To My PuSh Family
June 27, 2014
Today–Friday, June, 27, 2014–marks Founding Managing Director Minna Schendlinger’s last day at the PuSh Festival, after almost nine years of dedicated service and passion to our organization and mandate. With her at the administrative helm (alongside Artistic & Executive Director Norman Armour), the PuSh Festival has grown from a one-person organization with a $550,000 budget to a ten-year-old Festival operating with nearly $1.8 million and over two dozen full- and part-time employees and contractors.
The staff and board, past and present, extend our deepest gratitude to this fabulous woman, who has enriched each of us personally and professionally with her never-ending wisdom, wisecracks and wonderfulness.
Here is what Minna would like to say to the extended PuSh community on this special day.
To my PuSh family (direct and extended),
Today is my final day as an employee of the PuSh Festival Society. It is not, by any means, my final day with PuSh. Y’all can’t get rid of me that easy! I’ll be hanging around as a supporter, cheerleader, and general loudmouth for PuSh until the end of time (or I lose my mind, whichever comes first.)
My time at PuSh has been a nine-year blessing, with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. But like any journey, having reached my destination, I feel compelled to express my gratitude for all the support, reassurance, inspiration and learning that I have received over the years. This community is my other family, connected by love, not blood. The best connection of all!
These years at PuSh have been the most productive and satisfying of my life. I can literally count on one hand the number of days that I have woken up and thought “Oh, lord, I cannot bear the thought of going in there today!” And I’m pretty sure that three of those days were when I was nine months pregnant.
I came to this organization much younger and much greener and, in many ways, I have grown up here, under the guidance of so very many people. There are far too many to even just type a list of names, but I wouldn’t be here to say goodbye today if it weren’t for a few specific people, so I do need to single them out.
Frances Wasserlein and Jane Davidson, my early career mentors, both told me that I could do this if I really wanted it. And I really wanted it, so thank you for encouraging me to apply for this job.
When I first saw the posting, I called DK (PuSh’s longtime Production Manager) and asked him if he thought I should apply, and he said, “Absolutely. And let me know when you do so I can put in a good word for you.” So I did and he did and I think that is a good part of how I got here. Thank you, DK. We’ve been through a lot together for nigh-on 15 years and I just cannot imagine having done any of this without you.
Ilena Lee Cramer, Camilla Tibbs, Katrina Dunn and Norman Armour collectively decided to take a risk on me, and I will be forever in their debt for taking that risk and making me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.
Our founding board members: Jane Heyman, Ken Manning, Alice Niwinski and Donna Wong-Juliani (along with so many many other board members over the years who have contributed immeasurably to me and my professional development and to PuSh) were my pillars through those first years.
Linda Gorrie has been my friend and mentor and provided me with more free advice than anyone deserves.
Our current board, and in particular our President Peter Dickinson, are the true backbone of this organization and their work has been, and continues to be, unparalleled in this community.
Our staff have been my constant companions. Team Awesome, you know who you are/were.
Roxanne. Treat my baby well, friend. And have a great time doing it.
Norman Armour. I could cop out and say there are no words, but there are: Friend, mentor, advisor, cajoler (okay, may be that’s not really a word), challenger. I am the person I am today because you have been with me every step of the way. Your loyalty to me, defense of me and strength for me has been unwavering and are the things that have made it possible for me to revel in this current embarrassing flood of well-wishes. You have been the best work-husband that I could have asked for (thanks for the loaner, Lorna!) I look forward to the next phase of our relationship.
As the mother of a four-year old, it seems fitting to close this with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.”
The biggest and best love to you all!
Founding Managing Director