Friday, April 20, 2012

We say goodbye to our season intern, Lilli Markle!

Today we are sad to bid farewell to our season intern Lilli Markle. Lilli has been an invaluable asset to the Sarasota Opera team over the past four months, both administrative and artistic, and she will be greatly missed. Below, Lilli gives us a taste of what life is like for a Sarasota Opera intern.

Since the start of my internship here at Sarasota Opera, I have continued to learn invaluable lessons in building relationships, fundraising, event execution, marketing, organization and data analysis.  Over the course of four short but exhilarating months, I was lucky enough to share artistically beautiful experiences with patrons as well as administratively demanding moments with colleagues and friends.

Lilli Markle, Sarasota Opera intern

Before I even arrived in Sarasota from the small city outside Toronto, Ontario where I am studying Cultural Management at the University of Waterloo, I was given my first assignment.  I made a stop at Severance Hall where the renowned Cleveland Orchestra performs.  Meeting up with my new development colleague, and soon-to-be great friend and mentor Andrea Gartner, we were trained by a professional research analyst who shared with us her wisdom and strategies in prospect research so I would be equipped with the skills to tackle projects already waiting for me in Sarasota.

I arrived in Sarasota at midnight the Sunday before I would start my new job as a cultural administrator. I did not even feel the exhaustion from traveling as there was so much to take in from the very start.  From my first goal of learning all the names of the administrative staff to my final work report analyzing the current volunteer program at the Opera; I grew and learned as I archived season marketing promotions and activities, prepared marketing meeting agendas, executed qualification research on donor prospects, assisted with a medley of high-end social events, conducted patron market research during the busiest weekends of the Winter Festival season and countless other tasks.  

Some of my personal highlights included the opportunity to be a peasant supernumerary on stage in Vanessa and my debut as Carmen in a promotional commercial which aired all season long on local television.  

Lilli Markle as Carmen while filming the Sarasota Opera Season Commercial
I am grateful to the Sarasota Opera staff, especially Sarasota Opera’s Executive Director, Susan Danis, who was determined to make my experience here at Sarasota Opera an educational one which has ultimately opened me to the wonderful world of opera and the American arts industry overall. 

-Lilli Markle, Sarasota Opera intern