Jodi Harris is the CEO of FUN and an event specialist in the hospitality business. She is hardworking and kind. She is a female boss in a sector dominated by men, particularly in the DJ industry. Her knowledge is based on the real event’s execution, direction, and flow. She is able to interact with caterers, banquets, and clients to keep the event running successfully as entertainment.
Jodi worked in television production before joining Sight & Sound Events. She worked as a secretary (that’s what administrative assistants were called) for ABC (a television network) in the least glamorous department, BO & E (Broadcast Operations & Engineering). That was her ticket into the firm, she realized. She stayed in that department for a year and then used internal job listings to get her next position in public relations. She gained valuable experience in public relations and working with celebrities, which she used for her next internal position. She shares, “That move was to TV production, and again, using our internal job postings, I interviewed and landed a dream job on the award-winning production team of “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee”.”
Below are the highlights:
Describe your background and what did you do before you founded Sight & Sound Events?
I knew I loved production; especially for live events. On a vacation to Los Angeles, California, I met my now husband, who at the time was a working special disc jockey (DJ). He would DJ a lot of weddings and corporate events. I thought it was fascinating. I took a few trips to Southern California to see if the relationship was going anywhere and accompanied him on a few of his events. It was a live event like I was used to just different. So I left New York knowing that I could get a TV production job in Hollywood. I did. I worked for Woody Frazier productions, Nickelodeon, and had a short stint at MTV in Los Angeles before their big move to New York. I was later introduced to our local cable company where I was hired to produce local origin TV. All while collaborating on events with my then-fiancé.
We later married and relocated to Las Vegas, the world’s wedding and event capital, and that’s when I went ALL IN with entertainment and event production. While others in my field were doing this as a side hustle for money, my company, Sight & Sound Events, was full time. That opened up many doors for us because we had the flexibility and freedom to make appointments with the hotel catering directors.
We not only joined special event associations to meet more people and get our name out, but also got on the local boards of these associations.
What has been your biggest learning since becoming an entrepreneur?
The biggest thing I learned is that you have to have a great team to support you and back you up. If you are in the type of business that has people representing you, then you have to make sure that you all drink the company Kool-aid. This means that they have to believe what you are selling. They have to walk the walk and talk the talk. You’ve got to surround yourself with people who lift you up. Also, you got to be nice to everyone because you never know who knows who.
How do you motivate people to go the extra mile?
I motivate my team by always being there for them. I listened to them. If they have a problem, I’m there to help. I always make people feel welcome. I never try to isolate anyone. I share reviews when we get them and I share anything negative if we get it, which is almost never. They always feel like they have a voice in our company. We get to create fun events for fun people, and you have to have the right team to do that.
What gets you up in the morning? What motivates you?
Opportunity gets me excited every morning to get up. You just never know what a new day will bring to you. What opportunities lie ahead of you that day? Who will email you? Who will call you? Whom will I meet today? There are tremendous opportunities each and every day just waiting for you.
Kindly describe how you will specifically know what success looks like for you?
Success to me looks like inspiring others who dream of owning a business to learn from the lessons I learned from failure. Success is being able to present a seminar or two on what I learned and passing it on to the future entrepreneurs in my industry.
What is some advice you give to aspiring women leaders who see disability as a career barrier?
My advice to aspiring women is to look at being a woman NOT as a disability first and foremost. You need to break down the doors that are holding you back. Never settle and don’t take NO for an answer. Always move forward. Don’t look out your rear view mirror. Go out there and do the work. In the world of social media and creating some content, you could make a name for yourself if you just put yourself out there.
What are your future plans to sustain Sight & Sound Events’ success?
Sight & Sound Events is all about creating fun events for fun people. After a two-year social hiatus, people are reuniting to celebrate events and socialize. People are over the pandemic. We’re going to continue to put smiles on faces and create memories with our entertainment, photography, videography, and photo booth experiences. Like what is happening in all businesses right now, we are always hiring and looking for the best rock stars in our industry too.
What sort of characteristics in employees contribute to success?
The characteristics in employees that contribute to success are reliability and competence. We look for people we can count on. In our world, we have hard start times, and you have to be early for every event, so it’s important that you find a person that you can rely upon. A problem solver, not a problem creator. You need someone who has a cool head and never shows stress or anxiety. Someone who can just go in there and tackle any problem that comes up without being too bossy. Ambition is also a key factor in any employee. I don’t want to be around a person who is just doing a job for a paycheck. I want someone who loves what they do and who has the energy that is contagious.
What is the best way to build a great team?
The best way to build a great team is to be honest with your team. Celebrate your wins. Share the bad news. As an employer, it’s also important to take an interest in your team both professionally and personally. They celebrate their personal milestones like anniversaries and birthdays. Create teambuilding events like golfing, bowling, pizza parties, or whatever. Take an interest in them. Build trust and loyalty with your team. If you do that, your team will always go the extra mile for you.