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A Chat With Our People

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

Ellie

SVP, Canada Operations

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

Ellie (E): Well, to start with, by recently joining and aligning with one of the most respected brands in the industry, we now have an expanded scope of solutions and services to offer our clients!  Plus, there are tremendous growth opportunities for our team members – both short and long term.

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
Senior Director, Sales and Business Development

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.

Kristen
Senior Account Coordinator

CG: Tell us how you create a great experience for program participants?

Kristen (K): A great experience begins with excellent customer service. The groups I work with more than likely have achieved a goal of some sort within their company and have been awarded a trip. It’s extremely important to me that I promptly respond to email and phone inquiries and reassure them no question is too big or small. Meeting a goal should be celebrated and I am here to make the pre-trip planning process as smooth as it can be along with keeping my attendees’ excitement high.

CG: What experiences from your past have contributed to your success at Creative Group?

K: My past has allowed me to work on projects with several different teams. From this, I have gained experience working with all different types of people and learning how to work most efficiently and effectively with others. Every person brings something unique to the table and you have to be open to listening.

CG: What core value of Creative Group do you identify with most and why?

K: Heart – I put my heart into all I do in both my work and personal life. I grew up always being told to “treat people how you want to be treated”. Mutual respect, kindness and compassion are three traits I take pride in.

Rose
Account Manager

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

Rose (R): It’s important to me that my client knows that I am listening to them and hearing what they have to say. From there I can understand their “why” and needs of the program, which allow me to make educated recommendations. I feel this builds a strong relationship and eventual partnership with my clients.

CGTell us about your roles in Creative Group and what has helped you succeed?

R: I started at Creative Group in October 2015 as an Account Coordinator, was promoted to senior in January 2018 and then as an Account Manager on the Meetings Team in January 2019. I am very fortunate to have been able to learn the different roles, bringing my expertise to my current position. My success is due to the development plan and training from my wonderful managers at Creative Group as well as my passion for the industry.

CG: You are very involved in your professional development, what have you done to enhance your skill set?

R: I believe the greatest skills to have are resourcefulness, self-awareness and the appreciation for perspective. Ultimately, I am the only one who can design my future and success so I take advantage of the knowledge around me. I have about a dozen people I look to as mentors who challenge me to think differently and guide me in my career. I have also joined industry events and associations, like SITE Chicago, that give me opportunity network and learn more. I highly recommend anyone in our industry to join an association like SITE or MPI, the benefits are invaluable.

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