Interview conducted by Brandon Pugh- Egyptian Theatre Intern
Mark Pietrowski Jr., has lived in DeKalb County since he was five years old. He was honored to be asked to serve on the board of directors for the Egyptian Theatre as someone that loves the arts and local history preservation. He is the current associate director for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming at Northern Illinois University where he also earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication. He is a member of the NIU Annuitants, and is an NIU LGBT Ally. Mark has experience teaching a number of Communication and Journalism classes. He is a former elected Kishwaukee College trustee, and Joseph Glidden Homestead and Historical Center board member.
Brandon: What have you enjoyed most about being a board member for the Egyptian Theatre? What has been most rewarding?
Mark: I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other board members and seeing how such a limited staff are able to operate the Egyptian Theatre. The most rewarding thing from being a board member is just seeing the forward progress being made to have the theatre grow and be sustainable for years to come. It is important to keep the historic theatre maintained and active so the Northern Illinois area can enjoy it forever.
Brandon: When did you join the Egyptian Theatre board?
Mark: In 2012.
Brandon: If you could narrow it down to one, what would your favorite event be that the theatre has hosted during your time on the board?
Mark: The Richard Marx concert. It was a unique “story teller” intimate show where it was just him the whole time singing and playing guitar or piano. I bought tickets to attend the show with my mom who is a big fan of his and we got to go back stage and meet him too.
Brandon: Outside of working/volunteering with the theatre, what other involvements do you have with the community?
- Elected DeKalb County Board member and DeKalb County Board Chairman
- President of the DeKalb County Forest Preserve
- DeKalb County Liquor Commissioner
- Past president of the DeKalb Kiwanis, current member
- Cortland Lions Club, member
- DeKalb County Farm Bureau – member
- DeKalb Library “Big Read” Steering Committee – member
- NIU Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) – Faculty Advisor
- Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) – Chicago Chapter
- NIU Annuitants Association, member
- NIU Supportive Professional Staff Council – Alternate representative
Brandon: What is one thing you’re looking forward to in leaving the Egyptian Theatre board?
Mark: A little bit more free time. I will still be an active supporter of the theatre though.
Brandon: What advice would you give to someone wanting to volunteer on a non-profit board?
Mark: Do it. It is an amazing feeling to give back to your community and help a non-profit board. If someone is struggling to figure out how to get on a non-profit board the best thing to do is contact non-profits you are interested in serving. Volunteer, donate, and ask about the process for becoming a board member.
Brandon: Have you performed in the past? If yes, what do you enjoy most?
Mark: Yes, I performed in a production of Aladdin on the Egyptian Theatre stage as a kid as part of a Dee’s Dreamers production. I loved the stage and looking out into the crowd. I’ve also introduced some programming at the theatre in the past.
Brandon: In your opinion, what are some benefits to being able to attend theatrical performances/events locally?
Mark: Watching a concert on TV or YouTube is NOTHING like experiencing it live. This includes comedy performances. Attending a theatrical performance or event is enriching for the soul and an experience that can be enjoyed by others. We need a quality live entertainment venue in the area.
Brandon: If you could possess one super hero talent, what would it be?
Mark: The ability to heal others.