April 25, 2018
Below, Shannon Cahill ’18, and with her Greylock Sound “family.”
Graduating senior Shannon Cahill ’18 of Grafton, Mass., is on her way – not only to the Commencement stage, but to a career that just got a very big boost.
As the winner of MCLA’s Second Annual Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, Cahill will continue to build “Greylock Sound,” a performing arts booking and promotion agency she co-founded in December 2017. Already operational, she and the bookers, graphic designers, and promoters she works with have put on nine productions and collaborated with the College on two events.
For her original and inventive idea, Cahill, an English/communications major with a minor in arts management, walked away with the $10,000 prize and a funded, 10-week internship, along with advising and space to continue to develop her idea at Lever, Inc., a collaborative workspace and incubator focused on regional economic growth. Lever helps launch high-growth, high-potential companies that will create jobs.
“This was an incredible opportunity that I am increasingly thankful for,” Cahill said. “Not only was it great experience to write a business plan, create a pitch deck, and then pitch my business to a panel of judges, but the internship that comes along with it at Lever, Inc., is an amazing opportunity that I'm very excited to start.”
A group of young music enthusiasts in the Berkshires who want to bring affordable, live music productions to the area, Greylock Sound focuses on genres such as hardcore, punk, emo, and metal, with some rap and hip hop shows. In addition to their productions, the company includes a graphic designer who creates album artwork, music videos and live music photography.
“Another service we offer is sound equipment rental for events in the area,” Cahill said. “We got the idea for all of this simply because we are all heavily involved in the local music scene, and saw some significant gaps that we wanted to fill.”
She plans to invest the prize money in the rental portion of the business. “This is an area we have identified as having huge growth potential, and we believe that investing in equipment upgrades, human capital, and enhanced marketing will allow our revenue to grow substantially. With better equipment we can put on higher-quality shows and also appear more attractive as a subcontractor.”
Cahill, who handles the marketing and financial portions of the business, hopes to work fulltime for the company after she graduates. “However, I am currently looking for marketing and communications jobs at publishing companies, museums, record labels, etc. so that I can combine my love for the arts with communications,” she said.
“I chose MCLA because it had everything I wanted,” Cahill said. “It was far enough away from home so I would be able to see what living on my own was like. It had a variety of majors so I could take classes in different disciplines.” In addition, her arts management professors “taught me absolutely everything I know about production, business, and being a creative professional.”
The Challenge, she said, is important to the community. “It allows students to take their ideas and bring them to fruition. It's an amazing opportunity for students to be able to contribute to the community, and work towards a goal with the help of those who know how to get them there.”