Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #124: Dan O’Connor

Dan O’Connor


Listen to the interview (approx. 48 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2009 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Musical Theater.


Position:  Showroom manager at the New York (sales) office of Milliken & Co, a large, multi-national manufacturer of fabrics.  “Every day you touch about fifty products that his company makes.”  Dan manages the showroom for carpets, supporting salespeople working trade shows, and managing hosting little events to keep the clients–mainly architects and designers, entertained while helping them figure out what products meet their vision.  “I wear a lot of hats, but my day involves a lot of wine and cheese.”


Overview:  After graduating, Dan moved to New York City and pursued roles in musical theater.  For five years, Dan pursued musical theater roles, but his relative weakness with dancing limited led to many callbacks and previous few roles.  During this time, he worked many temporary jobs to make ends meet, often through a temp agency including at one point in 2013 managing a showroom which he found enjoyable.

By 2014, Dan felt that the musical theater career wasn’t happening and he wanted a career, so he listed out all of the things he liked about what he’d done and decided that he’d do well as an event planner.  He started building his own business while continuing to temp, but found it overwhelming.  A person he knew though an industry group introduced him to a different fabric company that needed a showroom manager, and Dan took that position in the fall of 2014.  Close to two years later, a recruiter reached out to Dan about his current position–a bit of an upgrade, so Dan interviewed and took it.


You can see Dan’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “It’s in the title ‘showroom manager’–there’s a show that happens. Sometimes I’m the director, sometimes I’m the stage manager setting props. When the client walks in, it’s showtime.  It’s not the easiest thing to meet someone for the first time and connect with them–that’s a skill.”

“One thing I really like about this job is the creative problem solving. An architect comes in and says ‘I want it to look cool,” but what does that mean?  Is that a color, the temperature, an attitude?  Helping them figure all that out and finding what matches their vision is a lot of fun.”

“It helps to do your research, put in the effort and become an expert in your field.  In my field, a lot of people don’t think about carpeting the way we think About it. It’s very complex. There’s a lot of science that goes into it–it’s more than just colors and patterns.” ”

“I’ve had ups and downs, but BoCo gave me a real sense of who I was and what I bring to the table, and I could roll with the punches.”

“Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Do what makes you happy, and you’ll find your way.’


See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.