Archive | Development RSS feed for this section

That’s a Wrap on Fall 2020

11 Dec

When I started to think about having a professional career in nonprofit and fundraising, I certainly did not expect and would not imagine to do all the fundraising work online. Certainly, it is not an easy time for a performing arts organization when you can’t put on live performances. Meanwhile, for me it is a unique time to work with American Ballet Theatre as a development assistant intern. It has been so nice to see everyone here at ABT development department keep the work going by being adaptive and creative and embracing the virtual platforms, so I have learned a lot this fall.

As a development assistant intern, I mainly have been working with my supervisor Kaitlyn. Throughout the three months, I have assisted in multiple projects, for example, research on nontraditional performance venues, taking development committee meeting minutes, organizing donor/board member files and acknowledgement letters. All these projects are practical and will be useful in my future career but personally, I find taking meeting minutes interesting since I only have learned about the role of board members in nonprofits in class without knowing much details. It is great way to observe how trustees work with ABT staffs and the significant role they are playing in ABT’s fundraising.

Since this is a virtual internship, I truly appreciate that Kaitlyn would always check in with me and spend time to write down the detailed information to explain project-related content that I am not familiar with. I am also invited to join the weekly development department meeting as well as the monthly education and development meeting. These meetings provide me an incredible chance to learn about the planning and decision-making process within ABT and how everyone in the development department, though play different roles, manage to work together on various projects from the beginning.

Besides my work with development department, the intern meetings have also made this internship a unique experience as Dennis manages to invite ABT staffs from different departments every week to share their experience at ABT and their career path. Through the meeting I am able to learn about the role of different departments at ABT which gives me a more comprehensive perspective on how these departments work together within a large performing arts organization.

So, that’s a wrap on Fall 2020, thank you ABT for this experience, and special thanks to Kaitlyn for being incredibly supportive. I’m grateful to still have the opportunity to learn and grow during a time when uncertainty is the certainty. It has given me a different view to think about the significance of fundraising and to reflect on my future career choices. Can’t wait to see the world come back to normal and the dancers will be performing on stage in front of a full house of audiences!

Anna Zhao

Development Assistant Intern

Fall 2020

My ABT Internship

7 Dec

As I finish my ABT Internship, I am reflecting on the last 3 months  and how grateful I am to have had this experience. While the last few months have felt uncertain, the opportunity to work with the membership team at ABT came as a welcome surprise. I feel honored to have been a part of the membership team at this pivotal time of the year and have learned so much through my experience this fall.

The last few weeks of my internship have been special getting to work towards the end of the year goals for membership and new donations. Getting an inside look into the fall celebration, seeing the short films by ABT Dancers, and being a part of the giving tuesday campaign are a few things that have made my time at ABT that much more special. In a semester, where being in person was impossible, there were other unique ways to connect with the development team and other interns. Working with Alex, Jackie and Grace has been a dream, they have all made my time at ABT and with the Membership team special, as an intern the team made me feel like an important part of the team, and gain some real hands-on experiences.

As part of the program. I got to participate in talkback and conversations with ABT Artists and Staff, which has introduced me to the wider world of ballet and dance. Coming into the internship, I did not have as much knowledge of ballet as everyone else and was excited about the opportunity to learn and grow in a new area of performing arts.

I am thankful for the experience I have gained by interning with ABT this fall. Working with the company has made me feel more prepared and excited for the future.

Ashley Weintraub

Membership & Database Intern

Fall 2020

Lessons From A Virtual Internship

1 Dec

As my time at the virtual version of 890 Broadway comes to a close, I find myself grateful for the opportunity to make a difference at such a pivotal moment.  This year has been a time of growth and challenges, but ABT takes it in stride.  With this growth, I learned some lessons working virtually.  I have got 3 pieces of advice: 1) you are your greatest advocate, 2) overcommunicate, and 3) be enthusiastic. 

For the first lesson, it is always important to remember that if you want more projects, can handle more, or have ideas then you need to be the one to bring them up to your supervisor/department.  Everyone is very busy, so make sure to be your own advocate to be heard.  ABT is a collaborative environment and values people who can step up and fill a need.  Advocate for yourself.  In my experience at ABT, if I wanted more projects, I made sure my supervisor knew where I was on current projects and my capacity for more.  This brings me to the second lesson, overcommunicate.  In a virtual world, it can be very difficult to learn the culture of an organization.  If you are unsure about how something is done or want clarity on a subject, just ask.  If you have the capacity to take on more, communicate that to your supervisor.  Lastly, be enthusiastic in all that you take on.  It can be hard to maintain an enthusiastic demeanor virtually, but if you can, it will transform your experience.

My supervisor during my time at ABT was Jon Haddorff in the Major Gifts department.  I had such a great experience being an intern in this department and loved being able to work with Jon.  He is open to suggestions and lets interns have many opportunities to grow.  I come from a program background and so very much appreciated his teaching me how the Major Gifts department worked, while also allowing me room to grow and take part in projects.

Hopefully, ABT will be able to go back to 890 Broadway soon, but in the meantime, I have found these lessons to be useful and adaptable to both virtual and in-person positions.


Sabrina Kesler

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2020

Helping to Ensure the Future of America’s National Ballet Company

8 Aug

After working here this summer, it doesn’t surprise me why American Ballet Theatre is one of the greatest ballet companies in the world. Growing up as a classical ballet dancer, I’ve always admired ABT dancers’ impeccable artistry and athleticism. What I didn’t know was that, behind the scenes, ABT’s administrative staff is equally as hard-working and talented. It has been a privilege to work with the Development Department this semester. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and all live performances being canceled, the role of raising funds for America’s National Ballet Company felt particularly significant this summer.

As the Development Assistant Intern, I jumped right in assisting primarily with the Board of Governing Trustees and Major Gifts. I was trusted with tasks I never dreamed of and given hands-on experience drafting acknowledgment letters, researching donor prospects, updating Raiser’s Edge, and creating statistical graphs for a presentation to the Board. I felt like my mentor, Kaitlyn, truly valued my ideas and challenged me to use my writing skills and creativity in new ways.

Although I never stepped foot in 890 Broadway, I was still given so many opportunities to learn about all aspects of this incredible institution. For example, the “Coffee Chat” zoom I joined, hosted by Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett and Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. This conversation focused on ABT’s plans for the near future and included staff, major donors, and board members. It was inspiring to be surrounded by those who share my passion for dance, with everyone working towards the goal of making ballet more accessible and inclusive for all. It struck me that these people are powerful performing arts advocates, rallying together to ensure the future of ballet at this crucial time.

While a remote internship is not what I expected this term, ABT’s administrative staff still inspired, motivated, and mentored me throughout this entire experience. As my internship comes to an end, I know the skills I’ve gained will serve as the perfect foundation for any arts administration career path I choose. Whether on-stage or on-screen, I’m grateful to have been a part of sharing ABT’s beauty, innovation, and power with audiences around the world.


Nicole Case

Development Assistant Intern

Summer 2020

Waltzing Through A Pandemic

21 May

To say this semester has been interesting would be a drastic understatement. A few weeks into January, the second half of my Studio Management Internship with American Ballet Theatre kicked off in full swing. Running through the snowy NYC streets to make it to 890 Broadway, I was suddenly hit with a feeling of gratitude and frostbite. Those first few weeks back were exciting and freezing, and I was looking forward to what the Spring had to offer.

Around mid-March, Covid19 had become a global pandemic, and made everyone aware of the health hazards from commuting throughout the city. While panic began to creep into studios, hallways, and elevators, a sense of teamwork and camaraderie heightened within the ABT Departments. Slowly, companies all over New York began to close temporarily and American Ballet Theatre remained committed to keeping its dancers and staff safe by doing the same.

It became nerve-wracking wondering what would happen to the rest of my internship for the remaining two months of my time with ABT. However, a global pandemic would be no match for the company’s tenacity and poise. While the thought of remote work for a company that lasts on communal dynamic seemed impossible, ABT thrived by communicating virtually. My greatest joy over the last few months has been experiencing and adapting to this new and scary world we are all facing, together. I have been serving as an intern for nine months with the company, and my pride has never been stronger for it than these last two. The amount of work that each individual poured into their work has tripled since this quarantine has started, and I am in awe of each person who has worked tirelessly from home to keep the company thriving throughout its 80th year. What an honor it has been to work with everyone, and I look forward to seeing everyone smiling and laughing throughout the offices again!

Carolyn Bakich

JKO Intern

Spring 2020

My ABT Journey

5 Dec

Working at the American Ballet Theatre has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. The fact that I get to listen to music from the dance studios while sitting at my desk and getting to peak at classes and rehearsals when I walk through the hallways of the office is still unbelievable to me. I have been a dancer all my life and this internship allowed me to be a part of the dance industry in a very different and special way. This Fall, I worked on the Development Department as a Patron Services intern. I got to work alongside incredibly talented and driven people that have taught me a lot.

It didn’t hit me that I was working for such an amazing company until my second week at ABT when I was asked to sit and watch a company class with one of our donors. I got to witness the incredible dancers take class for an hour and a half, which is something you don’t get to do in any job. My mind was completely blown after seeing so much talent in one room. That is when I realized how lucky I am to be working for one of the best ballet companies in the world. I got the opportunity to see these dancers in action from taking class, to going into rehearsals and to finally taking the stage.

890 Broadway wasn’t our only office, we got to work at the Koch Theatre as well. Getting to call this mesmerizing place a work space is another thing that I couldn’t yet wrap my head around. We were at the Koch for two weeks which were the most chaotic but rewarding weeks of the semester. Here, I got to work several dress rehearsals, an onstage company class, the Fall Gala, the Family Friendly Matinee.

All the dancing I got to see and the events I got to work were incredible but what I value the most about this internship is the people I got the pleasure to meet. ABT welcomed us with open arms and made us team players since day one. No day is the same at ABT, every day I got new tasks that taught me new skills and improved my existing ones. My mentor Fallon, guided me through these months and made this internship fun, dynamic, and challenging at the same time. I am lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn from incredible people alongside a wonderful group of interns that I now get to call my friends. I am grateful for all the learning experiences, fun events, and people that ABT left me with. Thank you ABT for being part of my journey.

Liza De la Garza

Patron Services Intern

Fall 2019

A Time of Growth

11 Nov

When I began my Institutional Support internship at American Ballet Theatre, I had no idea what to expect. I had at first been unsure whether this internship was right for me, having little experience in development or ballet, but accepted based on my interest in the company and how much I liked my interviewer, Ebonie, the Associate Director of Institutional Support and Special Campaigns. More than halfway through the internship, I can now say that accepting the position was one of the best choices I have ever made.

From the moment I started at ABT, I felt like part of the development team. On my second day, Ebonie asked me to begin working on three grant proposals, including one for $250,000. I was shocked that she had entrusted me with such a significant task. It has been so refreshing to receive actual responsibility as an intern, since I know this is not always the case. My internship at ABT has allowed me to connect with people across the organization and extended my learning beyond just institutional support. I worked special events, spoken one-on-one with a Marketing Manager, and learn from ABT staff and board members at our weekly intern meetings.

I have learned so much from my participation in this internship, from how to write grants and acknowledgement letters, to how to do prospect research, and the importance of always being prepared to take advantage of networking opportunities, especially in the development field. I attended an ABT at School performance, expecting the event to be casual given that it was being held at a school. Consequently, I wore jeans and a jean jacket (also known as a Canadian tuxedo). I was surprised to see that the ABT staff in attendance were dressed in business clothing. After the performance, my supervisor introduced me to a number of people involved with the outreach program and I was invited to lunch. Partially mortified by my clothing choice and disappointed that I had made plans for after the event, I turned down the offer. This was a significant teaching moment, as I learned the importance of maintaining professionalism and leaving time for unexpected networking on any occasion. I am grateful I experienced this as an intern, as this lesson will be exceptionally useful as I begin my professional career.

Overall, my experience at ABT has been wonderful. I look forward to going into work twice a week, knowing that I will always learn something new and make meaningful contributions to my department. I am incredibly thankful to Ebonie, the development department, and everyone involved in the internship program for giving me such a wonderful experience. ABT has turned this theatre kid into a ballet fan, and I guarantee I will be attending a lot more ballet from here on in.

Liza Hersh

Institutional Support Intern

Fall 2019

The Nutcracker

28 Oct

Every December since I was 5, I have performed in The Nutcracker.Truth be told, I have probably danced every single role in the show. Those memories have stuck with me forever; the copious amounts of hairspray in the backstage dressing rooms, the late night sewing of dozens of pointe shoes, and even the not so well-received peer pressuring of my brothers into acting as extras in the “Party Scene!” At the time, young, naive me could have never imagined where she would be right now, sitting at her desk just a few steps down the hall from where Misty Copeland is rehearsing to dance the role of Clara as a Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre, one of the world’s premier dance companies.As I sit at my desk writing renewal letters for the Major Gifts Department or filling out dancer sponsorship sheets on excel, I can hear Tchaikovsky’s music chiming from the pianists’ fingers, and as I walk to the copy machine, I can peer into the window of the rehearsal studio where Misty is practicing her graceful pirouettes and powerful leaps.

While I was searching for an internship, I had one primary goal in mind; I wanted to LEARN.I wanted to be in an environment that would challenge me to learn things I didn’t know, try things I had never done before, and see things I had never seen. As a senior finishing up my Bachelor’s degree, I was tired of sitting in a classroom 60 hours a week. I wanted to jump in the water and go for a swim.

To say the least, my experience as an intern at ABT has more than helped me accomplish that goal. With every project I have assisted on and every glamorous event I have attended, I have met new people who have taught me new things about not only surviving, but thriving, in the developmental side of the performing arts industry.

Every day I show up at 890 Broadway, I feel grateful to be stepping into such a lovely work environment with people who have truly given me the chance to succeed. I am proud of the work I have been lucky enough to contribute to such a magnificent organization, one in which I’ve been passionate about unknowingly since age 5 when I stepped on stage for the first time as a snow angel in The Nutcracker.


Josephine Smolsky

Major Gifts Intern

Fall 2019

890 Comes Alive at the Met

30 Jul

As soon as I walked into the ABT dancers lounge for intern orientation, I knew I was in a very special place. The newly renovated lounge was one of the most beautiful rooms I had ever seen, and it was filled with people whose passion about the arts and excitement to be a part of ABT was tangible. We spent the morning learning about our day to day duties and internship guidelines, but I left orientation completely unaware of just how amazing this internship experience would be.

Joining ABT in the summer as a patron services intern was a very intense and exciting experience; ABT’s longest season is an eight-week run at the Metropolitan Opera House from May to July, and so I started in the busiest time for patron ticketing. For the first few weeks of the internship, I spent the majority of my time creating and tracking ticket order forms for donors and preparing for the many special events that are hosted during the Spring Season. I also had the amazing opportunity to design several save the dates and invitations for various special events.

The aspect of this internship I most enjoyed was seeing all of the work we did at 890 come alive at the Met. For example, one of my favorite days of the internship came in the second week, when all of the development interns helped run the Golden Circle Luncheon, which is a lunch, auction, and dress rehearsal for 300 donors at the Met. We arrived at the stage door early in the morning to start implementing all of the plans created at 890. Throughout the day, the Grand Tier of the Met transformed into the development staff’s incredible vision of the event. I had the opportunity to create many of the designed materials for the event, and it was surreal to see them laid out at each place setting.

Over the coming weeks, I had many more chances to interact with the Met. One day I was assigned to get the autographs of every dancer as they came out of company class at the Met, so I had the opportunity to interact with a large percent of ABT’s dancers. On other days, development interns could sign up to work the Belmont room in the Met, which is a lounge for donors to purchase food at intermission. On the nights I chose to work in this room, I was able to speak with the donors whose ticket orders I filled out at 890, and I also received free tickets of my own to watch the show.

I also assisted at the AMEX champagne toast, which was an event held during the Friday Evening performance of Swan Lake. The event went late into the night, and by the time it was over, another intern and I were two of the last people in the building. While we were walking through the Met to collect our belongings, all of the lights in the building turned off. At first it was jarring to be in the Met when it was pitch-black and empty, but navigating through the depths of the Met to find our way out was quite the adventure, and it ended up being one of my favorite moments from the summer.Picture1_claire

I am so grateful to have interned at ABT this summer – my experience was better than I could have ever imagined!

Claire Ganiban

Patron Services Intern

Summer 2019

Law Meets Ballet

29 Jul

I’ve thought about what to write all summer for this post, and I simply cannot find a way to accurately distill this summer into a single blog post. But, here’s my attempt.

I am a ballet dancer and a third year law student at UCLA Law, and as such I took this internship to learn how to fuse my two major interests together.  I thought this opportunity would allow me to better understand how a major ballet company operates.  What I couldn’t anticipate was exactly how much exposure I would get to the different departments.  I was able to meet with and learn from several department heads in part because I took the initiative to approach these people and volunteer to help, but also because ABT has structured the internship to expose its interns to the various arms of ABT.  In addition to working and attending shows, we had weekly intern meetings on Fridays with guest speakers including the Senior Director of Finance, Company Management, and the Executive Director.

As wonderful as working and watching all the different shows (Tharp Trio, Jane Eyre, Le Corsaire, Manon, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty) was, the highlights of my summer come from the projects I got to work on. In Development I was responsible for a lot of prospect research.  I was trained to use Raiser’s Edge.  I wrote both an obituary and a new baby announcement (though not strictly Development, I suppose these fell under “other tasks as assigned by management?”).  I consolidated department calendars into a single mega-calendar for executive staff.  I cultivated relationships with prospective donors and Holiday Benefit attendees based in California.  I sat in on and actively participated in Development’s Met Season Debrief meeting, which really added to the sense that ABT really cares about its interns and values their insight.

From the interview process through the end of my internship I also made sure everyone knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career, and everyone at ABT understood, supported, and helped me craft a summer experience to get me closer to that goal.  My boss, ABT’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, gave me interesting projects to work on, but she also gave me the freedom to explore my professional interests; the result is that I got to work together with ABT’s Associate Director of Institutional Support and ABT’s Chief Administrative Officer to create a curriculum for a workshop that is exactly in line with what I aspire to teach someday at a BFA program or law school.  Working with the Chief Administrative Officer (who doubles as ABT’s in house lawyer) also opened my mind to the legal issues a dance company faces.  Additionally, I scheduled a meeting with ABT’s General Manager to discuss how he negotiates contracts between the company and it’s choreographers, employees, and the employees’ unions.

Exploring these departments showed me there is a market for fusing law and dance, and I am so glad I came to New York to work for ABT. While I only have one week left at ABT, I know this isn’t really goodbye; I will always be a part of this wild, whacky, fun family whether that’s as a California contact, employee, donor, or simply a ticket buyer supporting America’s National Ballet Company®. The internship is what you make it, and I made it pretty great!

PS: While writing this I also found out ABT lists their interns’ names on their staff page at and wow! This is exactly I’m talking about; the interns are celebrated here and as an intern you will never be overlooked or dismissed. You’re family.


Conor Gómez

Development Intern/Project Plié Scholarship Recipient

Summer 2019