Five minutes with FIA Tasmania State Committee Chair Cath Adams

We spent a bit of time with Cath Adams, Development Executive with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and found we were in tune with her ideas.


You started as a traditional marketer but are now working more in the business development, fundraising and corporate partnerships space. Tell us about your career to date.

I have had a varied career which started in hospitality after I left school. This career continued in both Tasmania and London. I moved to Melbourne in my mid 20’s where I studied marketing at Monash University and worked in corporate services for an electricity utility. After moving back to Tasmania in my 30’s, I worked in marketing for The Travel Studio, a boutique travel agency, and then in fundraising and events management for the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation.


You work for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) as their development executive. Since 1998, the TSO has become a source of pride for Tasmanians with a 97% awareness rating. Tell us about your work there and what makes the TSO a special place to work in fundraising.

I manage the corporate partnership portfolio for the TSO. We have a range of both national and local businesses who are passionate about supporting the arts and the TSO, and who benefit from aligning their brand with Tasmania’s largest arts organisation. It’s a great honour to work here and I am surrounded by such extraordinary musical talent. Both our donors and corporate partners are very engaged with the TSO, regularly attending concerts and special events. They share some wonderful stories of how our orchestral music enriches their lives. It’s a real privilege to be part of that journey.


How important are corporate partnerships to the TSO? What has fundraising allowed the organisation to do that it might not have been otherwise able to do?

Corporate partnerships are critical to the long-term viability of the TSO and help us become less reliant on state and federal government support. We are passionate about connecting with the community in which we live and work. Our community program, AccessTix, which is supported by our Premier Partner Hydro, gives disadvantaged Tasmanians the chance to attend concerts at no cost. Each year over 1,000 Tasmanians get the chance to enjoy orchestral music, often for the first time. For many this experience can be life-changing. Without corporate partner funding, these sorts of programs would not be possible.


Why did you join the FIA Tasmania Committee?

I’m passionate about raising the profile and accreditation of Tasmanian fundraisers. Our committee has a strong focus on delivering a suite of engaging professional development courses which has seen a strong uptake over the past few years. Through the committee, we also work hard to encourage connection and networking among not-for-profits. We learn so much from each other. Fundraising can be a challenging area to work in and through FIA Tasmania some wonderful friendships have been forged.


What are your priorities for 2018?

We would like to see more charitable organisations forging connections with FIA Tasmania. We need to focus on growing FIA membership across the state and encourage all members to complete the FIA Code course. This will help raise the bar in Tasmanian fundraising and help ensure we all work in an ethical and accountable manner.