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.
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 joining 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.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
While I was still in college, I started working for a concert promoter, and at 23 years old, I was on the road with my first tour. At that time, it was an industry that was very male-dominated. Frankly, it was tough to be taken seriously in those early days as a young female. Those were the most challenging times, but I learned how to persevere and, thankfully, the industry has changed significantly since then.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Passion and hustle. I LOVED the industry, so that passion was a real driver for me. I knew I had to hustle and work harder and longer than some others to be taken seriously. Even though it wasn’t OK that I had to prove myself as a female, it drove me to work hard day after day.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Things are going very well today. That hustle and resilience helped me continue working hard and eventually led me to own my talent buying, event production and experiential marketing agency. REACH is in its 10th year of business.
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. We are a boutique agency of eight women that 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.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
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.
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?
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 started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 start 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.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!