Robin Sasman ’18 named CFO of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Alumna Robin Sasman ’18 was appointed Chief Financial Officer for the prestigious Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She started her new job on April 1, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The orchestra has plans to open its new home in the fall, a project for which the organization was involved in a 140 million dollars capital campaign.
Robin is a 2018 graduate of Carthage with a music degree in Piano Pedagogy, studying under the guidance of Prof. Debbie Masloski. Robin was a non-traditional student with a family of her own. She already held a bachelor’s degree in journalism and finance, and also a master’s degree in finance. She had spent a long time in the corporate world until she discovered her love of music. She then decided to apply to Carthage to become a music major.
“Outside of Carthage, with the exception of my immediate family, everybody questioned me about this crazy decision. It is hard to explain that you want to do something just because you really love it” Robin states. “But I must be totally honest: nobody inside Carthage ever asked me why I was doing such a crazy thing simply because, if you are in music you know why; you can’t live without it.”
Upon graduation in 2018, Robin started looking for opportunities combining both fields, so she applied for an internship at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Upon starting, she realized she loved the atmosphere of this high-level and historic professional arts organization.
“The CFO of the Symphony, as planned, was taking a maternity leave only a few months after I started, and there was somebody lined up to take the position as the interim,” Robin added. “However, that person had just received an offer for a permanent position in another organization so the CSO was suddenly in need of somebody to cover for the CFO position for several months; I was in the right place at the right time.”
Robin completed the task and a few months later found another internship at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra because she “wanted to stay connected with the arts and work hard.”
A short time after arriving at the MSO the position of CFO became available and they asked Robin if she wanted to be considered for it; Robin said no, mostly because she is not an accountant. They encouraged her, however. “One thing led to another and here we are!” she said.
Robin now holds the title of CFO for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, reporting directly to the President and CEO.
“I just think it’s ironic that I didn’t intentionally try to find synergy between the two fields. I didn’t see it coming together, but it really has,” she adds.
Robin also expressed that, in her view, there is quite a need for people with management abilities but who understand the music side as well. And she finished with a very good thought which is actually applicable to any field: “If you want to do something, get in the door, work hard, show that you care… and somebody will notice!”
Congratulations Robin! We are so very proud of you!
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