Everyone knows how you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. But for those not wishing to bask in the stage’s famed limelight, there are other ways. Just ask Ginger Vallen ’05, director of special events.
Well, actually, it does take practice – just practice by another name: internships. As an arts management major, Vallen took advantage of several internship opportunities, starting with Charleston’s Theatre 99, Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
“I was able to leverage those experiences into subsequent internships in NYC,” says Vallen, “including an internship with MTV, where I helped to produce the 2004 Video Music Awards.”
After working in event planning for the Roundabout Theater Company, one of Broadway’s premier theaters, Vallen joined Carnegie Hall’s special events team in 2007, where, over the years, she has worked with the likes of James Taylor, Bill Clinton, Oscar de la Renta, Sting and Elton John.
But don’t be fooled by the red-carpet names; it’s not all glitz and glamour, as Vallen explains: “We plan over 50 events a year – ranging from donor membership events to formal galas – three of which are major fundraisers that raise anywhere between $2 million to $5 million each. The job requires that you stay focused under stress, and can handle multiple responsibilities in a concise and organized manner under a great deal of time pressure. On the night of an event, nothing happens in exactly the way that you planned it, but it’s your job to make sure that your guests participate in a flawless event worthy of their donation, and that any ‘glitches’ that come up are handled quickly and smoothly.”
In other words, practice makes perfect.