Posted on Sunday, April 3, 2016
Tim Hanlon has been involved with The Smith Center since before the doors opened and we were thrilled to welcome him onboard as our new Vice President of Development at the beginning of March. Originally from Cleveland, with stops in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and a few spots in-between, Tim has called Las Vegas home since 2014. Tim was so excited about what he saw, he had to be part of the team!
What most inspires you about The Smith Center and why did you originally decide to get involved?
This is a tough question because something new inspires me at The Smith Center most every day. I spent a lunch hour recently sitting upstairs in Reynolds Hall while school children experienced Clifford The Big Red Dog. Watching them experience live theater, feeling their joy and wonder as they moved from their world to the world on stage—that was incredible and inspiring. I have to say that same experience is true every single time I’m in an audience at The Smith Center. Our audiences are filled with people transported to a new and different place each and every performance. Walk through the doors of The Smith Center, visit an education program, talk to a Smith Center team member, there’s inspiration all around us here.
What is your favorite performance to date at The Smith Center?
This is like asking me which of our nieces and nephews I like best! There just isn’t an easy answer. My very first experience at The Smith Center was seeing The Tempest and I was totally in awe. There are performances at Cabaret Jazz that I’ll never forget and Broadway productions in Reynolds Hall that will give me a lifetime of memories. I loved experiencing Kristin Chenoweth’s performance in Reynolds Hall recently. I saw her at the Hollywood Bowl and getting to see her in a much more intimate and personal setting, that was amazing. I think an easier question would be which performance wasn’t my favorite. The answer to that is none!
You can often be spotted in the Cabaret Jazz room, would you say this is your favorite venue at The Smith Center and why?
I just love the intimacy in Cabaret Jazz. The room is spectacular and yet it feels like a performance taking place in someone’s living room. Up close and personal with performers in a space that’s acoustically magnificent, I love it. The variety of performers in Cabaret Jazz is pretty remarkable, too. I’ve been to 6 or 7 Frankie Moreno performances and have loved every minute. Cheyenne Jackson is a favorite, I loved The Skivvies, Clint Holmes is supremely talented, and a night up close with Oleta Adams, those are highlights for me.
Your professional background puts you on the other side of the desk with regards to development and fundraising. What led you to pursue a position in development?
I did always wonder what it would be like to be on the other side of the desk, that’s for sure. I headed up Wells Fargo Foundation for 25 years, leading a team responsible for grants all over the world. When I left there early in 2015, I told myself I would consider doing something else but only if it really matched my personal passions. I fell in love with The Smith Center in a visit with Don Snyder and Myron Martin in 2007, long before the doors opened. When the opportunity to join The Smith Center team came up, I said goodbye to a pretty brief retirement and jumped at the chance.
Where would you like to see The Smith Center in 5 years under your leadership within development?
It is a privilege to work with The Smith Center’s donors. They’re a remarkably dedicated and generous group of folks without whom we’d never succeed. There isn’t one thing here at all that a donor hasn’t made possible for us. I’d like to see us embark on work that will ensure that The Smith Center is here for generations to come. Our work now isn’t just to keep things running but to sustain The Smith Center’s work and, yes, that means building a fund that will allow that to happen. I want our work here to engage a wide variety of people, diverse communities, the next generations of donors, engaged and active volunteers. There’s pretty much something for everybody at The Smith Center and I think the work of development right now is to help position The Smith Center for generations to come.
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