A desire to work with a theatre company, a semester abroad in London where she studied drama, some key internships, and the grant-writing skills she learned as part of her arts management minor helped Veronica Snienek ’16 land a job at Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., where she works as the institutional giving associate.
“I always wanted to work in the arts, specifically theatre, and I wanted a place where I could be involved with a company that truly cares about the community they are part of,” Snienek said. “I also wanted to work for a company that helps to build theatre engagement among local communities and abroad for the next generation of theatre audiences.”
A Fine & Performing Arts major with a concentration in theatre, she also wanted to be able to “tell a story” with her work.
“MCLA also provided me the opportunity to share my work and to continue to learn from others to strengthen my work among my academic family, as well as nationally at conferences, such as the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and aboard when I studied in London,” she said.
Sniezek credits MCLA with helping her get her foot in the door with Shakespeare & Company: immediately after she graduated, she served a summer internship with the company in its development department, through a college internship program. There, she learned the logistics around funding a theatre organization through donors and foundations. In addition, she did research for new grants.
At MCLA, she took courses in “Grants and Fundraising” and “Writing in the Arts.” “Taking these classes allowed me to tell the story of an organization, and create a narrative that touches others, and provides the purpose to support it for years to come.”
Sniezek’s arts management classes also provided her with the information she needed to work within a development department. In addition, her involvement with MCLA’s theatre department taught her the value of collaboration, and how to work in a team, as well as with individuals.
For her second Shakespeare & Company internship, in the fall, she focused on marketing and the press. The following February, Sniezek was called back to the theatre company: its director of development wanted her to interview for her present position.
“Because this position was quite new, she wanted someone with intermediate experience to write grants and create a system to organize all of them in our database for the future,” Sniezek said. “In my full time position, I handle the writing of most of our grants to local and national foundations and endowments, keep the files for all grants in accurate order, and research new foundations. I also work with a freelance grant writer on the larger, more time-consuming grants we apply for.”
Although grant applications are intended to result in funding, they also tell the story of the company, she added.
“They describe the people who have a passion for what they do, and they provide inspirational background for what the Company’s programming can do for the community. I am always learning something new. Then, what I learn becomes translated into my writing. This provides opportunities for foundations to learn about us, and inspire them to want to be part of our growing community for years to come.”