Founder, CEO, Harpist
Current City: New York, NY.
Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: Founder and CEO building SixPlus, a venue marketplace for corporate events.
Notable Prior Jobs: Investment Banking Analyst at Bear Stearns; Private Equity Associate (pre-MBA) & Senior Associate (post MBA) at The Riverside Company - worked in their NYC and Brussels offices.
When I Started Performing: Age 3.
Performing Arts Background: I don't have memories of playing the violin, but I've seen videos of 3 year old me performing Suzuki violin. I have my mom to thank for my early start! She was a conservatory-trained, classical pianist, for whom music was an integral part of her life. After getting my bearings on the violin, by age 6 I asked to play the harp. Not the most practical choice but mom went out and bought a bigger car!
I studied with Kathleen Bride until age 15 and gave annual recitals in our home. I competed locally and was written up in a few local papers as the "angel harpist". At 15, I enrolled at Interlochen Arts Academy, a boarding high school in Michigan, where I studied with Joan Holland. There, I played in orchestras, chamber groups and harp ensembles. From Interlochen, I went to Oberlin Conservatory, where I also enrolled in Oberlin College for their double degree program. During my time at Oberlin, I was lucky to play with regional orchestras and dedicated my summers to playing. I spent 2 summers in Camden, Maine studying with the famous Alice Chalifoux. I spent another summer playing in an orchestra in Rome, Italy. I loved practicing and being surrounded by music, however by my junior year at Oberlin, I realized I wanted to explore other career ideas.
I left music as a professional aspiration, however I continue to play for pleasure, including the occasional wedding!
How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? My time studying music taught me how to break difficult tasks (an entire score) into smaller, manageable pieces (i.e. 4 measures). As an entrepreneur, I do this every day! Every time I'm faced with a daunting task, I reach back into my musician toolkit and think "How can I break this down?" What's the equivalent of 4 measures here? or can I do 8? I have the confidence from going through the exercise so many times, that I know I'll get through it.
Another element that supercharged my entrepreneurship was learning to improvise, especially while on stage in front of an audience! Staying calm under pressure and knowing "It's ok, you've got this. Don't panic. As long as you stay calm you can navigate your way back and get through this."
People often give the most credit to "the idea" when they think about what it takes to start. Clients often tell me "I had this idea! I wanted to start your company." The idea is important, obviously, but the discipline and perseverance it takes to turn an idea into a company, and then make that company work, is more of a feat than the idea itself. My ability to keep going in the face of adversity (try running a corporate event startup during COVID) is thanks to the skill set I developed in those early years: practicing those measures over and over and over... never giving up, and never giving in.
Favorite Performer: Yolanda Kondonassis.
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