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Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Miller

Alumni Spotlight on Arts Leadership graduate Lauren Miller

"Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts is an incredible college that is truly intertwined with the arts community in Houston and beyond. In addition to receiving an amazing education from leaders in the field, you are constantly building connections within the major arts organizations. Something that truly sets the Arts Leadership program apart from other similar programs around the country is the hands-on implementation of skills with real organizations and artists. This not only is invaluable experience for the real world, but also a resume and career builder." - Lauren Miller (M.A. '19)

Q: What was the year and degree you received from The University of Houston’s College of the Arts?

A: 2019 (December) M.A. in Arts Leadership.  

Q: Where has your [arts] career taken you since graduation?

A: I now work for a small pr/marketing agency in Houston called Like Minds Communications. We focus on mission-driven, people-centered clients, so get to work with many nonprofit and social enterprise organizations! I primarily work in public relations, but also touch everything from social media to account management. We have a small team, so I am able to really flex a lot of my interests with organizations that I care about.

Q: Is there one thing that has surprised you about a career in the arts that you didn’t expect?

A: Originally I did not expect to be in arts leadership. I graduated in 2017 with my BM in vocal performance, thinking that I would go to graduate school for performance as well. For me, the biggest surprise has been finally finding my place in the arts world through arts leadership, as it truly allowed me to feel like I was finally doing something that I felt both valuable and meaningful to help the community.

Q: What accomplishments in your career do you feel most proud of?  

A: My answer to this question may have been different a few months ago, but my current proudest accomplishment is helping two of my nonprofit clients pivot their fundraising efforts in the face of COVID-19. I was able to help these two incredible organizations overcome huge financial humps due to cancelled events this spring, which ultimately means that they are able to continue to serve their missions and reach more people in the community. Knowing that I had a hand in that is really an amazing feeling.

Q: Are there specific skills or things you learned at the McGovern College of the Arts that you find valuable in your career now? What are they?

A: I rely on skills that I learned in nearly all of my arts leadership courses on a daily basis-whether that is related to fundraising, marketing/public relations, leadership skills or strategic planning. The most valuable skill learned for me, was how to come up with creative and innovative solutions and answers in a hands-on way. I didn’t leave the College of the Arts with only book knowledge or having just sat through lectures. I actually interacted with organizations and problem-solved with them, heard and learned from their experiences, and received critical experience through my practicum placement at Texas Music Festival.  

Q: What is coming up for you in the future that we should watch for?  

A: My continuous goal is to help as many arts and nonprofit organizations that are positively impacting the Houston community as possible!

Q: What advice would you have for incoming students who are focusing on a career in the arts?

A: Try not to silo yourself into just one vein of the arts. Everything in the arts is so intertwined and if you allow yourself to be open to new experiences, you may find interests and passions that surprise you!