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“As an SAEM student, it is really important to learn from as many people as possible with experience in this ever-changing industry.”

Melissa Santucci, sophomore SAEM major

Be the best version of yourself in the room every day. 

This was the key message of Grammy award-winning songwriter and Pittsburgh native Joe West’s articulate, entertaining and inspiring talk with Point Park University sports, arts and entertainment management students on “Succeeding in the Seemingly Impossible Music Business.”

“Being a Pittsburgher, Joe was excited about coming home and sharing his vast industry knowledge with our students,” said Steve Tanzilli, J.D., dean of the Rowland School of Business, who connected with West during his recent trip to Nashville.

During his presentation on campus at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, West performed several songs he wrote including his number one U.S. Billboard hits “Without You,” sung by Keith Urban, and “Hymns,” performed by Rory and his late wife, Joey Feek.

“Having Joe speak to our students about his successful career in Nashville was very inspiring and supported what we always tell our students, which is, ‘follow your dreams,’” said SAEM Professor Ed Traversari, MBA.

West, who is also a producer, mixer, filmmaker and creative entrepreneur, stressed to students the need for each person to have a personal mission statement, along with lots of perseverance and grit.

“Know what success means to you and show up every day and win the war of attrition,” West said. “And make decisions based on creativity, not your ego.”

“I really like how he drove home that success has many meanings and not everyone views it the same way,” said Melissa Santucci, a sophomore SAEM major and graduate of Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School.

Santucci added: “As an SAEM student, it is really important to learn from as many people as possible with experience in this ever-changing industry.”

Shelby Fink, a junior SAEM major minoring in PR and advertising from Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz., found it “extremely valuable” when West spoke about the importance of having a defined mission statement and sticking to it when making career or life decisions.

“I really needed to hear this. Another message that resonated with me was when he said to celebrate the little accomplishments. What may seem small to one person can be a huge achievement for another person,” she said.

Fink added: “Events like these always help me because I learn more through stories than lectures. Hearing what someone lived through, worked through and learned through is a great way to spend time outside of the classroom. Plus, there’s always room to network at events like these and that is important for all majors, but especially for SAEM majors trying to get their foot in the door.”

More About: sports, arts and entertainment management, student workshop, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Rowland School of Business, Pittsburgh CAPA