David Daly, CVP, shares his experience of transitioning from a 19-year career in the performing arts venue world to a new career in the venue software world—and the surprising similarities he found there.
This month I am celebrating my six-month anniversary at EventBooking. There has been a lot of learning for me in this new role—my previous world of promoters, show advances, event planners, and load-ins has been replaced by software developers, product roadmaps, sales demos, and client calls. As with any change, there have been trade-offs and adjustments. While there is still much to learn, I feel very fortunate to have found a job I enjoy so much with a group of people who are so fantastic to work with. My vocational future, however, hasn’t always felt this certain.
Last year, after 19 years of working with performing arts venues and arts organizations, I found myself in a job transition.
I interviewed for positions at several venues without finding the right fit when an opportunity arose to join the team at EventBooking. I was immediately intrigued by the idea because of my knowledge of the company and its products. I had been an EB customer for a few years and had established friendships with members of their team, so I knew them to be a solid company with great people and a strong reputation in the industry. The question was never about whether or not I would enjoy working for EventBooking, but rather, how would I feel about leaving the venue world?
I was first attracted to the unique world of event and venue management by the same aspects that draw many of us in—the energy, adrenaline, and excitement of the live event atmosphere. But beyond the bright lights and the crowds, I discovered the culture of “venue people.” That is, the dedication to the team, the drive to provide the best possible experience for customers, and the willingness to put in the hard work required to get the job done right. I learned how venues serve as focal points and gathering places for communities, and how serving those communities is at the heart of everything they do. I had spent my entire career on a path that kept me closely connected to these ideas, with no expectation to divert from it in the immediate future.
So how would I feel about not being a part of that world—not feeling the unique camaraderie of a venue team, nor the excitement of putting on a show—potentially never working an event again?
I struggled with these questions as I considered my potential career pivot. But in the end, I realized that by joining the team at EventBooking, I was not leaving the industry. I was simply beginning a new path within it.
This new path has involved supporting the wider industry rather than being on the more narrow front lines. And while I may not be managing events or working in a venue environment, I still have the opportunity to serve. Instead of serving a community of event patrons, I now serve the event professionals who are the “boots on the ground”—those dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to ensure that the guests who visit their facilities have an excellent, memorable, and safe experience.
I also realized that all the things I was afraid of losing were still available to me in my new role at EventBooking.
I am still a part of a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to providing excellent service to their clients. We believe in our clients’ mission and goals as much as they do, and we work tirelessly to help them achieve those goals. At EventBooking, one of our primary goals is to make our clients lives easier through our software. If we can give our clients back even 30 minutes of their day by making a task easier to accomplish, we consider that a win. For our clients, their success is our success, and we like to think of ourselves as an extension of their team.
When all is said and done, I’ve found this new world to be a lot like my previous one. The cast and scenery are a bit different, but the plot is basically the same: I work hard alongside a great team to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and have fun along the way. I feel privileged to serve an industry that I care so much about and fortunate to remain connected to venue professionals everywhere, who are doing a job well done.
David Daly, CVP, is senior account executive with EventBooking—a venue management software company that serves performing arts centers, convention centers, arenas, and more. Previously a Director of Programming within the performing arts sphere, David’s professional experience encompasses programming, booking, operations, marketing, ticketing, event management, and more. He is an active member of IAVM and serves as a mentor to others in the industry.