They say the show must go on, and Dee Hayman wants to make sure you’re in the audience to see it happen.
As the Performing Arts Center’s box office manager, Hayman leads the team ensuring attendees have everything they need before the curtain rises.
“The patron experience really does start here,” she said. “The primary responsibility, to me, is to make sure the patron experience—not necessarily through myself, but through the employees here—is seamless and positive.”
Hayman had a long career in consumer products before coming to the PAC. She started with Procter & Gamble and was director of sales with Häagen-Dazs.
“That was an awful lot of fun,” she said. “I was at the right place at the right time with the right brand.”
She ran the distribution center in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a time before taking it over as an independent distributor for other goods, which eventually morphed into a catering and event business. Hayman also worked part time for a community college box office. A friend suggested the position, knowing that Hayman had always been heavily involved in the arts.
“I really enjoyed the nature of the business,” she said. “I enjoyed talking with patrons and working with the primarily international students.”
At the same time, Hayman also managed a community theater box office. Hayman “put all of those pieces together” and started searching for full-time box office positions. She’s led the PAC’s box office for four years.
“There is a certain spirit of concierge here, so patrons know they are going to be handled really well on the phone and in person,” she said. “It becomes an experience, which becomes a memory, which becomes repeats. They feel like they belong.”
The opportunity to continue working with students drew Hayman to UGA, but that’s far from her only responsibility. She also handles financial reconciliation, employee schedules and event setup. But Hayman considers working with her student employees to be one of the most important aspects of her job.
Hayman sees her time with her student employees as an opportunity to help them learn. And what they learn while working in the PAC’s box office goes beyond knowledge of its systems, policies and procedures. They’re gaining communication skills while working with patrons, learning how to think on their feet while handling stressful situations and even gaining confidence through their successes.
“If you do that right, then you’ve done something that extends beyond here, and that, to me, is very exciting,” she said.
Hayman continues to explore ways to make the patron experience even better through workshops, webinars and other learning opportunities. And outside of work, she’s looking to explore her own artistic abilities. Hayman has an interest in wind chimes and would like to learn metalworking to create her own. She also enjoys traveling and connecting with other cultures.
Many performances at the PAC allow Hayman and her patrons to learn more about various cultures, if only for a few hours. Some of the standout performances Hayman remembers vividly include singer Lea Solonga, Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and vocal group Voctave. Two performances she’s looking forward to in this season of UGA Presents are Complexions Contemporary Ballet in September and the Martha Graham Dance Company in February. Ticket information is available at pac.uga.edu.