Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. When starting out at a new job or in a new industry, mistakes are bound to happen. Keep going. Don’t let it get to you and remind yourself everything really does happen for a reason.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stefanie May of The Capitol Theatre.
Stefanie May is a marketing professional in the live music and entertainment industry. She has worked for over seven years on The Capitol Theatre’s marketing team and is currently the venue’s Marketing Director.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve always loved live music and the feeling of being part of something much bigger than myself. After working in the hospitality industry for five years, I took the leap into the music industry by taking on an unpaid internship with a music festival. That internship got me connected to some folks on The Capitol Theatre’s Marketing department, which led me to another internship. The internship was a great stepping stone for me and helped me learn and grow so I could eventually move on to a paid role at the theater. I grew by saying yes to everything and having a positive attitude.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Here’s a recent story for you! This past week, we held an amazing four-night run of shows with Grammy-award winning bluegrass artist Billy Strings. After such a spectacular run of shows, we pulled the report to see where everyone came from. We had fans from almost all 50 states traveling to come to the theater. It was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh boy, well it’s pretty embarrassing… We send weekly emails that notify our fans when we have onsales for bands coming through the theater. We have about 250,000 people on the list so it is a lot of eyeballs! There was one instance where I misspelled the name of a pretty legendary artist in the subject line. It’s funny looking back at it now, but it was not so funny when it happened. What I learned from that experience was just to take my time, stop rushing, and get things right.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
Specifically with #TheCapCares Volunteer Program, we are making an impact by encouraging music lovers to get out into their communities and participate in days of service. Our goal is to get as many music lovers in our community to do some good for the many great organizations that are right in our backyard. The Capitol Theatre also makes significant social impact by bringing people from all over the country together to have a positive experience — something that inspires them and fills them up with positivity energy. Working in live music, a big reward for the folks behind the scenes is to see all of the smiling faces in the crowd. People attending concerts get to leave their worries at the door and be together with the friends and the music that they love.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
For #TheCapCares, we work directly with Renee Pfefer from Volunteer Louder. Volunteer Louder’s mission is to mobilize music fans as a force for positive social change. Renee helps our program by organizing days of service with different local organizations. She’s part of the glue that keeps us together!
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Politicians can help by developing long-term relationships with volunteers and organizations to drive engagement. Our community can help by giving their time, even if it’s a couple of hours a week, or once a month. You never know what impact a few hours might have on somebody else’s life or livelihood.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
In my opinion, a good leader respects and encouraging the individuals that they are leading and managing. A good leader is not afraid to get their hands dirty in order to show a positive example and put themselves out there with their team. A good leader must strongly believe in what they are doing and have a passion for it. They must be able to clearly explain that passion and it has to be infectious! A good leader is also kind, because how you treat people ultimately tells all.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. When starting out at a new job or in a new industry, mistakes are bound to happen. Keep going. Don’t let it get to you and remind yourself everything really does happen for a reason.
- It’s okay to not always know what you’re doing. Learning comes from experience and learning happens everywhere, all the time. In my current role at The Capitol Theatre, I’m always experimenting and reflecting on what works and what doesn’t work. This type of mindset helps us to achieve our goals
- It’s always going to be a hustle. That feeling of constantly going and running uphill… it’s never gone away. But If you love what you do, you’ll embrace it. I’ve learned to love working in a fast paced environment and I find that I thrive in challenging and often stressful situations.
- You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve found that they are so many recourses and people out there that are willing to answer questions, give advice, and be a mentor. Get out there and ask for help and make connections while doing it.
- Don’t settle for anything less than extraordinary. Brands need to stand out more than ever. Don’t be afraid to dream and do big. No one remembers average.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement in it would be to help others experience the power of live music. Whether it’s more music education in schools, or a way to offer live music to people who might not be able to afford the tickets, travel, and other expenses that go along with it. Bringing the power of music to more people — and letting them experience the joy of live music — is a movement that I could definitely get behind.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone”
- Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia.
This lyric is from a Grateful Dead song called “Ripple.” While there are so many life lessons to be learned from the music of the Grateful Dead, this is one of my favorites. It is a powerful quote because you know I think we all are walking a path that only we can forge through. It’s for our steps alone to recognize that you have the power to choose where your path goes and take control of your life. You have the power to control where you’re going, what decisions you make, whether you choose for your emotions to get the best of you, whether you choose to take that extra leap, or take a risk that hopefully leads you to a better or more meaningful life.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would absolutely love to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, whatever it might be, with Susan Tedeschi! Susan is a singer and guitarist in the band Tedeschi Trucks Band. They are coming to The Capitol Theatre for three sold out shows in March, and Susan is one of my favorite musicians on the planet. She is also a mother, like me, so I’d love to hear about her life being a mom and a rockstar.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
The Capitol Theatre on the Web:
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Stefanie May of The Capitol Theatre Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.