Student Spotlight: LaMar Brown (MAM ’16)

Student Spotlight: LaMar Brown (MAM ’16)

LaMarAs he looks forward to graduation and launching his own dance company, LaMar Brown has taken advantage of the Business & Entrepreneurship Master of Arts Management (MAM) program and all it has to offer. Although he sees connections made with others as the most valuable takeaway, the skills cultivated in classes are just as important for his future career.

What are you passionate about?
This is a hard question to answer but I think it boils down to being passionate about life. I believe that people should live rich lives, full of the joy of living, connecting with the people and world around them, and especially love for themselves, each other, and the world. This translates into my deep passion for dance. Dance is one of the rawest forms of expression. People physically express themselves on a daily basis but dance has the ability to condense moments in time in order to relate those raw emotions to others.


What projects are you currently working on outside of classes?
Mostly, I am working for companies. I recently just finished helping Writers Theatre open the box office in their new facility in Glencoe, IL. I am a Box Office Associate with them. I am also serving as the Artistic Administration Intern at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as a part of the General Management Department. I am responsible for securing music licenses for performances, paying music, choreography and designer royalties, receiving job applications, assisting with the coordination of the auditions, and my responsibilities are continuing to grow. Essentially, I am actually using my current classes to work on my own personal project, which is to lay the groundwork for my own dance company.


Which classes have helped you the most with your career goals?
Honestly, I believe all of the classes have helped me in various ways. It is hard to say which is the “most” helpful. But I will choose the Entrepreneurship and New Business Creation course because it forced me to really spend time on conceptualizing how to actually get my dance company started as an arts business and not just a “performing troupe.” There were many concepts and tools used that other classes had introduced. It was also a great way to share my ideas and get feedback from others with many varied backgrounds, interests, and strengths.


Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see having my dance company “off the ground,” performing at least one major concert a year, with smaller engagements throughout. And most importantly starting to see the company be successful artistically and fiscally. I believe I will also begin the process of ending my time as an administrator for other companies and taking mine on, full time.


How has being a student at Columbia impacted your path to career success?
The biggest impact has been the people. As with any college experience, what’s most important is the connections that a person makes while there. First, the MAM program has given me a great cohort. The members of my cohort have grown to become my colleagues. They all have such rich backgrounds and many have skills that I do not have. I have learned from them just as much as my professors, and oftentimes more. I believe these individuals will be a great resource to call upon as I build my professional career and I hope they feel the same about me. Also, the college lends itself toward building professional relationships outside of the school. I was able to get my job with Writers Theatre because of a faculty member that directly recommended me to the organization while he was performing consultations with them. These connections to people and communities are where the biggest impact are found.


What is your philosophy on life (personal motto) as it relates to your educational career?
Live, Love, and Laugh. I tend to worry a lot. Doubts are normal, and I think the college experience can sometimes heighten those. But, when I sit back, meditate, and remind myself about the joy of life, I realize I should have nothing to fear, and all of my goals are attainable. It takes many moments of reminding. Haha!


What advice would you give to prospective students?
Don’t come to college looking for someone to hand you all of the answers to your dream job. Instead, expect to be given tools that you can use to create a larger picture. You won’t need every tool you are shown. Oftentimes, the tools and skills you develop are not ones that you thought you would need. Sometimes it is a skill that you aren’t told about that you don’t realize you are building. In the end, it is about how you utilize the tool. Would you wash dishes with a hammer? Most likely not. School, college, a degree, is the same. The way in which you use it, is more important than the tool itself. It helps to have an idea of what you want to do. And more so, to know how to recognize when you encounter something that can be used to achieve your goal. It requires thinking/analyzing creatively and outside of “the box”. It also helps to have some experience in your chosen field to help put concepts into perspective.