Look at your gender as a benefit, not a hindrance. If you are the only woman in the room, use that as a way to help you stand out, not an excuse to try and fit in. Women have business tools that men don’t have and vice versa, and you should use those to your advantage.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, 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. 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.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Like many others, I grew up being surrounded by music. From Elton John or The Moody Blues playing on the stereo at home to singing hymnals in my grandfather’s Methodist church, music has been a constant joy in my life since childhood. I knew early on that I wanted a career in the music industry, but my passion directed my path once I landed at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. 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 began leading your company?
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 do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
REACH stands out because of our people and our culture. Our team of talented women love each other, lift each other up and challenge one another daily. That’s why our clients come back year after year. We hustle, we are honest, and we are passionate about the work we produce for our clients.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As the vaccine is distributed, we are hopeful that live events will reconvene in Q3 or Q4 2021. Now is the time for brands to plan their marketing strategies for when events can resume. Once they resume, we feel there will be a ripe opportunity for brands to reach new consumers who crave experiences. We’re working with clients now who want to be prepared to execute ideas, events and campaigns as soon as possible while still staying relevant through virtual experiences for now.
What advice would you give to other C-Suite executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
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 get away 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.
How do you define “Leadership”?
A great leader plans for as many scenarios as possible but embraces their ability to pivot. 2020 was a testament to this.
What advice would you give to other C-Suite executives about the best way to manage a large team?
Encourage, communicate and listen. The best way to manage and motivate a team — regardless of its size — is to encourage discussion, creativity and collaboration. Alongside that, your team must feel heard and understood. As always, I believe it is important to lead with a level of transparency.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My professor at Belmont who taught concert promotion and booking and then became my one and only boss in the music industry, Steve Moore. He gave me my first shot. I worked alongside him and learned from him for 13 years. When I wanted to start REACH, he invested in the company and me. I will be forever grateful because he believed in me and still does.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Personally and professionally, I have always made it a priority to support various non-profit organizations. Whether it is pro bono work for The Shalom Foundation or The Next Door, we will continue to utilize our tools as a company to benefit non-profits that we truly believe in.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Look at your gender as a benefit, not a hindrance. If you are the only woman in the room, use that as a way to help you stand out, not an excuse to try and fit in. Women have business tools that men don’t have and vice versa, and you should use those to your advantage.
2. Get used to sacrifice. You can’t always be the best co-worker, boss, mom, friend, spouse, etc. When you are killing it at work, you will feel like you are dropping the ball(s) in your family life and vice versa…you are not, but you will still feel like you are. Let it go.
3. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Find others who excel in the areas that you may be weak and add them to your team. Don’t apologize for your shortcomings, but don’t hide them either. Own who you are: the good and the bad.
4. Always have humility. No one wants to work with the smartest person in the room who isn’t afraid to tell you over and over again. Humility is a virtue that should be maintained. You can certainly pat yourself on the back for a job well-done, but make it quick.
5. Forgive yourself. You are going to make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and move on.
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.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would love to sit with Sara Blakely over coffee to hear her first-hand story of hustle. As the founder of Spanx and The Sara Blakely Foundation, there is a great deal that I could learn from such an amazing female entrepreneur and philanthropist. And she is a mom, so I am sure we could swap stories of the classic mom guilt and how we can escape its persistent grip.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.