When you were young, who did you imagine you’d be when you grew up?
In eighth grade, we submitted advertisements for our future careers to the yearbook. Mine states, “Aubrie Fennecken – Former Actress Now a Theatrical Agent in NYC. She will make you a star!”
I had long forgotten about that mock advertisement. Home for Christmas and shopping out childhood mementos to show off to Ryan, I stumbled upon that youthful vision of my future a few years ago. “That’s interesting,” I thought.
Studying musical theater in college, I realized that I didn’t want to perform as much as I wanted to make it possible for other, wildly talented and visionary people to create and perform excellent theater. I made it my mission to figure out how to empower these artists to create phenomenal work. I set my sites on a few masters programs in arts management and made my way to New York City.
I had very little cash, almost no experience, and even fewer connections. I did have an incredibly supportive family, a few years of restaurant experience, and the conviction that I could figure it out. And I did.
Thanks to the encouragement of a family who would love me no matter what; an incredible community of individuals and organizations who shared their wisdom, creativity, and networks along the way; and a whole lot of hustle, I figured it out. I managed to pay my rent, graduate summa cum laude with an MFA in Performing Arts Management, and eventually get a job fundraising for a Broadway theater. I had learned and cultivated a set of skills that allowed me to bring tools and resources to bear in support of art and artists. It felt pretty damn epic.
I later leveraged that experience into the incredibly rewarding and challenging position of Director of Development at The Financial Clinic. For the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of creating and implementing the fundraising strategy for this high-growth, high-impact organization. As it turns out, empowering social visionaries to make positive change is every bit as satisfying as making wonderful art possible.
All of which brings me to today. I am proud, and beyond excited, to share that after a decade of working in arts and nonprofit management – learning from the best, testing my mettle, teaching, and mentoring others – that this year I will open my own consulting and coaching firm: Opportunity Kitchen.
This business is the tiny voice in the back of mind that would not be silenced. It’s the passion project that’s been driving me forward since before even I knew what it was. It’s the perfect vessel to bring my particular skills, hard-earned knowledge, and enthusiasm together to do what it is I have always wanted to do: make sure mission-driven organizations and individuals have the tools and resources they need to do amazing work.
Eighth-grade-Aubrie may have been a bit prescient. While she was perhaps overconfident in my star-making abilities, she knew I’d be building a business whose mission would be to help others shine.
I cannot wait to get started.
In my consulting practice, I can provide expert fundraising and workplace well-being counsel for nonprofit organizations. In my coaching practice, I can provide much-needed support for mission-driven individuals who put their whole hearts into making a difference in the world. If you, or an organization or individual you know, could benefit from my services, please be in touch. To stay in the loop and be among the first to receive my weekly digest of mission-driven AWESOME, sign up for the mailing list today!
This summer promises to be an incredible ride (I’ll officially launch August 2), and I promise to share as much of my experiences as a new business owner as possible.
Can’t wait to work with you,