Introducing our new Heads of Sector Engagement, Steve Payne and Natalie Kertes

Author: Kathryn Mason

We’re very excited to welcome Steve Payne and Natalie Kertes to the team, as our new Heads of Sector Engagement in Australasia and North America respectively.

These are both newly-created roles that will play a key part in our plans moving forward, as we look to grow our international client base, consolidate our presence in North America and expand our global offering.

“Head of Sector Engagement is a new role at Substrakt” says our MD Ash, “that was created so that we can understand and respond to the specific needs of all the regions we work in. We understand that whilst the culture sector faces similar challenges the world over, there are also significant differences from country to country.”

So it’s been really important to find people that can confidently drive our business in these markets. And beyond this, people who both understand and value the role digital can play for cultural organisations.

“We always look for people who have both a great understanding of digital but also – wherever possible – have real, lived experience of working at cultural institutions” – Ash. 

Having held senior positions in the cultural sector since 2003, Steve joins us from the Australian Ballet where he worked as Head of Customer Experience & Ticketing for 4 years. He also acts as the Australasia representative on the Tessitura Member Advisory Committee. Steve has worked with organisations in both Australia and the UK, including Sydney Opera House, Opera Australia and London’s National Portrait Gallery. And when he’s not working, Steve enjoys F45 training (always one for a challenge!) and looking after his adorable new puppy, Jasper. We can’t wait for another Substrakt pet to join our team calls!

Natalie will be joining us from the Toronto Public Library, where she’s currently working as a Senior Producer (Cultural & Special Event Programming). Having been an arts administrator in Toronto for over a decade, Natalie brings a tonne of experience working across a variety of disciplines, particularly literary arts and theatre. Her prior roles include Director of Literary Programs at the Koffler Center of the Arts, and Artistic Director of Diaspora Dialogues. As someone who’s always been drawn to the arts and culture, she credits her career for helping her discover a range of niche interests, including mountaineering, disaster novels and anything that falls under ‘true crime’ (we’re intrigued to hear about the mountaineering inspiration…!).

Natalie says she’s “thrilled to be joining the team at Substrakt, particularly at a time when artists and arts organisations are thinking about how they can continue to engage the virtual audiences they’ve cultivated over the last year”. For Steve, he’s “extremely excited to be launching Substrakt within the Australia and New Zealand market and is looking forward to driving user-centric projects to help advance the cultural sector”.

Both Steve and Natalie’s breadth of expertise having worked at cultural organisations within their respective territories (on top of being lovely and interesting people) make them both a perfect fit. They bring, in Ash’s words “a wealth of experience to the team and a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities the culture sector faces as we move through the pandemic and beyond”.

We’re delighted to have them both on board. Steve started with us this month, while Natalie will be joining us in early May.

And our growth plans don’t stop there! We’re also hiring for a new Head of Sector Engagement in Europe. Find out more and how to apply.