As Education Director of The UC Theatre, you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from Lauren Kish, Product Operations Manager from Eventbrite (our ticketing platform) asking me to speak on a panel about diversity and inclusion. I was honored to share the “stage” with Edward Catstillo of Marketing at ScoreMore Shows (Austin, TX) and Tayyib Smith, Co-Founder of Little Giant Creative and The Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship (Philadelphia, PA). With Lauren moderating, the four of us discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in every business, and how we need to shift our thinking, hiring practices and marketing approaches to reach audiences comprised of people of color. We unpacked pretty sensitive issues that are often barriers to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, such as structural inequities, institutionalized racism, and implicit bias. It was inspiring to hear from others across the country about how they were tackling these issues.
So what exactly is FlyCon?
No, it is not a convention that covers the in and outs of six-legged, flying creatures, nor is it a gathering to discuss the future of zippers. In its 7th year, FlyCon is a valuable opportunity for independent venues, promoters, and festivals in North America to come together with the TicketFly/Eventbrite team to learn how to best leverage their technology and marketing strategies to increase sales and improve the audience experience. It is also fertile ground to network, build partnerships, and have an overall great time. Did I mention that the conference is in the heart of New Orleans? Can you think of a better place for a music industry conference? The trip was packed with great food, music, and people!
Wait, what is TicketFly?
Back in September 2017, the event ticketing tech company, Eventbrite acquired the ticketing/digital marketing platform, TicketFly, to join forces to create the ultimate innovative event promotion experience for ticket buyers and promoters alike. (I will not get into the nitty gritty as this can be its own blog post and is beyond my area of expertise.)
Overall, the conference was an amazing experience. I was not only able to introduce hundreds of people to The UC Theatre’s unique Concert Career Pathways program (and show off our amazing program participants, past and present), I also expanded my network within the music industry. These new connections help us build our Professional Partner Network, potentially establishing job placements for our interns upon program completion, and ultimately paving career pathways.
Robyn Bykofsky is the Education Director at The UC Theatre. She has spent nearly 20 years empowering young people through music, theatre and media arts.