An Exciting Start to the Special Events Internship

2 Mar

Though I’ve only completed one month at ABT, I have already learned so much. I have also discovered that my ABT internship is quite unlike any internship I’ve had in the past. The biggest difference, of course, is that this internship has been conducted entirely online. This was certainly an adjustment, but interning remotely offers the opportunity to think critically and quickly as well as adapt to a new work environment. Additionally, this is the only internship I’ve ever had in a large office, where I work alongside many other college-aged interns. This aspect of collaboration—supplemented by fun and informational weekly intern meetings on Friday mornings—has added to my experience, as well as provided some much-needed (virtual) interactions in the midst of the pandemic. So, I’m very thankful to be working with Dennis Walters and fifteen other interns. 

My internship lies within the development department, specifically the special events team led by Fallon Sullivan and Megan Stahlberg. On a typical week, there can be anywhere from one to three special events catered toward ABT donors offered over virtual platforms such as Zoom. As an intern, I’m tasked with helping to plan, organize, and attend these different events. In just my first four weeks, I’ve already been a part of five very different events. Although all special events are now virtual, this has not impeded ABT’s ability to provide interesting programming in the form of Q&A discussions, social distancing-compliant live performances, and lectures. 

On my very first day of work, I was already busy coordinating a guest list for my first event of the semester, a Q&A panel for ABT donors featuring executive director Kara Barnett and artistic director Kevin McKenzie. The Zoom panel was packed with donors, who were grateful for the opportunity to interact directly with ABT leadership. Kara and Kevin answered several thoughtful questions and were able to provide insight into the future of the organization as we move closer to a post-pandemic world. This first special event was a perfect way to learn more about the organization, and I was especially excited to see how much both ABT staff and donors care about the future of ballet. Sometimes, the hardest part of managing a special event is making sure it stays under the allotted time—though the event was held from 2:00 to 3:00, it was apparent that Kara, Kevin, and everyone else on the Zoom call easily could’ve stayed for a few more hours!

This week, ABT celebrated Black History Month, in part, by hosting a special event with Dr. Joselli Deans. She delivered a lecture on the lives of Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson—two Black ballet dancers who struggled throughout their careers in America to receive the recognition they deserved. Like last month’s Q&A, this event was also highly attended—more than 100 people tuned in, which was a wonderful sign of ABT’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As I just graduated from college with a degree in history and international studies, this was an amazing event for me to have the opportunity to help organize and attend. 

While I have interned at arts organizations before, ABT has been a perfect opportunity to work in a supportive, effective environment while also learning about the world of special events. I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester!

Gillian Reinhard

Special Events Intern

Spring 2021

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