Faces of networking: Mario Incorvaia

Mario Incorvaia finds synergy in his roles at the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island

Story By Lucy Rosen  + Photography by Jean-Marie Côté

The first dance song at your wedding. A classic that takes you straight back to the backseat of a car with your friends. That one song that, when you hear it, makes you feel like you’re dancing at the concert again. Music can have a powerful effect on people’s lives, which is what drew Mario Incorvaia, the chief operating officer of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra (HHSO), to the arts. 

It was that passion that led to a 25-plus-year career in arts administration. He spends much of his workdays putting his experience in marketing, event production, artist representation and corporate sponsorship solicitation to work for several local orchestras and ensembles, but at night, he finds himself onstage playing the violin alongside his fellow musicians. 

The keyword there being much of his workdays. In 2015 Incorvaia was inducted into the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island, Hilton Head’s longest-standing service club with  120 members. He embraced Rotary International’s slogan of “Service Above Self” through volunteering for the RBC Heritage golf tournament, holiday bell-ringing, and “Happy Feet” event, just to name a few. Beyond his service on membership and fellowship committees, Incorvaia was named a Paul Harris Fellow and in 2021 was presented with the club’s President’s Award in recognition of outstanding initiative and support.

Incorvaia is completing a one-year term as the Rotary Club’s vice president and will serve as the club’s president-elect next year. He then will serve as club president from 2024-25. 

“Upon my introduction to Rotary, I was inspired by the generous spirit that I sensed permeating the room during weekly meetings,” he said. “It was quickly clear to me that this group of people shared a commitment to take action to create lasting change, both locally and globally, aiming to serve others and to promote peace and goodwill.” 

It’s the Rotary Club’s spirit of generosity that Incorvaia carries into his work with the HHSO. He says that both organizations are alike in their “existential necessities” to serve their communities. And with corporate sponsorships, volunteer coordination, patron relations and outreach all under his purview, Incorvaia’s mission is to maintain a relationship between the HHSO and its patrons. 

Incorvaia has been on the symphony administration team since 2000, where it has grown from a $1.1 million annual budget to its current $2.4 million operation, allowing the symphony to expand its frequency and style of concerts. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Incorvaia assembled a team of HHSO musicians and technical personnel to live-stream weekly concerts to thousands of viewers, using music as a way to bring people together, even when they were apart. And in 2021 Incorvaia launched a series of successful Supper Club dinner concerts, which quickly sold out. The dinner concerts’ second season tickets are available through a wait list. 

Incorvaia credits much of his success at the HHSO and the Rotary Club to each organization’s strong community networks. 

“Each [organization] is better served itself when its community is better served first,” he said. “I would take it one step further to say that, similarly to each other, both the HHSO and Rotary actively seek the support of those individuals who are pillars of our community to assume the leadership roles required to be effective in this important community service.” 

Both the HHSO and Rotary Club are heavily involved with facilitating local youth development and enrichment programs, an interest that Incorvaia shares. He is vice-chair of Savannah’s Coastal Youth Choirs board of directors and says that one of his favorite – and most successful – network-based developments was installing interactive, pitched chimes for children to play with at SoundWaves, the HHSO’s concert venue. 

Incorvaia was inspired on a family trip to Baltimore with his family several years ago. His children enjoyed the outdoor chimes near the Baltimore Aquarium, and he saw an opportunity to create an interactive musical installation at SoundWaves. He, along with then-symphony President Mary Briggs, sought the expertise of fellow Rotary Club member R. Vito Farsetti to design and construct a set of outdoor chimes modeled after those Incorvaia’s family found in Baltimore. 

Incorvaia is relying on the Rotary Club’s network to develop an environmentally focused Impact Companion Club, an organization for people who are interested in preserving natural resources and fighting climate change. He is confident that connecting people like Sea Turtle Patrol’s Amber Kuehn with the Rotary Club’s membership leadership team, including Joe Chappell, Jody Levitt, and Terri Kolander, will help the organization make a lasting impact. 

In addition to his multiple current and upcoming projects, Incorvaia’s goals for the next few years include reaching more people through the power of music, whether through the expansion of the symphony’s new Gullah Cultural Series, new concert series at SoundWaves, or a yet-to-be cultivated collaborations on Hilton Head Island.

Mario Incorvaia and his wife, Jennifer, 17-year-old son, Rocco, and 14-year-old son, Bruno, participated in a Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island beach cleanup event.

Key Takeaways

1. Give first. Building your network is all about how you can help, not what you can get. When you give to someone, they remember. Rotarians live this in our motto “Service Above Self.”

2. Ask for a favor when you need one. It’s in our human nature to want to help others. People remember when you trusted and respected them enough to ask for their opinion or assistance.

3. Follow up soon after meeting someone with a personal note that includes a reference to something specific that you enjoyed in your conversation with them. 

Similar Posts