Arts & Events

Art meets business

Art and business. Though the two are distant and in many ways dissimilar, they are inextricably linked.

Jeff Haydon, class of 1997, and Gretchen DeGroot Lenihan, class of 1999, returned to Puget Sound on Wednesday and Thursday, Apr. 4 and 5, to discuss that relation with interested students, and to share how their undergraduate experience at Puget Sound helped prepare them for life ahead.

One of Haydon’s first stops on campus brought him to the Adelphian Concert Choir’s daily rehearsal in the music building. Haydon had been an Adelphian all four years and seemed happy to be back.

Though he majored in business and was part of the school’s Business Leadership Program, Haydon regularly participated in the School of Music, and after graduating he knew he wanted to somehow combine his love of music with his business training.

Though he didn’t walk us through the specifics of finding his job, he talked about working for the Ojai Music Festival in Southern California and how his undergraduate training  and creative, artistic sensibilities both come into play at work.

Haydon was also quick to point out how valuable his experience working with ASUPS and its cultural events department was while attending the university.

He said he “gained as much valuable knowledge from working with student groups as [he] did in a classroom,” stressing the importance of team-building and group coordination in his professional environment.

Gretchen Lenihan spoke next, beginning with a brief introduction of the kind of logistical preparation that goes into the large-scale festival planning she does at the Seattle Center.

During the presentation, Lenihan spoke much more about her history, focusing on how connections she made while at the University helped her get to where she is today.

She, too, worked with ASUPS to help program cultural events, and for three summers during her undergraduate career, she worked for a Kent city non-profit.

After graduating, she continued to work at the non-profit until receiving a call from a friend from Puget Sound who informed her of a better job at a separate non-profit in Seattle.

She continued to work her way up the ladder, saying that sometimes she chose a lower paying position or a job she liked less because of the valuable experience it gave her and the connections she made.

After the presentation, the two allowed the audience to ask questions.

When asked about whether she preferred her current government job or her former non-profit jobs, Lenihan said though she was entirely happy with the regularity and security her current job presented her, she said the experience she gained and the emotional highs that come along with working at a non-profit organization remain unparalleled.