Leah Peavler ’19
Arts Administration-Music major, Marketing minor
Institutional Giving Manager, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

How did Butler prepare you for your career?
Butler allowed me to explore multiple fields and develop a range of skills necessary to succeed in any number of professional settings. My hybrid degree in Arts Administration (the business of working successfully in non-profit arts organizations) and Music allowed me to grow as a student and artist. I enjoyed educational opportunities in and out of the classroom through coursework, performances, networking, and internships that made me a competitive candidate in the job market.

What skills or knowledge gained at Butler have been most useful in your career?
Butler’s well-rounded and thorough liberal arts education gave me a strong determination and desire to succeed in all that I do, to the very best of my abilities. I graduated as a confident and tenacious young professional, and have continued to thrive in my career (pandemic, and all!) as a dedicated, thorough, efficient, and reliable colleague.

What is the most important thing you learned at Butler?
I learned that you can pursue multiple passions, wholeheartedly. Not every educational program can be seamlessly integrated with another like the Arts Administration-Music model, but your educational path is completely up to you at Butler. Faculty advisors will work with you to ensure you enroll in courses that interest you most, even if they fall outside your major. I enjoyed getting to study both Music and Arts Administration, but my interests also grew in marketing, design, and communications. As a result, I pursued a Marketing minor late in my junior year. 

My time at Butler allowed me to explore many of my interests, and today I enjoy a professional career in fundraising, events, and donor stewardship that has brought me to two of Milwaukee’s cultural gems—the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra—alongside a fulfilling schedule of vocal performance opportunities throughout the Milwaukee area.

Who influenced you the most while you were a student?
Professor Brenda Lee Johnston influenced me most as a student at Butler University. She is one of the most inspiring and resilient people I know. Brenda was my professor and faculty advisor, and I’m proud to call her a colleague and friend today. Brenda always offered her expertise and guidance, and continues to do so for me. She has unlimited helping hands in a world where most only have two. Her passion is contagious for the field of arts administration and for educating the next generation of professionals. I would not be the arts administration professional I’m proud to be today without Brenda’s influence and leadership.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
Get involved in arts and culture organizations of interest to you! Explore internship opportunities, volunteer your time, donate (if you can), and visit/attend arts organizations in your area. Soak in as much information as possible and seek professional advice from those in the field. The art world is a very small one, and chances are you already know someone who can help get you to where you want to be.