Leadership / 09.03.19
The Force Is With TicketForce CEO Lynne King Smith
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
Lynne King Smith has always been a force to be reckoned with. Over the course of her life and career, she has been a musician, a piano teacher, a choir director, she’s worked for a software company, and she owns a mixed-use building. So, it’s no surprise that when the entrepreneurial bug bit her and her husband back in 2003, they named their company TicketForce. “It grew out of both our experiences with live events and promotion, which we were doing for his nonprofit organization, YouthForce,” she says. “We began as an Arizona ticketing agency and have grown it to a full ticketing solution provider across all 50 states and Canada.”
TicketForce sold more than $102 million in tickets last year and now boasts a staff of 30 employees. The company currently works with more than 200 partners throughout North America.
Smith serves as TicketForce’s CEO, but she actually prefers the term “visionator.” She explained, “That means I am responsible for creating the vision and direction of the company, along with a killer leadership team of three. I’m also responsible to ensure that all of the people and processes are working. I’m a culture freak, meaning I love the hard work of creating core values and culture that makes TicketForce a great place to work at and a great partner for our clients.”
And that building she owns? It houses TicketForce’s corporate office in downtown Gilbert, Arizona, along with a tap-room restaurant and Thrive Coworking for Women, a venture she also owns that is run by her daughters. “Best summed up … I’m a mid-life entrepreneur!” she declares. “I love just doing things in a fresh or surprising way. Business doesn’t always have to look like what we think it does. And I do love developing leaders and seeing people grow.”
She especially loves developing female leaders. “I’m heartbroken to hear stories of women being left behind,” she says. “But even sadder is when we sabotage ourselves by assuming that we’re not getting where we want to be just because we are women. That’s not always the case, and it takes a lot of fight, spirit, confidence and bravery to get past that and just do an amazing job. People will notice that.”
“You have to get rid of the head trash,” Smith says. “It’s what tells you you’re not succeeding because of A, B or C. It makes excuses. I see so much more head trash in me and in women, in general, than most men. It’s self-defeating and creates a cycle of settling or under-performance.”
Smith credits one of her first bosses, Rick Munson, with setting the example of what it means to be a leader that she has followed ever since. “I had an amazing owner to watch and learn from at my first software job,” she says. “I’d never seen anyone who cared so deeply about the people who worked there and, long before it was cool, created a positive culture. I still hope to emulate Rick Munson today.”
Munson also taught her to always be looking forward and planning ahead. Chiefly, she hopes to continue overcoming the perception many people have that the only ticketing technology they can get that works is from the biggest companies. “Today’s technology,” she says, “allows for mid-size companies to deliver powerful solutions for everyone. It literally drives me nuts when people assume that because we’re an independent, private company, we only service small venues. We ticket 25,000-seat venues every day, providing solid, robust technology and have amazing people servicing our clients. I’d love for people to know that and take a broader look at some amazing companies who serve our ticketing community just as well as the big ones. This works for all kinds of markets, too; mid-sized doesn’t mean it can’t be mighty.”
And on a personal note, she urges Access readers to visit ThriveAZ.com and take a look at what the Thrive Community for Women is doing in Gilbert and beyond. “We’re developing some great media out of Thrive for professional women,” she concludes, “including a new podcast and a fantastic blog. I’m inspired every day by what women supporting women can get done.”
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Tags: Arts , Leadership