Welcome to the first non video interview of the new series: DataChicks & Friends. Our hosts, The DataChicks, Blake & Taylor will be interviewing inspiring people in the community for their unique perspectives and stories. For the month of March, we are interviewing prominent women in our community to celebrate Women’s History Month. Today, we are interviewing Jessica Green, the Executive Director of The Maryland Theater.
Jessica has overseen many projects, including new renovations throughout her time as executive director. Jessica is a talented woman and shares more about her role. Read the interview below to learn more about her and her role!
Interview with Jessica Green
You’ve been the Executive Director of the Maryland Theatre for over nine years, and it has been an exciting time for the organization–with major renovations to the building, equipment, and facilities. What has it been like for you, overseeing fundraising, restorations, and performances–all while managing day-to-day operations?
It’s never boring! The Maryland Theatre’s operations and large capital projects keep be professionally engaged. We have a great team and I enjoy working with each of the different mindsets our board members, staff, stage technicians, volunteers, performers and event hosts have. This job certainly requires multi-tasking as there are so many areas of focus each day but at the end of the day, we are all here to help others make memories so that’s a good feeling.
Before becoming Executive Director, I understood you were the Maryland Theatre’s Operations Manager. How did you get involved with the theatre, and what path led you to where you are today?
I was interviewing for a new job after taking an extended maternity leave with my second child and the interviewer was a Maryland Theatre board member at the time. He mentioned that he thought I was overqualified for the job I was interviewing for but that he had another opportunity that would challenge me. I was ready for the challenge. The operations of the Theatre are really about getting administrative, technicians, volunteers and artists, although different minded people, to work together towards one common goal. I loved attending shows and specifically plays growing up, worked in event hosting and I studied event planning a bit in college so this was definitely an area of interest for me.
You’re a very busy person. How do you balance your career, personal life, and passions?
The balancing has become easier for me personally, now that my kids are both teenagers. I also like to show my kids that life is not all about them, that it’s important that Mom & Dad have activities and friends just like they do. We’ve made an effort to teach our kids to work hard and play hard, so we try to model that as well. This results in a very busy schedule, but a shared apple calendar helps! For me, I needed something that was for me and outside of the home. Not everyone needs that, but I like to be challenged and see results. The Theatre has definitely provided me with that.
As you know, March is Women’s History Month. Are there any special perspectives or challenges you’ve faced as a woman in your previous career or your role with the theatre?
I’m not sure I am a feminist. That’s probably the wrong thing for a female to say. I mean, I have raised my daughter to be self-motivated and to believe she can do anything she sets her heart & mind to. I am thankful for our previous generations working hard so that I may hold a leadership position at The Theatre like I do. I believe that women are capable of many roles and should be compensated fairly for them, but I also believe that there are some roles that one gender is better suited for than the other. There are always exceptions to this though. I’ve always liked the comment “If you want to get something done, ask a busy mother to do it”. That’s kind of how I operate. I like to get things done and I expect my staff operate like this as well. When I came onboard to The Theatre, we had a long list of items to get done. Some may have been overwhelmed and not known where to start but I just created a list based on priorities with the board members and started checking things off the list. When that first list was completed, we made a list for the expansion, and now we are in the process of making our next list and this time, we are calling it a strategic 10 year plan.
What’s your biggest advice to other women in business and those starting a career in theatre management?
I try to compartmentalize my life: family, work, me and my community. All compartments are important but not necessarily at the same time. And then I prioritize within each of the three categories as well, so my immediate family takes priority over extended family for example. I am only one person so my team of staff & volunteers are the first priority at work. Training takes time but it is so worth the outcome. Without our team, The Maryland Theatre is just a facility. I try to be all in and focused on one compartment at a time. A good calendar and organization for each category is a must! Lastly, be careful about who you share personal details with. If you are focused on one category in your life at a time, then oversharing is not helpful in making progress. As far as Theatre management, I would say that it is not a specific science. There are so many factors that play into a performance or event that are out of your control. Our team like to plan and document as much as possible in advance of the day-of-event, then be prepared to overcome day-of-event challenges. At the end of the event, we look at each other and if everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves and made a memory, and they were safe in the facility, we call it a win!