Payton Field ’23
Arts Administration major, Strategic Communication minor
Donor Relations Manager, Cincinnati Ballet 

How did Butler prepare you for your career?
Butler prepared me for my career by providing me with real-life experiences. Throughout my time at Butler, I had four internships—DanceWorks Chicago (Marketing Intern), Indianapolis Ballet (Marketing Intern), American Ballet Theatre (Major Gifts Intern), and Indianapolis Arts Center (Development Intern). I knew that I wanted a career in the arts, but my internships allowed me to learn about the different aspects of a not-for-profit arts organization and build relationships with other professionals in the field. I have always thought that experiences are the best way to learn, and Butler provided me with many experiences that gave me the necessary tools to succeed.

What skills or knowledge gained at Butler have been most useful in your career?
One of the main skills that I gained at Butler was the importance of networking and building relationships. In many of my Arts Administration courses, we frequently had guest speakers available to answer our questions and share their experiences post-grad. My advisor also made it a priority to personally connect us with Butler alumni who were in our field of interest. 

Additionally, my courses at Butler honed my skills as a public speaker and writer. My position at Cincinnati Ballet requires me to be in contact with donors frequently, whether it be through front-facing speaking roles or through writing personal acknowledgments and messages. My classes forced me to perfect those skills, and now I feel confident communicating effectively and professionally with donors and patrons of my organization. 

What is the most important thing you learned at Butler?
One of the biggest things that I took away from my time at Butler was the importance of passion. I was a serious ballet dancer for 15 years of my life, and when I stopped, I was looking for an outlet to fill the void that dancing had left. Working at Cincinnati Ballet, I feel inspired every day. I have always had a passion for the arts, and I love being able to share that excitement with donors and patrons who feel similarly. I feel very lucky that I can say, “I love my job.” Not many people could do what they love for work every day, especially right out of college. Butler introduced me to Arts Administration, which is now the reason I can channel my passion for the arts into my job at Cincinnati Ballet each day. 

Who influenced you the most while you were a student?
While I was a student at Butler, I was influenced tremendously by my professor, Brenda Johnston. When I decided to stop dancing my first year, Brenda was the first person that I turned to, and she quickly became my advisor and respected mentor. Her life experiences and dedication to her students were exemplary. One of my favorite memories with Brenda was traveling to Florence, Italy on an arts and culture study abroad session. I loved getting to spend time and learn from her in an environment different from Butler’s campus. She truly made my time in Florence and at Butler University unforgettable.  

What advice do you have for students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
The best piece of advice that I can give to a soon-to-be Butler graduate is to use every experience as an opportunity to learn and not be afraid of stepping out of one’s comfort zone. When I graduated, I took a risk and moved to a new city alone. At the time, it was extremely daunting to start my career in Cincinnati, a city in which I knew no one, and at my first ever full-time job. My choice to move to Cincinnati was a big risk, but I believe there is no greater reward than learning something new each day and spending each day full of passion and excitement.