Being Business Development Manager, Q&A with Rob Fellman

It wasn’t the end, we have another blog! This week we’re talking to Business Development Manager Rob Fellman, enjoy…

  1. How would you describe your job?

My job is perhaps seen as being on the less glamorous side of Theatre, but is far from it! I have the daily privilege of speaking with and meeting people from all walks of life, from aspiring theatre companies to business executives, and from band promoters to yoga instructors – you never know who might want to connect with the organisation and to make use of the services we offer. Business Development is ultimately about supporting the charitable aims of the organisation through nurturing relationships that eventually generate financial income. We have a very unique product in that we have amazing spaces, complete with an expert team that love running performances and events and taking on challenges. Besides this we also have offices that we rent out to local charities, a great catering service, and can even offer advice and support services to smaller organisations. My role looks after quite a broad remit, but ultimately it all comes down to building relationships with people, and acting as a representative on behalf of the Albany team.

  1. How did you get into the arts, and this particular career?

I actually studied Drama at university, and spent some time as an actor after that. I had always worked while I took acting roles, and since before university I had always enjoyed the face-to-face interaction of sales and retail roles. My first ‘proper’ job was working in Diplomatic and Military Sales for an Automotive company, and then moved into Corporate Sales – this was an incredible experience, and it taught me a huge amount about how to deal with various types of people from different sectors. I also spent some time on courses designed to teach about sales processes, and about customer service. As an actor, learning these practical and interpersonal skills came quite naturally and I really enjoyed this aspect of the job. From there, I decided consciously that I wanted to take this skillset and to apply it to the Arts sector, as I really wanted to be able to support the industry that I love.

  1. What do you like the most about your job?

The best thing about my job is seeing successful events happen, and getting feedback from happy producers and events organisers. So much goes into the running of theatre shows, conference, gigs etc, that the best thing anyone can say to me is: “your team made this whole thing really easy!”

  1. What is the trickiest part of your job?

The trickiest part of the job is making sure that both our team, and our customers and partners understand each other, and that all of the details of an event, booking or partnership are correct. With any work around delivering a service, there is always an element of ‘managing expectations’ – making sure everyone understands what the service needs to be, and what is possible within time and money restrictions.

  1. Do you have any advice for others who want to pursue similar careers?

Don’t underestimate the ‘background’ jobs within the Arts sector. There is real value in being specific in your skillset, and finding your niche; many organisations are diversifying the types of work they do. Jobs like Administration, Development, and Operations are so good for giving you an overview of how venues function; even if you fancy yourself as a Programmer, Marketer or a Producer, a broad understanding of the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ will be so valuable in the early stages of your career.

Thanks Rob!

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