Patrick Owens

Executive Master of Public Administration-Public Service Leaders

Executive Director
The New York Choral Society
Patrick Owens

What were you doing before you came to NYU Wagner? What brought you to the EMPA Program, and how did your time at NYU Wagner help you further your career in public service? 

I had a 30-year career in banking and investment banking. I launched and managed capital markets, banking and business development divisions for large international banks, advised on a variety of mergers and acquisitions in the financial services sectors, and coordinated mergers of cross-border banking platforms. During that time, I owned a commerical art gallery and served on nonprofit arts boards. As I began thinking about applying my private sector leadership skills to the public sector. I soon realized that some additional skills and insights were needed! The Wagner EMPA program offered those. The EMPA Program provided me with more "tools for my toolbox" in terms of leadership skills, and different ways of thinking about organizations.

What led you to your current organization/role?

An introduction to the chorus by a fellow Wagner alum and my lifelong passion for the transformative power of the arts presented a unique opportunity to join NYCHORAL as its first full-time, professional Executive Director.

What challenges have you faced in your work and how have you addressed them? What are you most proud of professionally?

Balancing the demands of bringing a team together around a shared vision and mission while adhering to performance metrics. Reminding myself that change takes time! 

I’m most proud of being part of the transformation of a 60+ year old classical music institution into a thriving, innovative, community-centered performing arts organization.

Did anything surprise you about the EMPA Program once you were part of it?

The immediate sense of community among my EMPA peers!

What public service impact do you hope to make through your organization and/or career?

Creating real connections with the community in which we perform. To use the power and privilege of our platform to engage with and elevate the many diverse voices, creators and audiences in our community.

What advice would you give to someone considering or about to enter the EMPA Program?

Be curious. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Select a course that may not have an obviously direct connection with your career goals.