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Patricia Butler

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'83 General Arts and Sciences | CEO and Co-Founder, ArtistWorks | Napa, CA
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Patricia Butler

Patricia Butler, a 1983 Penn State general arts and sciences alumna, is the co-founder and CEO of ArtistWorks, an online Video Exchange® music learning company.

Dedicated to teaching the world music, ArtistWorks uses the online platform to connect music teachers with players and students from around the world who are interested in learning to play music. Since its founding, ArtistWorks has hosted more than 50,000 video lessons and taught music to students from more than 80 countries.

Prior to her current executive position at ArtistWorks, Butler served as president of the company and has experience as the Assistant Vice President of Private Clients at Merrill Lynch and as a Harvest Consultant at Rubicon Estate. As one of the top leaders of ArtistWorks, she emphasizes leading by example to be successful.

“People will follow you and give you their best work if they respect you and your contribution to the organization,” said Butler, who believes taking initiative is an important way to distinguish yourself in a large organization.
“I will often volunteer for an activity or assignment that sheds light on my strongest capabilities, so my colleagues can gauge my valuable contribution to the conversation or decision-making,” Butler said. “Those tasks are not always highly visible, but I choose them if they are integral to the overall goal.”

Her continuation of studying music throughout her college education and beyond served her well, when she decided to establish the music education company with her husband, David, in 2011.

“If I hadn’t had the liberty to pursue the music I love, my career path would have been less rewarding,” Butler said. “I truly enjoyed the economics and corporate finance courses I was able to take, so my work life began with managing investment portfolios. With a solid paycheck assured, I was able to continue my music hobby.”

Having spent numerous years in leadership roles, Butler is excited for the opportunity to speak with students and help them understand what success looks like for them.

“There is prevalent thinking that success has to be visible and immediate, but it doesn’t,” she said. “If you never know challenge or struggle, you have no idea how to truly value fleeting success.”

According to Butler, it is helpful for students to hear about the stepping stones and experiences successful people have taken, the challenges they faced and overcame, as well as where and how they created their first big break leading them to their successful position.

 “The journey is important to understand so that you set realistic and achievable career expectations,” she said.

Butler participated in the Penn State Women: Leaders of Today and Tomorrow events held September 25–26, 2019.

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