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United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.

Image Courtesy of Amanda Ely

Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Amanda Ely.

Affiliation(s) (past and present):

I am currently a member of DT100 and tHRive.

How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?

I have been in the arts for pretty much all of my life. Since I first started playing flute in middle school, I've felt a strong affinity with arts and culture. While in school at Randolph-Macon Woman's College I was selected to intern at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and fell in love with Arts Administration. Throughout my 14 year career, I've dabbled in many aspects of the arts - development, artistic administration, box office and marketing. For much of my career, I have been the Audience Services Manager and I am so proud and honored to have recently been promoted to the position of Director of Marketing at Virginia Opera.

How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?

11.5 years

What advice would you give young women going into your field?

A willingness to learn will help you go far. When you are starting out, it's okay to not have all of the answers. Ask a lot of questions and learn from the answers you get. Also, if possible, find a good mentor!

Have you faced challenges in your field because of your gender or have you found your gender to be an asset? What kinds of challenges or advantages, and how have they affected your life?

The biggest challenge has been overcoming not being taken seriously because of my age and my gender. When I entered my field, I was often the youngest person at the table surrounded by very few women and frequently being talked over in meetings and other professional settings. Finding a mentor who valued the skills that I brought to the table played a vital part in my growth.

Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as an artist? In what ways?

Though I am not yet a parent myself, when/if I decide to start a family, it's important for me to be in a field that supports families.

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