Successful Berklee Alumni #123: Scott Beardsworth

Scott Beardsworth

 

Listen to the interview (approx 1 hr, 32 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2012 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  bass guitar.

 

Position:  Project Manager at Keller Williams Realty‘s Corporate HQ, where under 300 people support over 170,000 agents worldwide.  Scott is on the 25-person (Business) Operations Team, which administers software, helps with e-payments, and process implementation.  Scott wears many different hats, from supervising renovations of office space to being the liaison between different business teams when a new software or process is being rolled out to whatever is needed next.  Most of his time is spent in meetings or emailing.

 

Overview:  Scott’s Music Business internship led to a job on the road with Aerosmith, doing VIP tours and meet-and-greets.  However, after 6 months he sensed that he didn’t want the roadie life long-term, and shortly after that the company he worked for folded.  Scott moved back to Boston and, unable to find a good opportunity (“With only a roadie job on my resume, people probably assumed I was a party animal.”), spent most of the year driving a delivery truck and doing a bit of small website jobs to make rent.  Feeling ready to leave Boston, Scott was able to live cheaply, but temporarily, in the home that had belonged to a deceased relative.  Using a Berklee job board, he found a job as a music administrator, helping the guy (also a Berklee alum) who composed music for the NFL.  It was a good job, but Scott was hired as a contractor and after 10 months the contract ended, and the house he was in was put on the market.  Scott was ready for another change.  He recalled seeing and loving the scene in Austin, Texas while touring, and decided to move down there.

Arriving in Austin, Scott applied widely to jobs, which meant non-music business jobs given the lack of that industry in that city.  His then-girlfriend’s friend helped him get a job at a quickly-growing tech startup selling software.  Scott worked really hard, but wasn’t giving any coaching or training.  6 months later, he hadn’t made any sales and was let go.  Scott realized that all these short-term jobs might become a liability and he search for his next job more thoughtfully, wanting someplace he could work long term and grow with.  He applied online for to Keller Williams and was hired as an Operations Manager (a half-step below Project Manager) in May 2015.  Scott found himself with not enough work to fill his day, so he regularly asked for more work.  He was given projects to do and did them well, so his job gradually evolved into his current one.

 

You can see Scott’s LinkedIn profile here.

 

Choice Quotes:  “I hadn’t really been into Real Estate, but Keller Williams seemed like a great opportunity. They seemed authentic in how they pitched themselves to potential employees, and you see them everywhere. I figure they’re doing well and I was looking for a company I could see my career grow within.

“When my manager throws a project at me with no details and tells me to figure out how tio get it done, I see that as a challenge and enjoy that a lot. I like to be challenged, pushed, and out of my comfort zone. ”

“Yesterday I was in meetings straight from 9- 4:30! Some meetings I run, others I’m there. Some I’m just a fly on the wall.”

“The thing Berklee armed me with the most for any job is emotional intelligence and social awareness. Innate communication via music gives us a method that non-musicians have a really hard time emulating. Our communication skills–there are so many ways to communicate while playing music. Picking up on social cues is hugely important–we know how to listen for things and be analytical about listening.

 

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Successful Berklee Alumni #122: Darsell Obregon

Darsell Obregon

 

Listen to the interview (approx. 50 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2010 with majors in Performance and Songwriting.  Principal instrument:  voice.

 

Position:  Personal assistant to a celebrity model.  Working directly for this woman, Darsell’s time is split roughly evenly between helping with business things and with personal things.  She does a wide variety of tasks including emails, shopping, organization, being the liaison between anyone and her employer, and accompanying her employer on photo shoots and traveling (domestic and int’l).

Overview:  Darsell came to Berklee a year and a half after getting her associates degree, and has been working front desk at a hotel in Miami, where she’s from.  After graduation, she stayed in the Boston area for a year, working at a cell phone store, but tired of the weather and moved to L.A.  she got some gigs, but needed more money so got another front desk job at the same hotel chain.  But she didn’t like the culture in L.A., nor was she prospering financially.  A friend helped her get a job at an online ticketing start-up, but after her training in New York Darsell decided she wanted to be there instead of L.A.  The company wouldn’t transfer her, so she left that job, moved to NYC, and reached out to a former hotel client who had a staffing agency and needed an office manager.

That position lasted about six months, then Darsell got laid off.  She applied widely for jobs; at one point a friend from her now-former staffing agency suggested she apply to another staffing agency, Quintessentially People, which placed her with her current employer.  It started off part-time, but evolved into a full-time salaried position, and within 6 months Darsell was hired “permanently.”

 

Choice Quotes:  “It’s hard work!  I say I’m a celebrity assistant and people are like ‘OMG it’s SO cool!’  Yeah it’s cool, but it’s no freaking joke. It’s 24/7, and you have to be on top of everything. Your job is to resolve issues BEFORE they get to whoever you’re assisting. while they focus on what they’re trying to do (building an empire most times).”

“I enjoy working with my employer. We’re a good match personality-wise. I respect what she does and what she stands for. It’s also still in the entertainment world, which I love. She’s in that world and I love being with her from when she had a small following to now when she’s grown into a superstar.”

“A lot of the time I create my own schedule. She’ll give me things to do and I’ll get them done at my pace. But my hours vary enormously. There are 80-hour workweeks, and there are 30-hour workweeks.”

“Don’t be closed off to other opportunities in the same world.  I was so obsessed with being the next Mariah Carey. That’s not realistic for me now.  Priorities change–I’m older and want a family.”

“If you want to be a personal assistant, do it for someone you like, in an industry you’re interested in.”

“I’m grateful to Berklee for changing my life. Even though I’m not a full time musician I hold Berklee near and dear to my heart.”

 

 

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #121: Alexander Gavurin

Alexander Gavurin

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 9 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2008 with a major in Music Business.  Principal instrument:  guitar.

 

Position:  Manager of Strategic Planning / FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) at WATSCO, a large holding company that own many distributors of HVAC equipment.  “We’re a giant middleman.”  They buy existing HVAC distribution companies and support them with better IT and business information infrastructure as well as being able to negotiate better prices due to their size.   Alexander uses financial analysis on how their subsidiary companies can be more profitable over the next few years, and also which companies and exclusive deals should be acquired..  Strategic planning may be about customer segmentation, evaluation of potential and ongoing projects for ROI (Return On Investment)  95% input (info gathering, data validation, synthesis, etc.) and 5% output (presentations, reports).

 

Overview:  While at Berklee, Alexander waited tables at the restaurant Sonsie in the Back Bay, but he was really interested in the management aspect, and got to know the manager, so by the time he graduated he was helping manage the place.  However, with his now-wife (then girlfriend) being a teacher with early morning hours, he disliked restaurant hours, so they moved home to New York, and a connnection hooked him up with a job at a restaurant equipment company managing the smallwares department (pots, tables, knives, etc.)  The money was OK, but the job felt dead-end and not what he wanted, so by 2010 Alexander was doing a lot of soul-searching on what he wanted to do.  He started applying to many jobs, but between the bad economy and his unusual background he was having no luck.  By 2012, Alexander realized he needed to “re-brand” himself, and that meant going to business school.  He left his job in September, 2012 and studied for the GMAT and researched business schools, making a bit of money as an independent restaurant operations consultant during this time.

Doing well on the GMAT, Alexander was offered a very generous scholarship by the University of Miami’s MBA program, graduating in the spring of 2015.  He learned fluent Portuguese His second year there he had a full-time paid internship at Novartis, where he hoped to stay after graduation, but they wanted him to work in Brazil, which didn’t interest him, so he applied to local companies and got a job as a financial analyst (FP&A) at Spirit Airlines.  After about a year and a half a recruiter reached out to him about his current job, which was a step up so he applied and took it.

 

You can see Alexander’s LinkedIn profile here.  Alexander encourages folks interested in financial analysis to reach out to him.

 

Choice Quotes:  “Analyzing financial data is like mining for gold. You spend all this time sifting through dirt, moving it around, processing it, shaping it, working on it. And at the end it’s this beautiful, polished piece of jewelry.”

HVAC distribution isn’t known as super tech-savvy.  Companies used to just have their own spreadsheets.  But if they’re part of WATSCO it’s in a centralized warehourse. We can see things, trends across the enterprise, which people simply didn’t have the data or bandwidth to see before.”

“In my position, there’s tons of exposure to top executives. Often the only people in the room are me, my boss, and the CEO of the subsidiary company. Also, my company has a very flat structure, so I don’t need to wait for a director position to open up to be promoted. I can be called director and paid as a director–we get paid based on what we deliver.”

“There’s something about massaging secrets out of the numbers that is very satisfying. It’s very creative. Sort of like when yhou’re writing a song and varying the melody and it starts to make sense and you add stuff and soon you have a finished project where you really have something–it feels like that. And better yet here you have a very finished, accomplished feelling at the end while with music one often feels it’s not quite there.”

“The main reason I wanted to make money is that my wife is the center of my life for ever on and I wanted to provide for her and give her a good life That’s the love story behind it all.”

 

See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #120: Toby Cattolico

Toby Cattolico

Listen to the interview (approx. 58 min.) or download it.

 

Graduated in 2009 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Percussion Performance.

 

Position:  Stewardship  and Engagement Officer (a.k.a. Alumni Relations & Fundraising) at University Prep Academy, an independent private school (grades 6-12) in Seattle–where Toby himself went before attending BoCo.  One of two people who works in fundraising, Toby manages everything alumni-related–the alumni association, the alumni board, building relationships with alumni donors, follows-up with events and gifts.  He also does a lot with their internal donor database to track contacts and keep everything clean and orderly.

 

Overview:  After graduation, Toby wanted to move back to Seattle.  He did some gigs, and as a way to make more money started ushering at Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony which also hosts other events.  By 2011 he had worked his way up to head usher, then floor manager.   He got to know people working upstairs for the symphony, and was encouraged to interview for the position of Group Sales Manager for the Seattle Symphony.   Toby was “hungry to do more,” so he applied. While he didn’t get the job, 9 months later the person who did left and he got it in late 2011.  He was given a portfolio of people under-40 to work with, and in 2 years doubled the size of the young patron program.  “Being able to speak music was an ENORMOUS advantage in my job . I was the only one of the fundraisers with previous music experience–others would mispronounce composer names, while I could share my own experiences and knowledge.”

By mid-2013, Toby took the position of Gift Officer at the symphony, where he again was very successful.  However, by 2015 it was clear that there was no room to move up .  An acquaintance mentioned a small NGO that focused on sustainable development in Latin America was looking for a gift officer.  Eager for a new challenge, Toby applied and, 4 interviews later, started work in mid-2015.  However, over that next year the organization got to be more faith-based than Toby had counted on, and he felt it wasn’t a good fit.  Mid-2016 n old high school friend who reached at U-Prep reached out to him about the newly-created position and, after some soul-searching, Toby applied to his current position and got the job.

 

You can see Toby’s LinkedIn profile here.

 

Choice Quotes:   “I enjoy the one-on-one aspect of fundraising. The relationships that are created that you can develop for the organization. Same deal at the Seattle Symphony or at a NGO I was with. You get to meet a lot of people from all walks of life.  In fundraising, your goal is to cultivate that relationship for a lifetime.””

“I create pipelines for the alumni board–people aren’t there forever, so I have to build relationships. I create metrics, who has been asked, etc. It’s kind of eclectic, but definitely project-oriented and relates to the academic calendar.”

“I’m proud to be a BoCo graduate. Getting an arts degree is a lot harder than many people might think–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We have close relationships with mentors, like people in a Ph.D. program. Enjoy it.  You’ll get a lot of skills and those skills you get from your education can be transferred.”

“Don’t be afraid to try something new and step out of your comfort zone.  You have no idea what’s out there.You may end up liking something you didn’t even know existed!”

“If you want to get into non-profit fundraising, be willing to volunteer your time–whatever you’re looking to get into. It shows them that you’re passionate about whatever the organization may be about. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door, plus you get to know the employees.”

 

See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.