#BeenThereLearnedThat: Felicia Crabtree on Trusting the Process
By Kia Robinson
Graduating college can be one of the most rewarding yet confusing milestones in life. It’s rewarding because your hard work is finally paid off yet it’s confusing because, “What’s next?” is often the hardest question to answer. Unfortunately life does not come with a manual so planning your next move can be intimidating and draining. The Life Currency spoke with Felicia Crabtree, Director of Special Events at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, about her post-graduate journey. While she had a slight idea of her next move after graduation, Crabtree shared, “Not knowing your exact career path in the beginning is OK. The ‘unknown’ is part of the process of becoming who it is you're supposed to be. Building a career is a journey, not a destination.”
Crabtree is a graduate of Howard University where she studied communications. From very early in her college journey, Felicia understood the importance of hands-on experience and the importance of interning while in college. “An internship can be the trial run for the real deal. That’s how one determines their ideal career path,” she explained. During her freshman year in college, Crabtree was able to land an internship with Viacom’s BET Network where she assisted with events and promotional strategies. While this was merely an internship, Crabtree made it her mission to work as if she were on salary. Her hard work did not go unnoticed and the team invited her to intern each and every year until she graduated. She had no idea where this experience would lead but because of her steadfast dedication, BET offered Crabtree a full-time position upon graduation.
Crabtree knew she had a passion for events, which is why she chose to stay with BET throughout college. She enjoyed the work and was grateful for the opportunity to do what she loved. When the opportunity turned into a full-time position, Crabtree was able to continue doing the work that she loved all while getting paid. After working with BET for a few years, Felicia went on to work as the Special Events Manager for The Salvation Army, then as the Special Project Manager for The Studio Museum in Harlem, later as the Director of Events and Membership at The Paley Center for Media, and now at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. In her current role, Felicia manages the planning and execution of gala events, works to ensure gala fundraising goals are met or exceeded and helps to manage financial reports and event budgets for initiatives. Crabtree shared that her last few roles have allowed her to work in the events space all while benefiting causes that are designed to support and further fund arts initiatives. It’s like a dual benefit. She’s doing what she loves and she’s supporting worthy causes at the same time.
As with every story, Crabtree’s journey has taught her a lot along the way. “Everything is a process. Be careful not to miss the lesson in each journey.” Given that she has had a great deal of experience in her career, TLC wanted to know what advice she would give to others just starting out. “Be patient with yourself. Nothing happens overnight. Honing your craft takes decades! Ask questions. Soak up everything happening around you and ask questions of those that you look up to and to those who have a clear career trajectory that you admire.”
The lesson here is simple: Trust the process. When Crabtree was interning each and every year while at Howard University, she didn’t know BET was going to offer her a full time role – she trusted the process. She trusted that her hard work would eventually pay off and she would later reap major rewards – and she did. So whether you’re preparing for graduation or preparing to take on a summer internship, always remember to trust the process. In the end, you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. Just ask Felicia Crabtree.
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.