World of Work: Ali Peterson ‘07, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Posted on April 25, 2013 with No Comments

Ali Peterson'Ali Peterson ‘07
Corporate Giving Manager
Shakespeare Theatre Company – www.shakespearetheatre.org
Washington, D.C.
Major: Zoology/Political Science
Graduate Program: Masters of Business Administration, The George Washington University

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

A typical day is hard to come by in my line of work, we are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve and be innovative in our approach to our work. On the most basic level I am a fundraiser. I work to research, develop and nurture relationships between our theatre company and corporations interested in partnering with us. My work requires me to keep a close eye on business press, stay on top of the needs of our partners and manage their benefits. I also help to plan major events and strategically advance our relationships with members of Congress.

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is a Tony award winning professional theatre company producing and presenting world-class performances of classical shows. The quality of the artistic work inspires me but I am more motivated by the way in which we are able to reach audiences. We go into every DC public school and teach kids how to embrace classical texts. We bring students into our theatre to interact with performers, designers and directors. We offer free performances every summer to people of all income levels and abilities. We do theatre for everyone, to challenge our audiences’ minds and lift their spirits.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Collaborative. Creative. Fun. 

Tell us about your path to this position.

I absolutely did not expect to have this job when I was an undergrad at UVM. After graduation I moved to DC to seek a job in Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. I secured a position as a scheduler in his personal office and did that for two years. I then worked on energy policy for over a year and finally, worked as a press secretary for nearly two years. All told, I spent five and a half years with the Senator and learned a great deal about what I want and don’t want for my career. I learned that I want to work at the intersection of arts and business and I found a way to do that by returning to school and working part-time at the Shakespeare Theatre Company on the side of my work in the Senate.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Great fundraisers are needed by organizations of all shapes and sizes, if you have an interest in fundraising work I suggest you read everything you can on current trends and practices, take informational interviews with people working in the field, and know the specific demands of the industry you are most interested in. Also, if possible gather some information or develop an understanding of the financial position of the company you are interested in working for.

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