The Venice Symphony’s President and CEO Christine Kasten’s background in sales and marketing, and her leadership skills, have more than made up for her self-declared “lack of musical talent” as she leads the organization into its 50th anniversary season. “I like to say I play the calculator,” she quips.
After living in Western MA and New Zealand, the native Iowan moved to Lakewood Ranch with her husband Chad and three children in 2014. Almost as soon as she arrived, she learned that The Venice Symphony was looking for a marketing consultant.
Back then, the organization was in transition, and the city was putting the finishing touches on the Venice Performing Arts Center. “I was able to see the last concert The Venice Symphony held at the Church of the Nazarene before it moved to the new performance space,” she says.
After the consulting gig, Christine went to work elsewhere. But, when The Venice Symphony asked her to come back as Executive Director, Christine followed the musical call. She returned to oversee the Symphony’s pivotal Finding Maestro conductor search that resulted in the hiring of Music Director Troy Quinn and the sold-out concerts the Symphony experiences today.
Christine also moved to Venice, which cut two hours off her daily commute, something she admits, “I should have done a long time ago.” Under her nimble stewardship, The Venice Symphony has grown in reputation, ticket sales, staff numbers and more. “I’m here to make sure my staff has everything they need. Folks spend most of their time at the office, and we all want to enjoy what we do.”