Transcript from City Center’s Administrative Apprenticeship Virtual Info Session
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Sarah Kutnowsky: Hello everyone, we're going to get started because we don't have too much time and I want to get right to it. Welcome, welcome! And please be aware that we are recording, I mentioned this in the chat, but just so you're aware, we're going to share this recording with folks who were not able to attend today's event. Feel free to keep your cameras off whatever you're comfortable with, but just so you're aware.
A few access notes before we get started, captions and live transcriptions are available by clicking the button on the bottom of your screen. If you need further assistance from us, feel free to throw it in the chat and myself, or our associate Morganne, who's also on the call, will help as we can. And all of our speakers will also provide visual descriptions of themselves. I'm going to get started and introduce myself! Hello everyone, my name is Sarah Kutnowsky, I am the Education Manager at New York City Center. I am calling from the Bronx today, in New York City. I am a white woman. I have very dark brown shoulder length hair. I am wearing a navy short sleeve shirt with tiny flowers on it and a pair of pink hoops. I have a red cabinet behind me, and a painting of some flowers on the wall behind me.
Thank you so much for joining us today! It's exciting to see you all in the space. We're thrilled to be relaunching our program after taking a year off due to COVID so it's so exciting to be getting back into our tradition of having an apprenticeship program at City Center. And so happy to have all of you here with us today. Just an overview of what to expect from the next hour- I will provide a little bit of context about who we are as New York City Center, review some of the program components and share what you can expect from our application and our hiring timeline. After my presentation, we are going to have a few former apprentices join us and answer some of your questions about the experience of being an apprentice at New York City Center. So if there are any questions that come up during my presentation, feel free to just jot them down, and then I'll let you know when it's the right time to throw them into the chat so that I can process through them and share them with our former apprentices.
Who are we? We’re New York City Center, which I'm sure you knew, but we are performing arts center in midtown Manhattan on 55th Street, to be exact. We were founded in 1943 by then Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, with the goal of making the performing arts accessible to all New Yorkers and that principle still remains to this day and is at the heart of everything we do at City Center. It's still part of our mission to create a welcoming environment that engages audiences with inspiring programming that invokes the spirit of New York City.
Some of our signature programs that you may be aware of include Encores!, which is our musical theatre revival series where we revive overlooked musicals from the past and bring them to our stage for modern audiences. Our annual fall for Dance Festival, which is entering its 18th season this year. And, of course, our partnership with our principal dance company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. We're thrilled to have offered a lot of virtual programming this season. We were able to continue to engage our audience members and also expand our audience to folks from all around the world. Some of this year’s virtual programming included our first ever virtual Fall for Dance Festival, which was filmed on our stage and then shared with audiences. We were so thrilled to continue the tradition of having dancers on our stage and to be able to share that with audiences virtually. We also had our gala concert with the one and only Audra McDonald. We also partnered with American Ballet Theatre to share some world premieres, again from our stage. We also partnered with Matthew Bourne to widely share a few of his ballets as well. And then we wrapped up our season with a final concert with Sutton Foster and a few friends. We've also been sharing our virtual Studio 5 series, which pulls back the curtain on the creative dance process. This year, we're featuring dancers and collaborators from across the world. Those are free and can be found on our website for 10 days, so feel free to log onto our website and take a look.
Now a little bit about our administrative apprenticeship program. Our program was formalized as the apprenticeship program it is today in 2016. Our program mission, which you may have seen online, is as follows. We are committed to training the next generation of creative, passionate arts professionals by building pathways to careers in the arts for candidates underrepresented in the field of arts administration. Our program, like many other training programs, really focuses on helping aspiring administrators get their foot in the door, gain access to New York City's non-profit arts scene and gain experience in arts administrative careers. We provide opportunities for training and hands-on career development, so that when our apprentices finish the program, they feel prepared to take on their next opportunity and whatever next step they have in their career.
Aiming to reflect the diversity of New York City, we encourage applicants with the unique perspective inclusive of race, color, religion, familial status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and intellectual and physical ability to apply.
This season, we are very happy to be filling positions in the following departments: dance programming development, education, marketing, and for the first time ever in our program, production management. All of the position descriptions are on our website, but just a little bit about what you can expect from each of these departments:
Dance programming, as it suggests, this apprentice will be working within our programming department but specifically on all of our dance productions. So that includes our annual Fall for Dance, which is a huge part of our season, as well as all other dance programs that come through City Center.
Our development apprentice works specifically on fundraising and donor relations. That apprentice will get to experience development through institutional giving, individual giving and some work in special events.
The education apprentice will work with myself and my colleagues in education, where we focus on school programs with NYC schools in all five boroughs and beyond, now with virtual programming, as well as professional development events for educators, working with our teaching artists and specific efforts in this coming season to focus on community engagement initiatives.
Our marketing apprentice will work in our marketing department and focus on things like data analysis, social media, digital marketing and beyond.
The production management apprentice is going to work specifically with our institutional production management team, focusing on City Center specific productions rather than rentals and other partnerships that we may have at City Center and on our stage. That role will be a combination of admin work as well as some hands-on theater-based tasks as well.
I just want to highlight the fact that all of these positions are highly administrative in nature. So even someone in dance programming is going to be spending a lot of time at a desk and working in an office, working on creative things and contributing to the creative efforts of City Center, but they are administrative roles in nature.
Our program is a season-long apprenticeship, which runs from September 2021, starting in late September this year, and going through May 2022. City Center’s official hours of operation are Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm, but after a full year of working at home, we're getting ready to reopen our offices and come back to work, both in person but also continuing to work virtually. So an apprentice’s schedule and hours may vary depending on what's been set within their department. We'll share more information as that becomes available throughout this hiring process.
Our apprentices are paid $15 per hour and they work 24 hours per week. That may look different for different apprentices; that could be three full eight-hour days a week or that could be two full eight-hour days with two half days, etc. It really depends on what the apprentice’s schedule looks like, and what the department they're working in needs. We additionally have a cost of living scholarship available, which is an additional weekly stipend that folks can apply for on our application. I'll talk a little bit more about that in a bit.
What does it mean to be a New York City Center apprentice? We pride ourselves on offering hands-on learning opportunities with the full support of a department supervisor, as well as department colleagues. But I have to say that we all love our apprenticeship program. We're very lucky that our staff is very invested in the program and loves that we have apprentices. You get hands-on learning opportunities within your department, but really with the full support of the entire City Center staff.
We also have additional professional network building and career planning opportunities with the guidance of a designated mentor. Every apprentice has a supervisor in their department, but will also have a designated mentor, that's another staff member at City Center, that gets paired with an apprentice to provide additional support, meet regularly and be another resource to the apprentice during their season here.
Our program starts every season with a three-day paid training, which includes department meet and greets to give apprentices a full understanding of their colleagues at City Center and what each department does. We also have professional development workshops, entrance interviews and professional goal setting with supervisors. That's an important time for an apprentice and their supervisor to get to know each other, understand the apprentice role, some of the apprentice’s professional goals and really set off this apprenticeship on the right foot, with the mutual understanding of what the apprentice wants to accomplish and what will be expected of them in their department.
Every week we have apprentice seminars, which may be panels or one-on-one conversations with City Center staff members or artists. The seminars are really aimed to give apprentices a full understanding of non-profit arts organizations, not only at city center but in general.
Our apprentices are part-time staff members for those nine months of their apprenticeship we want them to feel like they are fully integrated into our staff so we encourage participation in staff initiatives. That may include participating in some of our ongoing anti-racism workshops and trainings or signing up to be a part of staff committees. We have a DEI anti-racism staff committee, we also have a newly formed BIPOC affinity group and a very newly formed, as of last week, social committee for when we anticipate coming back to the office and being together again. That also includes attending all-staff meetings, which have currently been happening every month virtually. It's a great opportunity to get continued updates with what's happening in departments outside of your own.
All apprentices complete a solo project in their area of focus. That's decided in collaboration between an apprentice, their supervisor and department. It’s partly focused on what the apprentice really wants to learn more about and take some responsibility for, and also partly on some of the tasks and responsibilities that the department needs covered that gives the apprentice an autonomous project and sense of responsibility that is solely their own.
We have apprentices attend performances and rehearsals whenever possible. Our staff is lucky in that we get to see most of City Center’s productions and apprentices have that opportunity as well.
And then finally, our program ends with a final group presentation for all of our City Center staff members, where apprentices can share the work that they've been doing and our staff can celebrate and recognize all of the hard work that they put into the past nine months.
A little bit about our application process. Here are a few things that you can expect to see when you open our application:
The first is a short personal statement, no more than 250 words, where we ask you to articulate how you connect to our program’s mission and what it would mean to be an apprentice at New York City Center.
We also ask for a cover letter, no more than 500 words, where you can kind of introduce yourself, give us a sense of who you are and why you're interested in this specific positions you've applied for. It's also a great opportunity to frame your work experience in a way that you may not get to on your resume. Whatever work experience you have- that may be previous internships or part-time or full-time jobs or roles that you've held in school government or clubs. Anything that you've done in the past that you think will serve you coming in as an apprentice and contribute to your work.
We also ask for resume that gives us a full sense of your past work experience and how that shaped who you are today and your interests.
We ask for two professional references. I say professional in the sense that we're looking for folks who can speak to what it's like to work with and alongside you. More so than someone who knows you in an academic setting, we're really looking to have someone speak to what it's like to be in a work environment with you.
And again, the cost of living scholarship. This is where you can take the first step for applying for the scholarship on our application. All you'll see is a yes or no question indicating whether or not you would like to be considered. And if you move ahead in the application process, we may ask you to provide some financial documents, which are listed on our application, at a later date. So the first step is very simple, and may require some additional work in the future.
Our application closes on Wednesday June 23 at the end of the day, so you have plenty of time to complete the application. There is no rush to get it in, every application will be reviewed as long as it is submitted before the 23rd.
Our interviews are expected to happen between mid-July and mid-August, that includes first and second round interviews. We're hoping to make offers for the program by mid-August. Folks who've applied will hear from us either way, so everyone can expect to get an email from us regarding their status in the program. And finally, the program is expected to start with our training week in late September, that could be the third or fourth week of September.
We went through a lot of information but we're going to have an opportunity to get some questions answered now during our alumni panel. I'm very excited to welcome three former apprentices including Morganne Evans, who was our education apprentice in 2018-19 and now continues her work with City Center as our education associate. Mary Ceniza, who was our development apprentice in 2019-20. And Leah Portis, our marketing apprentice in 2019-20.
We'll close out the slideshow ask those folks to come on screen. And while they're coming on screen. I'm going to ask if you have any questions that came up during the presentation, to feel free to throw those in the chat now. I’ll start working my way through them as our panelists introduce themselves.
But before we get into the questions- Hi ladies. Welcome. thanks for joining us. Nice to see you all. I'd love for each of you to start by sharing your name again, your former title at City Center, where you're calling from today, and a brief visual description of yourself. I have Leah in the first zoom square, so you kick us off.
Leah Portis: Hi guys, my name is Leah. My pronouns are she/her. I’m calling from Manhattan, but City Center was my first job in New York City, so I moved here from Tennessee. I was one of the only ones in my program that came from far away, so if you have any specific questions about moving to New York City for the first time and what that's like, hi, I'm here! I am in my bedroom, there's a calendar of October 2020 on the wall, that I haven't changed since then, a little painting of my initial and that's a poem by Yeats up there.
I was a marketing apprentice and whoever is the future marketing apprentice is real lucky, because I wrote like a 30 page document listing absolutely everything I did when the pandemic started, so you get a whole guidebook made by yours truly.
Morganne Evans: I'm Morganne, I was the education apprentice and 2018 and now I've been the education associate for two years. My pronouns are she/her. I am calling from New York, on my couch. I just moved like a month or two ago, so there's really not a lot on the walls or anything but I'm wearing a striped shirt, I have dark brown hair and am wearing really nice Warby Parker glasses.
Mary Ceniza: Hi everyone, I'm Mary, I'm calling in from Westport, Connecticut. So as for my background, I have a really broken map up there and I have a beige couch and gray walls. I myself have black hair with blonde highlights and I'm in a black shirt. I was previously the development apprentice in 2019-2020. It was a great time, I missed everyone sorely. I also made a manual, so whoever is the next apprentice will have that to reference.
SK: Can each of you tell us a little bit about your experience as an apprentice, and what you took away from your time at City Center?
LP: I can go. I had never really knew that I wanted to work in the theater administration space. I had never really gotten to do that on a large scale, I worked at a lot of theaters at home back in Tennessee but it feels a little different in New York. I was so grateful to be able to be in the room. Um, I got to sit in on so many incredible meetings and watch how this large cultural institution in New York City makes top down decisions. As apprentices we really get to see everything. If you are in office at the time, and even if your department isn't attending a meeting, your supervisor would normally say “hey, there's a meeting where they're talking about XYZ, it would probably be a great learning experience for you to go and sit in on it.” And so I was in the room when they decided the Encores! season, which is absolutely crazy. I was just so grateful to be able to see how it all works. It sort of solidified what I want to do with my life.
ME: I think for me, I had worked in a theater or two beforehand, but they were much smaller, so coming here for the first time it was very different experience since it's a larger organization.
I really got to learn about how these departments work and a fast-paced environment, especially because someone described Encores! before as a really fancy summer stock, which I feel is very true. They go up so quickly and there's just a lot of like turnover between that and the dance programs. I got to see many different things and sit in on all those meetings like Leah was saying, but I think more than anything, it was the networking, that I really got out of it. There were a lot of opportunities for me in education where I was talking to people from Alvin Ailey or New York City Ballet and those experiences were really great because I think if you really put in that extra work you can really come out of it with really nice contacts, and it's just always nice to have that.
And then there's like really cool things that happen too. Our office is the first one when you enter and so there would be people from different casts that were rehearsing that come in and asked where the microwave was and for me it was like a pretty big moment. Oh my god, Lily Collins is here and she's like asking me where this is, so I just think that there's definitely a lot of opportunities to just see things you never have before and really leave with contacts that you may not have had coming into it.
MC: I really think that it's so different when you're watching a show and you really just think about the actors, maybe the stage crew, but you don't understand that there's a whole larger organization behind them.
So, when you become an apprentice you get a glimpse of that, like a peek over the curtain. You really get the first-hand experience that most people would never fully experienced, especially in a development department. Every development department is separated into individual giving, institutional giving and event planning, but it was really unique to see every sub-department all working together, and you’re able to be a part of every project. So even if, let's say development had a certain project that collaborated with marketing, you'd able to be a part of that. And you really were able to give your input during many meetings as well. I think it's really fun just to see your work, go from behind the stage to the stage.
SK: Someone asked what will happen in the interview? So we have two interviews; there's a first round interview with me. I facilitate the program so it's just an opportunity for me to get to know you first. Then the second-round interview is a conversation with the department supervisor and possibly some other folks that might supervise you and your work. The first one is really just to get to know you and see what your goals are and the second one may be more specific to some of the tasks that the department would ask of you.
Another question- is the program flexible towards working with current college students? I will also take this one very quickly. It is! Last season, we had an apprentice who was was a senior at Fordham, so she was finishing her undergraduate degree at the same time as being in the program. That's part of where the flexible hours come in, your ability to work around your class schedule and juggle the two at the same time is totally feasible.
Is there only one apprentice for each department in this coming season Yes, there is only one apprentice in each department, so we will have a total of five apprentices.
This one is for the three of you. What was the most valuable experience you had in this program and how do you think it helped in your life after the program? I think we kind of talked about the valuable experience but if there's anyone who wants to speak to how it has affected your life since? I know that for Mary and Leah, we ended our program early because of the pandemic so their answers will be slightly different than a typical season.
LP: I have a like a short answer to this one. My most valuable experience, like I said before, it was getting to be in the room for all these crazy cool meetings. Post-apprenticeship, I now work in like the marketing department, or I am the marketing department, for the local Nashville, Tennessee Moe's Southwest Grills. I'm able to do that because of the skills I learned at City Center. Turns out that you can absolutely apply theater marketing to restaurant marketing, even though they're two wildly different things. I was able to take absolutely everything I learned and help a pretty struggling restaurant during the pandemic and that was really rewarding, so it really set me up for not only jobs in theater but just jobs in marketing in the world.
ME: I think for me, I came in I really enjoyed doing study guides. I think the most valuable thing was just talking to my mentor, who was Sarah, and having those conversations about goal setting and something that you really want to do while you're here. I said study guides and it just happened to be a year where we were looking to revamp them. And so that ended up being my final presentation. I think that was really rewarding for me because it was something that I kind of knew how to do already and I was excited about doing but to be a part of making it newer for this organization was really cool. Also having someone who's invested in talking to you and listening to you about things that excite you and kind of letting your apprenticeship be determined somewhat by what you want to get out of it and having it be shaped by that.
MC: Okay, so I think the most valuable thing that I took from this apprenticeship was really how to interface with different people. How you speak and communicate with people on your staff versus donors or clients or customers.
I currently work in a completely different industry. I work with architecture firm. But regardless, everything that I learned at the apprenticeship has applied to everything that I'm doing here, especially when it comes to terms with answering phones or having to talk to vendors or clients. It's been interesting experiencing that transition. Really anything that you learn from the apprenticeship and the experience you have will be the most valuable thing on the planet, I swear.
SK: Someone asked if the seminars/workshop/ rehearsals are paid or separate from the 24 hours a week? Everything is included in the 24 hours. The seminars are typically an hour or an hour and a half out of each week.
Do any of you want to speak to the experience of the seminars and how those contributed to your training as an apprentice?
ME: We had a lot of conversations with people from different departments, which I thought was really interesting, and I never had any knowledge about the dance world before I started this apprenticeship. I'm definitely a theater person and we got to talk to our Vice President of Dance Programming, and I guess I never left, but I now have an appreciation for dance out of that. Something that we do got to do at some point was picking a department that you wanted to observe and sit in on, and I picked dance programming because of those seminars. And it's just really valuable to hear what everyone's jobs are and getting to know about other jobs that may be the thing you end up doing when you leave.
SK: Terry asked if there is an age limit for the application. There is no age limit or requirement, except that you must be over the age of 18. So, in that sense, that's the only age requirement, but we have had folks at all stages of their careers in this program.
Many of our apprentices have been early career individuals, just for the training nature of the program, but that is not always the case. We had a wonderful apprentice a few seasons ago, who was in the process of getting her Masters in arts administration at Baruch. She had had a long career as a successful dancer and was transitioning into an arts administrative career, and it was an incredibly valuable experience for her as someone transitioning from the stage to office work. We all loved having her. We welcome everyone at all stages of their career.
Is the program meant for first time workers? It is definitely a training program, but I'll throw it to any of the three of you about where you were in your stage and how it how the program helped you were you were.
LP: This was my first post-college experience, but I had had internships in the industry before. I worked at an ice cream shop over the summers, so I had had some service industry jobs, and some internships in the area but this was my first paid internship/job in the area. I was 23 when I started the program.
ME: I had done another apprenticeship the year before I started this one, so I was also 23 but I was like a year so out of college at that point.
MC: I think I was 22, but I just graduated college. I’d had internships beforehand and part-time jobs in retail, but I felt like nothing really was as intensive and this long as this apprenticeship.
SK: Someone asked was it difficult to find affordable housing and how much did the scholarship help? Morganne, do you mind if I throw this question over to you?
ME: Yeah. So the housing was the thing that stressed me out the most, but only because I didn't know where to look before I started. I mean you really only have to look a month in advance, but I was stressing myself out more by looking way farther in advance. But there's definitely a bunch of Facebook groups and apps and stuff that help you find a place. I ended up getting the stipend to kind of offset the living expenses and that really helped. At my point it was 20 hours a week in the department and then I just happened to come across another opportunity at City Center that was part time, so I was there full-time at $15 an hour. And then the stipend still allowed me to live in Brooklyn and afford a metro pass and pay all my bills and all of that. I mean it's definitely tight on your own, but it's doable. And I think that the scholarship definitely helps. I will say that it is taxed, so that is something to keep in mind as well.
Yeah, all great points, Morganne. Thank you for bringing that up because it is good to know. I will also add to that one of the reasons why the program is 24 hours a week is because we do realize that cost of living in New York can be high and we want folks to have the opportunity to be able to take on additional part-time work. We wouldn't want to monopolize all 40 hours a week and prevent people from being able to take on additional opportunities to make more money, so that is part of the reason why the program is part-time. We don't want people to be restricted just by their hours at City Center.
The next question is specifically for Leah- how much did PR/Communications fit into your workload?
And I will say that in Leah’s season, there were two apprentices within our marketing and communications team. There was a communications apprentice, so that will color Leah's response.
LP: In my year it was me and Emma, the communications apprentice so it was very siloed. I was very much marketing and she was very much communications. Sarah correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that you'll get to do a little more of that now that there's only one apprentice. The marketing and communications department all sit in one big room and both teams work very, very closely together, so I'm willing to bet if that is something you're interested in, I bet there will be projects tossed your way. It's really easy to do you just look over your shoulder and there is the head of communications.
SK: Yes, we are not offering a communication specific apprenticeship this season. Our communications team has grown slightly, so that may be part of it. But this is the training program, and like Leah said, the marketing and communications teams are very much intertwined. So if communications and PR is an interest, and you end up being the marketing apprentice that is definitely something that we can work into your day-to-day possibly, and get some opportunities to shadow and learn more about communications.
Rachel asks: does the apprenticeship offer academic credit at the same time as the stipend or is it a choice between the two? It is a choice between the two. We do have a question on the application that asks if you'd like, academic credit or a stipend and you can choose between the two.
Terry asks: do you prefer applicants with a dance or theater background? I would say, no, not necessarily. I think for something like dance programming, it is immensely important for that person to have a knowledge of dance. Of course, like I said, this is a learning opportunity so there's always room for growth. But I would say for certain positions and it may be more important than others, to have at least a base knowledge just coming in.
Do any of you want to speak to your backgrounds before coming into your roles and how that that influenced your experience?
MC: I did have a bit of dance and theater background but that was back in high school when I was a bit younger. When I was coming to New York City Center, I didn't really have any work experience in theater. The closest thing I had was a music at Carnegie Hall. But that wasn't nicely anything to do with theater or dance, and my own personal knowledge was not the most well rounded. I would say I was really able to learn and kind of listen to everyone suggestions to get a little bit of a basic knowledge of theatre and dance. It would definitely help, but I don't think it's as necessary especially for someone in my position, being in development.
LP: I grew up in theater, not necessarily in dance. I was a performer through high school and then performing fell out of my life but I knew I wanted to continue working theater. I got to learn a whole heck ton about dance and that was really, really fun and really valuable for me because it’s like this whole new world opened up for me. I also think it helps to love it because you have to love the arts to be to sit in these meetings and think they're as cool as they are. Otherwise it's just another work meeting, but it's that added little sprinkle of like “wow, this is so cool I get to be in the center ofit all. I learned so much about dance and I really, really loved that.
ME: I would have to agree with all of that, I definitely was acting before I came into this.But the dance aspect of it was something I never had done before. And now it's actually one of the best things about my job. So, it's just kind of nice to see how that expands, just, if you're coming in with one over the other.
SK: Absolutely, even coming into my role as manager, my dance knowledge has expanded beyond what I could have imagined and I know a lot more than I ever did when I started.
Next question: this is about the interview process. Will there be an option for online interviews or will they all be in person? At this point, I don't anticipate any of our interviews to be in person at all. We're still all working virtually at City Center and even in a traditional year we would conduct interviews over the phone or video, so I believe all of our interviews will be virtual.
This question is for Morganne- what was the best part about working with the New York City School System?
ME: Yeah, I think definitely the student matinees were my favorite part. Now, I still love it but I'm definitely more responsible now and it'll be a little stressful before the students come in but it's still my favorite part. But that first time, it was just so incredible. I also got to accompany Sarah or one of my others supervisors to a school visit or something, but just having like 2,000 kids come to see Alvin Ailey, and just see the way that they're so excited because the dancers are also their teachers and they're getting to see them perform. They go crazy and it's just like they're at a rock concert, even though it's like not that, but they don't know that and they love it.
That that was my favorite part but I think professionally speaking, it is getting to know the teachers in a really cool way and just kind of getting to see them come for their professional developments and seeing them be the students too.
And you also leave with those contacts, which is really cool because especially if you're trying to work in education in New York City after you would complete this apprenticeship, it's a really nice thing to have going into any other organization.
SK: Yeah, that's lovely. I miss student matinees too. They're really the best days of the year for our team. Hopefully we'll get back there!
Ashley asks: do the apprentices get to do interdisciplinary work with other departments, or is it more specialized? That's the first one and then we'll come back for the second part.
LP: I feel like you stay within your department but that doesn't mean you don't work with other departments because it's really hard not to work with other departments. City Center is a company of 30 to 50 people and you're all in the same office. So, you'd have to try to not work with other departments. I know that Mary and I sat in on a marketing-development meeting every two weeks, because we were those two apprentices. There's so much, inter-departmental meshing that you just by default sort of get to work with other departments, but it is mostly in your area of interest.
SK: I would also add that outside of the work that you do in your department, there are opportunities in the apprenticeship program for shadowing. So if there is interest in learning about what's happening in other departments, there are opportunities to sit in on additional staff meetings that are happening with other teams, potentially shadowing either the apprentice or another team member for two-four hours. The designated mentor comes into play. If there is a real interest in learning about another field at City Center, then that is something that can be considered when being assigned your mentor, because you can develop that relationship with that person and learn more about the work that they do in their department.
The second part of Ashley's question is for Mary- Ashley's curious about what it was like to work in development during the pandemic. So recognizing that you were at City Center at the very beginning of the pandemic.
MC: As we were saying my program kind of ended early, while we were in a midst of a pandemic. But for development in general, it was a lot of back and forth between two three departments. So, you would primarily be stationed with individual giving, but you would be helping out with projects and tasked with institutional and event planning. So, day to day would be pretty much a donor interface and donor customer service and actually donor marketing in that way. But then you'd have these huge special and all-encompassing projects that you really need be hands-on about, like the gala, which is a huge deal for maybe a couple of months, especially in the beginning. Also other things like donor events that you would really need to be really focused on, hopefully I answered the question.
SK: And so recognizing that we have about nine minutes left, I'm just going to take this next question quickly. How much time did you all get to spend attending performances? Are ticket discounts a perk of the apprenticeship?
Performances happen typically in the evenings. Ticket discounts do become available to our staff members, but sometimes it's also complimentary tickets to our dress rehearsals. That's typically a time when all of our staff comes together, some of our donors attend, all of the creative team is there, and it's basically just another performance, but it is an invited dress. So that is a perk that's available to our apprentices and typically everyone takes advantage of the tickets and comes together and sits together and can bring a guest. That is part of a great perk of the apprenticeship.
The next question is about how you chose your solo projects. Mary you're nodding, do you want to talk a little bit about how you chose yours?
MC: Yeah, so I think we did get into the preliminary planning stages, but we never really fully implemented things. My project was going to focus on institutional giving, because I never really
had hands on experience in drafting grants and survey studies, so I was going to use that project to write a grant application for one of the dance programs that we were going to implement for dance education programs.
SK: The next question is about professional references- what format do you want them in? Is it more of a letter of recommendation or phone video conference? All we ask for is the contact information, so the phone number and the email address for those references. If you move ahead in the interview process, the supervisor can reach out either via email or phone, just to ask a few questions. There's nothing more that you need to do other than getting the permission of that reference so that you can share their information with us and then we'll take it from there.
Would it be best to tailor the cover letter for one role or apply multiple times? Definitely only apply once. We ask for a primary interest and then we also ask that there's a secondary department that you're interested in, if there happens to be a third department, you can always indicate that in your cover letter. I would say just apply once for any of the departments that you're interested in.
Terry asks, and I think this will be our last question, is the personal statement shorter than the cover letter? What specific info should we be putting in them? Yes, the personal statement is no more than 250 words. The cover letter is no more than 500. The personal statement is very specifically, you'll see on the application, it asks you to answer a specific question geared toward our program mission, and how it resonates with you and how it inspires you to apply to this program. It's more specifically geared toward our mission and your response to it. And then the cover letter, like I mentioned, is kind of just an introduction to who you are, how to introduce your previous experience and why you're interested in specifically working at City Center in this program. Maybe mention some of the professional goals that you have, we just kind of want to get a sense of who you are and give you an opportunity to make that introduction to us.
These were fantastic questions and I'm so glad that we had enough time to get through all of them. Thank you for taking the time to share such thoughtful questions with us. If there's anything that comes up after this conversation ends, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from our team will respond. Feel free to reach out. We hope to see your applications come in! Again reminder, the deadline is June 23 at 11:59pm so you have 20 days to work on all of those materials and gather them together.
I'd love for us to- just if you have your hand emojis or if you want to, you know, just clap from your screen or share a comment in the chat- just a huge thank you to our panel! It's so lovely to see your faces virtually. I haven't seen Mary and Leah in so long, so this is a real treat for me too. Morganne and I see each other every day. This was fantastic and thank you for sharing your experiences. I know it was really valuable for me to hear too.
I'm seeing so many thank yous in the chat. Thank you to all of you for coming. We're really, really excited to see you here and I hope to see your applications come in!