Tom O'Connor

Tom O’Connor (he/him) is a New York-based strategist, marketer, and executive search consultant, weaving together 20+ years as an arts administrator with his training as a social worker and educator to foster healthier arts organizations. Together with the global team at Tom O’Connor Consultant Group (TOCG), his work serves the arts and culture industries spanning theatre, music, opera, dance, visual art, multi-disciplinary performing arts centers, media arts, museums, service organizations, and more. He founded TOCG in 2015 and has since supported clients across the world in a range of genres, locations, and budget categories, leveraging strong relationships with an array of partners who share TOCG’s investment in the success and health of the arts. Select clients include the Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jacob’s Pillow, Carnegie Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, George Mason University, Hartford Stage, and many others.

Prior to his current consultancy, he served as a founding Director of Tessitura's Enterprise Consulting division, developing strategies for some of the world's great arts and culture organizations to realize the capabilities of Tessitura’s powerful suite of technology tools. He formerly served as Director of Marketing & Audience Development for Roundabout Theatre Company, New York’s largest not-for-profit theatre. From 2009 to 2015, he played a key role in major initiatives that transformed Roundabout’s audience strategies and related department structures, and was responsible for annual revenue targets ranging from $30-45 million across five venues in Manhattan’s Theater District, including three Broadway houses.

Beyond his broad experience as a leader and strategist, Tom is trained and licensed as a social worker (LMSW), and utilizes a consulting philosophy that is based equally in healthy systems of collaboration and community as it is in sound business practice. In April of 2020, he published his widely read article “Engaging Arts Audiences in a Time of Trauma,” applying social work and trauma-informed care principles to audience engagement and eventual reopening post-COVID. He utilizes social work frameworks in his work as an executive coach and in organizational assessments and change management, as well as in advocating for the care of arts administrators as a vital component of realizing our industry’s potential for public good.

Tom is a Trustee of TDF, the largest arts service organization in the US providing a wide array of access programs for the New York performing arts community, including the TKTS Booth; and Chair of the Board of Poetry Well, an organization using poetry for individual and collective wellness through performance and in healthcare settings. He has served on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama’s Graduate Theater Management Program, the Brooklyn College Graduate Performing Arts Management Program, and is a regular guest lecturer in the Graduate Producing and Theatre Management program at Columbia University. He hosts the podcast Changing Arts with Tom O’Connor, and was the first-ever guest on Capacity Interactive's CI to Eye podcast. He has presented regularly at conferences across the US and in Australia, on topics ranging from marketing and branding to organizational strategy and arts innovation. In addition to those referenced above, Tom has held roles at Manhattan Theatre Club, Situation Interactive, the Huntington Theatre Company, and Boston's Stuart Street Playhouse.

Tom received his undergraduate degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a graduate degree in Social Work from Fordham University. Tom resides in New York City, and in addition to his home country of the United States, he is also a citizen of Ireland.

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