GWU Alum Applies Concepts From Classroom and Theatre to the Business World

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Jordan Denmark (’14) Draws on Experiences for Success on the Job

Jordan Denmark received the excellence in technical theatre award when he graduated from Gardner-Webb.

Jordan Denmark’s most challenging project as a student at Gardner-Webb was to design the lighting for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. While learning the technical aspects of live theatre, he realized the value of flexibility. “There were so many moving parts and characters it was a logistical nightmare,” Denmark (’14) shared. “It was the show that taught me the most about the importance of communication and planning. Also, I learned even if you have a great plan, be prepared to improvise.”

Denmark is employed by Presentation Services Audio Visual as assistant director of event technology at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. His job requires business acumen and technical expertise and is a perfect fit for his major in business administration and minor in management and technical theatre. “In my field, financial planning, technology and leadership are key to successfully operating on a day-to-day basis,” he explained. “Being presented with problems to solve in the classroom made it easier to transition into a work environment. A lot of the (audio/visual) equipment is similar to what I worked with at GWU. Even in situations where I am unfamiliar with the new technology that comes across my desk—lighting controllers, wireless microphones, sound boards, projectors—I can still draw on my experiences at GWU to figure out how the new stuff works.”

His instructors in the Department of Theatre Arts not only taught him how to do the job, but to do it with excellence. “They were instrumental in molding my passion for theatre into a program that set me up for success in the field,” he praised. “In the real world, an above and beyond, outstanding, job-well-done is really only mediocre to some people. You don’t get an A+ for doing a job you’re hired to do. Excellence is just expected.”

He discovered an interest in theatre when he took an elective class in high school, but he was also a swimmer and chose to focus his energy on athletics. “I didn’t think I would be able to get back into theatre until I met a swimmer on my recruiting trip to GWU. He was involved in the theatre department,” Denmark recalled. “Gardner-Webb had the Division I swim team and coaching staff I was looking for, in addition to the renowned Godbold School of Business and an active theatre community. I wanted to integrate my passion for theatre and my business goals into one educational experience and there aren’t many places where a student can achieve both.”

He also found that being on the swim team taught him more about teamwork than any other experience. “My four years of swimming prepared me the most for my life after GWU by teaching me where my limits are and how to work with a team to achieve a common goal,” he assessed. “I learned to push through mental and physical barriers. I learned what it’s like to be successful and how much I detest failure. I learned how to set personal goals and contribute to the goals of the group.”