Business Woman Spotlight
Michele Patton
School of Rock San Antonio
Owner/General Manager

Spotlight_Patton
What do you do?
My job is multifaceted, centered around the School of Rock motto: “Inspiring the World to Rock on Stage and in Life.” I design advertising, generate social media, take pictures and video at concerts, encourage our kids, find venues and opportunities for our kids to perform, present tours, answer phones, schedule… in a nutshell, I do a little bit of everything. I try to create an environment that’s awesome for both the teachers and the musicians.

Length of time at this job: Three months, but I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years.

What do you like best about your job?
Watching kids build confidence and success at music and in their lives. I also love it when teachers get excited because a student understands a new concept or gets to perform on stage for the first time.

Education/Major: BA in political science, Master of Science in computer science.

What career path led you to where you are today?
I am a leader and always wanted to run a business of my own. I had to experience different levels of leadership to determine which was right for me. Teaching swimming lessons, resident assistant in a college dorm, managing retail stores, teaching college courses, managing a computer software division, holding officer positions for PTAs, and owning my own businesses, it’s been a combination of things, not a single path that led me to where I am.

When did you know that you were in the right place in your career?
My career has taken many paths, twists and turns. Once I realized a way to combine working with kids with being an entrepreneur and business owner, I knew I was in the right place. My son has always loved music and has filled my home with enjoyment as I listened to him practice and perform. I have always encouraged him to do what he loves and never give up his music. School of Rock is a way to provide other children a place to do what they love, a way to work through fears and experience the thrill of playing music.

Would you encourage your children to go into the same field?
Absolutely, and my son would be even better at it since he is very musically talented. That said, I always encourage him to do what he loves and to follow his dreams.

Who were your mentors?
Various teachers, professors and bosses throughout my life. I was typically around people who encouraged me to be more and do more, operate “outside of my comfort zone” — to become a leader.

What did you want to be growing up?
A teacher. Interestingly, I do not teach music, but provide the place and opportunity for students to learn not only music but confidence through positive reinforcement. They learn team skills through playing in an environment where the sky is the limit, setting goals with guidance, and accountability because they play music with other kids in a band composed entirely of children.

Whom do you most admire?
I admire the musicians who teach at School of Rock — most are in bands themselves where they work really hard at what they do and get paid very little. Then they come to School of Rock and teach the kids how to do what they love — always with a smile, positive attitude and lots of encouragement.

What do you enjoy doing on a day off?
I like to spend time with my husband and son. We enjoy movies, going to concerts, visiting the zoo and just relaxing.

What is your all-time favorite book?
A series called the Dragonriders of Pern.

What’s the best movie you have seen in the last year?
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

What type of music do you like?
Rock ‘n’ roll, of course!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life personally and professionally?
My dad. I grew up a military brat, traveling all over the world. He always encouraged me to be independent, to do what I wanted to do, live out my dreams and never give up. He taught me how to survive in predominantly male-dominated fields and not fear things that seemed impossible. In recent years, my son is my inspiration. He shows me how to give and be more compassionate, how to love and be loved unconditionally, and how to enjoy music by soaking it in, instrument-by- instrument. We can learn so much from our kids if we open our eyes and minds.

What brought you to San Antonio?
We visited during March 1999 on a business trip and fell in love with the weather and people.

What do you like most about San Antonio?
The people of San Antonio are so friendly, and the culture is diverse and accepting.

What community groups or not-for-profit groups are you involved with as a volunteer?
YOSA, NAWBO, Down Syndrome Association.

Do you have a favorite dish?
Spaghetti Carbonara. I learned to make it when I was a teenager living in Italy.

What are your goals?
My goals are fluid and have to adjust to life events. My personal goal has always been to help others, especially children, to gain confidence in who they are and to feel good about themselves.

What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Be yourself and like who you are. Don’t worry about what others think of you or what you are doing, but always treat everyone with respect. Never sacrifice your own values for success.

People would be surprised to know that … I am not at all musically inclined, and I love science fiction.