How HDO helped turn an entrepreneur into an award-nominated filmmaker
Leslie M. Dill
Business Development & Marketing Coordinator, HDO
March 7, 2022
Kelly Schaber is currently the Development Manager for Forklift Danceworks in Austin, TX. Graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a master’s degree in Human Dimensions of Organizations, Schaber created an inspiring film for her final capstone project. This project catapulted her into the world of filmmaking and just two years after graduating, her newest film “You Are Not Alone” has been given Honorable Mention at the ATX Short Film Showcase. Using her HDO degree, Kelly now brings her many passions for story-telling, logistics and art together.
What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Human Dimensions of Organizations?
KS: I’ve been an entrepreneur for several years with a jewelry business, and I wanted to pursue an education that would bring together my entreprenuerial interests alongside an interest in people and story-telling. HDO brought together so many elements of people in the workplace, it really allowed me to explore multiple areas of interest all in one program.
You wear many hats professionally…how has this helped or challenged your career goals?
KS: My goals have become much clearer after HDO and living in the pandemic the past few years. I had the chance to reflect on the impact that I’d like to make, and that has been a really fantastic opportunity to make some changes. This month, I accepted a full-time role as Development Manager for Forklift Danceworks, an Austin non-profit that actives the community through movement and creative collaboration. I am a passionate supporter of the arts and grateful to have found an organization, a team, and a role that I can grow in. I’ll also continue producing and directing documentary films for Folktale Creative, the production company I founded with Jeremy Nelson.
How did your film production company, Folklore Creative, come to be?
KS: Folktale Creative came about as a direct result of my time in HDO. I met Jeremy Nelson, an Austin Filmmaker, in 2018, and we collaborated on my capstone film. We enjoyed working together and, in 2020, decided to partner and cofound Folktale Creative. We focus on short documentary projects centered around art, community, and mental health. Filmmaking has been a wonderful creative outlet for me, and I plan to continue working in film for years to come.
I have experienced imposter syndrome in work and the first few weeks of my HDO journey! I think part of breaking through this mentality is naming it, speaking up, sharing your feelings, connecting with others in your circle, and realizing how common impostor syndrome can be.
If you had the opportunity to make a film documenting the life of women for Women’s History Month, who would it be?
KS: I’d love to collaborate on a film documenting the life of Septima Clark. Her work in community education, creating access to literacy, and social justice resonates with me. I read about her grassroots organizing for education and her time as an educator at the Highlander Folk School, and I was incredibly inspired by her impact. I just ordered her memoir, “Ready from Within”, and I can’t wait to learn more about her life from her voice.
Numerous articles and studies have been written about women experiencing imposter syndrome at work. Have you ever experienced this and how do you think women can break through this mentality?
KS: I have experienced imposter syndrome in work and the first few weeks of my HDO journey! I think part of breaking through this mentality is naming it, speaking up, sharing your feelings, connecting with others in your circle, and realizing how common impostor syndrome can be.
Lastly, what piece of advice do you have for anyone wanting to pursue their passions outside of their day job who doesn’t quite know how to get started?
KS: I myself discovered how much I really loved filmmaking during my time in HDO. Of course, graduating right before the onset of the pandemic in the United States, it was a little difficult at first to figure out how to pursue this. I started taking some classes online through the Austin Film Society and just asked around different projects. I became a sort of producer/project manager, just volunteering to do the administration or the managerial aspects of a film that often times the director or other team members don’t have a lot of time to complete. I established myself as a reliable team member by doing this, and got to be around the filmmkaing process while learning a lot. I’d really recommend just volunteering for those smaller tasks or figuring out how to help wherever you can. It makes a huge difference and gives you an in-person crash course you’ll be incredibly grateful you pursued.
To find out more about HDO’s Master’s Program, visit us here.