What is your story?

I don’t have my dream job … but that’s only because until I found it, I couldn’t have imagined a role or community so perfectly suited to my skills and interests. And it happened by accident, through a lot of focus but just as much luck along the way.

As executive vice president of Audience Rewards, I lead the Official Rewards Program of Broadway & The Arts. Yes, I get to see a lot of Broadway shows. Yes, I meet celebrities and go to plenty of parties. And yes, it’s fabulous!

But I couldn’t have dreamed this path. Throughout college I intended to be a journalist and studied theatre as a side interest. It’s only by chance that I learned of an internship in PR and marketing at the theatre in my college town … and it changed everything. After realizing that I could combine my professional interests with a personal passion, I stayed hyper-committed to doing just that.

I’m now nearly 20 years into my career as a theatre marketer with half of that time spent at Audience Rewards, building the business from a startup into a stable, successful program. And I’m just getting started!

 

What message do you like to promote?

Women are the best! We take on everything that men do and then some, but with more obstacles in front of us, and all while cheering for one another (and sometimes wearing heels). Also: you are stronger than you think you are.

 

In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?

As a leader of my team and within the Broadway community, I hope that my working style demonstrates that being driven and successful in business can coexist with being a positive voice. I take particular interest in fostering relationships with my female colleagues, both because we face similar struggles, and also because it’s just a lot more fun to work with friends.

Outside the office, I volunteer as a board member for Movemeant Foundation, a non-profit that empowers girls through fitness. We teach middle schoolers how to challenge themselves in the gym, which in turn builds the tools they need to feel strong and capable in other areas of their lives. We see them improve academically and socially as a result.

 

In business and/or life share a struggle you overcame that women can relate to?

Like many women, I’ve often struggled to find self-confidence. I was a painfully shy kid, easily intimidated by my peers. I began to come out of my shell in high school after joining the dance team. Still shy, I had to find the courage to perform in front of my classmates, and when I did, I felt a powerful sense of accomplishment.

Now, I use similar tools to exercise my confidence muscles, and to intentionally remind myself that I can do hard things. While I remain an introvert at heart, I’ve found that deliberate practice and preparation for all of the extroverted aspects of the working world — everything from presenting in meetings to making small talk — can make them easier over time. Really.

 

Did you have a Mentor, Coach or Sponsor along the way that was essential to your growth and success? If so, who was it and why?

I’ve been lucky to have mentors at every step of my career; women and men who have encouraged me and set positive examples.

That said, female friendships outside the office are also essential to my success and happiness, including in the professional realm. My college girlfriends are part of my extended family. They’re not directly involved in my professional life, but without them I wouldn’t feel as grounded or as capable of tackling challenges. Similarly, I work with many women who have become much more than colleagues, who are invaluable sounding boards for all things in work and life.

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do at Audience Rewards?

We’re a rewards program, so: everything! We frequently reward our customers by taking them behind the scenes on Broadway, which can be truly once-in-a-lifetime for them. It’s an incredibly rewarding perk to make someone’s day, month, or year! Taking a step back from the day to day, my tenure at Audience Rewards has been the most gratifying experience of my career, as I’ve contributed directly to our transition from a startup into a successful business.

 

If you could give one piece of advice for the women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business what would that be?

Don’t change jobs to get away from one you dislike. Change to begin a new role that you want. I believe this strategy shaped my career path in hugely impactful ways.

And: support one another.

You can follow Katie and Audience Rewards at www.audiencerewards.com, on Instagram (@DaltonKatie) and on LinkedIn.

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