The museum services and operations manager at Meadows Museum — and our #INTIX2019 Conference Chair — finds serenity visiting a specific type of place, in the books she loves to read and working in her garden. Here, Jennifer reflects on the best concert she’s ever seen, her favorite venue, hoping to become a dual citizen and how her first INTIX conference experience changed her life.
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Whom do you admire most and why?
My grandmother, June Schuman. We all just call her Schuman. When I was little, they tried to get me to call her Grandma Schuman, but I never got the Grandma part. She is 94 now and grew up in the Great Depression, served as a nurse in World War II, taught third grade for over 30 years, lived through a lot personally and survived it all. She has always been the best sounding board and person to go to for advice in our family. I can’t imagine a world without her in it — she’s my person.
What are the qualities you like most in a person?
Friendliness, honesty and a fun sense of humor.
What is the quality you most like in a colleague?
Helpfulness and a willingness to step up and do what needs to be done, whether it’s your job or not. Friendliness and a good sense of humor helps too.
What qualities are important to you in a leader?
The ability to effectively communicate and share information. There are old-school leaders who like to hold all the information and share it only as they see fit. I don’t respect that. I think leaders should be willing to share information freely. [I respect] the tenacity to be an unfailing advocate for your staff. A willingness to get your hands dirty and do whatever needs to be done — everything from picking up trash, to stuffing envelopes to finessing donors. It’s all worthy of a leader’s time and energy.
What do you value most in your friends?
A sense of humor, loyalty and the ability to get me out of the house and do stuff. Without my good friends, I’d probably stay home every evening and weekend and be perfectly content to do so. I can be such a homebody!
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, Robert. We have been married for 25 years and together for 28 years. As sappy as it sounds, we’re soul mates and best friends.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I was comfortable finessing donors, that I had the quality that people who work in development have — they’re not afraid to ask for money. I’m just not built that way and I’ve never been comfortable in the donor world. I would also love the ability to sing a tune.
Where would you most like to live?
In Italy, hands down. My husband and my children are dual citizens and we’re working on that for me. I would love to live there. I love the people, their slower pace of life (in the southern end of the country) and acceptance of things they can’t change. And the food is pretty good too!
What is your most treasured possession?
I hate to call him a possession, but I will say our dachshund. His name is Buddy and he is the best dog ever. We just love him. Our life is so much better with Buddy in our lives. He is just a great little dog and makes the world a better place. It doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had, he just wants to snuggle and go for a walk.
Who is your favorite writer?
Guilty pleasure time! I love Jonathan Maberry’s “Joe Ledger” series. They’re basically books about zombies — creating zombies and killing zombies and the criminal masterminds behind them. I’m a sucker for a good zombie or horror story. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, Elizabeth Gilbert. I think I’ve read all her books by now and I really like her writing style. She wrote “Eat Pray Love,” “Stern Men” and “The Signature of All Things,” which is an amazing book. One of the things that I like about her the most is that her books are all so different from each other but all tell an epic story.
What’s the best live event you’ve ever seen and why?
Growing up, my family and I were big John Denver fans. One year, we saw him and his band at Red Rocks in Colorado. It was incredible.
What is your favorite venue and why?
Red Rocks, definitely. Why? The rocks along the side of the venue and the canyon it’s in; it has natural acoustics. Even the open seating plan. It’s just a very good venue.
Who is your favorite musician or band of all time?
It’s between John Denver and Duran Duran. Also, the 1975 — I like them a lot these days.
What is your favorite place to visit or place you’d love to visit and why?
It’s not just one particular place, but I love being in the mountains. Whether it’s the Rockies or the Blue Ridge … I’m more of a mountain person than a beach person. There is something serene and comfortable there. Other than that, Italy.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
I would have taken more chances on things. So, to not follow the path that I thought I needed to take and take the one that I really wanted to take instead. That could have led to a very different and interesting life. Not that I regret what I do or the life I have, but it would have been a very different life if I had listened more to my wants and what made me happy versus what I thought I was supposed to do.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I have two teenagers, so I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I have more now than I used to. I like to garden, herbs in particular. I like to read. I’m a voracious reader. I’ve always got a book in my bag or purse. There’s a stack of them on the nightstand. And, I like to bake. My husband is the cook and I’m the baker.
What brings you the most joy/greatest meaning in life?
My kids. I’ve got a 19-year-old who is about to start college and a 15-year-old who is 15 going on 35. Just watching them grow up, learn things and succeed is such a joy.
Why are you a member of INTIX?
I’ve been a member since 2000 or 2001. There is no better place for information, camaraderie and learning. INTIX is the best for all of these things relating to our industry.
What do you get from INTIX?
These days, I get industry news and connections — the exchange of information and ideas from other members. If I have a question or an issue that I’m struggling with, there are avenues to have another member reach out with advice or ideas to help. Of course, there are also the friends I’ve made in the industry. We freely call and email each other. INTIX is a really great community.
What does INTIX give you that is different from everything else you are doing?
INTIX is a wonderful community that I can reach out to about industry and ticketing issues. I can’t do that in my own organization because they have me for that, so they’re looking for me to have the answers. If I don’t have the answer, I can always find someone in INTIX who has that information or can point me in the right direction to get it.
Who or what inspires you?
I work on a college campus, so I’m around students a lot. The way millennials think is really quite amazing these days. They have a different read on things than anyone in my generation does. They’re so focused on technology and I find that really exciting. They seem so willing to educate us about the things that they’re doing, the things they are creating in the world and the ideas they have for when they get out of college. It really inspires me to look outside of my little world and learn more about different topics and different things, about technology that’s developing in the world.
What do you love most about your job?
No two days are the same, so that’s fun. I’m one of those people who genuinely enjoys working with the public. I love to meet the new people who come to the museum. I like that feeling that people are spending their free time with me and my organization — they’ve come to see our beautiful art and I love having a hand in that.
What do you love most about our industry?
Our industry helps make people’s lives better because we give them the opportunity to see great works of art, wonderful productions on stage or great sporting events. These are activities that people go to so they can have fun and enjoy life. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we’re not providing food and shelter — but enjoyment. Beauty and activities outside of your normal world are important for the world in general.
What is your most memorable career moment?
I was the director of ticketing for the AT&T Performing Arts Center when it opened to the public back in 2008. If you’ve ever opened a building, you know what that means. It was a lot of work, but it was also really rewarding. You never forget those moments.
What is your most memorable INTIX moment?
My most memorable INTIX moment is my very first conference. I had never been to a ticketing conference before when, as a new member, I got a professional development grant to go to Boston. It was so amazing. I will always remember the feeling of walking into the conference sessions, meeting people who understood what I did, who had the same problems and were fighting the same battles. Before that first conference, I just didn’t realize that the community was out there. It was so exciting to see people and be able to say, “You know what I do!”