Lee Foster, Executive Director, Lee adds the Fremont Symphony to her list of companies under her banner as Executive Director including Diablo Ballet in Walnut Creek and Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City.
Fremont Symphony announced its exciting new alliance with Lee and Hillbarn Theatre. This collaboration with the Fremont Symphony is part of a collective project of Hillbarn Theatre to provide economies of scale and support for smaller nonprofits.
Managing multiple arts organizations under one executive team is a modern and increasingly popular concept in the non-profit world. Administrative costs for each organization are reduced because one set of essential services is shared across several organizations. Lee will manage the Symphony’s affairs from her offices at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. As a stand-alone organization, the Symphony was spending a large percentage of revenue on administration. Going forward, under her direction, they will enjoy lower administrative costs, and be able to spend a higher percentage of their revenues on concerts and musicians.
Ms. Foster has an MBA from University of San Francisco and will complete her MFA from Notre Dame de Namur University in August 2012. Ms. Foster is a two-time graduate of the Arts Leadership for the Future Educational and Consulting Program (ALF) sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Ms. Foster is credited with turning around failing nonprofits; she has run successful capital campaigns, increased attendance and net income, and won numerous honors for her accomplishments in the nonprofit field including a Congressional Honor presented by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. In 2008 Lee won the prestigious BRAVO! Award, the 2005 Diamond Award from San Mateo County’s partner ArtShare, the Foster City Honors Award in 2003, and was a finalist for the 2001 Management Center’s Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.
Lee spent 18 years as an executive in marketing and sales in such notable travel companies Pearl Cruises of Scandinavia, Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, and, for nine-years, Royal Cruise Line. In addition, she headed up the value-priced tour division (operated by Saga Holidays) for the Smithsonian Institution called Smithsonian Odyssey Tours. In her role as Manager of the Smithsonian division she coordinated the efforts to define the market segments, to create product to meet the needs of the defined customers and developed in conjunction with the Smithsonian Associates division the successful marketing mix that thrives to this day. Lee’s background in marketing and sales of a “service” product–that demands bodies in beds–has great crossover with theatre marketing requiring people in seats.
Lee is married to Music Director Gregory Van Sudmeier and between them they have four children.