Staff Q&A: Brian Foster, Director of Marketing and Sales

Once in a while we like to pause and give you, our readers and supporters, a glimpse into our organizational culture and day-to-day office work. After all, we couldn’t make arts programs happen without our artists OR our admin staff! Today we hope you’ll take a minute to get to know Brian Foster, Urban Gateways’ Director of Marketing and Sales, via this quick Q&A  – and hopefully you’ll learn a little something about the world of Urban Gateways while you’re at it:
Urban Gateways: What path led you to work at Urban Gateways? Why arts education?

Brian: Interesting story. I was taking my son to his sketch class at the Hyde Park Art Center one day [in early 2013]. While waiting for him I started checking email and a friend had sent me the job description for my position earlier in the week. I wasn’t really even looking for a new job but I was intrigued by the description. Then it struck me, here’s a fantastic organization doing amazing work centered around the arts and you are sitting outside the Hyde Park Art Center. Fate?

So I did a bit of research and found out both my parents (former principals) had Urban Gateways programs in their schools and so had my uncles, aunts, and cousins (all educators), and everyone raved about the organization. Once I came in and met the staff I knew this was the perfect place for me.
What surprised you about this position or this organization? You can be honest…though maybe not too honest…

I was honestly surprised by the reach the organization had. Reaching tens of thousands of children every year sincerely blew my mind.
On a “normal” workday at Urban Gateways (if such a thing exists), what might you be found doing?

On a normal day you may see me involved in a few different activities depending on what is happening on the always-packed Urban Gateways schedule. You could find me pitching stories to varying media outlets, reviewing proposed program contracts, strategizing ways to build new partnerships, leading the charge in the creation of our collateral (such as our catalog of programs or our annual impact report), or gathering the team together to discuss how Urban Gateways tells its story or brands itself to the public at large. No day is like the other but spreading the word about the work we do and finding new ways to bring that work into the lives of more people is always fulfilling.
What do you do when you need inspiration?

I am a music guy, so whenever I need a touch of inspiration, be that for finishing a press release or completing a work out, I turn on the tunes. The genre of music will depend on the task or my mood but universally I find afrojazz can do the trick!
What are your three favorite things about Chicago? That’s right, you have to choose.

Wow, only three??? Okay…the culture the city provides (theater, museums, concerts, sporting events, etc). The cuisine (every type of food you can think of is at your fingertips and is generally delicious). And the lakefront (even though we can’t take advantage year round, being on a beach or a boat is my idea of a GREAT day).
If an Urban Gateways ticket ever wins the lottery, what will you do with your share?

That would depend on what my cut would be! But of course I would do the responsible thing and pay off any and all debt my family has; purchase my homes in Barcelona, Toronto, and Rio (my favorite three cites); splurge on a few luxury automobiles; book a worldwide year-long trip; invest..and donate a HUGE chunk to Urban Gateways!


Brian for blog