This season, not only do we have a new McAninch Arts Center, but we have a new leader at the helm as well. We are thrilled to announce that Glen Ellyn’s own Diana Martinez has joined us as our Interim Executive Director. The former President of The Second City and Executive Director of the Paramount Arts Center is the perfect candidate to triumphantly return us back to the MAC.
A true Illinois native, Martinez grew up in Glen Ellyn and is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana Fine Arts Department. She began her professional career as the Director of Entertainment and Marketing for Pheasant Run Resort and Mega Center in St. Charles for 13 years. She presented more than 30 concert and comedy events at the Mega Center including Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Jones, Jay Leno, Tim Allen, Willie Nelson, Dana Carvey and Kenny Rogers. Martinez served as Executive Director for Aurora’s Paramount Theatre from 2001 to 2010, where she was instrumental in the design and funding for a $6.2 million dollar lobby and production space addition. She was honored with the Woman of Distinction Award in 2003, Influential Women in Business Award 2002, and 2003 Today’s Young Executive Award by the Business Ledger.
After serving as Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer of The Second City International, she was promoted to President to assume responsibility for Second City’s day-to-day operations. Overseeing an annual operating budget of $35 million, more than 350 employees and talent, and three locations (Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto), Martinez left her mark on The Second City during her three year tenure. She was instrumental in opening a third theatre at The Second City in Chicago under a new brand: UP Comedy Club. This venue also created an opportunity to showcase and develop more talent, showcase national headline comics, create new rental revenue and catering revenue streams, and offer new matinee programming and children’s programs.
Bringing years of experience producing everything from full-scale musicals to comedy acts, Martinez is ready to help usher in a new era of performing arts at the McAninch Arts Center. We asked Diana a few get-to-know-you questions to help introduce her to the community!
What are you looking forward to most about your new role with the MAC?
Having the opportunity to work in my home town is very heart warming to me. I was a student at the College of DuPage for a year before going to the University of Illinois, but the campus is a very different place now. It’s such an exciting time for the McAninch Arts Center with the gorgeous renovations and addition of a new outdoor space and expanded art gallery. The MAC is truly poised to re-define its role in the greater community and engage new audiences.
As a resident of Glen Ellyn, what are some of your favorite parts of the area?
The downtown! My mom owned Maria’s Beauty Salon for 40 years, so I spent a lot of time helping out there. I’m a big fan of supporting the local business community in Glen Ellyn. Lake Ellyn holds the soft spot in my heart, I literally grew up on that lake. I rode my bike there as a kid, fell in the lake while trying to “catch a fish,” and it’s where I directed and produced my first show in the park with the Before Broadway Players sponsored by the Glen Ellyn Park District, and now it’s where I go to walk my dogs and clear my head.
What has been your proudest achievement?
I’d say commercially, conceptualizing, and opening UP Comedy Club for the Second City and philanthropically, Founding the Dreams Do Come True Program for the Paramount which annually afforded over 1000 underprivileged children the opportunity to see live theatre (sometimes for the first time in their life).
What book is on your nightstand right now?
DRIVE by Daniel Pink
What are your top three favorite things you produced?
- Michael Bublé Concert
- The Adventures of Ratdog and Princess Toad: A children’s show that ran for five years with nine episodes
- Second City’s 50th Anniversary Weekend Celebration: Hundreds of Alumni, thousands of attendees, red carpet events, parties and shows.
What are three words to describe you?
Funny, Fair, Determined