how the interpersonal or empathetic needs of each panelist has intertwined with the business-driven change management and how one has informed the success of the other. “The new tool or business process may have arisen out of a need during a time of great change,” she says, “but the people, culture and change management around it are just as foundational to success.”
Of course, a panel is limited in the wisdom it can impart in a single hour. So, what one or two key points do each of the panelists hope attendees will carry with them once the session has ended? Burnham was quick to answer: “Resilience looks and feels different to everyone. Honoring that can help keep you from creating a culture of toxic resiliency.”
Carter, meanwhile, hopes the main takeaways will be even more personal. “Take care of yourself, your staff and your audience, in that order” he says. “And, ultimately, be flexible and resilient.”
Finally, Voorhees concludes, “I think my fellow panelists would agree that we hope attendees take away more than two things. However, if they remember just one thing, it would be to continue to be resilient, adapt to change and take time for yourself. We’ve all been through a lot these past two years. Take the time to remember!”
If you haven’t already registered for INTIX 2022, you can do so here.
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Tags: Leadership , ticketing pros , INTIX 2022