Pre-Sales Manager, Red61
Anja Arvo is passionate about mentoring, a gift that keeps giving as those who benefit often give back themselves.
Such is the case with Arvo, Toronto-based pre-sales manager with Red 61, an Edinburgh, Scotland, ticketing technology firm. She has over 30 years of ticketing industry experience, the last 10 in software sales, having started her career at Thunder Bay (Ontario) Community Auditorium.
Arvo had been one of the first two people, along with her sister, to perform on the venue’s stage, as a singing act, during an opening event that featured a series of local performers.
“We got to sing, ‘O Canada.’ We were the first,” she said.
Years later, Arvo’s mother, a reporter, introduced her to a connection in marketing at the auditorium where she had performed as a young child and it led to a box office job where she was mentored by box office manager Dianne Zemba and Arvo’s box office supervisor, Lelia Cook.
Arvo studied arts administration at the University of Toronto and was mentored by a now-established artist manager, cementeing a career-long interest in mentorship.
“I had been paired with (longtime Canadian artist manager) Robert Missen because at the time I was interested in managing artists as a route I would take in my career, which I did for a while, but that was my first introduction to mentorship,” she said, adding that she remains in contact with Missen, having reconnected online.
The colleague and fellow INTIX member who nominated Arvo praised the leadership she’s displayed as co-chair of the organization’s Mentor Committee, writing that she had led new initiatives, like INTIX’s virtual mentoring circle, which “highlighted six underutilized mentors within our pool of talented volunteers.”
Arvo was recruited into the INTIX mentor program in 2018 and was then asked to serve as vice president. She’s been co-chair for the past two years.
Under Arvo and committee co-chair Raleigh Hawk, ticketing manager at SUNY Fredonia, the program has become more one-on-one focused with lists of volunteer mentors provided, along with suggestions.
“We’re doing a lot more check-up in terms of how things are going and getting feedback,” Arvo said. “We also changed the program and split it into three terms per year.”
People can stick with the same mentor from term to term or experience more than one throughout the year, she said.
Arvo said most people don’t know that ticketing is a viable career path, and her arts administration program did not include a ticketing track.
“You learn about grants management, maybe managing people or a budget,” Arvo said. “I think I was one of the few or only students who went down the ticketing track as a result of my degree.”
Arvo worked in the box office at the Telus Center for Performance and Learning when it opened in 2009. There, she had a manager and mentor in Michael Hardy, who has run a number of performing arts centers. She also spent about five years with AudienceView.
In addition to INTIX, Arvo is also a member of the regional Ontario Professional Ticketing Association as well as Festivals and Events Ontario.
When she takes in live entertainment, Arvo likes music with an edge.
“I’m a lady of the ‘80s,” she said. “I like metal, I like anything that came out in the ‘80s or ‘90s. I also studied music, so I do appreciate classical music.”
What Arvo likes about the ticketing segment is getting to experience live arts and working with and around people who are involved in making it happen.
“It’s basically a terrific vibe,” she said. “I can’t imagine working in any other field.”