Meet Steve Jahnke, Patron Services Manager

April 29, 2024

Meet the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s Patron Services Manager, Steve Jahnke. In his role, Steve oversees the Center’s volunteers and accessibility services. April’s National Volunteer Month shines a spotlight on Steve, who began his history with the Fox Cities P.A.C. as a volunteer when the Center first opened in 2002. Having been a part of the Center’s team for more than 20 years, Steve has filled various roles from volunteer to floor supervisor, house manager to his current position as patron services manager which he’s held since 2007. “I wanted to give back to give back to the community, which is something my parents instilled in me, so I became a volunteer for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center,” Steve shared.

We train our staff and volunteers that a patron’s rough day can be changed the minute they walk into their Fox Cities P.A.C. and they leave smiling.
Steve Jahnke - Fox Cities P.A.C. Patron Service Manager

In the office, Steve’s day-to-day responsibilities include going over work orders and ensuring that volunteers are scheduled to come in before events begin. Volunteers work at most events including performances, receptions, community engagement opportunities, program workshops and more, totaling hundreds of ticketed and nonticketed events each year. “It’s not a mundane job because every day is different,” Steve commented. “The week of a Broadway show is completely different from a week with no shows.” Steve and his team use the slower times for data entry, entering the next season’s shows so the volunteers can begin signing up.

Steve motivates volunteers by recognizing their value as individuals with different needs and wants. “Every circumstance is different, and people are inspired in different ways,” Steve thoughtfully remarked. “It’s about being flexible and explaining how their role matters in the bigger picture. I’m here to support and coach them.” He also secures new volunteers. “The retention of the volunteers is phenomenal,” he said. “I’ve known many of the nearly 300 volunteers for several years and they’re very supportive. About 75% of the volunteers we currently have are retired educators and school administrators and come here by word-of-mouth from our other volunteers.”

During this year’s National Volunteer Week (April 21-17), the Center celebrated more than 20 years of volunteers past and present who have generously shared their time and talents with the community in their roles. These volunteers received a letter from Steve and Center President and CEO, Maria Van Laanen, thanking them for the part they play in bringing the arts to life in our community. While the Broadway touring production of TINA: The Tina Turner Musical was in the building during its April 16-21 run, volunteers enjoyed snacks in the Volunteers Lounge each night of the show. Staff members also personally shared their gratitude with the volunteers for what they do, expressing the importance of their work.

Volunteers help offset the costs of bringing extraordinary live performing arts experiences to our community. What they do is incredibly invaluable and helps to support this local nonprofit arts and cultural organization.
Steve Jahnke - Fox Cities P.A.C. Patron Services Manager

In addition to overseeing the Center’s volunteers, Steve does extensive research to continually make improvements to the accessibility services. “We currently have pretty much every accessibility service that a theater can have right now,” Steve shared. One very versatile service is GalaPro, a free mobile app for real-time captioning and translation of Broadway performances that patrons can download and use from any seat in Thrivent Hall’s theater.

My favorite thing working at the Center is watching the interactions between the volunteers and the patrons. I sometimes go into the theater and watch from the side the faces of patrons light up with excitement. Other times I’ll be in my office and hear people passing by saying how much they enjoyed a show.
Steve Jahnke - Fox Cities P.A.C. Patron Services Manager

Interested in joining the Center’s cast? Visit to become a volunteer and for all current employment opportunities at your Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Thank you to Thrivent® for proudly supporting the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s volunteers.

Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center