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A Chat With Our People

Hi. It’s nice to meet you. These are a few of our people.

Ellie

Ellie
SVP, Canada Operations

Creative Group (CG): What excites you most about your role?

Ellie (E): I’m thrilled to be leading one of the smartest and most resilient operations teams in the business. After weathering the last few years of immense change due to the pandemic, I’m so proud of all that we’ve achieved. Standing strong together!

CG: How do you ensure the proper onboarding of new clients?

E: We start with listening – we call it “listening on loud.” We take the time to understand a client’s challenges, goals and learn more about their culture. We do not make assumptions, but rather do a deep dive with a fresh perspective into what really matters to a client. There needs to be constant communication and performance metrics, along with defined expectations with KPIs.  It is also essential to set milestones via a critical path. And the entire project team must be fully briefed to insure a consistent approach throughout the life of the project, with each team member’s role and responsibilities clearly delineated.

CG: How do you define operational excellence?

E: Operational excellence is when our team executes the project’s strategy consistently with a clear focus on our customer’s needs. This can only be achieved through great teamwork that empowers people to surpass expectations. To accomplish this, the team must have a mindset of continuous improvement, and a depth of knowledge and integrity. They need to know why we exist, where we are going and how we plan to get there. With this knowledge, they can align their own performance with that of the company.

Craig
VP, Business Development West

Creative Group (CG): What do you love about your role?

Craig (C): As the West Coast sales leader, I am responsible for the performance of the sales team and all business development strategy and activity on the West Coast. I love that I am challenged every day. I enjoy both the “thrill of the hunt” with new client conversations, as well as learning more from our current customers about how we can better lead, guide, and consult them in all aspects of their business. One of the best things about my role is that I get to learn from those who’ve been in the business for decades, while also adding fresh perspective on what it takes to be successful and connect with customers in the thriving and ever-changing Silicon Valley.

CG: Do you have a proud moment you can share about a time you deeply connected to a client’s business challenge and delivered the perfect solution?

C: I love when new clients come to us with a challenge they are facing or a hurdle that they think cannot be overcome. Recently, we were working with a client who felt that their agency partner couldn’t grow with them. They appreciated what that agency had done for them but needed a fresh perspective and a partner who could bring new ideas and help them scale. Our team did a lot of listening in the first few discovery calls, collaborated internally to develop a solution customized to their needs, and we were able to win their business. These are the moments that make me proud of what we do and grateful for the people that I am lucky enough to work with every day.

CG:  Is there an author or a quote you live by…either in business or your personal life – something that really resonates with you?

C: Around the office, I often remind people that “Teamwork makes the dream work”. It might sound cliché, but It’s the truth. It’s rarely about one individual performance and I find that approaching life with a sense of humbleness attracts lifelong connections, both personally and professionally. I also remind myself constantly about what Jack Welch said when it comes to leadership: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others”.

Pete
Experience Design Director

CG: Hi Pete…so, Experience Design Director sounds like a fancy title. What does it mean and what do you do?

Pete (P):  Well, what’s great about my job is that it’s different every day, but at the core of my role is the idea that I champion and drive our proprietary design methodology – i|xperience. That sounded pretty serious, didn’t it? Said in plain ol’ people speak, I help create big ideas for our clients.

CG: And, what trends do you see shaping our industry?

P: The rise of the experience is everywhere. Everywhere. But let’s all try to get past the “waiting in line to get a great photo for Instagram” trend and focus on creating real experiences. The other biggie is the continued growth of “Design Thinking”. It’s the foundation for creating impactful experiences that really resonate with people. People want authenticity. It doesn’t matter whether the program is a national sales meeting, a consumer event, an incentive program, or a group travel reward. All design elements within a program should be intentional, thoughtful and connected to the larger purpose and objectives.

CG: What do you enjoy most about your role?

P:  I have always loved the challenge of the blank page. To work in collaboration with such smart people here to create a unique, ownable experience for our clients is LOTS of fun! If you’re not having a good time doing this, then it’s not going to work.

Kyla
Program Manager

CG: As a member of the Customer Experience team, how do you go about building partnerships with your clients?

Kyla (K): Relationship-building with clients comes down to a few essential elements. I engage by actively listening to their needs and following through on my commitments. I also allow space for learning and feedback, and then act on those changes for next time. Each client has unique event needs that bring new challenges and expectations – and they want to feel that I’m engaging thoughtfully on their behalf to align with their goals. These authentic connections allow my clients to be candid and connect with me on a personal level. This develops trust and strengthens our partnership which helps us align and build more successful events together.

CGTell us about your role at Creative Group and what has helped you succeed?

K: As the Program Manager, I’m the “quarterback.” I’m the common thread connecting my client with all the internal teams working on the program (sourcing, communications, technology, air, etc.) and all our partners (hotel, gifting, transportation, venues, etc.). There are often many moving parts and my job requires being highly detailed, creative, and engaged at every step of the way so deadlines and budget goals are met. Aside from the passion to create amazing events, being successful in this position requires anticipation, organization, and the ability to pivot. I set realistic expectations of myself and allow space for feedback, but the other critical aspect is relying on the expertise of my teammates. We cannot succeed on our own.

CG: Any advice for those just starting out in the industry?

K: Especially since the pandemic, this industry is ever evolving and every day there are new challenges. Stay curious, be open to learning, and do not be afraid to rely on the expertise of others. Bravery is understanding when you need to hit the pause button and not spin your wheels trying to accomplish a task on your own when there are many resources to support you. Often this ability to step back will bring new ideas and can create an even more amazing experience.

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