We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Carfa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I come from a family of musicians, so I’ve been participating in music and band pretty much my entire life. My dad is a professional bass player so I was always listening to him teach lessons or going to his concerts but honestly, a lot of it came from me wanting to copy my older brothers. So I started piano when I was in 2nd grade, I did choir from elementary through middle school, played violin in 5th grade – all before finding my place playing the trumpet in 6th grade through today! Being in band taught me about commitment, dedication, and hard work more than any other activity I’ve participated in, but it also helped me grow my confidence and gave me the ability to follow my passions, which is exactly what I did. My entire college career was influenced by my love for music and gave me the confidence to follow my passion. I originally began attending the University of North Texas studying Elementary Education, knowing I still wanted to participate in the Green Brigade Marching Band. Being surrounded by all of the music majors who were passionate about the same things as I am brought back that sense of home and gave me the clarity and confidence to switch tracks to Music Education where I got to live my dream spending every day studying what I loved. Thanks to my music background and time in marching band, I am an incredibly fast learner and highly adept at multi-tasking, which has really come in handy working as the Operations and Development Director at Junior Players, where a staff of 6 is working to provide high-quality programming for over 15,000 North Texas youth annually. I was very lucky to come from a family that supports and appreciates the arts, which meant that I was supported when I was trying to figure out which art form I wanted to participate in. I never had to worry about buying an instrument or paying my band dues. Not all kids are that lucky, which is why Junior Players is so important to me and to our community. We work incredibly hard to make sure that all students have access to free programs so they can pursue their passions and aren’t inhibited by the restraints of affording dues and supplies. Junior Players spends every day working hard to narrow that opportunity gap and ensure young artists today aren’t kept from pursuing what makes them happy. No dream should come with a price tag.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Music Education and my passion for music and arts led to starting my professional career as a Ticketmaster Event Support Specialist with Live Nation Entertainment. From there I moved onto a job as a Development Coordinator of Individual Gifts for the nonprofit AT&T Performing Arts Center before finally accepting a job at Junior Players and growing into the position of Operations and Development Director that I hold currently. The biggest challenge throughout all of that actually occurred before I even began my journey through arts administration. I went to UNT to get a degree in Music Education and become a music educator. However, during my time there, I began to realize that was not what I wanted to do. This was undoubtedly the most difficult decision I have had to make throughout my professional career, after all, I had just spent 5 years of my life and money learning to be a band director. Finally admitting that that was not what I wanted to do felt like I was letting down my professors, student teaching cooperating supervisors, friends, family, and really everyone who had been with me through my educational career. I always knew I wanted to be involved in the arts, but admitting to myself and everyone around me that the path I had already chosen wasn’t what I wanted to pursue and starting fresh was an incredibly difficult decision. I think the biggest lesson actually draws a lot from that experience! If I were giving advice to others, the largest piece of advice I would give would be to be honest with yourself and what you want out of your job and life. If you find yourself on a path you realize is not right for you, be honest and brave and go after what you want instead! Really taking an introspective look at yourself and what makes you happy will also help you realize if you are happy or just comfortable. For me, personally, I know I am happier in a field where I am challenged and where I can continually grow – so just because I am good at a certain job, does not mean it is where I am going to be the happiest. I think that is a really important skill to learn how to look at yourself in that way. Finally, I want the world to know how important it is do continue doing what you love, even if it isn’t your profession! I love music – it has been a huge part of my life and just because it isn’t my profession, doesn’t mean I have to give it up. I currently play with the Carrollton Wind Symphony trumpet section and have a great time making music with other professionals! Everyone needs to have a safe space to continue pursuing or participating in the things they love.
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?
Assuming this is during non-pandemic times… I would absolutely take a visiting friend to the Dallas Arts District! It’s a really great place to walk around, there is tons of great spots for food, drinks, and entertainment. I specifically like grabbing a bite to eat at The Playwright – their food is amazing and the location is great for access to a lot of different art forms like museums, theaters, music venues, dance performances, etc. I would also take my friend to White Rock Lake – it’s so beautiful and I really enjoy having that spot of nature to wander around in (and my dog, Luna, doesn’t think it’s too bad either!). I like biking in that area or taking a kayak on the lake, it’s a really beautiful spot to enjoy the day! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s so hard to pick just one! Of course, I have to give a shout out to my family who has supported me and my love for the arts my entire life! I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without all of their phenomenal support. I also have to mention Junior Players, where I currently work. I can say, without a doubt, I have learned and have grown so much through my work with this amazing organization. It really is an environment that allows me to continually utilize and improve upon my skill set. But more specifically, I would really like to dedicate this shoutout to Graeme Bice – who encouraged me to pursue arts administration as a professional field. While in college, I worked at the UNT Murchison performing arts venue as an usher and Graeme was my boss. He quickly promoted me to Front of House Manager and began my love for all things arts administration. He helped me when I was making the tough decision to not pursue music education as a career and really took the time to help me explore arts administration as an alternative professional field. I love working at Junior Players and in arts education and I do not know that I would have ended up in this field without his support and help so a huge thank you to Graeme!