I've got a few posts lined up and ready to go, with the aim of releasing something semi-weekly on Fridays. But it's important to share a bit about the who and the why of the whats to come.
I'm sure there are careers and industries where the personal is easily divestible from the product, but as I work in the arts, hospitality, and team culture sectors, who I am is pretty well entwined with the work I do.
My name is Sarah Dew, and I have over a decade of experience in the aforementioned industries as an employee, a patron, and a consultant. I went to a liberal arts college in upstate New York where I built my own interdisciplinary concentration in Performance Studies so that I could better study the relationship between audience and performer in both artistic and socially performative scenarios of the everyday. I inhaled classes in the subjects of Sociology, Theatre, Anthropology, Womens Studies, Africana Studies, Psychology, Philosophy, and a particularly ungraceful attempt at dance.
Simultaneously, I played lacrosse as a goalie for the college. It was a sport I'd learned from family and a place where I found friendship and community. By college, I'd been playing for fifteen years; had been to the National Tournament twice in high school, won a Liberty League championship as a freshman in college, played in the NCAA tournament, had the privelege of being trained and mentored by the greatest lacrosse goalie of all time Chris Sanderson, and by the time I retired I had one of the best save percentages in the country. I enjoyed the team dynamics as much as I enjoyed the individual challenges of goalkeeping.
At the end of my junior year, I sustained several concussions. And then several more. By the time I'd graduated I had sustained 7 concussions in one year and my life had taken a drastic turn from the direction I thought I'd be going. At this point in my life today, I've stopped keeping count at over twenty concussions, sustained from both my time as a goalie and my predisposition towards being accident prone.
It took 8 years to get a diagnosis of PTSD and TBI. I have panic attacks when overstimulated and a deteriorated sense of spatial awarness amongst other chronic conditions and pain.
During those 8 years I struggled to find where to go: in my career, in life, and as a person. I managed to graduate college having pulled of the incredible feat of a thesis in which I wrote, directed, designed (set, sound, lights and projections), produced, and marketed a one act play and wrote an academic paper on the subject without faculty support and all while struggling with severe post concussion symptoms. Upon graduating, I was rudderless, recommendationless, and very unsure of where to go.
I managed to land in exactly the right place: House Managing. I worked in Front of House departments at theaters near where my parents lived for several years, and while there began taking an interest in accessibility programming; even prior to my own disability diagnosis, I was motivated to find a more inclusive way forward for an industry I believe is a powerful agent for social change. Eventually I ran my own department and consulted other organizations on their programming and initiatives. I found myself using my academic studies daily, and continually learning more about the power of theater and community.
When not working directly in Front of House programs, I worked in a variety of industries: bar managment, hospitality, recreation programming, small business management, coaching lacrosse, amongst others. Through these experiences I gained an extensive understanding of various management styles and practices, how to effectively and efficently lead teams, and how to work through conflict towards progress.
Other important pieces about me in the work I do are that I have two nephews with autism, who are bright funny kids who inspire me every day. A great friend of mine from high school is the creater of The ClearMask, doing phenomenal work making the medical industry a more accessible and inclusive place.
All of this I bring with me to daily work and consultancy. A naturally keen intuitition and a penchant for efficient and honest feedback are hallmarks of my method and style, but most importantly I aim to work with integrity towards a a more inclusive future where individual communities act with intention to rectify wrongs of the past and work to integrate progress and patron loyalty into their definitions of success, alongside profits.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this, and hope you are well. Reach out at any time to chat via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or calendly.
Apologies for spelling or syntax errors.