Blake Wood
Publish Date

Shannon Smith has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for May 2023. She is the ticket manager for UIS Performing Arts Services. Her nominator describes her as a “beacon of customer service” and someone that every UIS employee should model.

“In any given phone call, Shannon can share in the joy of a customer getting to see a long-awaited concert, understand the frustration of someone who had to wait a little longer than usual on hold during high-traffic sales and be a listening ear on how stressful it is trying to organize 54 tickets for a group order,” said her nominator.

Smith’s job also calls for her to build and continuously maintain the shows in the ticketing system. Her attention to detail comes into play, making sure she can make our director, the artist and the promoter all happy with specifications from each individual that sometimes contradict each other.

“Shannon also plays a crucial role with the student workers, making sure they treat the job not just as a way to make money, but a learning experience that they can use in their next steps in life,” said her nominator. “This is crucial given they all hail from different backgrounds, vary in age and have vastly different life experiences.”

Smith’s supervisor, Briana Fulton, said when working with students she combines the perfect mix of authority and kindness which creates an excellent working relationship.

“She connects with each of them personally and is considerate of the types of challenges and stresses that they are facing as students at the University,” Fulton said. “She is able to provide a safe and friendly working environment while also ensuring that they are gaining valuable work experience and life skills.”

Smith was also recently responsible for the purchase and implementation of a new ticketing software for Performing Arts Services. She researched and vetted several ticketing platforms over the course of several months.

“Her hard work on the front end allowed us to find and switch to a ticketing service which provides much greater customer friendly service, provides cost savings to our department and which allows us to roll out a new and improved donor membership program which will work hand-in-hand with the ticketing side,” Fulton said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Performing Arts Services to cancel the 2020 Broadway Series, Smith came up with the idea to ask ticket holders if they’d like a refund or to donate the cost of their ticket as a gift to the Performing Arts Center. As a result, $33,128 in ticket sales was converted to donations.

“Shannon will never admit this (unless you get it out of her), her job comes down to being a people person,” said her nominator. “No matter if it’s building the parameters for the show building, dealing with customers, dealing with students, dealing with staff or even dealing with talent - it is all about how you treat that person for her.”