What is the best business decision you have made? The best business decision, and at times the most challenging decision, has been letting a philosophy or ethical goal be a guide. Our theater isn’t only focused on the dollar, which goodness knows we all need in order to pay the bills and to grow as an organization. It is also about being a looking glass for our culture, to chronicle where we’ve come from, what we are doing now, and where we want to go. Reaching into the community to start conversations about equity or health or history; supporting new artists; helping in the development of new work – this is important work.
What is the most important change you’d make in (or about) Southwest Florida? I want my theater to be a place that many different people come to for personal growth in our education program, for entertainment with our theater, and for togetherness. I firmly believe that theater is a great equalizer, as it is visited by, brings together and has the power to have an effect on the impoverished and on the wealthy, the mainstream and the marginalized, the loud and the voiceless.
What advice would you give to a 12-year-old girl today? This year will be hard. Next year, too. The isolation and apprehension that you are feeling, all the other 12-year-olds are feeling, too. Even if they aren’t showing it. Remember that tomorrow is another day, that next week is another week. Get off social media and listen to needs of your own soul instead. Feed that need, through theater or basketball or animals or drawing or alone-time in a library, whatever. You’ll be richer if you shut out the chatter of others and make your own entertainment.
… to a male or female high school student? Have perspective: One day you will be 40, one day you will be 65, one day you will be 80, and you will still be running into people who challenge your patience – just as you will challenge them. Try to understand things from the perspective of others. You’ll be happier, having that understanding.
… to a young man or woman entering college? Notice and remember the people who take a special interest in your achievement and give you help … those who work hard for you and also for those who believe in you. One day you’ll be able to thank them by doing the same for someone else who is just starting out. We all want to see our hopes and dreams come full circle by supporting those who are starting out.