Educating our employees.

I’ll never forget when a friend of mine from the corporate world told me that he was getting his MBA . . . and that his employer was paying for it.

I did a headshake for a second and then of course, realized why . . . that employer knew that his employee would be more valuable (translation: make more money for the company) if that employee had more of an education.  The employer had obviously measured the ROI on the grad school investment and come up with a positive number . . . so they paid the bill.

This kind of perk is found all throughout the traditional business world.

And it should exist in the Broadway world as well.

Ok, maybe not MBAs or JDs, but here’s the thing . . . we work in an industry where many, many people work in fields that they didn’t study in a formal setting.  For example . . . we’ve got Actors that have become Company Managers and then Producers (that would be me, by the way) without the benefit of formal training.  Of course, there is nothing better than on-the-job experience, especially in an oh-so-nichey industry like ours.  But would a few marketing classes hurt?  Or accounting?  How about contract law?  (I actually took a lot of these courses on my way up, and read a crap-ton of books about these subjects to help further my education.)

At my office, my employees know that if they want to take a class, online or otherwise, that I think will contribute to our company, then I’ll pick up the bill.

And I think all offices in our biz should have that policy.

The more educated we are, the better choices we make.  The better choices we make, the stronger our business becomes.

So if you’re an employee in the theater world, and you want to expand your knowledge to help your company and your industry grow, find a class in something . . . I don’t care if it’s at NYU or The Learning Annex . . . and ask your employer for some tuition reimbursement.

And when you make that ask, include evidence as to how long it’ll take you to recoup the cost of that class with your new found knowledge.

That’s something that no employer can resist.

And you’ll help our business take another step closer towards being a traditional business at the same time.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Jon Kakaley says:

    If this was a facebook post, I would /like.
    Companies like Google and Pixar do the same thing. Treat your employees like gold, and they give it right back to you.

  • alanna says:

    i work at a commercial theater in NYC and we have educational reimbursement in my company. I’m getting a master’s in Arts Management while working there.

  • Bryan David says:

    As an Actor in a small theatre company, I was ‘forced’ to learn Lighting Design, Set Design, Make-up Design, and how to block & direct a play. I had to learn Costume Design too! Well I guess I learned more then I thought I would because when I got to Write, Direct and Co-Produce both my 1st & 2nd original shows; I better understood what I needed (& how to get it!) Everyone, from my Set Designer, (show us your boards) the Costume Designer (show us your sketches & swatches) The Lighting Designer (show us the gels, & the plot design) How to compliment (in front of everyone, Great job!)& when to push (in private,“I know you can do better & by tomorrow please!”) You learn by trying, failure in the theatre is not an option. Its trial-by-fire true, but it’s a family on a mission. You do what you have to. You can’t let your family down now can you?

  • T. A. says:

    Hunter College had a great continuing ed. Course in Theatre Managent, but I most of had the worst boss. Even though I was the Theater Manager, and hoping to move into the open Managing director slot, my boss threatened to cut my pay since I couldn’t work additional hours at theater lol. How sad is that?

  • Andrew Joy says:

    It nice to see the Actor gone Company Manager gone producer path actually works. I am currently an acting major. My resume is mostly acting type things. I plan on getting a Masters in Production Management and hopefully will end up as a Producer in the long run. I am slowly building a producing resume, but it doesn’t seem to come as fast.
    My question is do Grad programs and those who offer intern take those with extensive acting training seriously? Or do they think it is an actor just trying to break into the business in a clever way?

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