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Meet Lydia Grimenstein '20

Job Title & Employer
Senior Manager of Donor Engagement, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business
St. Louis, Mo.
Now Living In
Bridgeville, Pa.
Hobbies & Interests
Knitting, crocheting, coffee and tea, jazz, thrifting, museums, walking on trails, classical music, Cultural District shows and my rabbit, Apple!

"The meaningful connections you make at Point Park have a real impact on your life. You'll find no better place than Pittsburgh to start your journey, whatever that may look like."

Lydia Grimenstein '20

Briefly describe your career path and your current role at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

I fell into development while at Point Park. During my sophomore year, I took Introduction to SAEM. One of the class assignments was to shadow a working professional in Pittsburgh to get a feel for that field. I was paired with someone working in development in the Pittsburgh Cultural District. That experience changed my life because I fell in love with development and have run with it ever since.

During my time at Point Park, I interned with three different Cultural District organizations (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater and Three Rivers Young People's Orchestra) and also took a part-time job at Pittsburgh Ballet as the assistant manager of patron services. After graduating in 2020, I moved to St. Louis to work for the Missouri Botanical Garden as the full-time stewardship specialist in institutional advancement. A year later, the Pittsburgh Cultural District re-opened, and I joined the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera as a development coordinator working on the annual fund in individual giving.

I joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra last October and was recently promoted to senior manager of donor engagement on the major gifts team. I manage a portfolio of donors, expand our communications and digital engagement strategies, curate funding proposals, and leverage moves management to grow support across mid-level to major individual giving. I've found a home here in Pittsburgh and at the PSO, and I look forward to continuing to advance in development and sharing the magic of live music with the people in our communities.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The music. I still kick myself that I work for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It's been my dream to work here since I moved to Pittsburgh several years ago. My inner violin nerd comes out whenever I walk into the hall, see a show, attend an event, write a letter or do any part of my job because I'm doing it all for orchestral music.

When it comes to development, I enjoy that it's about people. When you think of fundraising, you think of someone asking for money. While that's 100% true, there's so much more to it than that. How and why we do it is an art form in itself. Development is an incredibly fast-paced, creative, driven and fulfilling career to have in the arts. The relationships we build with our donors are the most rewarding and important factors of the job. They're the ones who drive a mission forward and ensure its continued success. It's up to us to be good stewards of their gifts and to cultivate those relationships for the future.

As we look ahead to what's next for orchestras and the industry in general, development is evolving for changing patron bases and a digital world, ushering in new generations of audiences. I look forward to effecting that change here at the PSO.

What does it mean to you to work within Pittsburgh’s acclaimed arts and culture scene?

I feel very honored to be a part of the history and culture that is the Pittsburgh Cultural District. Each resident arts company in Pittsburgh has such a powerful presence in our communities that extends far beyond the borders of downtown. Our acclaimed international reputation as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is all thanks to the people of Pittsburgh who have made us into who we are today. As we build upon that legacy, I feel tremendous responsibility in my work to ensure live orchestral music has a home with today's audiences as we continue to transform into the premier 21st-century American orchestra. 

@pointparku Take a look at how Lydia Grimenstein '20 SAEM (Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business) alum got career-ready at #PointParkU! 👏 Follow along as she shares about her experience as the senior manager of donor engagement for the @Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 🎶🎻 Full story at #PointParkUniversity #DowntownPittsburgh #PittsburghSymphonyOrchestra #Orchestra ♬ That Couch Potato Again - Prod. By Rose

How did Point Park's Sports, Arts, Entertainment & Music Business degree program prepare you for this role?

The program is uniquely designed to prepare you for success in whatever field you end up in. The professors and classes don't just give you the tools. They force you to go out there and use them. You'll make real industry connections and be given opportunities to open doors to whatever path you take. I learned how to leverage my passions into a career, and I wouldn't be here today without that.

Which faculty members had a significant impact on you?

Paige Beal and Teresa Gregory were steady figures in my education and always there with career advice and encouragement, even after I graduated. I also have to give a shoutout to Robert Derda. Even though I only had one class with him, he impressed upon us the value of interview etiquette and encouraged us to use a phrase that's guaranteed to make a lasting impression: "I really want this job!" I've used that phrase often.

What are the benefits of Point Park’s Downtown Pittsburgh location?

When you're downtown, you're not just close to everything – you're in it. You can walk four blocks and stand in the heart of Pittsburgh's Cultural District. Across the river are the three major Pittsburgh sports teams. You can take the bus up to Oakland to the Carnegie Museums. Being downtown has enormous advantages, especially for students and young professionals just starting out in their careers. The campus is centrally located in Pittsburgh, and the students can branch out in whatever field interests them. Interning for a sports team, an arts organization or a government office is super doable if it's just five blocks from your dorm. Plus, you can't beat the activities, the food, the shows and all there is to do year-round in Pittsburgh

What advice do you have for other students aspiring to work in the arts?

I was a dancer and musician growing up. I knew I wanted to work in the arts, but I had no idea in what capacity or what that could even look like. When I transferred to Point Park, I knew I was in the right place and still felt a little lost, but the SAEM program really stepped in and did what it does best: helped me find my path. There are so many areas of the arts to pursue. Try them out to see what makes sense for you, and trust your gut. I started in marketing and found it wasn't my cup of tea, and that's OK! Getting out there can be scary, but there is no better way to start. Go out for coffee to hear someone's career story, ask for shadowing opportunities, take an internship or part-time job at a local company, find a staff member at a Cultural District show and get a business card, etc. You have the power to make a career in the arts look like what you want it to look like. 

Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?

Point Park is a great school for someone looking to graduate career-ready. I worked a lot through college and had tremendous support from the faculty and degree program, but I graduated already in the field I wanted to pursue. The meaningful connections you make at Point Park have a real impact on your life. You'll find no better place than Pittsburgh to start your journey, whatever that may look like.

Connect with Lydia Grimenstein '20

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