Positive Attitude– I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this now. When I hire people, I look for folks with positive attitude. People who have a more positive outlook, when things get hard, they see glass half full and try to think of a solution. It always drives the energy level up at work. Event management can sometimes be quite stressful, so we need more positive attitude to balance that out. During my interview, I love asking the candidate to tell me a joke, the joke does not have to be good, more just if they can have some fun and more take things so seriously.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, 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 start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
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 please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing”- Pele
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People- As the type of person that I want to be. As for the people that I want to hire and currently employ.
Delivering Happiness- Some of our agency’s values were modified after Zappos. Wow service being one of them. We are a service company that just so happens to be providing experiences. We are not here to be average, we are here to be amazing.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Pre-pandemic we were doing all live events. From Office Grand Openings to Big Conferences to Influencer event. We had just finished a high-profile event in Washington DC working with the White House as well as TikTok Office Grand Opening.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
After the pandemic, we pivoted so now we also offer Virtual Events and Events To Go Kits in order to continue to offer value to our clients.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
Come up with solutions to bring value to the market and the clientele that we serve. What is needed.
We always pride ourselves on the experience. How can that be accomplished virtually and what we ways to enhance that. Therefore, virtual event management was born and Events To Go Kits to enhance that immersive experience.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It was slow at first because the virtual event concept is so new to a lot of the corporation. However, after some time, our clients saw the value we bring with virtual events and Events To Go Kits, then we saw more demand as well. Part of it is the market started to turn and part of it is a lot of sharing, marketing and presenting the value these services offer.
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?
There are so many people. To my Entrepreneur Organization forum, my other networks, my family, my tribe, my team at Innovate Marketing Group, and so many others who continue to be my champion through the pivot and this journey. Through this experience, I felt extremely grateful for the network that I have because they give me the power to push forward.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Hire Slow, Fire Fast– There are so many talents out there, but not are a good fit. You have to know your company culture and what you and your company stand for. Then look for those folks.
- Company Values– Having company values are very important. Now we use our values to hire, review and embody in our company culture.
- Positive Attitude– I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this now. When I hire people, I look for folks with positive attitude. People who have a more positive outlook, when things get hard, they see the glass half full and try to think of a solution. It always drives the energy level up at work. Event management can sometimes be quite stressful, so we need a more positive attitude to balance that out. During my interview, I love asking the candidate to tell me a joke, the joke does not have to be good, more just if they can have some fun and more take things so seriously.
- SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) — Have a system in place and document them is what helped my agency grow. The SOP needs to be established and updated every year to ensure its still relevant.
- Join Entrepreneurs Organization (https://www.eonetwork.org/)- a community of business owners. When I first started, I had to figure out everything myself one by one. With this network, you get access to some brilliant business people that can help propel your business forward.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
- Have a strong network/tribe- Other business owners who can provide ideas, be a source of support. You also know you are not the only one going through it.
- Exercise- After the pandemic, I started a morning walk routine. Just 30 minutes a day. I used this time to embrace nature while moving my body. I often will be listening to an audiobook/podcast which inspire a lot of new ideas.
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?
For everyone to do one thing for others once a week. Create more kindness and joy in this world.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Oprah, Michelle Obama, Eric Yuan (Zoom CEO)
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey.