Sarah Haber ’18 is currently a theatrical agent assistant for Artists & Representatives in New York City. Sarah graduated early from Emerson College in December of 2018 with a BA in Theatre Studies (double concentration in Directing/Arts Management) and a minor in Marketing Communications. While at Emerson, she worked for SpeakEasy Stage Company and ArtsEmerson and held internships at Meg Pantera The Agency, Telsey & Company, & Boston Casting. She was also a Peer Career Advisor at Emerson College Career Development Center & a Performing Arts Admissions Assistant. Sarah served as Vice-President of Emerson Hillel and is an active sister of Alpha Epsilon Phi. When she’s not working, she loves to travel and spend time with her family. You can also find her searching for the best brunch or pizza in the area, or reading at a local coffee shop.
What or who were your biggest influences while at Emerson College?:
Sarah: “Emerson prides itself on student achievement and student involvement, which was a major selling point for me when I first was looking at colleges. As cheesy as it sounds, the people who inspired me were the folxs I surrounded myself with daily! You will never find a more hardworking, driven, or motivated group of people like the students at Emerson. Seeing my friends and peers constantly working hard to achieve their goals was a constant motivation for me during my time in college.”
Walk us through a typical day for you working at Artists & Representatives.
“The best thing about working for a talent agency is that no day is the same and every moment keeps you on your toes! My day to day tasks include making pitches to casting directors for clients we feel are the right fit for certain projects, reading scripts for upcoming workshops, readings, and productions, and emailing out appointments to our clients for auditions.”
You’ve worked at places such as ArtsEmerson, Speakeasy and Boston Casting. How did these professional experiences prepare you for professional life after Emerson?
“Getting hands-on experience while you’re in college through an internship or part-time job is the best way to be prepared post-grad. All three of these companies were equally focused on administrative work, & also creativity within the arts. I was able to learn about both ends of the industry from a marketing, development, and casting perspective. Through my work, I learned how to prioritize projects, keep myself organized, pay attention to every detail, and maintain a clear level of communication between everyone I worked with. Ultimately, I learned how much I loved both the admin and creative side & all of those skills I learned in college have definitely helped me in my current job today!”
We all bring ourselves to work. And we all have the opportunity to reflect on areas to grow as professional womxn. What are some of the internal biases you’ve had to recognize and address so that they don’t impact on your work?:
“Most definitely that people will perceive you as ‘polite’ because we’re womxn starting out in the workforce at a young age. I definitely had to recognize that early on when I started my job and was very careful about what I said on the phone and put in writing. After over a year in my company, I’ve established a mode of communication that is still polite, while also respectfully assertive at the same time. In the entertainment industry, you have to put your strongest foot forward as a womxn and learn how to phrase everything to come across in the most direct way possible, while remaining humble as you do so.”
As you begin your career, what are some issues you’ve noticed that womxn might face in their careers and what has impacted you based on your background?
“No matter how much progress has been made, there will always be a factor in your career of not being taken as seriously because you’re a womxn. If you ask for more money in a contract for a client, you’re too ‘aggressive’. If you don’t answer emails past work hours you’re ‘lazy’. Being a womxn in any field is very difficult no matter what. When you walk into a room, you are automatically assumed to be someone’s assistant. The battle for gender equality will always prove an issue no matter what field you find yourself in. Especially from personal experience in dealing with older men in the industry who will refer to me as ‘dear’ and ‘sweetheart’ on the phone or in person. Although being a Jewish female in this industry does have its’ perks and connections, there is always more work to be done as a womxn leader in the arts. My advice, is that you cannot change the minds of more conservative folxs who are set in their ways and will never quite see you equally. While proving yourself worthy to those people and working ten times as hard might feel good in the moment, there isn’t a lasting impact beyond that.
Instead, I try and provide opportunities and pave the way for young womxn in the field who aspire to become strong leaders in the industry. If you’re a student reading this, network your web in college and talk to everyone (especially womxn) that you can. Find the female leaders in your industry and ask them if they wouldn’t mind having a coffee and talking to you about their work. If you’re a female in the workforce, develop a small internship program in your company where you give one student a semester, a chance to learn valuable skills. Talk to young girls who want to be in the arts and inspire them to be the next powerful voices of the generation to come. Ultimately, although we cannot change the opinions of the existing older generations in our field, we can find our voice. The strong & present voices of current womxn, in my opinion, will make all the difference for the future.”