Lack of connection and camaraderie. When working remotely full-time, there can certainly be a lack of connection with your co-workers that have become more like your family. At REACH, we combat this by connecting virtually for “happy hours” and connecting outside of our homes in a socially distanced atmosphere so that we can see each other and connect on both business and personal topics.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a remote team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsay Bertelli.
As Owner and President of REACH, Lindsay has 20+ years of in-depth experience in tour/event promotion and production and sponsorship management. Her work with top entertainment and corporate clients has made her a well-known force in the industry with the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate the changing, and increasingly virtual, event and sponsorship environment.
Lindsay began her career as a concert promoter at Moore Entertainment Group, which ultimately affiliated with TBA Entertainment and AEG Live. She managed eleven years of production and sponsorship for CMT On Tour, which involved artists Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Sugarland, Brad Paisley, and Jason Aldean.
Other notable career highlights for Lindsay include project management for the Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson’s 2 Worlds 2 Voices Tour, Brooks and Dunn’s Neon Circus & Wild West Show, and Playboy’s 50th Anniversary Club Tour.
With the launch of REACH in 2011, Lindsay combined her years of experience as a concert promoter with progressive experiential marketing methods for clients looking to maximize their visibility and reach in the entertainment and lifestyle landscape.
Lindsay believes that today’s partnerships are more than just the placement of a brand logo on a festival stage or tour marketing materials. Instead, it is discovering, creating, and executing innovative ways to authentically interact with the consumer by providing memorable experiences that bring into sharp focus the desired message of an artist or brand.
REACH has worked for an array of brands since its conception, including Toyota, Norwegian Cruise Line, SiriusXM, Farmers Insurance, Calgary Stampede, ConAgra Foods, Bravo TV, Kretschmar, and more.
A Delaware native, Lindsay loves to travel and explore new places with her daughter. Lindsay is a graduate of Belmont University with a degree in Music Business. Her quick wit and sense of humor stem from her love of great 80’s and 90’s sitcoms like Designing Women and Golden Girls. On the weekends, you’ll likely find Lindsay surrounded by friends hosting a fantastic dinner party at her home in Nashville.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?
I grew up in Delaware, and I moved to Nashville, TN to attend Belmont University to study music business. I’m the only daughter of an art teacher and a farmer/business owner who taught me that I needed to work hard for what I wanted in this life. While attending Belmont, I took a concert promotion class and fell in love with the combination of the creativity of marketing a show and the logistics of executing and financially settling a show. I was hooked. I began my career as a concert promoter at Moore Entertainment Group, which ultimately affiliated with TBA Entertainment and AEG Live. In 2011, I started my own talent buying, event production and experiential marketing agency called REACH.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I produced and traveled with the 50th Anniversary Playboy Magazine Club Tour in 2004. This tour consisted of events in 50 cities to celebrate the anniversary of the magazine with Playboy playmates, a female DJ, Playboy memorabilia displays and a champagne burlesque performance. The term “interesting” doesn’t even scratch the surface of this experience.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
At age 22, I was asked to fax (yes, fax!) an offer to a booking agent for an artist to play a specific date. I mistakenly faxed the offer to the wrong agent in an entirely different, competitive agency. It caused quite a bit of hassle and turmoil for my boss at the time, and I was humiliated by my mistake. It taught me to slow down. It also taught me that I could get 150% done in a day, but if the extra 50% is sloppy and done wrong, I should have just focused on doing the 100% right.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?
Life cannot and should not revolve around your career. This statement is undoubtedly easier said than done. However, it is imperative to do your best to take those vacation days with your family where you are “unreachable,” or getaway for a weekend with just your best friends to reconnect and laugh over one — or multiple — glasses of wine. Those moments fill my soul and help me to be a better boss and co-worker.
OK, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Some companies have many years of experience with managing a remote team. Others have just started this, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us how many years of experience you have managing remote teams?
REACH has always maintained a physical office; however, we spend quite a bit of time on the road, working remotely in other cities because we work in events. Since REACH launched nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been managing teams remotely, and because of that, managing a team remotely in 2020 hasn’t come as a difficult task. The key is consistent communication.
Managing a team remotely can be very different than managing a team that is in front of you. Can you articulate for our readers what the five main challenges are regarding managing a remote team? Can you give a story or example for each?
- Lack of connection and camaraderie. When working remotely full-time, there can certainly be a lack of connection with your co-workers that have become more like your family. At REACH, we combat this by connecting virtually for “happy hours” and connecting outside of our homes in a socially distanced atmosphere so that we can see each other and connect on both business and personal topics.
- Finding a healthy work-life balance. I struggle with this and know that my employees do as well. I do my best to encourage appropriate work hours and consistency, but I struggle with modeling a good example in this area if I am honest.
- Miscommunication can be a difficulty when working remotely. With more communication occurring via email, things can be misunderstood or misconstrued. It is important to continue communication via Zoom and phone as much as possible. This helps you not miss anything.
- Don’t overthink. Just because you don’t see 15 emails from one of your team members doesn’t mean they aren’t working.
- Lack of creativity. My team excels when we can bounce ideas off one another and creatively ideate in-person. This can be difficult remotely, so it is vital that consistent brainstorming and creative calls happen to encourage and foster that continued creativity.
Based on your experience, what can one do to address or redress each of those challenges?
Be intentional about scheduling virtual meetings or happy hours that don’t involve work. Allow your team the time to catch up personally and have fun conversations not related to the business. Also, it’s OK to trust your team. You have to rely on them but not micromanage them, especially in this remote work era. Keep a healthy pulse on what everyone is working on during weekly staff meetings. We usually meet two-three times per week on Zoom as a team to align on priorities and check in on anything that is needed.
In my experience, one of the trickiest parts of managing a remote team is giving honest feedback in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. If someone is in front of you, you’re able to see facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote. Can you give a few suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee?
The key is always open communication and honesty. I prefer to connect over Zoom or Microsoft Teams so that we can talk and look at each other when having tough conversations.
Can you specifically address how to give constructive feedback over email? How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?
I try not to provide constructive feedback via email. There are too many deltas that can affect how the email is received. I prefer to communicate by phone or Zoom for more challenging conversations.
Can you share any suggestions for teams who are used to working together on location but are forced to work remotely due to the pandemic. Are there potential obstacles one should avoid with a team that is just getting used to working remotely?
Encourage collaboration via Zoom. It’s the best way to stay connected when you’re used to being on location with your team members. Zoom can be used to discuss, brainstorm or catch up; it doesn’t have to be about work all the time. Maintaining that human connection is key.
What do you suggest can be done to create a healthy and empowering work culture with a team that is remote and not physically together?
As the company owner, it’s essential to cultivate a culture that encourages open communication and genuine connection. Our office truly is a family. That means that we sometimes have tough conversations, but we value honest communication and feedback. We love each other and want to help each other succeed.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to lift, champion, challenge and applaud women. When I first started my career working in the music industry, it was a male-dominated field. I’ll never forget feeling like I had to prove myself as a young woman starting her career. I never want women in any industry to feel less than men.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Good things happen to those who hustle.”- Anaïs Nin
I am where I am today because I worked hard and hustled. It is also what leads me away from complacency.
Thank you for these great insights!