tl;dr I’ve found my dream job: I’ve joined Arena Stage as their Chief Marketing Officer, and start October 4!
The back story
If you’ve been around this blog and/or me for a while, you know that the last 3.5 years have been wild.
I thought I’d go on sabbatical for a few months. Instead, I ended up essentially going off the grid for a couple of years, while I figured out how to come to grips with a version of life for which I had absolutely zero preparation.
Some of the “coming to grips” you know about, kinda sorta:
- I hit “pause” on my consulting business, and am very grateful that that was even an option for me
- I did a lot of non-work things that helped me heal and feel more alive, like building my meditation practice and taking swim lessons
- I went back to school for business analytics, and am very proud that I graduated on March 31 of this year!
- After flirting with the idea for more than 10 years, I finally committed to writing a book (kinda surreal that it is already available for pre-order, at Barnes & Noble, no less!)
Soul – and job – searching
Anytime someone’s in rebuilding mode, they usually undergo some level of soul searching. This was no different for me, and a huge part of my journey was to figure out my next step, career-wise.
I knew it would be with a purpose-driven organization – that part was clear almost 4 years ago – but where, and with whom, and whether it would even be in a marketing capacity … I had no clue.
One of the many gifts of my HBAP experience was meeting Maryse Williams, who founded JobMorph while still at HBAP, to help professionals at every level – including “C” – find their dream job.
It was after I started working with Maryse that I had the courage to specifically articulate exactly what I was looking for: a C-level role with a purpose-driven organization committed to social justice and equity, where I could ethically use data to help tell its story and advance its mission.
And I am beyond thrilled that that is exactly where I’ve landed.
Falling in love with Arena in 2011
You know what is so cool about my joining Arena? I went to see Oklahoma! there years ago, and just fell in love with it.
The intimacy of the theater, the diversity of the cast, the effervescence of Molly Smith… everything about it put a smile on my face.
I remember thinking two things:
- I felt at home; and
- If I were ever to go back to the theater, this is where I’d want to go.
I cannot even begin to tell you how lucky I feel that, 10 years later, I have indeed come home.
I have literally found my dream job, coming full circle to my theater roots. I cannot wait to start work on Oct. 4!
You have no idea how much you’ve helped me over the years. You’ve supported me personally and professionally; forgiven me my many absences; and kept me going when I didn’t think I could.
I very much hope that however I can help you, you will let me know.
And please come see us at Arena… we are roaring back!
Congratulations! I never knew you were, like me, a former performer!
Your email is wonderful. You are such a strong person and you have gone through so much in the past few/several years. I’m so glad you have found this dream job now.
Break a leg with everything!
Thank you so much, Lynn!
Oh, Shonali! I am beyond thrilled. Your whole story resonates deeply with me. I’m in that soul-building place of taking time for myself and building new habits, and I feel so much better. And you’ve come out of this time with a book, a Harvard analytics degree and a fabulous CMO job. Well done, my friend!! No one deserves it more! With lots of love, Angie Jeffrey
Thank you so much, Angie!
Hi Shonali. Congratulations! I’ve followed you for many years and have admired all that you achieved in your consulting business. Having started my PR career at the NY Philharmonic, I can understand how thrilling and exciting it is for you to be joining Arena Stage, one of the most prestigious regional theaters in the country.
Thank you so much, Geri! I did not remember your Philharmonic experience – how very cool! Yes, I am super-thrilled; it’s like my past life as a (primarily) theater actress, and my new life, have made the perfect match :). Thank you so much!