Jodi Cooper had dreams. But dreams change.
“My dream was to one day run my own daycare,” Cooper said. “I have always loved children, loved teaching them and watching them grow.”
Then came that night.
“I remember going to my first show at the Palace,” she recalls, “which was for a day three concert in 2016. The theater was breathtaking. I even said to my husband, ‘Can you imagine working here? This place is amazing!’”
Today, Cooper is the business manager of operations at the Marion Palace Theatre.
“I did a few plays in high school, but I never dreamed of doing theater,” she noted.
Cooper grew up in Laona, Wisconsin, a small town about 90 minutes north of Green Bay. She graduated from Laona High School in 1997. There were only 24 children in her class. She took online college courses at the University of Phoenix, earning an associate’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in commerce, with a certificate in digital marketing.
“I started working at a daycare in Appleton, WI,” she said. “I worked there for about two years. And I became an adoptive parent in 2007 because I always liked helping children. But foster care and childcare were difficult, so I left that career field – but continued to foster children in my home for another seven years.
“I’ve always loved musicals,” she continued. “Growing up, I visited my grandparents every summer in Door County, Wisconsin. My grandfather had every musical ever made, all on VHS tape, with a pay-by-dial system so he knew who had his movies. I spent my summer nights picking out all my favorites to watch over and over again. “Bye Bye Birdie” and “South Pacific” have always been on that list. »
She joined Marion in 2014 to be closer to her husband’s family and made her theater debut in 2017, first as a ticketing coordinator and marketing assistant.
“Jodi is one of those employees that everyone in management is looking to add to their team,” said Bev Ford, then executive director of the Marion Palace Theater, now executive director of the Marion Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “She was always quick to lend a hand wherever she could, whether it was setting up an event or solving ticketing issues – and everything in between. She was, and I’m sure she continues to be, an invaluable member of Team Palace.
“My absolute favorite thing about the palace is being able to see the kids from the local shows come to life on stage,” Cooper said.
“I didn’t grow up in Marion, but I can see the Marionites love for this theater,” she noted. “This building is beautiful. The story is incredible. The chance to bring people to a 94-year-old theater isn’t something everyone gets to do on a daily basis.
“I went from being a shy, quiet country girl to adoptive parent and then business manager of the Marion Palace Theatre,” Cooper added. “I never thought I would end up living here, but when God tells me to move, I move. He brought me to Marion for a reason, and while he has me here, I’m going to do some my best to show everyone what a wonderful community Marion is.
Marion Palace Theater is located at 276 W. Center St. in Marion. For more information, call 740-383-2101 or log in marionpalace.org.
Aces of Trades is a weekly series about people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected].