What steps will you take to ensure the financial health of Pentacle Theatre?

In thinking about the best ways to ensure the financial health of Pentacle Theatre as a board member, I will follow the “Three R’s”—role, right, and responsibility—as described by the Oregon Attorney General’s guide to board service. First and foremost, a board member’s role is stewardship. I will assist in managing Pentacle’s affairs to ensure all financial decisions are made in-line with the mission, vision, and goals of the theatre. To do this, I will make best use of my access to Pentacle’s financial statements, annual budget, and tax documents (e.g., Form 990) to confirm they are correct, transparent, and aligned with our objectives. I will uphold my responsibility to ask relevant questions and examine the allocation of our funding to identify ways we could be better serving Pentacle and its patrons.

In addition to these foundational responsibilities, I will also commit to uplifting Pentacle in every space I occupy. As many of us know, one big issue facing our theatre is the drop in ticket sales resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. I will promote Pentacle’s season, workshops, and other events whenever I can, including within the Willamette University community, among friends and family, and via social media.

Describe how you will represent the theater.

One aspect of board service I am especially excited by is the opportunity to facilitate community outreach. This could include connecting with local high schools to conduct workshops, running information booths at Capital Pride and the Salem Art Fair, and conducting intentional outreach with new potential community partners. This will help expand our network of connections and support. Identifying communities and organizations with whom we can collaborate on different projects or invite into our theatre space will not only help bring in new demographics of audience members and performers, but will also allow us to continue to establish ourselves as an organization that intentionally gives back to its community.

What volunteer work have you done for Pentacle Theatre?

Unlike many of my fellow candidates, I am relatively new to Salem. I moved here in June 2021 and spent the next six months adjusting to a new state, job, and lifestyle. In March 2022, I saw an advertisement for Pentacle’s next round of auditions, and I immediately knew I wanted to get involved. I was soon cast in this summer’s production of “Terra Nova”, directed by Scott Ramp and Deborah Johansen. That experience remains the highlight of my time in Salem thus far—not only because of the incredible cast and crew, but, more importantly, because it allowed me to get a glimpse into Pentacle’s mission and operations. I saw the impact “Student Night” and “Community Night” had on our patrons, and I contributed to discussions about potential productions we could mount for future seasons. It became clear that Pentacle changed lives, and I want to be part of creating that positive impact.

What is your day job? What is your level of responsibility at this job? What other relevant experience or education will you bring to board service.

I am an Assistant Director of Admission at Willamette University. I recruit prospective students through many forms of in-person and digital outreach, educate them about the opportunities Willamette can provide, assist them in the application process, help evaluate the 4,000+ applications submitted every year, encourage the admitted students to commit to attending Willamette, and finally, help students enroll and make the transition to college.

Please describe the skills and core competencies that you will bring to the board.

The skills I have mastered through my role at Willamette are very transferable. The most unique is my ability to energize, recruit, and mobilize youth. As Pentacle continues to intentionally diversify its production teams and audiences, one demographic we consistently miss is Salem’s youth. My entire job revolves around my ability to connect with youth and inspire them to follow their passions, many of whom cite theatre as their favorite activity. As we move forward with workshops, partnerships, and other programs involving Salem’s youth, I am in a strong position to help plan, execute, and ensure the success of these initiatives.

I would also bring my expertise in communications and social media. I serve on the Internal Communications team at work, where I write emails, create print materials, and make social media posts on behalf of the Office of Admission. My command of the written word and my understanding of how best to reach different audiences would be helpful in advertising Pentacle and expanding its reach.

I serve on three different teams within the Office of Admission and work with campus partners and community organizations. I am constantly involved with teamwork and collaboration—two skills that are crucial to the effectiveness of a governing board. When leading or supporting my team, I am known for my ability to create outstanding outcomes through collaboration.

Finally, I am experienced in event planning and execution. At Willamette, the Office of Admission runs ten large-scale events every year, including open houses, workshops, conferences, and more. I am very familiar with all that it takes to plan and execute a major event, and I would be happy to put these efforts towards Pentacle’s programming.

In addition to strong communication, collaboration, and event planning skills, my core competencies also include leadership, time management, and innovative problem solving.

As an example of leadership and time management, in college, I was a double major in theatre and psychology with a minor in French. In addition to handling these intensive academic demands, I was involved with nine different campus organizations, and I served as a governing board member for three of them. I finished my college career summa cum laude with honors.  I mention this to emphasize I am very used to balancing the duties of a governing board member alongside my work and life responsibilities. When serving as a board member for an organization, I am also very good at staying organized within the role, including keeping track of important dates, conducting outreach with other organizations, and setting aside time to complete my board duties. Since moving to Salem last year, Pentacle is the first organization I have joined, so I am enthusiastic about fully devoting myself to a role on the board.

I’d also like to highlight my innovative problem solving. In order for an organization to grow, change is imperative. One of my favorite things about holding a leadership position is brainstorming with my team to foster new ideas that could strengthen our cause. For example, last year, in my admissions role at Willamette University, I suggested we create video content about our scholarship programs instead of simply emailing students about them. I worked with faculty, staff, and students across campus to produce these videos, sent them to our applicants, and at the end of the year, we had a major increase in applications and scholarship enrollment. While this cannot all be contributed to my videos alone, I think it demonstrates the importance of thinking outside the box in order to best serve an organization’s mission.

What do you like most about Pentacle Theatre?

While it’s hard to choose just one to like “most”, my favorite thing about Pentacle Theatre is the strong, resilient community it fosters. Theatre unites us, whether we are onstage, behind the scenes, or in the audience, and Pentacle’s community has continued to be ambitious and robust since it was founded in 1954. With actors performing in outside-the-box, inspiring productions, volunteers connecting with community organizations to provide under-represented groups with opportunities to get involved, and members sticking with the theatre through the hardships of COVID-19, it’s clear that the Pentacle community is fiercely dedicated to keeping theatre, and all that it provides, alive.

Tell members why you want to be a member of the Pentacle Theatre Governing Board.

One of my favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde (although it’s hard to choose!) was when he described theatre as, “the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being”. This is why I’d like to serve on the board: theatre helps us learn, love, process, grow, release, find peace, and more, and I want to protect, expand, and facilitate this life-changing work. As Pentacle continues to evolve, new challenges are sure to arise, and I am energized about being part of the governing group responsible for finding innovative opportunities and solutions. It’s clear to many of us that Pentacle faces two large issues at this time: recovering from the financial losses taken during the pandemic, and welcoming more diverse populations into our community who historically have not been represented on our stages or in our audiences. I am passionate about tackling both of these growth areas head-on.

Please describe your goals for your three-year term, if elected.

My goals for my term speak directly to the two major issues Pentacle currently faces. My first goal is to help ensure Pentacle makes a full financial recovery from the pandemic, and continues to strengthen its financial condition. I believe that one of the keys to achieving this goal is expanding our community outreach. The Pentacle community is filled with so many talented individuals, and partnering with other groups and organizations for things like workshops, unique or sponsored productions, fundraisers, and other programming would simultaneously grow our base of financial supporters while also solidifying Pentacle as an organization distinctly interested in giving back. I can achieve these goals by using my strong communication and marketing skills to bolster promotional outreach and increase ticket sales, and by drawing from my extensive recruiting experience to connect with new populations who could support the theatre. I am passionate about rebuilding the strong financial foundation it takes to continue producing outstanding work.

My second major goal is to build pathways for youth and members of BIPOC and other under-represented communities to access theatre through Pentacle. These communities deserve to see their stories onstage and undergo the transformational nature of theatre. I have extensive experience working with youth through my profession in college admissions, and I have grown up in a generation that is distinctly aware of modern diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and practices. I would be honored to serve these populations directly by working with the board to craft meaningful programming that welcomes them into our community, like the collaboration with a local high school’s production of In the Heights that the board is currently developing. Supporting these populations will not only enrich their lives, but will also further educate, connect, and inspire the greater Salem community.

Pentacle Theatre is on a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey. Please describe your commitment to this kind of work and why it is important in an arts organization.

I’ll start with why this work matters. Theatre at its core is storytelling, and the stories we engage with shape us into who we are as people. The stories we see represented onstage are considered important, and those that remain hidden from the spotlight are considered less important. In telling our own stories we are able to find unity with others through sharing common experiences, or educate those with different experiences about another way of being. Everyone deserves to tell their story or see their story told, and yet marginalized communities have consistently been excluded from this transformational experience in traditional spaces. This is the crux of our need for intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives—to provide the space and support for these groups to share their stories proudly, not as a spectacle for consumption, but as a celebration of their lived experiences. If we’re truly going to “share what it is to be a human being”, as Oscar Wilde suggests we do when we make theatre, we need to ensure that our representation encompasses all the ways one can be human.

I have the privilege of being part of a generation that has grown up valuing and engaging with intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion work throughout our everyday lives. I participated in many “Diversity Day” programs throughout high school to learn more about inclusive practices, attended anti-racist seminars in college as part of my honors program curriculum, and became SafeZone-trained to serve as an LGBTQ+ advocate in my current job. I consistently pursue opportunities to learn, grow, and check my own privilege. I believe diversity, equity, and inclusion should be considered at every level of an organization, and that an organization cannot truly do its work effectively without consistently making these considerations and taking action. As I have mentioned before, one of my main goals in serving on Pentacle’s board is to put this work into action by welcoming under-represented populations into our community, and giving back to them wherever we can.