Amanda Vojvodin-Dargenio graduated from the second cohort of the MMIAM program in 2015. She had recently completed undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa in theatre and arts management, and wanted to broaden her knowledge of arts management on an international scale in pursuit of a career in the fashion industry. She is now working in Milan as the Events and Marketing Manager at Louisiane HCP Group, a branch of Hermès International. In a recent interview with the Canadian native, we discussed her MMIAM experience and her new career in Milan.
What are your primary responsibilities as Events and Marketing Manager at Louisiane?
At Louisiane we sell leather to the fashion industry, so I attend four international fairs per year, twice in Milan and twice in Paris. I also manage client events in various cities in Italy, in addition to overseeing social media and marketing campaigns. I speak Italian and French all day long!
Which MMIAM courses were the most valuable to you for your career and why?
Definitely all of the marketing courses from HEC Montréal, which I use every day. The fact that I studied at SDA Bocconi is a big plus for me here in Italy. I also tap into what I learned in JoLynne Jensen’s fundraising course in Dallas regularly, since this is a big part of event planning.
What did you gain personally and professionally from living and studying in four different countries with students from around the world?
I certainly gained a broader perspective of what working in the arts means in each of the four countries.. Canada is very bureaucratic. In Italy, it is more art for art’s sake and just making things happen because we serve the art.
The international cohort made it very interesting and at times more challenging, as we sometimes had different work ethics, different ideas of time management, etc and we had to make it work somehow, so this was a good lesson for the real world and we learned a lot from each other. In the real work world, great teams need different dynamics with different skills and approaches in order to get great results.
Which campus abroad was the most memorable for you and why?
Dallas! I really loved it there. Dallas was such an unexpected experience and it was the first campus in our study year. I would go back for a work contract in a heartbeat. It was such an interesting place, so different from Canada.
What are the current trends in the cultural sector in Italy and what new opportunities are emerging for arts managers as a result?
Culturally, I think Italy is becoming more international. More and more I see Italian cultural organizations adopting American business structures and methods of administration.
What kinds of innovative developments are happening in the fashion industry right now that are worth checking out?
Google has a new virtual fashion museum – “We Wear Culture” which was developed in collaboration with many of the great museums and fashion houses. It brings the world of fashion to people everywhere. It is an invaluable resource for people working in or interested in the fashion industry.
You entered the MMIAM program with the goal of working in the fashion industry, which was an unconventional approach compared to many other people who apply to the program. What would you like to share with other potential candidates who are wondering if this is the right program for them?
I think it is important for potential candidates to know that the program isn’t just for those who are interested in working in arts management in the not for profit sector. Much of the course content is geared towards this sector, with some courses focussing more on for profit cultural industries. I came into the program always knowing I wanted to work in the fashion industry, which is increasingly recognized as a cultural industry. I was still able to focus many of my course projects and assignments on the fashion industry and my career goals. I use the knowledge I gained in the MMIAM program every day, particularly in marketing and fundraising, and the analytical skills and international experience are invaluable to the work I am doing now.