Throughline Creative

Kelly Glenn & Courtney Smith

Introduce yourself! Who are you?

We are a small, female owned, marketing and public relations firm that specializes in authentic storytelling for live entertainment. Our clients range from off-broadway shows to comedians and everything in between. Spreadsheet queens by day and musical theatre nerds by night, we found our niche as marketing and PR professionals.

As a mix of Boston attitude (Courtney) and Texas hospitality (Kelly), we have found that this combo results in passionate pitches, a personalized client approach, and too many phone calls.

Tell us more about your background!

Funny story, we met in a warehouse in Brooklyn working on an immersive house party musical. Definitely not the scenario you would expect to meet your future business partner. It is strange how the industry teaches you to be competitive – honestly we were both pretty intimidated by the other. Being a twentysomething in the theatre industry in New York city is not easy, and as we grew up and grew into ourselves, our relationship grew. The reality is, we are stronger together. It is our responsibility as powerful women to pull each other up — not push each other down.

Did you always know what you wanted to be in the theatre industry?

Both: Solid yes. Although, we both definitely expected to be gracing the stage rather than obsessing over ticket trends and marketing strategy. But as they say, the right job finds you.

Looking back what would you say to 16 year old you?

Courtney: You do NOT need to take 4 AP classes, you crazy person. Please sleep and yes, you should have gone to that party. But actually, I would tell 16 year old me that your journey may not be what you expect, but have confidence and believe in yourself. It will all be okay!

Kelly: It’s not that deep. Everyone cares less about you than you think. Everything that seems like a big deal now will not be a big deal in a month. Today is just the vehicle that gets you to tomorrow.

Do you have any advice for women who may be going through something similar?

Both: We would say that taking a risk can be super scary — starting a company comes with a lot of unknowns. All you can do is to be over-prepared for every meeting, do your research, and find a partner that you can trust and can openly communicate with.

From the theatre industry you decided to start Throughline Creative, can you tell us more about that?

Both: Honestly, Throughline is the exact response to what we saw missing in our industry. After sitting as producers on the other side of the table, we wanted to find a marketing team that would understand theatrical norms, be part of the process, and could be a sounding board for artists and creators. When we couldn’t find that, we created it.

Were you scared to start the process?

Both: Of course! We were confident that we were filling a hole in the industry, but yes, for sure. And honestly, we’re still scared – that we won’t make our deliverables, that we won’t be able to make ends meet – the list goes on, but we’re putting our heads down and doing the work. So far, so good!

Has anyone ever doubted you in your career? How did that make you feel?

Courtney: Short answer, yes. It was really hard to bounce back, but for every hurdle there is also the opportunity for growth. That doubt really made me work extra hard, I knew that I had to prove myself and went above and beyond to do it. I think there is always going to be someone that either doubts or questions you, especially as a young woman. I will say, thankfully, I was also able to find really great mentors and advocates that helped pick me up and redirect when those moments happened.

Kelly: I grew up with two parents who convinced me that I could do anything I put my mind to. Even if people have doubted me, I certainly haven’t heard them over the noise of my success.

It looks like you’re proving them wrong! What keeps you going?

Courtney: I love nothing more than proving people wrong! The work keeps me going — I love our clients and they rely on us to make it happen. Also, lots of coffee and nothing like a nice glass of wine to celebrate.

Kelly: I recently saw a meme that said “yall ever drink an iced coffee so strong that for like 4 minutes you have hope?” – that’s me every morning. And once the iced coffee wears off, I’m too busy to stop. A ball in motion…

You talk a lot about using storytelling to help people. Can you explain what you mean?

Both: From the beginning of time, storytelling has been used as a way to connect people and bring them together. Growing up as performers, we learned how to tell stories on stage. As producers, we saw a disconnect in authentic storytelling on stage and what was being seen in the media and told to potential ticket buyers. We decided to apply the same logic we learned as performers and producers to marketing and PR. We believe the process for marketing and selling live entertainment should mirror the process in conceiving it – with intention and specificity.

Is this one of the reasons you started Throughline Creative?

Both: Yes – it was exactly the reason. Our approach through storytelling is what makes us unique and relatable to artists.

Throughout this process, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?

Both: Trust the process, put in the work, and never burn a bridge. We have discovered that the industry is small, and people talk. Make sure they are talking about how great you are to work with and for.

What advice would you give women who are trying to build their own business?

Both: Find other women you trust, ask them to be on your advisory board, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?

Courtney: OOF. This was one was hard for me — I really tried to be the type of person that can set daily intentions and journal every day, but that’s just not really me. To grow and move forward, I try to read as much as I can, talk and network with people that I admire, and to do more things that make me step out of comfort zone. I’m definitely a routine person so I stick to my coffee, a morning podcast, and moving my body in some way so I’m not a disaster human when I get to the office.

Kelly: I think my secret is sleep.  I’m not great at keeping up with my fitness goals, but I do sleep 8-10 hours most nights. Really shutting down my brain and resting for those hours allows me to process everything I have going on and meet the new day with intention and joy.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?

 Courtney: I feel very lucky to have a coven of mentors that have helped me through many professional and personal milestones. I am very grateful to those women (and men!) that continue to believe in me and push me out of my comfort zone. As cliche as it sounds, my most important mentor is my mom. As a single mom of five, teacher, and entrepreneur, she has exemplified tenacity and self-motivation. I’m in awe of her ability to get it all done. 

Kelly: With a few exceptions, I have always worked exclusively with and for women, and many of those women have made huge impacts on my life and career. I have made it a goal of mine to constantly surround myself with other inspiring women who are both mentors and mentees alike. This group includes a CPA, a barista, a lawyer, a casting director, a tech entrepreneur, a composer, a wholesale wine manager, a director, a personal trainer, a lyricist, an office manager, a photographer, and many more. These women have taught me how to make a budget, how to ask for a raise, and how to take the perfect selfie. 

If you had a mentee, what would you teach them?

Courtney: Always be over prepared, on time is late, and find a job/company that you love enough that you can talk about it at a party.  I would teach them to trust their instincts and to work for people that you admire and know you can learn from. I would also teach them the importance of advocating for themselves, tracking successes, and being able to also lift up others, it’s never too early in your career to be an advocate for other women. 

Kelly: Listen more than you speak, ask questions, and never burn a bridge. 

As you’ve grown personally and professionally, what message do you think every woman should hear?

Courtney: Get money. Get paid.

Kelly: “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”

Throughline Creative

A small, female owned, marketing and public relations firm that specializes in authentic storytelling for live entertainment.

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