Editor’s note: The following Q&A is part of Xpress‘ annual Women’s Issue.
Rae Geoffrey, managing director of Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, discusses the power of giving, the arts and the unique superpowers women bring to leadership positions.
Who is a local woman you admire and why?
I am in awe of Hedy Fischer [co-owner of Pink Dog Creative]. Hedy gives selflessly to Asheville and her community in Merida, Mexico. Hedy builds opportunity and connections, making major strides in the arts sector through curating, volunteering and utilizing the arts for social change. She accomplishes amazing feats quietly, seeking no recognition for her incredible work. In addition to these gifts, she bikes across entire countries in her spare time!
What is one specific way women can help uplift other women within local theater?
Women in the performing arts are passionately dedicated to the field. We cannot imagine doing anything else. We collectively build arts audiences for the entire community to ensure the future of our industry. We support each other. We refuse to foster a spirit of competition. We acknowledge our common commitment and remain united through the demands and the joys of a career in the arts. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
What’s one way men can better support women in WNC?
Humans identify as a variety of genders beyond male and female, but I’ll use those two terms for the purposes of the question.
Too often, females are expected to make themselves more “male” to be considered a strong leader. Yet, female executives inherently face different challenges. They may show up, lead and problem-solve differently than their male counterparts. Our society should honor these differences not as flaws or weaknesses but as superpowers.