Broadway Center for the Performing Arts
Lacey Leffler '03 Art/Design Major
Life at the Broadway Center
CES: What are your duties and responsibilities as Marketing Director at Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts?
LL: I oversee the Marketing Department and Box Office.
My responsibilities include communications and promotions: marketing for 50+ events annually, all advertising, graphic design, web design and content management, social media, public relations; budget and financials; research and analysis: monitor and report on ticket sales, implement surveys etc.; community relations and outreach; brand development; and project management.
Further, I offer marketing support for various departments in our organization including Education, Development, Rentals and Special Events/Fundraisers.
CES: What is a typical day like?
LL: That’s one of the best things about working at the Broadway Center, there are no typical days. Every single day is different and because of this our team has to be highly communicative and extremely efficient.
The old saying “the show must go on,” is very much alive and well. For the big event nights, I’ll often support where help is needed most–that can range from working in the Box Office to setting up tables, tearing down events to set up the next, or working concessions.
CES: What do you most enjoy about your work?
LL: The people and the culture of the organization.
We have an incredibly passionate and dedicated team. I’m particularly proud of our Marketing department. We are small but mighty–with only two full-time employees and two interns (both from Puget Sound!)
As a whole, the organization works very closely together and for long hours, so we’re spending a lot of time together. My coworkers are pretty much my extended family!
Working in the performing arts brings together a lot of different personalities and backgrounds, so the culture of our company is always evolving, which keeps the job interesting. Our hours are flexible, work days begin according to the event schedule, so we’re not really in the 9 to 5 business. Our facilities operate on an around-the-clock time frame.
CES: How did you break into your career and what has been your career path?
LL: I began working in the Broadway Center Box Office as a sophomore at Puget Sound through the Washington State Work-Study Program, a position I found through CES.
I remember the first day I interviewed at the Broadway Center…I was immediately in awe and felt so lucky to have had the opportunity. For the remaining three years of school, I worked multiple jobs with companies including Inform Puget Sound, Museum of Glass and Metro Parks Tacoma. The one constant throughout was my work with the Broadway Center.
Several months after graduation, I was hired for a full-time position as Box Office Assistant Manager. Over the next few years, my role in the organization changed many times—from Box Office Manager, to Marketing & Communications Manager, to Associate Director of Marketing, and now Marketing Director.
CES: How did you make the decision to pursue your current path?
LL: A lot of people questioned my decision to immediately declare my major in Fine Arts, believing that meant I would have only two options: become a professional (and possibly starving) artist or become an art teacher as the final outcome.
My ultimate goal was to work in the arts, but at the time, I wasn’t clear on what possibilities that could have. So I minored in Business Administration as a fallback plan. I never imagined the two could be such a beneficial combination. Working in a non-profit arts organization is where creative and business intersect.
CES: You’ve been with Broadway Center for over 10 years now; what are the plusses and minuses of staying with one organization for a long period of time?
LL: I’d say that the positives are working in a highly creative environment and that I have deep historical knowledge and understanding of the organization. The minuses may be that my resume has (post-graduation) experience with only one company. I continue to learn new things and feel challenged with the Broadway Center, which is important for me.
CES: How did your experiences during your time at Puget Sound prepare you for your career?
LL: My time at Puget Sound prepared me in many ways: project management; the ability to quickly assess and prioritize; both critical thinking and analytical skills; self-discipline and initiative; and through writing and editing skills.
CES: How did early jobs and experiences influence your career development? (part-time jobs on and off campus, internships, volunteer activities, campus clubs and involvements, study abroad, etc.)
LL: Almost all of my work experiences (from high school and college) have been highly customer-service focused and connected to entertainment in some form or another, all leading to my current role with the Broadway Center.
CES: What advice do you have for students considering a career in marketing, especially in the nonprofit field? How can recent graduates overcome a lack of professional experience?
LL: In most hiring experiences, we are looking for employees that are familiar with the field. So start early, even if it means volunteering for an organization (or several) during your undergraduate years. The relationships you build during this time will be extremely important as you move forward in your career path. Be dedicated to your work and get to know your colleagues. You never know when you may cross paths again and the strength of your relationships will help support you in this process—for mentors, advice, and references.
LinkedIn is a great resource to see how those in your field of choice represent themselves. Take the time to do your research—that’s a huge part of marketing—and build your resume to reflect inspiration you find here. If you are missing the skill set, don’t be afraid to talk to the company you are interning with and ask for support to build your strengths.
CES: Do you have any tips or resources you’d recommend to students looking for entry-level positions?
LL: Proof your resume and cover letter before sending. I cannot tell you how many experienced professionals send these documents with typos, hoping to secure an interview. Take the time to put your best foot forward with your first introduction. Also, be authentic and genuine. Research the company and be prepared for your interview with well-thought-out questions that are relevant to the position and organization. Remember, an interview is not just to land a job, it’s also for you to interview the company and make sure you find a good fit too!
Start the discussions with your current networks months before you start looking, you never know what may come up and if they know you’re looking, they’ll be able to reference job openings that come across their desk for you.
Best rule of thumb if you’re using social media; make sure your posts and photos wouldn’t shock your grandmother. More and more employers are doing their research, so don’t post photos that may be embarrassing when you’re ready to enter the job market. They may come back to haunt you!
• Star Chefs 2010 – by Chip Van Gilder (Cierra Hunziker ’10, Amy Skinner ’12, and Jenna Rahm ’08 have worked at the Broadway Center as Marketing interns!)
• Pantages Theater interior – by Chip Van Gilder
• Broadway Center team (Lacey with David Fischer, Executive Director and Benjii Bittle, Deputy Executive Director)