Pam Milne, The Glasshouse

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Meet Pam Milne, the Venue Manager at the Glasshouse. Pam’s role is many-faceted, and it’s clear she loves her job. A true source of pride for Pam is the Glasshouse’s innovative membership program, which this year has grown to accommodate over 1,300 members …

Hi Pam. What brought you to the Greater Port Macquarie area?

I was brought up in Dundee, Scotland. After university, I relocated to the south of England for work and lived “down south” for 20 years.

Like so many people, I came to Port Macquarie on holiday; my uncle and cousin have lived here for many years. That was back in 2001; we finally arrived as permanent residents in 2004, and settled in Port Macquarie.

Share a bit of your career background … 

My parents owned a bed and breakfast in Dundee for 40 years, and I helped out after school and loved chatting to the guests – sometimes more chatting than helping, my mum might say! It seemed a natural transition to study something I really enjoyed and in 1988 I graduated from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow in Hotel Management.

I did get off to a rocky start when the professor recommended that I take elocution lessons, as he doubted that I would get a job in a “big London hotel” with a broad Dundonian accent. Fortunately for me, he was wrong; it has never held me back, and I am proud that I have retained my accent.

After graduating, I joined Marriott International on a hotel traineeship and enjoyed a career for almost 20 years in a variety of management roles. In 2004, prior to emigrating, I was General Manager at the London Marriott Maida Vale, a 250 bedroom hotel close to Lords Cricket Ground. When I arrived in Port, I started a new career with PMHC in Visitor Information Services.

How long have you been a member of the Glasshouse team? 

I joined the Glasshouse team when the venue opened in 2009, when I was working in the Visitor Information Centre and we relocated into the new building. Since then, I have held a number of roles in Front of House prior to my current role.

What’s your current role with the Glasshouse?

As the Venue Manager, I oversee the entire operation. In addition to the day to day running of the venue, my role is to ensure the implementation of the Glasshouse Strategic Plan and delivering outcomes for the community. This includes: cultural programming; achieving our financial targets; and meeting the needs of our stakeholders, whether they be council, community, patrons, venue hirers or visiting artists and performers

What do you most love about your job?

I have been leading teams for most of my professional career, and it’s what I love about this job. The Glasshouse team brings together people from diverse backgrounds with many years of experience. In addition to being very professional and highly skilled in their respective disciplines, many of them are artists in their own right, and they are passionate about what they do. Leading a team of passionate, creative professionals is never boring; I am always learning something new, and they keep me on my toes every day!

Managing a venue the size of the Glasshouse must present some challenges too. What skills do you feel are necessary for a role of this kind?

I am a firm believer that a leader achieves through their team. The principle of: “Always treat your employees and your volunteers exactly as you want them to treat your best customers” has always resonated with me.

Developing robust processes and ensuring excellent communication are vital to ensure the seamless delivery of all Glasshouse services; everyone on the team needs to know what is going on and the part that they play in the process, whether you are selling a ticket at the box office or operating the lighting console during a show, your contribution and how you choose to make it is vital to the success of the organisation.

The Glasshouse membership program has always been innovative. What does the program offer currently?

Several years ago the Glasshouse moved from a traditional theatre subscription based model to a financial membership program. We realised that a year-long commitment to show ticket purchases was no longer what the community desired, and nor did it reflect the diversity of Glasshouse experiences. So we developed a Membership Program that enabled our Members to obtain discounts on theatre tickets, gallery events, transaction fees, Glasshouse Shop and Encore Bar purchases – and often exclusive buying periods. In short, the program enables us to reward our most loyal patrons.

In turn, the community has rewarded the Glasshouse for providing this program with their ongoing support. Year on year the membership program grows, and this year we reached the 1,300+ mark. We now have one of the largest membership programs of any regional cultural centre, and that’s quite the envy of many a venue manager!

What can you tell us about some of the Glasshouse offerings/shows/workshops leading into the 2018 season (if it’s not a secret?)

The 2018 performing arts season is actually a closely guarded secret! Glasshouse members get a sneak peek at the 2018 Season Launch, which is on Thursday 1st February. This is one of our most popular annual events – with a long waiting list for tickets.

In addition to this, there is a lot going on; we have some world class exhibitions, performances and workshops coming up in 2018. Kicking off in December, The Neon Summer Festival is set to activate the venue throughout January, exploring how contemporary art can inspire our imagination and create a dazzling world through vivid colour, magnificent form and breathtaking fantasy. Apart from the spectacular gallery exhibitions of national and local artists, we have a very broad program of workshops, “Stringdom”, master classes, craft and cocktails – and even a HUGE family fun day! Drop into the Glasshouse for a program, or visit www.glasshouse.org.au

When you’re not busy at work, what do you enjoy doing?

I volunteer with Lifeline and after a full on day at the Glasshouse, I like quiet time at home with family and friends, enjoying my husband’s cooking, walking my dog and improving my crochet skills when I get time!

Where can readers find out more about Glasshouse memberships?

2018 Glasshouse Memberships go on sale Friday 1 December 2017; you can buy online at www.glasshouse.org.au, call us on 6581 8888 or call into the Glasshouse box office and our team will be happy to help.

Thanks Pam.

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