Brian Butler | INTIX Interviews

Getting to Know: Brian Butler

The Director of Ticketing Technology and Operations at Playhouse Square enjoys being at home with the love of his life and four amazing dogs. Here, he reflects on his favorite performer, an extremely sentimental possession, making people smile and the feeling of accomplishment he gets from INTIX.

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Who do you admire most and why?

Personally, it would be my husband, for so many reasons. We’ve been together for 21 years. He’s a calming force and I admire that about him. Professionally, it’s Maureen Andersen. I remember listening to her talk at my first conference and being in awe.


Brian and Maureen Andersen.

What is the quality you like most in a person?


What is the quality you most like in a colleague?

The ability to be open and share candid conversations. You can learn so much more when you have an open dialogue.

What qualities are important to you in a leader?

Respect. I’ve been very lucky because I’ve had leaders who respect what I do and want to hear the good, the bad, the positive and the negative. It’s more teamwork.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband.


Brian and Brad.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My career. I’ve been at Playhouse Square for 27 years – I started when I was 15. Being able to withstand change at a young age and then work my way up through hard work, learning and listening to become a leader.

Where would you most like to live?

I love Cleveland but I have always want to live in Los Angeles or Southern California. There’s just something about it. I lived there for six months and as a kid I remember seeing E.T., which was set in Southern California.  I remember saying to my grandmother, who took me to see it, that I wanted to live there.

What is your most treasured possession?

My uncle, who I was very close with, bought raw emeralds in Europe with his partner in the 80s. He kept them because they were going to do something with them for each other. I got the emeralds when he passed away. My husband Brad and I had them embedded inside our wedding rings.


Brian and Brad.

What do you value most in your friends?

Honesty and the ability to listen.

What’s the best live event you’ve ever seen and why?

Hamilton in Chicago. Initially, I did not want to see Hamilton. I did like the music from what I heard but within the first five minutes of the show, it just blew me away. Now I can’t stop listening to the music.

What is your favorite venue and why?

The Connor Palace at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. It was built in 1921. The lobby itself is majestic with marble staircases and chandeliers. It’s just unbelievable.

What is your favorite artist of all time and why?

Cher. I’ve always liked strong female performers. She never holds back and if she has an opinion, she’s going to tell you.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Be more patient. Looking back, I have always rushed and done too much at one time. I have learned that opportunities will come and you will be able to achieve whatever you need to in time.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to just stay home. I have four dogs – a labradoodle, two mini dachshunds and a little white fluffy mutt. They are just so much fun. I also like to make jewelry and draw.

If you were granted three wishes today, what would they be?

My first wish would be for my family to have peace and not have to worry about anything. My second wish would be to retire and my third wish would be to go back and change some life choices knowing what I know today.

What brings you the most joy or greatest meaning in life?

Making others happy because I like to see people happy. If I can do something to help somebody smile, to inspire them or to help them, it makes me happy.

Why are you a member of INTIX?

I joined INTIX almost 25 years ago and I remember my first conference. When I left, I felt like I was part of something great. INTIX is somewhere that you get a different kind of respect for what you do because you’re with people who do the same thing. That’s what keeps me coming back every year.

What do you get from INTIX?

Networking. Talking to others is huge. I love hearing what other people are doing and it doesn’t matter what genre they work in. I just love hearing new ideas, crazy ideas of things people have done or challenges they have faced because you learn from that. I make sure I leave every INTIX conference with at least three new ideas or points that I want to implement.

How do you use INTIX?

It has helped advance my career. INTIX really solidifies our industry and having a community you can go to when you need something is a big positive for me.

What does INTIX give you that is different from everything else you are doing?

A sense of pride in what I do. It can be challenging and busy at times, but when I leave INTIX, I always feel proud of what I do every day.

Do you look to INTIX to learn about trends or develop relationships?

Both. Developing relationships was a big part of why I came to the conference in the beginning. INTIX has evolved too and I think those trends are more important. The sessions offer more of what the trends are now, like trends in digital, how people are looking for a system and more.


Brian and his INTIX friends.

Who or what inspires you?

My team at work. Most of them have been with me for at least 16 years and it’s interesting to sit back and watch them grow. To see them want to learn, do more and be better inspires me to do the same thing.

What do you love most about your job?

I love what we do. For Cleveland to have the second largest performing arts centre in the country is pretty remarkable. I’ve seen downtown Cleveland go from a ghost town to what it is today, thriving with businesses and a theatre district. I am being constantly busy and challenged. I also really love the freedom and trust that I have at work.

What do you love most about our industry?

I love how it constantly changes. That is exciting to me. For example, we have gone from hard tickets to incredible technologies and it keeps evolving.

What is your most memorable career moment?

When I started, I was a part-time box office guy and I worked my way up. When I was promoted to a director and I was on the executive team, I had a moment where I said to myself “Wow, I did it.”

What is your most memorable INTIX moment?

When I was elected chairman of the board at INTIX. It was such an honor.


Brian as the INTIX Chair.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you would like to share, which defines you as a professional or a person?

Anyone new to an INTIX conference should get out and talk to people. Don’t hide, because there is nothing to hide from. There are so many people that come to the conferences and are members of INTIX that genuinely want to help others succeed.