We had the good fortune of connecting with Christie M. Howard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christie, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?

To be honest, I did not pursue a career in the artistic/theatrical industry. It pursued me. Like many, this is so not what I envisioned for my life. I always thought that would be Christie Howard, MD (Medical Doctor) not Managing Director…LOL. I had my sights on Med school. I am so ashamed to say that it was the movie, “Boomerang” which gave me some insight into what a career in the marketing industry would and could be. I wanted to be the film’s main character, Jaqueline!

So after years in corporate marketing and a major layoff from MCI WorldCom which led to almost two years of full-time unemployment, the opportunity to take what I learned to the non-profit arts community became available with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL). I started as the Administrative Assistant, promoted to the Marketing and Media Relations Manager. To follow, an opportunity to serve as Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Ticket Sales Director arose.

For the past six performance seasons, I have had the pleasure to serve as Jubilee’s Theatre’s Managing Director where I oversee just about every facet of the nonprofit theater world. From HR to marketing to financial management and development/fundraising, I get to fully indulge in MAKING ARTS POSSIBLE every day! I am one lucky lady!

Again, I say the artistic industry was my destiny all along!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

Artistic organizations go through cycles of feast and famine. However, it seemed that when I joined Jubilee, the organization was functioning dysfunctionally. I honestly believe that my time at the theater was meant for the stars. My goals were and are simple:

1) To expand the organization’s development/fundraising portfolio to match the earned revenue;

2) To foster a more stable fiduciary and administrative infrastructure; and,

3) To fortify Jubilee’s brand integrity locally, regionally, and nationwide.

This has not been easy! I have learned that there is no such thing as “hard work” just hard decisions. I have also learned that there is a Southern gentility and unspoken way of business in the city of cowboys and culture called “THE FORT WORTH WAY!” But most importantly, I have learned a genuine passion for your business, and surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you is the true key to success.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I suggest the following…you will thank me later:

1) Breakfast Yolk in Sundance Square (Fort Worth) or brunch a patio brunch Al Beirnet’s in Dallas.

2) Visit Fort Worth’s nationally renowned Zoo or the Dallas Arboretum.

3) Get a taste of Texas BBQ mixed with flavors of Louisana’s bayou at Jube’s Smokehouse.and BBQ

4) Visit Grapevine or McKinney for shopping followed by a “Wine Wall/Pub Crawl.”

5) Dinner and cocktails at Fort Worth’s Reata, Fearings in Dallas, or Las Colinas’ Ranch La Hacienda.

6) By all means, take in DFW rich arts and culture see at Jubilee Theatre, Scat’s Jazz Lounge, The Balcony, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, or Texas Ballet Theatre to name a few.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

It truly takes a village. Growing up in rural East Texas, the idea of earning a living in an artistic field was unheard of especially for a woman of color. But it was the freedom to live, grow, make mistakes, and be forgiven in this little town of Athens that helped to shape me. Unfortunately, it took becoming an adult to realize this, but beyond my immediate family, the COMMUNITY left an indelible impact on my life.

I specifically would like to personally shout out a huge thank you to my parents Tellie & Deloise Howard, who did their best with what they knew and exposed me to out they did not know. My grandmothers for doing all things GRAND in my eyes, Idell Howard and Mae Catherine Adams. My Aunt Margaret, Aunt LaVonda, and Uncle Alvin for showing me that was life and opportunities awaiting me outside of Athens! The family that God gave me Cindi-mom, Aunt Joyce, and Curtis Jackson who loved me like I was theirs.

Along this journey called life, I have met some pretty cool people. My best friend, Chenel Matthews, taught me that I did not have to be a doormat for people’s insecurities. Eldress Mary Henderson, Rev. Anthony Foster, Karen Williams, Alma Thomas, and Marilyn Parker for encouraging me during a period of spiritual growth. John Tatum for uncovering the eternal song in my heart.

Professionally, I could not have had better examples than Curtis King, Founder & President of TBAAL. The Grand Dame of Arts Management, Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of DBDT, who I want to be like her when I grow up.

Last, but certainly not least, a special shout-out to my awesome partner in life, Chris Salter. He lets me be the strange bird. You are my true north. Your steadfast gentle love for me gives me the room to morph into the woman I am destined to be. You are still the man beyond my wildest dreams.

Website: www.jubileetheatre.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jubileetheatre/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JubileeTheatre

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JubileeTheatre

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHkFehQ2WfP7qKHhu8MNP7g

Image Credits
Photos by Brandon Allen Photography, Freddie Watkins, Cecil Fuqua

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.