Cohort 2008–2009. After completing my PhD in modernism in 2014, I started working in the development department of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), raising money for their patron program. The first few months were hard and included lots of humbling experiences. But I quickly caught on and had the tremendous benefit of my writing and speaking skills, honed through years of teaching and being taught. I rose quickly in the ranks and spent five years engaging with exceptional artists, philanthropists, community leaders and, of course, the work itself.
Though it was difficult to tear myself away from BAM, I got a great job opportunity right in the middle of the pandemic to become Executive Director of the Eastern Region for American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic. (It’s a mouthful!) In this new role, I’m responsible for raising money for the orchestra all along the east coast, midwest, and Canada. The job is incredibly varied and includes all sectors of philanthropic giving-- individuals, corporations, and foundations. Right now, of course, I’ve been hunkered down in our New York office, but looking ahead, I will be traveling all over the United States and when the orchestra tours, all over the world.
My PhD from Princeton continues to be not only my most impressive credential but also my most valuable. While my peers in the industry have many years of experience on me, my degree always gives me a leg up—an extra sense of trust in my commitment from donors and colleagues, an extra vote of confidence from my supervisors. Beyond the credential, my time as an academic has given me the tools to access and unpack the wide array of art forms I’ve encountered and the assurance that I’ll never really feel adrift so long as I’m immersed in the work.