Kali (Webber) Hicks, M.S. ’20 has transformed her passion for education, performing arts, development and community engagement (not to mention marketing and event planning) into a career that in many ways seems destined for her. Hicks is the audience development and engagement specialist at Proctors Collaborative, a theater in New York’s capital region. Her responsibilities include managing group sales efforts, creating and executing events, setting and achieving revenue and attendance goals, and reaching out to schools and businesses, all of which are central to the organization’s success and are in their own ways rewarding. However, what she enjoys most about her work is using it as a platform to inspire, educate and connect people in the community she calls home.
Hicks grew up in the Hudson Valley area, not far from the theater. She recalls that, when she was a child, her parents would regularly bring her to events there. Those excursions helped instill in Hicks a lifelong love of the arts that continues to this day. From an early age, she sang and played the flute. Following her graduation from high school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. However, Hicks realized that teaching was not the right fit for her and after careful consideration she changed course, deciding to pursue a master’s degree in arts administration at Le Moyne. That ultimately help to set her on the path back to Proctors Collaborative.
First and foremost, Hicks realized that she wanted to work for an organization that was focused on a mission, not just a bottom line. A nonprofit organization like Proctors, with its commitment to the arts, fit that to a tee. She also grew to appreciate the role the arts play in growing the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, approximately 5.2 million Americans work in arts and culture – not including those who are self-employed. In addition, the field generates approximately $920 million in revenue annually, accounting for 4.3 percent of the nation’s GDP. Not only was a career in the arts viable, she realized, but it was on in which the skills she’d developed at Le Moyne in areas such as management, finance and human resources could really shine.
Today, Hicks, whose first paper at Le Moyne was actually on Proctors Collaborative, relishes the opportunity to be creative, to work with like-minded people, and make a difference
“Looking back,” she said, “it feels like everything is coming full circle.”
This story is part of a series about Le Moyne alumni who are now working in the nonprofit sector.