Meet Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s corporate sales manager and find out how else he enhances gay Atlanta
By Mike Fleming
The rich diversity of Atlanta’s gay community touches on most every aspect of life in the city. Chances are if you are doing it, enjoying it, depending on it or supporting it in Atlanta, someone gay is helping make it happen.
This month’s Man About Town Christopher Stephens brings his particular skill set to the table at Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At 31, this Augusta native with a Sports Management degree originally moved to Atlanta in 2007 to work for the Atlanta Hawks. He switched gears nearly two years ago to join Team ASO, and hasn’t looked back.
Stephens takes the time to let us in on his work there, the organization’s commitment to LGBT inclusion, as well as his other contributions to the many-faceted tapestry that makes up our community.
Tell us about your role at Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
The Corporate Sales Manager aides Georgia business and organizations with employee engagement, and one of my proudest accomplishments is starting our ticket fundraising program. I love that even with our ASO fundraising goals, we have begun helping others with theirs. I also negotiate our deal site contracts and guide BRAVO, our young professional group.
A highlight of my responsibilities is planning our ASO LGBT nights. These events are a great opportunity for our community to bond while enjoying an evening of fine arts. We provide this experience not only for those that love the Symphony, but also for those that have never been. Following the concert, we have a reception with ASO musicians, and the first drink is on us! The next one is April 27.
What affiliations do you have outside the Symphony?
In an effort to aid in the fight for equality, I’ve served on the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce board, volunteered with HRC and participated in GLAAD fundraiser events. I currently serve on the board of the Health Initiative, an LGBT-focused non-profit that provides health care referrals and guidance for anyone looking into health plans and services.
I love my Alma Mater, Georgia Southern University, and now I serve on the Georgia Southern Alumni Advisory Council. Always interested in nonprofit organizations, I’ve also joined the Georgia Center for Nonprofits to learn more about their internal operations.
What do you do for fun?
Since I’m at the Woodruff Arts Center so often, it’s natural that being a patron of the arts has become one of my favorite hobbies. Recently I’ve taken to creating my own paintings….Let’s just say they’re works in progress.
I come from an active, outdoorsy family, so I love getting together with friends for hiking or kayaking adventures – still novice level – and jumping out onto the tennis court. I also attend all the Atlanta festivals I can manage, a favorite being the Food & Wine Festival.
I realized early in life that I was gay, and I knew it was unacceptable where I grew up. I hope that the boards I’ve served on, volunteer hours I’ve donated, and places I’ve worked will leave a path for others to feel comfortable in their skin much sooner than I did. I don’t need a legacy as long as my actions have a positive effect on our equality and internal acceptance.