Posted on August 07 2018
Author : Brittany Summers, 8/7/2018
Michele Lasky’s story is truly incredible, as an independent female business owner, not to mention the vice president of Company 20. It is safe to say she knows a thing or two about the event planning industry. Company 20 literally does everything, as Michele explains “Company 20 offers full-service event management from budget creation, on-line registration, transportation services and décor to collateral development and everything in between. We’ll take care of all the details either working side by side with our in-house events staff or becoming an integral part of your project team” (Michele). She’s been doing this for 13 years, growing the business with her two amazing business partners whom she speaks nothing but the highest praise. Michele and her two business partners worked for the Hospitality and Event management division at Clear Channel Entertainment/SFX Sports Group for five years. All that time, she learned everything she could while working side by side with her two business partners. What some would call “hard times”, Michele turned into an opportunity. The day after she and her business partners were laid off, Company 20 was born inside a Starbucks! Nothing would stop her or keep her down. Instead of burning her bridges with Clear Channel Entertainment, she used that invaluable experience to further her career. The most amazing part is, the company who laid them off hired them (Company 20) back for high profile events! Her hard work and standards of excellence spoke for them, and soon they were back in full swing.
Now this all sounds great, but what exactly does her company do? Michele breaks it down for us, “Small or large. Charity or corporate. Televised or non-televised. Celebrity involvement or not. Regardless of the size and nature of the event, Company 20 has the expertise and experience to plan and execute programs of all kinds. Just name your event, and we’ll run with it” (Michele).
They are the one-stop-shop for all event planning needs, with thirteen years of experience under their belts, they truly are professionals at what they do.
But how did she get where she is today professionally? What steps did she take? She started where everyone else starts, school. Michele elaborates on her journey, “I always thought I was going to go to art school but instead that became more of a hobby, and I focused my energy on business and received my B.S. in Marketing. I wanted to find a career that would still allow me to express my creativity and my passion for sports” (Michele.) For a while she considered pharmaceuticals, but finally got her break with a small sports marketing agency who needed a manager\events coordinator.
This amazing business woman never tires of learning, during different stages in her career. Some may think a small business is beneath them. Maybe some think there is nothing to learn. What can a small business teach someone who wants to play in the big leagues? The Thirteen-year professional vice president says. “I was very fortunate to work for a small business and was exposed to all aspects of the company. I parlayed my experience into a position in the events division at SFX Sports Group, one of the largest talent representation agencies in the world, that was later acquired by Clear Channel Entertainment…and the rest is history” (Michele). Michele as exhibited insurmountable amounts of wisdom, never judging a situation or company as “beneath her”. Rather, she remained teachable, always open to learn and to be taught new things. Not only in her ability to learn and apply her knowledge, but in how to treat others, as she did not react towards the company she invested five years in when she and her business comrades were laid off. Instead, they allowed that loss to inspire them to move forward and take that leap to pursue their dreams. Let this be a lesson to us all, to never stop learning, to never think we are better than another.
This is not for everyone. Let’s be real: owning your own business isn’t always glamorous and fun like it is in the movies. There is an incredible amount of sacrifice which goes into the success of the business, of time, blood, sweat and tears. So, what really drives Michele to do what she does, and for so many years? When asked this question, she explained, “To be totally honest, the corporate world can be a grind. You are not always in control of your own destiny. Events is a business that requires you to put in long, non-traditional, hours. You give up much of your free-time, weekends, holidays for someone else, with sometimes little recognition or appreciation” (Michele). But what makes it worthwhile or her? But she also explained the fact that she is working hard not for anyone else but herself. In being able to do this, she can work for herself, but also constantly push herself to be better. These are the qualities needed to be a successful woman vice president business owner.
“My philosophy has always been work hard, believe in yourself, and good things will happen” (Michele). And she has truly walked this out in her life. One of her biggest challenges she has faced and is facing in this industry is how competitive the field is. Everyone thinks they can plan an event, “and that can be a challenging notion to change. Events are an extension of an organizations brand and should be treated as such. So why wouldn’t you work with proven event experts” (Michele). And yes, it is so hard! There is no softening that blow. So, what are the three biggest challenges she has faced thus far? Other than the fact that it is hard, and things always change? You have to drive yourself further all the time, to be better, to do better, and to be able to constantly adapt. So, what can the dreamers do, those who want to start their own business? And what can they not do? Words of wisdom from vice president Michele are “1. Starting and maintaining a business is just plain hard. You have to put in 110% all the time and that can be taxing. 2. Nothing ever stays the same. Every event is different, and re-inventing the wheel is essential. You can’t just rest on your laurels and wait for stuff to happen. You have to be constantly thinking about what to do next year to raise the bar and challenge yourself to be better. 3. You have to be nimble with the ability to shift and adjust as the industry changes. You have to be an innovative, thought-leader and always stay original and fresh” (Michele).
What has motivated her the most thus far? Herself, and her team! In treating others like she wants to be treated, she keeps her team close and in tune to one another’s needs and work habits. They are a tight knit group who all give 110% all the time, as Michele says “Now owning my own business – that is probably the biggest motivator. Having your team and clients rely on you keeps you motivated – there is no room for failure” (Michele).
Michele has paved the way for other women to follow, inspiring those like her, to pursue their dreams, take chances, and keep priorities straight.