I Am Violet Ready: Leadership

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By Ravi Schwartz, NYU Tisch Drama Class of 2023

My name is Ravi Schwartz and I am a sophomore at NYU Tisch, studying Drama with Minors in Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology and Producing. The Violet Ready skill I will be covering today is Leadership! Last May (2020) I had the opportunity to start West 14th Theater Company, alongside some of my peers from NYU. West 14th is committed to telling complex and truthful stories that help contribute to a greater understanding of the world and the human condition. We strongly believe that theater is a means of building bridges and bringing people together, and hope to inspire such values through our work! At West 14th, I serve as the co-artistic and producing director. Being in this leadership position has impacted me in various ways and has taught me lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Here are 3 tips that have impacted the way that I approach leadership positions: 

  1. Take initiative

Life isn’t about waiting for opportunities to come to you, but about seeking them out and creating them for yourself. Being a leader often means being brave enough to stand up and fill a need you see in the universe. By the end of last semester, many of  my classmates were feeling very down about the summer. With theaters closed all around the country, and an in-person return to school becoming more and more unlikely, we all felt extremely worried about our training and advancement of our craft. After speaking to a friend, I decided that if opportunities weren’t open for us, we would have to create them ourselves. West 14th now serves as a creative outlet for a group of artists who refuse to let our current circumstances stop us from creating. If I had sat back and waited for someone else to create this opportunity, I would never have been able to grow in this way and continue doing what I love!

  1. You can’t do it alone 

Being a leader means both being able to be confident in yourself and your abilities, and knowing that you can’t do it alone. Something that I have learned over the course of this year, is that asking for help is okay. It is impossible to build something beautiful without the help and support of others, and going at it alone is not an effective leadership model. By bringing more people into my creative inner circle, I have been exposed to new ideas, perspectives, and have been inspired by other people’s passion. Collaborating with other people has not only elevated my work, but has made me a stronger and more effective leader. 

3. You set the tone

Being a leader means setting an example. No matter what is going on in your life, when it’s time to exercise your leadership skills, it is crucial that you are in the moment and focusing all of your attention and energy into the people you are helping and the things you are doing. Passion is contagious, and if you approach your work with excitement, it will spread to the people that you are leading!