Work, Life, and What I’ve Learned

by Lisa Di Luzio, Director of Marketing and Sales

Each morning, I wake up, say goodbye to my husband, and then I head home and see my family.

No, I’m not living some sort of double life. I’ve been the Director of Marketing & Sales here at Erie Events for five years now, and for me, the Bayfront Convention Center feels like home, and the people I work with feel like family.

It’s truly a pleasure being here. You’re surrounded by a lot of great people. Here at the Bayfront Convention Center and at our other Erie Events locations, we have some of the best employees the area has to offer. In my years here and in my 23 years at the Bel-Air, I’ve learned a few things about work, relationships at work, and life in general that I would like to share. I don’t think I know it all, but I’ve certainly been through a lot!

Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – No two weeks, two days, or even two minutes are the same at the Bayfront Convention Center. We consistently have meetings, conferences, conventions, dinners and other events that our team is involved in. The staff has to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and be open to change. Our constant is change, and especially when we have multiple events, we have to leave our comfort zones. That might mean assisting with set up, tear down, being out on the floor, and more.

During my time at the Bel-Air, I had a moment where I didn’t want to accept change. A superior had me read “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Dr. Spencer Johnson and it changed my outlook on change. I highly recommend the book!

Even within our staff we’ve had to be comfortable with change. Since January 1, I’ve re-transitioned an employee, developed others, and hired a new event coordinator. Through all of it, our staff has been amazing.

Respect Your Employees and Build a Relationship – As I mentioned earlier, my Bayfront Convention Center family feels like family just as much as my real family. But it doesn’t become like that overnight. There’s a few elements that go into it. The people I work with here mean the world to me. We have a close relationship, but the respect is also good. I set the tone right out of the gate with an open-door policy. I don’t do drama – if there’s a problem, I’m here to talk. I’m of the mindset that you go right to the top with problems. But when you come with a problem, also come with a solution. It’s easy to have an issue, but it’s more productive to also have an idea of how to solve it.

We have an open and communal area, so good, bad, and otherwise, it’s all out there! When something happens, good or bad, we make sure to let it be known and use it in the future. As an example, we had Kwik Fill come in for a convention last week. It was a home run and the client described it as “perfect.” So when Country Fair came in this week, we were able to use that as an example and have a blueprint for how to provide them with their own “perfect” experience.

My management style has been to let my employees do their job. It sounds simple, and it is when done right. That means no micromanaging. I empower everyone to make choice and do their job, though it all comes across my desk eventually.

In the end, everyone who knows me knows I’m a “kumbaya” type of person. I’m high energy, I get excited about my work, and as I’ve been told, I always have that patented Lisa smile on. We all work hard to respect each other and have an open work environment. We spend so much time here, you better darn well get along!

Appreciate Your Clientele and Build Relationships – The common denominator we all have here is doing what’s right by our building and by the client.  We have a clientele that we’re blessed with. It’s awesome to walk in and out of here each day knowing that you were able to provide an experience for everyone who came in.

When we have weddings, galas, conventions – that’s when we network and build relationships. Our location and our building help us to sell, certainly, but our relationships with people are what makes the difference. It’s one thing to have someone fill out a survey and give us a high rating – it’s another to have them come back again and again or recommend us to others. It’s the “show, don’t tell” of event coordinating. The biggest compliment we can get is when our clients come back.

There are so many times you leave here and you can hold your head high – even if you can’t do much else because you’re physically exhausted from a long day. I am so, so lucky to have the job I have and be able to work with the people I do. I’m often the last to leave, and usually it’s dark and I’m always parked far away to keep close spots available for our guests. It gives me time to reflect as I’m walking back to my car, and only one word comes to mind at the end of my day: Wow.

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