All her life Kari Goetz has been destined for show business — she became a member of the Screen Actors Guild at 8 years old.
But little did she know that her theatrical training would apply not only to show biz but to the modern business world.
Goetz meets on campus with the Bulls Business Community (BBC) once a month to teach basic improvisational skills. She also teaches a one-week immersion program on improvisational business techniques, which she regards as “probably the most rewarding thing I get to do all year.”
But when she isn’t playing her version of Whose Line is it Anyway? with the BBC, Goetz is an executive officer at Jobsite Theater, the nonprofit theater company of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (TBPAC). She has been with Jobsite for seven years and has known many of itsmembers since pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater performance at the University of Florida.
A Florida native, Goetz began her career in Orlando. After playing Susie Winter in Emerald Cove, a short series airing during Disney’s New Mickey Mouse Club, Goetz moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream as a performer. There she tended bar, booked comedians and performed as one herself. Later, she got involved with Chicago’s Second City Training Center, which offers a variety of improv and writing classes. The world-renowned school boasts such notable alumni as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Halle Berry.
Though Goetz was most passionate about improv, she held a variety of positions at Second City.
“There really wasn’t a position at Second City that I didn’t hold at one time or another — everything from registrar to teacher to performer,” she said.
Goetz also got involved with the company’s corporate side, which is where she saw how applicable her improv skills were to the business world. The communication and teamwork skills taught in improv classes could be useful not just onstage but in the boardroom.
It was this theory that brought Goetz to Tampa. Here she created the TBPAC’s “Manage by the Arts” corporate training program, teaching customer service, team-building, communication and leadership workshops to a variety of organizations and institutions.
Goetz finds that improvisational skills enhance her ability to communicate in the business world — so much so that she considers a theater degree the best education you can get.
“It prepares you in many ways — everything from how to sew a button to how to communicate, publicize and market,” Goetz said.
Freshman accounting major Latoya Tanner has firsthand experience with this expertise, after attending BBC workshops. She described Goetz as “vibrant and energetic” and an excellent teacher.
“Her improvisation skills were phenomenal and I really enjoyed the classes,” Tanner said.
Not only were the workshops fun, Tanner said, but they also taught important business concepts, such as listening skills, creativity and how to determine whether a person is a leader or a follower.
On Saturday, Jobsite put on its last performance of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which Goetz directed. It was the most successful show in Jobsite history. Goetz said she is very proud of this accomplishment, but her celebration will be short-lived.
“I get three days off and then I go right into rehearsal for our next play, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which I will be acting in,” said Goetz. The play premieres March 19.
Of all the jobs and positions she has held, Goetz says she cannot decide on a favorite.
“That’s like picking your favorite child — I love performing, but as I get older, teaching and directing are becoming more and more satisfying,” she said.
Goetz continues to be a Renaissance woman, involved in the arts, education and business world of Tampa. Though she never thought she would give up on her Gators, Goetz said today she considers herself more of a Bull.