We love getting inside scoop. But what we love even more is shining the spotlight on the unsung heroes that work the magic behind the scenes. In this weekly series, we profile Office Managers and Executive Assistants who have a passion for rocking events the same way we do. What can I say, we like hanging with our kind.
Our hope is that over time, we will have honoured countless women, maybe even the odd man, and created a space that encourages thought provoking conversation and maybe a few laughs too.
We’re proud to introduce this weeks office hero. Please meet Liza Park!
Position: Executive Assistant to CEO / Events Manager
Company: Traction on Demand
Tell us a little about yourself?
I went to school to become a Programmer and graduated three months after the tech burst of 2000. They say timing is everything and while I didn’t see it then, I definitely see it now because it led me down a different road.
I joined my family’s business building and opening coffee shops around the city and embarked on a fast and steep learning curve. Working in a family business and being entrepreneurial makes every day unique, teaches you how to be resourceful and stay on your toes.
Staying in the family business wasn’t my ultimate goal, so I took a giant leap to start over again. After a brief but awesome time at Cossette Communications, fate led me to Traction on Demand where I am still today. And I love it!
What’s one modern day convenience you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my GPS. My sense of direction is at times … should we say questionable?
Once in the office, what’s a positive thing you do each morning to get your day started off right?
Drop bags. Get coffee. Traction on Demand has a great coffee culture. Our staff will bring in special beans and we have countless brewing mechanisms to suit everyone’s tastes. It starts every day on a positive note and without it, we turn into animals.
Traction has also recently dedicated a meeting room for meditation. It’s lit with candles and draped with curtains. There are group meditation times or we’re welcome to use it on our own at any other time. I plan on incorporating this into my morning routine very soon.
What’s going on in your company right now that’s cool?
Hands down, year 2 of the Traction Bandit Tour for Good is the best thing going on at the moment. Each year we send a team of Traction employees to the Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference and last year we decided to build a road trip around it. A 78 TransAm Firebird and a refit 30’ Airstream later, our crew packs their bags and hits the road.
We don’t just go from A to B though. We stop along the way and do free Salesforce.com implementations for non-profits and a bunch of random acts of kindness. Last year in Portland, we handed out spare bike tubes and gave out free umbrellas in Seattle. We’ve even BBQ’d food on the street and given it away to passersby. This year we have some cool ideas that will take these acts of kindness to a whole new level!
Let’s talk about events and get your sage advice. How many events, and what kind, are you asked to plan each year?
Aside from the Traction Bandit Tour for Good, I also plan an Annual Conference, sponsoring and speaking engagements, recruiting functions, a summer retreat and a winter event. The split in my position between Executive Assistant and Event Manager is about 80%/80%….it’s all pretty full on. And it’s exactly what I love about it.
If you could hire any famous band for your gala, who would it be?
The Roots. They are versatile musical geniuses.
If you could hire any speaker for your training session, who would it be?
Cheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She’s amazing.
What is your biggest challenge when planning an event? And why?
My biggest challenge is actually Greg, our CEO. 🙂 He is such a visionary and has unbelievable ideas that aren’t always immediately tangible. So it becomes my job to make his ideas a reality. While it’s a challenge at the outset, it’s what makes the events and the company so incredible. I agree with his overall vision, so instead of feeling like I need to overcome this as a challenge, I happily embrace it. It has helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
What has been the coolest highlight in an event that you’ve planned or attended?
Last year during the Bandit Tour, there was a specific Act of Kindness that stuck with me. In Portland we had given a bike tube to a gentleman who came back to us shortly after with tears in his eyes. He’d given it to his friend who used his bike for transportation to work and had no other means of transportation. He was so appreciative of this small act of kindness that it brought tears to his eyes, which in turn brought tears to ours. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.
What’s the most important thing you’d share with others about planning an event?
Not to be afraid of doing anything. Inject as much personality as you can into each event while still focusing on accomplishing the objective. And plan the details like crazy, so on the day of the event you can actually enjoy the results of your labor and take the experience in with all of your guests.
Are you interested in joining our list of unsung heroes? Reach out to us and we’ll get in touch inside of 24 hours. Join the conversation. Join our community.