BROOKLYN BOUND: Leading the Brooklyn Bowl’s operations are booking coordinator Erika Kemmerly, left, general manager Anna Ayers and operations manager Kalyn Kendig. (Courtesy Venue)

Team running the show is almost 75% women

Located on the edge of Greenpoint and East Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, Brooklyn Bowl has become one of the neighborhood’s premier music venues. With 16 bowling lanes, a restaurant and live music, the building, owned by beloved promoter and live music figure Peter Shapiro, just about has it all.

Behind the scenes, the team running the show is made up of almost 75% women. Helmed by general manager Anna Ayers, women fill many of the venue’s most crucial positions.

Rounding out the Brooklyn Bowl team are Emma Tietze, director of sales & events; Hannah Nobbe, marketing manager; Olivia Klein, marketing coordinator; Shavonne Scott, box office and administrative manager; Lia Evon, senior director of HR operations; Peri Halprin, sales & events manager; Alyson Campbell, scheduling and administrative coordinator and assistant operations manager; Erika Kemmerly, booking coordinator; and Kalyn Kendig, operations manager.

The team emphasizes that a female-led environment has proved beneficial for them, allowing them to openly express their feelings in order to have an open working environment.

“It’s a really interesting thing,” Ayers said. “I am the first one to say I am not ashamed to feel my emotions. I think women are told to buck up, take your emotions out of it, but the reality is, we are emotional people. It’s OK that we get to feel our emotions in the room. We are so female-heavy right now that the men in these meetings now are really good about it. They’re the perfect fit for our little team of women.”

The women at Brooklyn Bowl emphasize that, despite wearing their hearts on their sleeves, they remain an incredibly productive team. Ayers states that their openness with one another helps them collaborate and form deeper bonds, making the group a well-oiled machine.

“We’re still down to business,” Ayers says. “They’re punctual. We’re getting shit done. We’re seeing Brooklyn Bowl organized in a way that we haven’t been, and we needed to be.”
Kendig says their work flow is often smooth and the team collaborates with ease.

“Working on a female-fronted team, the communication is impeccable,” Kemmerly says. “I feel the way that women communicate and get things done is different than the way men usually think. There’s a lot of communication happening. There’s a lot of stuff getting done. I feel super fortunate about that.”

WHOLE LOTTA LOVE: Robert Plant is pictured at the 850-capacity Brooklyn Bowl in New York. (Scott Harris)

Kendig also sees benefits from Brooklyn Bowl’s gender balance. The operations manager grew up in a predominantly male household and, when she first began her career, also found herself surrounded by men.
“I remember when I first started working here, I was like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of women here. OK, cool. This will be different and interesting,’” she said. “I have found it to be a lot softer and the conversations are just more understanding.”

Ayers worked her way up throughout Brooklyn Bowl’s ranks, holding down every imaginable job in the venue and getting her start as a server.

She says that she lacked female mentors while coming up.

“I’ve worked at Brooklyn Bowl a very long time and there hasn’t been a whole lot of female leaders above me,” she said. “That’s just the reality of the situation. I do think after coming back from COVID and then the last couple years, especially taking this role, there have been some very pivotal people that have seen my growth and potential and have supported me.”

Kemmerly and Kendig both joined Brooklyn Bowl within the last year and a half, but share that they’ve been enjoying the experience.

Both have had previous female mentors who inspired them to make their mark on the industry, Kemmerly citing Alicia Karlin at AEG and Stacie George at Live Nation as her inspirations.
Kendig lists Kira Finkenberg, who was a consultant at her previous venue, Music Box, as her mentor.

When she stepped into her current role last September, Ayers started working more closely with Sara Barnett, who works as the general manager at Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville.

“My experience with her was just really wonderful,” Ayers says. “Her levelheadedness, her advice on how to run a business and keep things sound while also being a woman was invaluable. I still look to her for support. But truthfully, [my inspiration has] literally been this office of people. It’s been extremely internal for me, which is a different experience, but beautiful at the same time.”

Ayers makes note that the gender balance at Brooklyn Bowl is almost a complete 180 from when she first started in 2011.

“It has never looked like this before. Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever,” she said.