Special Guest Lecturer Aubrey Bergauer: Run It Like a Business

Thursday, June 20, 2024 - 7:30pm
Nunemaker Auditorium

Special Guest Lecturer Aubrey Bergauer joins us at Loyola University New Orleans for a presentation on her recently published book, Run It Like a Business: Strategies for Arts Organizations to Increase Audiences, Remain Relevant, and Multiply Money--Without Losing the Art.

There will be a book signing immediately following the lecture.


Hailed as “the Steve Jobs of classical music” (Observer) and “the Sheryl Sandberg of the symphony” (LA Review of Books), Aubrey Bergauer is known for her results-driven, customer-centric, data-obsessed pursuit of changing the narrative for the performing arts. A “dynamic administrator” with an “unquenchable drive for canny innovation” (San Francisco Chronicle), she’s held offstage roles managing millions in revenue at major institutions including the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As chief executive of the California Symphony, Bergauer propelled the organization to double the size of its audience and nearly quadrupled the donor base.

Bergauer helps organizations and individuals transform from scarcity to opportunity, make money, and grow the base of fans and supporters. Her ability to cast and communicate vision moves large teams forward and brings stakeholders together, earning “a reputation for coming up with great ideas and then realizing them” (San Francisco Classical Voice). With a track record for strategically increasing revenue and relevance, leveraging digital content and technology, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion on stage and off, Bergauer sees a better way forward for classical music and knows how to achieve it.

A graduate of Rice University, her work and leadership has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, and Southwest Airlines magazines, and she is a frequent speaker spanning TEDx, Adobe’s Magento, universities, and industry conferences in the U.S. and abroad.


If you hate that phrase, you’re not alone. But the arts are a business, a sector worth billions whose institutions serve almost every region in the country. Today, arts organizations are trying to rebuild audiences, reclaim relevance, and confront centuries of systemic discrimination.

The solutions are right before our eyes though. Volumes of data, research, and case studies from the for-profit sector demonstrate how to achieve success across customer engagement, the user experience, company culture, the subscription economy, digital content, new revenue streams, and brand relevance.

Just because arts organizations are non-profits doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make money; it means the money we make goes back to fund the mission. And it means a sustainable model is still necessary. Running it like a business isn’t unwitting board speak; it’s essential to revitalize this critical, massive economic engine and ultimately better serve the art and its consumers in the new normal ahead.

Based on book of the same name published February 2024 by BenBella Books.


This is event is free and open to the public.