Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #106: Will Larche

Will Larche

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 19 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2008 from the Boston Conservatory, with a major in Musical Theater.


Position:  Software Engineer at Google (New York office).  Part of the Material Design team, Will’s “domain” is visual, text-based interfaces on apps.  Google is, of course, a large, well-known company with over 80,000 employees, the majority of those software engineers.


Overview:  Shortly after Will graduated, the Great Recession hit, and a lot of opportunities that had been there the year before were now gone.   Will worked a bit in theater, but had been struggling with depression and developed anxiety about auditions, so that in 2009 he decided on a different career path, playing piano and doing odd jobs to make ends meet.  In 2010 he was getting proper treatment for depression, and a friend asked Will to be a computer help technician as a short term job.  Will found parts of the job interesting enough to merit exploring a career as a network administrator, and planned to do a program at NYU’s School of Professional Studies.  It being the summer, no network administrator courses were offered, so he took a programming class (Intro. to C) and found he liked that even more!  The programming education there was Windows-based, while Will sensed that IPhone apps were the next big thing, so he got an internship through friend, bought a book, and taught himself all about that programming language (C-shell) and the IOS operating system.

Two years of moving from job to job in search of learning more and lots of self-study since that first class, Will had established himself as a software engineer and was earning well into the 6-figures freelancing.  He went to work for a startup, but the startup ran out of money in late 2015.  Meanwhile, Will had just interviewed with Google, which had reached out to him, as a way to keep in practice, but the unexpected job offer from them was fortuitously timed.  Will accepted the offer and started there, choosing to work on the Material Design team because he liked the people and found the subject matter really interesting.


You can see Will’s LinkedIn profile here.  Will encouraged people who want to get into programming to reach out to him.


Choice Quotes:  “We actors are capable, once we’ve learned how to manipulate our own human behavior, and to be smart and understand things on behalf of a character, to do that for ourselves.  I see software engineering as a successful role I have taken on for the past seven years.”

A lot of teams at Google are smaller than you think they are.  Google does that on purpose, to make everyone feel like they’re making a big impact. Rather than a giant machine you’re just a cog in, they make a tiny billion machines all working toward a common goal.”

“In the arts, you can work harder than everyone and get nowhere.  And vice-versa–I know someone who got into a Broadway show because, with zero training, he auditioned on a dare.  But in software the more hours I worked, the more pay I got, the more I could charge, the more interesting projects I can take on, the more choices I had on what to do.”

“Google is strict about 40-hour weeks. If you find yourself working more, your manager will meet with you. They consider us the best in the world and don’t want to lose anyone by having us to burn out from over-work. This is the first job I’ve really been happy at, not just knowing it’s good for me. A lot of that is not working 80-hour weeks like when I was working at start-ups.”

“There’s always a group of jobs that aren’t being filled fast enough. Search for that information online; ask recruiters what kinds of people they’re having trouble finding for good jobs. See if there’s a practical way into the field that doesn’t involve years of schooling.”

“Do not listen to people who tell you that you can’t be a software engineer unless you have a computer science degree.  Musical theater at BoCo is a harder program than any computer science degree.”


See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #105: Raleigh Bisbee

Raleigh Bisbee

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 6 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2012 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Musical Theater.


Position:  Account Manager at Switch, a company specializing in providing centers for other corporations to house their computers and data storage.  A salaried position,  Releigh’s job is  to speak with current clients regarding new offerings Switch has and making sure they’re taking advantage of all appropriate offerings by her company.  She also gives tours of the facilities.


Overview:  Raleigh was more ambivalent about wanting a career in musical theater than many of her peers, but she moved to New York after graduating after an agency signed her.  But she didn’t hustle as much as many of her peers and grew frustrated about not landing roles, while supporting herself by waitressing and bartending.  She tried a 9-to-5 job as a technical recruiter in 2014, but disliked it as she felt unsupported and the hours were too long and went back to auditioning and bartending.  Meeting her now-fiance made her realize that she wanted  steady income and a family and a career in musical theater was not for her.

One day in 2015 while tending bar, an older couple chatted with her and asked what she wanted to do; Raleigh replied that she wanted to be in sales.  The husband was an executive at Ricoh, and got her a job selling photocopiers and business services to large law firms, where after a tough first few months Raleigh excelled.  Then in 2017 her fiance got a good job offer in Las Vegas so they moved.  Raleigh looked for other opportunities in sales or account management at a company with a good culture, and eventually a recruiter connected her with Switch, where they clicked well and a month later she was hired into her current position once it became open.


You can see Raleigh’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “What I love most about my job is the company I work for–their mission, and the team of people I work with.  It’s important for me to be on a team that is passionate about what they do, helpful, and invested in my own success.”

“I got into tech sales because I like interacting with people and am very competitive, so my personality was a good fit for sales. A beautiful thing about technology is that if you can acquire the skills and knowledge and put yourself in the field you can excel in it and climb the ranks. I also figured I’d go into tech sales because if I wasn’t going to do something I was in love with at least I could make a ton of money.”

During our last year at BoCo, we did a lot of workshops were on how to present ourselves in an audition. That’s incredibly relevant to sales, where you have about 15 seconds to make an impression!  Those audition skills transferfed over in a way I couldn’t have imagined before.

“You have to pursue your dreams, but your dreams can change. I get that same enjoyment doing some community theater or cabaret on the side while doing having else as my main job as I would from being in musical theater for money.”

“Nobody else in sales/account management had experience before they started working; 9 times in 10 the most successful people have degrees in something else. You may not start in exactly the place you want to start. I can be stressful and unpleasant at times, but if they support you then with time, persistence, understanding and self-reflection you’ll be successful.”


See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #104: Aly Laughlin

Aly Laughlin

Listen to the interview (approx. 53 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2012 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Musical Theater.


Position:  Food blogger at her own blog, The Vegan Spy., a popular vegan food blog.  A one-person operation, Aly makes her living through three sources which synergize:  she develops new recipes for brands, she blogs about food (and gets associated ad revenue), and she guest-writes articles in other blogs and magazines.   She also helps local restaurants develop vegan menu items.  As of late 2017 The Vegan Spy has roughly 10,000 monthly subscribers and another 2,000 social media followers.


Overview:  Partway through her program at BoCo, Aly realized that she wanted a career with more stability than musical theater had to offer, and she wanted to help animals.  After a summer of teaching musical theater, Aly moved spent the better part of a year organizing, on her own initiative, a 1,000-person drag-themed fundraiser in Provincetown to help whales.  As that happened in the summer of 2013, a friend who worked at Manhattan Renovations (a large general contractor), reached out to her to be their event planner and social media publicist.  Aly worked there full-time,  but after a year felt she needed an outlet for her creativity and beliefs.

Aly had always had a passion for food, so she started The Vegan Spy in 2014 as a hobby.  In late 2015 she got her first paid work.  By 2016 she had enough professional connections and work coming in that she left her job in order to food blog full-time, while at the same time moving from New York to Cincinnati to be near family and benefit from the lower cost of living.


You can see Aly’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “One of my favorite things about this is being my own boss and making my own hours. That’s a really nice feeling. Also, I can do my work from absolutely anywhere!  The trick with any is you have to be really self-motivated and create your own deadlines, as nobody else is going to kick your butt.”

“If you want to be a professional blogger, follow lots of other blogs. It’s great to have your own style, but it’s so important to see what others are doing. Not just to keep up with trends, but to stay creative and be inspired. Just like at BoCo when we’d go to the museum to be inspired. Keep getting inspired so that you’re still growing.”

“Theater isn’t like doing math where you have ten problems to solve. You have to be self-motivated to practice until you’re ready and really figure things out yourself. My experience at BoCo taught me to set my own schedule and stay organized with minimal imposed structure.”


One of Aly’s creations–pumpkin shakes!  “When I started, my following was really small–so really all I could offer was high-quality photos that they could share and good recipes. It took a lot of work to get where I am now. For years I made little to no money, but I kept pushing and reaching out until I had forged those relationships. These days, they reach out to me.”




Another of Aly’s creations–pineapple fried rice with avocado!  “I’m a total perfectionist. I’ll usually make a recipe 5 times before I consider it perfect. The tricky thing is that I have to finish by 4:00 pm, because to get good food photos you need natural daylight.”






Aly with a feathered friend.  “I’ve always loved animals, and loved coming up with recipes and taking photos.  I don’t really have the skills to work at an animal non-profit (doing anything but the lowest-level job), but this work I do allows me to help animals by using my creativity. ”






See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #103: Samantha Attaguile

Samantha Attaguile

Listen to the interview (approx. 37 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2012 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Voice Performance.


Position:  Executive Assistant at Chicago Software Solutions,  a small software company that does mostly contracted development work.   It’s her, the founder, two other technical people, and sometimes a few temporary contractors.  Samantha is the one non-technical person tehre, and handles the billing, books, marketing, all clerical and office-related tasks, including coordinating travel human resources functions.

Overview:  For much of high school, Samantha made money working in offices, having been introduced to that sort of work by her mother, a paralegal.  During her four years at BoCo, she was a student-employee in BoCo’s HR office, sometimes helping in the President’s Office and the Admissions Office.  Graduating in 2012, Samantha went straight into a 2 year Masters program in voice performance at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Her experience at BoCo led to her employment in their President’s Office during her time there.

Completing her Masters Degree in the spring of 2014, she spent the summer performing and working a side job at a Segway touring company.  But by August the performance program had wrapped and the tours were winding down.  She needed an income, so looked for an office/temp job.  In October she got a 3-month  temp job, and applied to jobs online.  She found her current job through craigslist, applied, and was hired in early 2016 right as the temp job ended.  Samantha continues to do many musical projects on the side.

You can see Samantha’s LinkedIn profile here.

Choice Quotes:  “I enjoy the administrative aspects of work. Especially when I started and as the first admin person instituted a whole lot of procedures. I like making my boss’s life easier and having a say over things–setting my own pace in an independent work environment. ”

“A lot of musicians are good at admin-type jobs. We need to know how to present ourselves and our materials well, and know how to organize out own lives.  Because I auditioned for strangers I’ve been more comfortable in job interviews. Being a performer made me more comfortable speaking on the phone.”

“Working in music is still the goal, but I need to pay the bills and I need to eat.  The work can be enjoyable and I appreciate what it brings. I couldn’t imagine not having a stable, salaried position.  You can make good money doing office work, and if ultimately music doesn’t work out I’ll probably be doing this.”

“While you search for that music career, be honest about your talent and prospects–a career in music is very uncertain and can you compete successfully? If not, how are you going to survive? Focus on your strengths, make connections.  Little service gigs are fine, but office work is pretty easy, comfortable work that pays pretty well, and a lot of folks can start in that. It’s stable, not taxing on my voice or body, and my work-life balance is respected, so that works for me.  Find what works for you.”



See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.