Leadership / 11.22.23
What Are US INTIX Members Thankful for This Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving week is here. A time of food, family, fun, football and parades. It’s also a time of reflection, a pause for many to assess what they have, who they have and how fortunate they are even in tough times. We surveyed a broad range of INTIX members and asked them “What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?” Responses were as varied as the association’s members and very heartfelt.
First and foremost, our respondents were thankful for their jobs, for being part of an industry that enthralls them day in and day out.
Liz Baqir, Associate Director of Ticketing Services for Cal Performances, was one such INTIX pro: “At this particular moment, I am especially thankful for having a profession that I love. The older I get, the more I realize that so many people don't have that or anything close to it! A lot of people spend their lives in jobs and careers that they don't love or even like, that they somehow fell into and got stuck in for a myriad of reasons, and they have no joy in their daily work. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have an occupation that I adore and find endlessly fascinating. Plus [chuckling], I get to work with all you weirdos!”
Amy Matlins, Director of Ticketing for the NFL’s New York Giants, counts herself similarly fortunate. “I am thankful for the community of ticketing professionals in my orbit,” she says. “I have had the good fortune of working with and for some of the most amazing humans in the world. Through many late nights, terrible take-out, tears and laughter, we have shared many of my favorite moments in life. I am the professional I am today because of these incredible people.”
Annette Evans, Box Office Manager for the Las Vegas Aviators, feels very fortunate for the support she has that allows her to do the work she loves. “I’m thankful my parents are able to watch my children every day so my husband and I can work,” she says. “I’m also thankful for my work family, who allows me to have a flexible schedule to be with my two boys and still do what I love.”
Many of our interviewees touted family and friends along with their colleagues for being who and what they were most thankful for this Turkey Day. Ticketing and live events are a people-based business. So, it’s no surprise people are who many INTIX members are thankful for.
Take Russell Thompson, Box Office Manager & Event Coordinator at State University of New York at New Paltz: “I am particularly most thankful for my family, friends and colleagues’ understanding and patience while I was on leave throughout the year. I am grateful for their unwavering support and consider myself lucky to be a part of two great teams, personally and professionally. Stick with the winners and to thine own self be true!”
Margo Malone, Sr. Manager, Season Ticket Memberships & Special Projects for the San Francisco Giants, perhaps has more to be thankful for than many of her colleagues this year. “I’m especially thankful to have my daughter, who underwent emergency open heart surgery in January, with us. She’s now doing well, and I give thanks to all who showed kindness during our time of crisis. Life is a gift, which I cherish each and every day.”
Jill Nunez, Box Office Manager for the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix, calls her family, friends and co-workers “my life’s anchors. Those key people in both my personal and professional life help me stay my course, no matter how bad life’s storms blow. I am eternally grateful to them and for them.”
A similar note was sounded by Ebony Hattix, Director of Guest Relations and Arena Operations for the FedExForum/Memphis Grizzlies. “This season, I am truly most thankful for my friends!” she exclaims. “This year has been full of challenges. But when I say I can't, my friends tell me and teach me that I can. When I am tired, they kidnap me so I can rest. When I am sick, they DoorDash me food and medicine. Most of all, when I am down, they fill my cup with love. I hope they all feel my gratitude and sincerity in all that I say and do. It's like a total Snoopy and Charlie Brown relationship where you can just sit together and not say a word, but everything is understood.”
This past year has also been a challenging one for Duncan Moss, Senior Associate Director of Ticket Operations for the Ravinia festival. “But I couldn’t have gotten through it without the support of all my wonderful people,” he says. “I’m also looking forward to a new year full of new memories and surprises and what better way to kick that off than seeing all my industry friends at the INTIX conference. It’s the perfect way to bookend every thankful year.”
Carol Foreman, Director of Ticketing for the College World Series of Omaha Inc., says she “hit the jackpot” when it comes to her husband, daughter, parents, siblings and their families, She also said she is thankful for friends who “feel more like family;” co-workers who make each day’s work “so enjoyable” and colleagues “whose relationships I value as partners, mentors and friends.”
For Ashley Voorhees, Associate Vice President of Administrative Service for Omaha Performing Arts, 2023 has been a whirlwind with the opening of Steelhouse Omaha and the groundbreaking for the Tenaska Center for Arts Engagement. “But what I’m most thankful for are my loved ones, they bring me so much joy and happiness,” she states.
Crystal Clinton, Director of Entertainment Ticketing for Opry Entertainment Group, appreciates longevity. She and her husband, Bill, have been married for 32 years and have two children who each married good and kind spouses this past year. “They all have great careers and hearts for serving others,” she says. “And they still like spending time with us! Nothing could be more precious!”
Even INTIX members outside of the United States are approaching the end of the year and the holiday season with gratitude. Among them is Hatti Simpson, Head of Ticketing for Nimax Theatres Ltd. She says, “Thanksgiving doesn’t really get its proper celebration here in the U.K. sadly — or happily for the turkeys who get a reprieve until Christmas). But nevertheless … this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my amazing support network of friends, family, colleagues, my amazing Nimax team and this incredible community of ticketing professionals. Especially my mum and my best pals who are always at the end of the phone, always ready with wine, always ready to be dragged along to the latest theatre show and always ready to back me up and believe in me when I need it. A bit cheesy, I guess, but I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am in my dream job without them all!”
Finally, there are a lot of “intangibles” that INTIX members are thankful for this year. Oh, they all cited family and friends and people they work with and for. But Amber Patton, Ticketing and Box Office Manager for the Pullo Center on the Penn State York campus in Pennsylvania, cracked wise, “I am thankful for wine and thriller novels for keeping me sane from crazy customers!”
Lauren Dugan, Director of Ticketing for the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, says, “I’m thankful for my dog, Andy! He’s been with me for over 12 years — has moved and traveled all over the U.S. The excited welcome greeting I receive from him when I open my front door helps me wind down from the 12+ hour show day I just worked.”
Chadwick Miller, Audience Services Manager at Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts, was more cerebral in his thankfulness: “This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for modern medicine delivering a Thanksgiving table that wouldn’t have been possible a century ago. Without it, half the people at my Thanksgiving table wouldn’t be here this year, be it diabetes, heart attacks, premature births, etc. I know cost and accessibility can be divisive topics, but the positives are it helps keep families together longer and is more evident at the holidays.”
David Winn, Box Office Manager for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, had thanks that was perhaps the most over-arching: “I am more than grateful that I live in Massachusetts. Our neighborhood in Boston is amazingly filled with people from all walks of life and ethnicities. My great niece and great nephew bring me mountains of joy. Being their uncle is really awesome. The new outlook at work with a new administration has brought me great relief. Health problems that started the year are falling by the wayside. I am heading into this holiday season with very high hopes and my usual ‘glass is half full’ mentality. Now [laughing] I just need to reconcile my relationship with a direct line to the Mayflower and what can be done about that!”
But perhaps Robert Bennett, Director of Ticket Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, has the biggest reason of all our interviewees to be thankful this Thanksgiving: “Hey, I’m thankful that I am retiring next week!”
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Tags: Leadership , thanksgiving