We had the good fortune of connecting with Shellie Schmals and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shellie, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
I have a small silver bracelet that’s stamped with the phrase, “To Be Great Is To Be Misunderstood,” and I wear this bracelet every day. This simple statement means the world to me. It reminds me to live authentically, regardless of what anyone else may think. It validates that my creativity is a personal, artistic, journey. One that can not be replicated and should not stand to judgement. This goes both ways, not only how the world sees me, but how I see the world. I strive to lead with kindness and an open-heart, to accept others as they are, and be open to their greatness.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s funny. My job title and target market may have changed throughout the years, but the skills that I brought to each position have always remained the same: creating programs and working with people. My career spans 25 years, and the first half of my career centered in the non-profit social services sector. I cut my teeth in all the essentials areas needed to help boost my producer skills: budgeting, fundraising, volunteer management, networking, and pr/marketing. I have two masters degrees, and those helped me land jobs, but it was up to me to determine my own success. I was fortunate enough to work for organizations in areas I deeply cared for: teen leadership training, young professional fundraising, and college student services. The first programs I created were for very specific audiences with little or no funds available. These skills are my tool kit I use when launching my own projects. In my current role as Film Programming Manager at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, I’m able to create events like Cinebash (film party) that redefine how our organization can celebrate cinematic arts, and I’m also able to quietly research films on my laptop all day to discover new gems from all around the globe. It’s really the best of both worlds. I’m very excited about our upcoming 2021 AJFF (2/17 to 2/28). Talk about challenges! Our whole organization made a swift and thoughtful pivot during the pandemic, to meet the needs of our audience, while still maintaining the standards of excellence that AJFF is known for. Points of pride, an unbelievable Drive-In Experience at The Home Depot Backyard, joining together in an exclusive partnership with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, alongside a virtual cinema that has been created to simulate a theatrical experience. You can enjoy the best of Jewish Cinema, from your phone, laptop, tablet, or home theater! Super excited – it’s going to be so much fun! www.ajff.org

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
*Flashing back to a world without Covid* I would start in my own little slice of Atlanta, Castleberry Hill! I’d walk around my little neighborhood, pop into the open galleries like Besharat Gallery or Zucot Gallery. We’d eat our way through sushi at BottleRocket ATL, chips and queso at No Mas, and then, Bloody Mary’s at Elliott Street Pub! There are so many murals and shops to pop into! There are so many things, I’m just going to list them all out! Places … L5P, Beltline, Ponce City Market, Fetch ATL, Krog Tunnel Activities … Whole World Theatre, Laughing Skull Lounge, Star Bar, Dad’s Garage Foods … Vortex, Argosy, Starfish, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Krog Market Seasonal … L5P Halloween Parade, DragonCon, EAV Strut, Inman Park Festival, Flux Projects, Fringe Festival

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to shoutout my Roxie Roz Burlesque Artistic Team! Royal Tee, Creative Director and Emily Rose, Social Media Director. Ours is a team that is built on mutual respect, understanding, and constant support. I believe the reason why we are so successful, is that we check our egos at the door, and talk through important decisions with open minds, knowing that opportunities come and go, but our priority is performer integrity, inclusion, diversity and safety. I’m also recognizing, my dear friend, and frequent collaborator, James King. I met James nearly 15 years ago, and he introduced me to the independent, visual arts scene in Atlanta. His 2007 photography show, “Trailer Tie-Up” was an inspiration for the immersive events that I love producing. He’s a multi-talented, internationally published photographer, and his videography is a vision to behold! Also, one last shoutout to the ladies of the Georgia Pinup Posse. My pinup sisters are always there to keep me motivated, inspired, and laughing!!!

Website: https://www.facebook.com/shellieschmalsretro
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vonschmals/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shellieschmals/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shellieschmals
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellie.schmals
Other: http://www.roxieroz.com https://www.instagram.com/roxie.roz

Image Credits
Charles Bailey Brooklyn Brat Images James King

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