Get to know our Manager of Programs, Sami Manfredi!

 

Read the interview below to find out more about our rockstar Manager of Programs, Sami Manfredi!

 

Where did you grow up? 

Fresno, California.

Where did you work before joining the ASTEP team? 

Before joining the ASTEP team, I had the honor of working for a few different arts organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. I was Artistic Director for The Audacity Performing Arts Project, Inc., Program Manager for the Arts for Social Justice Program at Santa Clara University, and I taught dance classes at a High School and a Dance Studio in San Jose, CA! 

Have you been onsite with any ASTEP programs? Which ones? 

Yes! I absolutely love to be on site with ASTEP programs! I am proud to say that I have been on site at all of the current ASTEP programs except one (and hopefully I will get there sometime soon!). I recently got back from teaching at Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India, and it was such a beautiful and life changing experience. All of the ASTEP programs continue to inspire me and I learn more about each one of them every day! 

Did you have a background in the arts or teaching, when you started? 

Yes I did! I started in dance classes when I was about 3 years old, and I was hooked ever since! I studied Theatre and Dance in college and am a Musical Theatre performer, and through that I found my vocation to teach and share my joy for the arts with those around me – especially children. 

What is the most challenging part of your work? 

I would say that a challenging part of my work is balancing and coordinating schedules of all our teaching artist teams and volunteers. It is a beautiful challenge to have because we have a vast pool of artists with different backgrounds/jobs/expertise, which allow us to put together the best possible teams for our students – but it does call for extra attention to detail and putting my schedule puzzle solving skills to the test!

What is the most rewarding part of your work? 

The most rewarding part of my work is seeing the smiles on all of the faces of the children we work with. Nothing can beat that pure joy! Everything we do is for the kids, and watching them discover their own greatness through our workshops and programs will always be the icing on the cake!

What do you look forward to, each day, working at ASTEP? 

Everything! From the moment I walk through the ASTEP office door, I am overwhelmed with the love and passion our community has for using arts to make a positive difference in the world. I am continuously inspired by the new volunteers I get to talk to each day, and I am constantly reminded of all the people in this world who are fighting to make a positive difference by sharing their heart/art. 

What song best encapsulates your working personality? 

If I had to describe my work personality in a song, I would choose “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins. Not only does this song put a smile on my face, but I think it describes my work personality and how I approach life in general. “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun!” 

 

 

 

Welcome to our newest staff member, Austin Sora!

 

We’re thrilled to announce that Austin Sora has joined the ASTEP staff as the Assistant to Development and Administration!

Find out some more about Austin in the interview below:


Name:
Austin Sora

Where did you grow up? Toronto, Canada

Where did you work before joining the ASTEP team? I recently moved back to New York after living in Dallas for three years, performing with Bruce Wood Dance. Administratively, I’ve worked with The Clive Barnes Foundation, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Bruce Wood Dance.

Have you been onsite with any ASTEP programs? Which ones? My first teaching experience with ASTEP was teaching dance at Women in Need (WIN) as part of the ASTEP on STAGE! program. I’ve also volunteered for ASTEP at the Refugee Youth Summer Academy (RYSA), in partnership with the IRC.

Did you have a background in the arts or teaching, when you started? I have been dancing my whole life, and I am fortunate to be able to continue doing it professionally. The first class I taught for ASTEP in 2014 was my first teaching experience! It was a wonderful introduction to teaching because I saw first hand how much the arts can empower and connect people.

What is the most challenging part of your work? The challenges of this job are in a way what I love most. I am asked to wear a lot of hats, which allows me to work in several different areas within the organization. It can be a challenge juggling a range of responsibilities, but I learn something new every day!

What is the most rewarding part of your work? ASTEP’s mission is one that I believe in strongly, and I love coming to work each day knowing that I am playing a small part in bringing the arts to so many children in the US and abroad.

What do you look forward to, each day, working at ASTEP? The ASTEP community is made up of a special group of people, whose generosity and passion inspires me each day.

What song best encapsulates your working personality? “Happy” by Pharrell Williams! 🙂

 

 

 

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