It is quite simple in the music industry to forget about treating our work as art. In today's world of cutthroat, underhanded, and just plain unsavory characters and business practices, one can become disillusioned very easily. After the past two and a half years of my active return to the business, it was starting to feel that there wasn't any heart left in it, that everyone was out to do just for him or her, no matter the cost to anyone else. Discouraged at best, despite some headway I had accomplished, I was starting to think that I was part of an even smaller minority than realized, until I happened upon a name, Donna Dowless.
In seeking my Master's Degree at Full Sail University, part of this month’s class is video interviews with industry personnel each week. This week, the interview was with a name that I should have known, but will now never forget. Donna Dowless, the CEO of XOXO Media Group in Orlando, she started out working for a venue in Washington, DC, she developed a passion for the live arena setting. Moving in 1981 to work at the Lakeland Civic Center, she rose through the ranks to manager of the whole operation. All of this accomplished in a time when women in the music industry where in very short supply, and almost never in positions of power. From there, she was recruited by Ticketmaster to act as their Executive Director of Florida, to Executive Vice President of the Southeastern Region and Venue Coordinator, all within a matter of years.
How did she do this? Donna, in the video interview states that she believes in "strength and honesty, the ability to choose the way you want to go, and your commitment to excellence will resound with people the most." She also states that the ability to ask questions, not be afraid to make mistakes, interact with people and follow your heart is her keys to being a great leader and being a "package of success", as she has exemplified herself over the years.
Ms. Dowless also states that to "never give up, understand what people need to make things happen, don't be afraid, and pursue what you want with all of your heart and soul." Her track record shows that this philosophy works, and along with a rare few others in today’s industry, if we remember these basic facts, inspiration should never be far.
These words, while inspiring to all, hit me in an extra special way, to hear the words of a true pioneer, one who has succeed by using and inspiring passion and love in what she does in others, it makes me realize that I am truly on my own right path, and inspires me to keep at it, no matter what.