Company Values — As the world is changing, and diversity is reigning as a priority within our culture’s values, consumers will be looking more objectively at which companies they choose to partner with.
As a part of our series about “How Diversity Can Increase a Company’s Bottom Line”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Ma.
Amanda Ma is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Innovate Marketing Group (IMG) an award-winning event and experiential marketing agency based in Los Angeles. Innovate Marketing Group is known for producing remarkable corporate events by providing fresh ideas, infrastructure and logistics. Clients include TikTok, East West Bank and more.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into the main part of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share a bit of your “backstory” with us?
Born in Taiwan and raised in Arcadia, CA, Amanda studied business at Boston University in Boston, MA and studied abroad in London, UK. Her entrepreneurial journey began in 2006 as the Co-Founder of Fresh Events Company, Inc. and Co-Founder of Pamper Me Fabulous in 2008. She then founded Innovate Marketing Group in 2014, which through her leadership has flourished into one of the most distinguished event management and design agencies both locally and nationally, with a team of dedicated event professionals that are ready to help bring client events to the next level.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
This moment immediately came to mind. We were working on a 3,000 people corporate event at the LA Coliseum for a corporate family fun day. Based in sunny California we are usually blessed with great weather, however, that weekend it was tentatively forecast to rain. However, we got really lucky and it didn’t rain at all the entire time for set up or during the event. Sunshine all the way. However, literally one hour after we started to strike we heard a loud noise outside while we were packing up in the green room. The team ran out to see what was going on. And turns out it was hailing outside. Within minutes the entire field of the LA Coliseum was filled with hail and looked like snow. Whew, we thought, we got so lucky! We even took a video to show our client afterward and they were surprised. If the hail had happened a few hours earlier, we would have had to shut down the entire event. Luck was on our side on that day indeed.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you tell us a story about how that was relevant in your own life?
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”– Thomas Jefferson
Every accomplishment that I have now it’s because of the hard work that was dedicated to making that happen. In some efforts, you see the results instantly, while in others it takes time. it is about continuously working hard and working smart.
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?
I considered myself lucky because I had wonderful mentors along the way. From my first professional job to today, they each made an impact on me. I remember one of my mentors said, “You create your value, no one can take that away from you.”
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are known as an experience company that specializes in event strategy and event management. However, for us, each event has a bigger purpose. The vision that I have for this company is we help fuel brands that change lives for the better. And we do that through event experiences. Each of our events is very purposeful and curated to fulfill that purpose.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
We recently just finished a three-day virtual Women’s Leadership Conference. Full of dynamic speakers, and attendees walked away feeling more empowered and with more knowledge. It felt fantastic to know that our company helped with this conference because it truly carried out our vision of helping fuel brands that change people’s lives for the better.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Last year during the pandemic our industry was completed disrupted, and the entire industry came to a halt. During this time I leverage our resources and talent to do the following:
- I joined the board of Entrepreneur Organization (EO-LA) as the Diversity & Inclusion Chair.
- I joined the California Events Coalition as an advisory board to help advocate, support, educate, and provide resources for the events industry community in California.
- Virtual speaking engagement to educate the 100+ non-profits on how to navigate their events/live experience during this time and what resources are available. E.g. Virtual events, virtual team building, etc.
- Promoting local restaurants
- We put together an ‘Overcoming Crisis’ webinar panel to be a resource to the business community leveraging our network of speakers and experts that we have access to
- We collaborated with various other groups to put together virtual events covering topics such as mental health, diversity & inclusion, etc that benefit the community.
Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. This may be obvious to you, but it is not intuitive to many people. Can you articulate to our readers five ways that increased diversity can help a company’s bottom line. (Please share a story or example for each.)
In the wake of major social and political changes, many leading companies are now taking necessary steps to increase and improve diversity and inclusion within their workspace. The need for increased representation and support for all cultures and backgrounds is needed now more than ever and benefits both the people and the company.
Studies show that diverse teams (1):
- 33% more likely to generate better-than-average profits.
- 70% more likely to capture new markets.
- Generate 19% more revenue from innovation than companies with below-average leadership diversity.
Since the beginning, diversity and inclusion have always been integrated into our framework here at Innovate Marketing Group. As a proud Woman and Asian Owned business, we have widely supported diversity in all forms: race, age, gender, and many more.
- Expanded Target Audience — When you open your company to other possibilities, other demographics you have not previously targeted, you open a well of opportunity. Having a clear idea of who your target audience is, is key to determine how to market your service or product, however many times this idea can be superficial. Dig deeper and find what is missing.
- Brand Relatability — Simply, if a individual doesn’t feel they can relate or see themselves within your company or it’s values, chances are they won’t be bought. Clients have diverse needs, and you need to have the solution. With a diverse workforce, you have the ability to offer different solutions that relate to those needs.
- Representation Boosts Company Morale and Engagement — When an employee feels they are seen, acknowledged, heard, and included they feel connected and engaged. When your staff are comfortable, productivity is increased as well as motivation. Make your workplace a space your employees want to be.
- Different Viewpoints = Fresh Ideas — Diversity within a company is a key factor in the creation of new and fresh ideas. Creativity and innovation come from different places within all of us. This leads to more appealing campaigns, messaging, and services
- Company Values — As the world is changing, and diversity is reigning as a priority within our culture’s values, consumers will be looking more objectively at which companies they choose to partner with. It is not enough to use social media to spread a message. Specifically, how are you working to change it? Setting diversity and representation KPI’s into your company’s framework let’s others know you don’t just talk the talk; you walk the walk.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help their employees to thrive?
At our agency finding time to connect and engage with one another is priority. Wea re aware that the more an employee feels seen and represented, the higher their productivity and output. At IMG, every month we have an employee engagement event we call ‘IMG Fun’. Whether it be a holiday celebration or to partake in a team building activity, we take the time to bond.
As well we incorporate a wins & recognitions section every single week during our weekly meetings. This is where we celebrate together, both the big and small wins. This allows the team to showcase the others hard work and show appreciation.
What advice would you give to other business leaders about how to manage a large team?
Share your vision, share your values. Have the team buy-in what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Think bigger about how you can make an impact and share that with your team and have them share how they can be part of that journey..
We are very blessed that 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 whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Mark Cuban from Shark Tank. While I was on maternity leave, I watch so much Shark Tank. I just love his enthusiasm and his passion for business.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these excellent insights. We wish you continued success in your great work.