Navigator Spotlight: Anna Mack

Meet Anna Mack. Anna works as a creative associate for a Broadway producer who currently has two shows on Broadway, Chicago and Waitress and multiple projects in development. As part of our Navigator Spotlight series, Mack shares how she makes boss (and money) moves on Broadway, and how staying healthy has just as much to do with eating and exercise as it does her finances.

Tell us about your job as a creative associate.

I scout new work off-Broadway, read countless scripts, and essentially brainstorm ideas for new productions and creative properties. Once one of those projects gets off the ground, I move into more of a producing role, assisting my boss with creative development and overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production — the overall financial and managerial functions of a production, raising or providing financial backing, and hiring a creative staff. 

What is it like being a woman working on Broadway?

The entire entertainment industry has always been dominated by men, and women are fiercely paving their own way and creating space for content that celebrates women and puts them at the center of the story. But I do think things have moved a little slower on Broadway and in theater, given the medium is by far the oldest. 

However, it’s an exciting time to be working on Broadway as many of the old school molds are beginning to break, and people are finally realizing that stories created by and about women, minorities, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community are not only rich in content but can be profitable. My biggest goal as a woman working on Broadway is to try my best to have these stories and people represented, both on stage and behind the scenes. I think we have to have people fighting for that in the arts, otherwise things will remain the status quo. 

I am a true believer in the fact that it isn’t enough to have representation in the storytelling; it is equally imperative to have representation behind the scenes, on the producing teams, management teams, and creative teams. That is when our industry will shine and make full strides forward. 

Have you noticed boys’ club mentalities on your journey? 

Oh yes. I began my career after college at a tech startup in the live events space (sports and concerts), and boy oh, boy was it a boys’ club. Since it was my first real job out of college, I didn’t feel completely comfortable always standing up for myself or others. Now, with a few more years of experience under my belt, I find myself being much more vocal about how I appreciate being treated. 

I think a constant dialogue with male employers and colleagues is paramount to creating any sort of change or success in the workplace. We cannot just lump all men into the “bad guy” category; instead we need to include them in the conversation regarding inequalities at work and how we can all work together to make sure everyone in the office is heard. 

What #bossmove advice would you give to young women?

Keep moving, and do not wait for someone to tell you when to take your next step, raise, promotion, or invite you to sit at the table. You must be your own advocate at all times and ask for what you think you deserve, but do so with clear evidence and hard work to back up your request. Sometimes you will be told “no,” and that is completely okay and part of the process, but you will never know until you get the gumption to just make the ask, and it is what you decide to do with that “no” that really matters. That is something that took me a minute to figure out in my career, but once I did, I felt extremely empowered.

Which brings me to networking and making as many connections as possible – having a strong group of professional relationships both in and outside of your field is incredibly useful. It can be intimidating to cold email someone or follow up with someone three times (guilty!) about getting coffee. But you have to remember that everyone is much more willing to help you than you think, and the worst they can say is “no,” in which case the above continues to apply.

Lastly, my advice to someone that is just starting out would be to not worry too much. Easier said than done (I know I have done my fair share of worrying) but you inevitably have all the tools you need to be successful in whatever it is you decide to do.  As long as you keep pushing little by little, keep your integrity, remember why you started, and do not hold onto to anything too tightly, you will do wonders. 

How do you think about your financial health? 

I try to be healthy! Just like eating right and exercising, I do try to keep my finances at the forefront of my mind when making choices. But I can also fall short and buy a pair of shoes that I should definitely wait and save for… I think that is all part of the learning process though – everything in moderation. 

What’s your best #moneymove? 

My best money moves, consistently, have been to ask for reviews at work. No matter what, whether it is in the hopes of gaining a raise or some constructive feedback, checking in on your work product and showing your superiors that you truly care about your progress and success, I think, is very important. 

Another #moneymove I have more recently put into motion is investing! I have a good friend who works as an analyst, and I explained to her how I had always been interested in investing small amounts of money that will grow over time. She explained the whole process to me (without making me feel dumb or less informed!) and recommended some stable stocks to buy into. I think it is so wonderful to be able to chat with friends or colleagues about things like long-term investing (Nav.it can help you with that), especially when everyone is ultimately starting out and just trying to figure out what is best for them. Financial conversations with no judgement are the ultimate #moneymove! 

Who’s one of your favorite money mavens? 

Oh man, there are so many people that I look up to when it comes to financial health. In terms of career, I certainly look up to all the female producers working on Broadway. They have paved the way for someone like me to even consider the career path that I have chosen, and they have certainly dealt with their fair share of boys’ clubs. I think every young aspiring female producer has those that came before them to thank, and must continue to pave the way for those that are going to inevitably and hopefully come up behind them. 

I also have to say that a lot of my money mavens are my friends. To me transparency is key, and being able to navigate the expenses that ultimately come with moving cities, getting engaged, changing jobs, and all the other things that happen when you are #adulting is so important.

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