You might say Peter I’anson is rich beyond measure — not because of all the dough he worked with as a bakery assistant, or the tips he collected as a bartender, or even the taxes he later helped collect as a revenue officer, but because of a kind heart filled with love and compassion for others. After working in a variety of other jobs, Peter fell into ticketing in 2005, starting out as a Box Office Sales Assistant. Today, after rising through the industry, he’s Head of Partnerships and New Business for JM Marketing Limited in Manchester, England, and an active INTIX committee member.
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What do you love most about your job?
We provide ticket refund protection, and I love reading customer feedback. I remember reading a customer’s message that said she had saved up to take her two kids to The Lion King in the West End and one was sick, so they couldn’t go. Without the refund, she couldn’t have afforded to buy tickets again. When I read comments like that, it gives me job satisfaction and occasionally pulls on the heartstrings.
Given all that you have done in life so far, what do you consider your greatest achievement?
I started helping some former street kids in Manila about eight years ago through a foundation. One of them is Angelo. I met him when he was 12 years old, and he’s 20 now. I took on the role of being a parent from afar, and today I see a young man who is working hard to achieve a better life. His family situation wasn’t the best. Unfortunately, his mom is a prostitute and a drug addict. He’s got many siblings, left home when he was 6 or 7, and ended up on the street. He was sniffing glue and aerosols, then ended up in a foundation. He couldn’t speak English when we met. I started teaching him some English. He had no front teeth and had gang tattoos because gangs become like family when you’re on the streets. The tattoos were on his hands and arms. I had them laser removed when he was 14. We had some new teeth put in for him, too. Today, he’s done very well and is working. We speak daily, and I go out to see him a couple of times a year, help him grow up and not follow the same mistakes as his own family. I think he’s my greatest achievement because I feel I have helped shape him into someone who believes in himself and is gaining more skills to ensure he has a good future.
Angelo and Peter.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My partner Zac; he keeps me calm and grounded. He’s from the Philippines and has led a very different life than I have. He makes me see what’s important, taught me to be more patient and forgiving to people, and to be grateful for what I have in life. Zac and Angelo are the two people who give me the most joy (and headaches!) and meaning in my life.
Zac and Peter.
Who or what inspires you?
People who genuinely care about making things better for others. Small acts can have a big impact. I love seeing people helping each other. Often, we do not realize how just talking to someone can change the course of someone’s life.
What is the quality you like most in people?
Selflessness. I think people have become more selfish, and that is not conducive to a better society. When we help each other, we rise together rather than focusing just on ourselves, which can hold others back. With my colleagues, I value honesty above all else. I like to surround myself with people who are honest. It doesn’t mean that if they give me their honest opinions, I will necessarily agree with them, but I will appreciate them for it. I would say that is also true with my friends. I like to surround myself with people who challenge my own views and thoughts, so I guess I value diversity in my friends.
What qualities are important to you in a leader?
Respect and tolerance. As a leader, you must treat people as you want to be treated.
Who do you admire most and why?
I admire anyone who can get up in front of a room and speak. Anyone who’s met me knows I can talk forever, but I never like being the focus of a room, unlike my many industry friends who were born to be on the stage!
In the broader entertainment world, I have seen Dolly Parton a couple of times. At the risk of being a stereotype, I love her! She came from a dirt-poor family and made it. She is living proof that it doesn’t matter where you came from, you have to believe in yourself. Dolly has done a lot for her hometown and for kids’ education, so I have respect for her, too. Her stage persona and the way she markets herself is remarkable. As for writers, I’d say Stephen King is my favorite. He takes your mind off into places you really wouldn’t want to be!
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play the piano. I work from home and love to listen to the piano when I need to clear my mind. I often see a piano in a bar or in train stations here in the U.K. and wish I could just sit and play. I also used to work in a theater, and I used to see them sitting there lonely, just waiting for someone to play them. Unfortunately, it was never me.
What is your favorite venue and why?
Wow, that’s a hard one! I have spent the past 15 years in ticketing, and I have visited so many theaters and stadiums. It’s impossible to pick one as they all have so many different qualities. That said, my favorite type of venue is an old theater that has been restored through local fundraising. The people who look after those theaters have a real passion for them, and I really love and respect that.
Where would you most like to live?
Well, that has been changing as I get older. I always wanted to live in the city, so I moved to one when I was 17. Now I am 40 and want to move back to my small hometown. My ideal is a split between Halifax (U.K.) and Manila to have the best of the city and the peace of a small town with family close by.
What is your most treasured possession?
Nothing. I am not overly concerned about material things and can’t think of anything that I would miss if it wasn’t around.
Zac and Peter.
What do you love most about our industry?
I think one of the greatest things is that it’s a global family but a close one. I was recently at Ticketing Professionals Conference in Australia and was invited to a dinner. I sat next to a guy I had never met, and we started to chat. He was Australian, but we had shared connections in London and New York. It really is a small ticketing world after all!
Why are you a member of INTIX?
When I fell into ticketing as a weekend job to earn some extra money I, like many people, never thought it would become a career. Being a member of INTIX supports our industry and validates our career. INTIX really does great work to support people coming into the industry or who have been in it a long time. The networking and having people you can turn to if you have a question is invaluable. Also, I have seen people who have found themselves out of work go on to find jobs through INTIX, so that support and network are critical at such times.
How do you use INTIX?
I use it to network to discover what’s going on in the industry in other sectors and other parts of the world, and to hear ideas and best practices that I can then share with my industry friends and partners. There’s nothing like INTIX. The conference is like other conferences on steroids. It’s huge, and you’ve got to attend it at least once to believe it. I’m lucky to be able to attend several ticketing events around the world, so I like to hear what the trends are at each and cross-pollinate ideas with people. What this has led to is the belief that ticket industry challenges and future direction are fairly aligned the world over; that is one of the reasons that INTIX’s mission is international.
What is your most memorable INTIX moment?
I have had many, but one that really was a beautiful moment was when Linda Forlini won the Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award. She is one of INTIX’s biggest champions, and her fundraising efforts for the association are fantastic. Everyone knows her at INTIX, and she’s always around. She drags people in to donate money and buy a ticket or dip their card [in the fundraising dip jar]. She understands the importance of INTIX and how it needs money to run. The moment was so genuine, and she deserved it so much.
If you were granted three wishes today, what would they be?
To end world poverty, protect all kids from abuse and cure HIV. They do say go big or go home! I’d rather wish for something big that benefits everyone instead of wishing for something small for myself.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Start saving for your retirement earlier!
Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you would like to share that defines you as a professional or a person?
You can do anything; you can achieve anything; and you must believe in yourself. I haven’t had a job interview for my last four jobs. I’ve found all of them through my network. Your network is so important. It’s not what’s on your CV; it’s your network that will help you get somewhere. People will recommend jobs to you or speak to you when you’re out of work. I left school at 16 and was told “you won’t get anywhere in life.” I believe if you work hard, treat people like you want to be treated and mean it, and build great networks, you will do just fine. I’ve never met anyone who chose this industry as a career. It chooses you. I’ve never met a kid who says they can’t wait to grow up and work in the ticket office, but I have met a lot of people who have made great careers of it. Plus, I’ve met some great friends along the way!