Seattle Works

A blog that documents all things Seattle Works…and much much more!

Seattle Works Goes South March 13, 2013

Filed under: Grab bag,Our Team,Volunteer — seattleworks @ 4:29 pm

Last week I went to Louisville, KY (home of the Louisville Slugger & The Kentucky Derby) for vacation.

Now, you’re probably wondering: “Why is Ben telling us about a vacation to Kentucky of all places?”

Well, I take really weird vacations. You might like going to the beach, or camping. Well I like to go work 12+ hour days at the Southeatern Theatre Conference (SETC). My involvement with SETC (5+yrs) has gone from volunteer to staff member to independent contractor (and everything in between). I now serve as the Volunteer Coordinator, managing and leading the entire volunteer program of the multi-faceted theatre convention.


SETC brings in over 70 volunteers including a volunteer operations staff called Dream Team. All together, the volunteers put in more than 700 hours of service in four days. The volunteers range from college students to working professionals – looking to cut their costs of attending the convention and to gain a new experience. It is no small production. SETC is the largest theatre convention in the country, and they don’t let anyone forget that! The convention consists of over 300 workshops, four keynote speeches, five theatre festivals, undergraduate & graduate school auditions/interviews, a job fair for technical & administrative theatre workers, and professional auditions for over 800 actors. Phew! And yet, I am missing things, I am sure of it.

From the screen outside the meeting room

From the screen outside the meeting room

Oh! Did I mention SETC serves over 4,000 members?

With all of that happening, along with the multiple hats (one referenced in the picture below) I wear in the operations of the convention, I found the time to represent Seattle Works;  I presented a workshop: Effectively Engaging Volunteers. The 50-min session consisted of:

– An overview of Seattle Works
– Generational differences
– Volunteerism statistics & facts
– Tips & tactics on how to engage Millennial volunteers
– Ideas on how to show appreciation to Millennial volunteers

In addition to all of that, we discussed what was working and not working at the organizations represented in the room (all theatre companies…obviously). And finally, I closed up with some great resources for volunteerism and governance:

The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer,  Jonathan R. McKee & Thomas W. McKee

The Art of Governance, Nancy Roche & Jaan Whitehead

Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of Nonprofit Boards, Richard P. Chait, et al

Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask, Michael Kaiser

Overall, it was a great session – and most importantly, Seattle Works got represented in Kentucky, providing working professionals with thought-changing ideas in the field of volunteer management.

So, hey – not saying you need to be quite as productive on your vacation, but perhaps representing Seattle Works in a different way could play a role?

Want to know more about SETC or the presentation I did? Email


6 Responses to “Seattle Works Goes South”

  1. judirossabi Says:

    We loved working with you this year Ben! Great job and excellent workshop. I will definitely use the resources you shared.

  2. Awesome job, as always, Ben! And great to see you in Louisville…I just hate I wasn’t able to make it to your workshop.

  3. Ben — growing SETC from a 3-person office to our current 8.5 — managing the volunteers was usually a task that was barely managed. Your involvement with SETC has taken us to a new level, and our volunteers now come in better prepared and organized to make this behemoth move even more efficiently. And it shows, this was a great year and the participants are all raving about how smooth it went – despite travel and weather related challenges. Much of the thanks goes to you and to the volunteers who worked the 64th Annual Convention. So — thank you!!

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