Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Five Questions with Shannon O'BerskiBy Katie Land, news editor
As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles of faculty, staff and administrators in the Oakland University community, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series, “Five Questions with ______.”
“Five Questions with Shannon O’Berski”
Shannon O’Berski is the Marketing and Communications manager for Meadow Brook Hall. She graduated from Oakland University with a major in Art History, and joined the MBH team in 2001. In her role, Shannon oversees marketing efforts for events and programs at The Hall in its dual capacity as a museum and as a venue being utilized for corporate events and weddings.
1) How did you end up working at The Hall?
As a student, I took a course in museum studies and marketing that met at Meadow Brook Hall, and I fell in love with the house. With an art history background, I have a great respect for the building and its historical features and artistry. When I would come to class at The Hall, I remember thinking, “I would love to work here one day.” Shortly after I graduated, a position opened up and my professor recommended that I apply. If I hadn’t taken that class, I would never have ended up here. It just goes to show that you never know where life will take you.
2) What are some of the more unusual or unique events that you have worked on?
The ‘Dinner and a Movie’ event is really interesting to me because it is one of the first events that I put together here. The idea behind it is to make the museum accessible to the public. The program has been around for at least seven years, and always manages to sell out. It is a wonderful program to share with the public because it is not stuffy or intimidating, but also manages to show off the unique features of The Hall. In the past we have shown a series of Hitchcock films, silent films from the twenties and thirties and some classic horror films.
Meadow Brook Hall is unique in that people are able to experience this place at the level that they choose. You can come for many different events and for many different reasons because there are diverse ways to explore The Hall. When you are here, you won’t forget it. The experience is always memorable.
3) Do you have any particular hobbies?
I have twin daughters who keep me pretty busy. They are eight years old and very active. When I do find some extra time, I like to practice yoga and write for myself on a personal level.
4) What is it like to come to work at ‘America’s Castle’ everyday?
It is continually inspiring. I was never able to picture myself in a cubicle, and here I am incredibly lucky. Whenever I am having a busy or stressful day, I can step back, take a walk and see the beautiful building and grounds. What I’m doing here, to help preserve and promote this place, has meaning. I never get used to it.
5) What special qualities do MBH’s volunteers have?
Our volunteers have a passion to preserve and maintain the home, to tell its story. None of our volunteers need to be convinced that The Hall is a worthy venture, because once they have come here, they know in their heart that it is. Our volunteers really get it.
They are incredible people. They give and give and give and never ask for anything other than the joy of sharing. We couldn’t do it without them, we just don't have the staff power. They care so much and are so generous with their time. For most of our volunteers, all we have to do is point them in the right direction and they do a wonderful job, because they want to do it.