Ami Patel has a job many people would envy. She is the vice president of artist relations and VIP services for The Forum, a concert venue in Inglewood, California, operated by The Madison Square Garden Company, where she manages everything from exclusive ticket packages to after show parties. But back when she graduated from American University’s School of Communication (SOC) during the height of the financial crisis in America, the path to success looked rocky.
By the time Patel left SOC, she had already filled her resume with internships at CNBC in Washington, DC, and MTV and Viacom over two summers in New York City.
But entering a job market with a 9.5 percent unemployment rate was not easy. “It was still impossible land a job after graduation,” said Patel.
But Patel did not give up. After moving back to New Jersey to live with her parents, a friend of Patel’s connected her with a part time promotional job at Clear Channel in New York.
“The job was not what I wanted to do, but it got my foot in the door for future opportunities,” said Patel. “I got noticed, my career propelled forward, and I shot ahead.”
Over time, the name of the company changed to iHeartMedia, and Patel continued to advance in the music industry.
Patel also met her husband through the industry. “He moved to LA in 2015 and I followed in 2016 with my job at iHeartMedia,” said Patel.
Becoming a VIP for VIPs
In November, 2018, Patel left the company she had worked in for almost a decade to become vice president of artist relations and VIP services for The Forum, where she manages a team of 10.
Her duties include working in celebrity and artist relations, seating, food and beverage, VIP hospitality, celebrity and executive white glove service, and parking and arrivals among many other things related to concert tours and events. Patel also manages ticket packages, drink or food packages, VIP parties, after show parties, and meet and greets.
“The most exciting part of working in this industry, to me, is being introduced to up and coming artists or non-mainstream artists,” said Patel.
Examples included a performance by an Iranian-Persian artist, mixed martial arts fighting, and boxing matches.
“I would not normally have the access to see these types of events or artists.” said Patel. “It’s exciting to be exposed a wide array of entertainment.”
Advice for Current Students
Patel’s top piece of advice for current students is to focus on their writing.
“Focus on crafting emails; emails are everything. People can judge you so quickly on an email; whether it’s a grammar or spelling error, or a subject line being wrong.”
She also underscored the value of mentors.
“Mentorship and being a mentee are so vital in this industry. Especially in the music industry,” said Patel.
After years of being a mentee, Patel is inspired to pay it forward.
“I hope to give back what was given to me,” she said. “If someone reaches out to me on LinkedIn or blind emails me, I’m so willing to help out. To jump on the phone and have those conversations.”
She encourages potential mentees to carefully craft their communication. “You have to know who you are and you have to be able to deliver your message,” said Patel. “However, most of all you must be authentic to yourself.”
Patel also encourages people to stay in touch, even years after they have moved on from a role or on to a new city or industry.
“Staying in touch and doing it in a genuine way can help propel your career, especially in entertainment. This industry is all about who you know and your relationships,” said Patel.