The Owensboro (KY) Convention Center announced the details of a new partnership with German American Bank. The City of Owensboro, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Owensboro Convention Center and German American Bank, made the announcement on June 5 at a ribbon-cutting event.
“We are excited to make this announcement which strengthens our commitment to the Owensboro community,” said Amy Jackson, Regional President of German American Bank. “This partnership with the Owensboro Convention Center aligns well with German American Bank’s dedication to support local communities and enhance quality of life.”
Spectra’s General Manager, Laura Alexander, said, “This is a very exciting announcement for the community and we are happy to partner with the team at German American Bank.”
Spectra is the provider of venue management and food services and hospitality to the Owensboro Convention Center.
Laurie Flasko, Founder and CEO of Laurie Flasko & Associates, Inc., knows about customer service. With more than 20 years of experience in the fields of customized training, customer service, leadership development, and team building, her skill set is one that draws audiences to become better equipped in these areas of their own organizations. It is a reason why when she delivers the keynote presentation for the Convention Center track at VenueConnect in Chicago in July that the room is expected to be full of IAVM members looking for special nuggets about customer service to take back home.
If in part of her presentation the topic of casinos pops up, don’t be surprised. Laurie began her training career as part of the pre-opening team at Casino Niagara, where she was responsible for training more than 2,500 employees. Later, she was recruited by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission to deliver the pre-opening customer service and leadership training for the racetrack slots and charity casinos.
Against this backdrop, it is time to visit with Laurie about her presentation and what attendees can expect to hear during the session.
“Dare to be Kind” is part of the title of your session. Do you find that most leaders seem to have somewhat of a difficult time accepting this concept and if so, why?
Many of us have been taught that to be a leader, you have to be tough, you can “never let them see you sweat” and “nice guys finish last.” You don’t see a K.P.I. for kindness in most workplaces, so when leaders are only measured on bottom line results, it can be easy to overlook kindness as a successful and powerful approach to leadership. That being said, trends are starting to indicate that more and more leaders are embracing the concept of kind leadership.
Can kindness be falsely interpreted as weakness?
Absolutely it can. However, I find that kindness is anything but weak, rather I find that it is a display of strength! It can be tough to choose kindness when you are busy; dealing with deadlines or critical issues and it is easy to become irritated, angry; or impatient.
As well, kindness does not mean you don’t take care of tough issues. For example, a tough conversation about a performance issue is more productive when done in a respectful, kind manner than when delivered without thought, care; or empathy. Finally, kindness also goes hand in hand with resilience, being able to handle whatever life throws your way in a kind way.
What are some of the benefits leaders derive from applying kind principles?
When someone acts kind, one act of kindness creates a “ripple effect” of four more kind acts according to research from Stamford University. This “ripple effect” creates stronger teams, higher morale, higher employee engagement, higher customer satisfaction, reduced stress, and, of course, all of these make higher profits! So aside from making everyone feel all happy inside, there is a legitimate benefit to being kind that justifies kindness being a business strategy rather than just a warm and fuzzy thing to do.
Kindness also works in a positive loop: you do something kind for others, you are happier and want to continue doing more kind acts! No record profit can compare to the difference being kind makes for people feeling happier in their everyday lives both in and out of the workplace.
My favorite benefit of all is that leaders may be changing an entire life without knowing it just by doing something small and kind for those they lead and look after.
In such a fast-paced world as our members live in working at busy venues, are these principles even more important to overall staff performance?
It has been said that nearly 85% of leader’s results are based on the work of other people, and in this industry in particular it may be even higher. Based on the amount of “spinning parts” it takes to run a successful venue and the fast-paced environment of the industry, it becomes easier to forget things such as kindness in favor of results and productivity. However, it is these little things that make the difference between a good and a WOW experience for your team and your customers.
Do you have any takeaways you would like to share for those who attend your session to take back to their convention center?
Kindness is a legitimate business advantage to those who effectively use it in the workplace. It isn’t weak, but rather the opposite as it takes strength and effort to act kind. The results speak for themselves.
Kind leaders are seen more favorably, get more work done for them, get more emotional buy-in and can change both their own and others’ lives through even small acts of kindness for those they lead.
Engagement scores increase, customer satisfaction and loyalty grows, teams strengthen, stress reduces, and people are happier when leaders lead with kindness.
Cliff Wallace, CVE, just added one more accolade to a career full of them when he was honored with the Venue Management Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2019 Venue Industry Awards recently completed at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Wallace, member of the board of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, was feted at the Asia-Pacific Venue Industry Congress along with several other honored category recipients.
VMA says its Lifetime Achievement Award “looks to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of an industry stalwart who has made a significant contribution to the Association, the venue management profession and our industry in the Asia Pacific region.”
That person is in full bloom with Cliff Wallace, known to people inside and outside the industry throughout the world as a tireless worker and champion of the public assembly venue industry.
Wallace’s career in the industry spans a remarkable 57 years and indeed covers the globe, something even Wallace said he could not have foreseen happening at one time earlier in his career. Among his professional association credits Wallace served as IAVM (then IAAM) President in 1984-85 while in New Orleans, and is an Honorary President of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI).
Notably in the Asia and Pacific region, Wallace has been an instructor at the VMA Venue Management School (VMS) from 1996 to 2012, has served on the VMA Board from 2001 through 2003, and has often spoken at the annual Congress. He has also contributed significantly to industry initiatives in Asia as well as playing a key role in establishing the VMA’s Affiliation Agreement with the IAVM in 2007.
He has been an enthusiastic member and ambassador for the VMA and VMS in the region and has been instrumental in expanding the reach into Asia by both sending and encouraging many students to attend the VMS, and in the development of the VMA/UFI partnership to deliver the VMS China School.
“Our industry is unique and draws to it incredible individuals who are passionate about what they do,” said VMA President Steve Harper, CVE. “From memorable moments for their patrons to iconic events that form part of our nation’s culture and history, they are a rare breed and we love to celebrate them.”
Other recipients at the VVMA’s Asia-Pacific Venue Industry Congress include:
Venue Professional of the Year Award – Gary Mears CVE – General Manager, The Events Centre – Caloundra
Allied Professional of the Year Award – Paul McCarthy – Director, PBM Safety
Young Achiever of the Year Award – Eray Saban – Stadium Event Manager, Marvel Stadium
Social Finance, a private lender that specializes in refinancing student loans, has reportedly acquired naming rights for the new $5.2 billion stadium in Los Angeles that will be home to the National Football League’s Rams and Chargers. The stadium site is in Inglewood near the LA Laker’s former Great Western Forum basketball arena.
The new stadium will seat 72,000 and several media and industry outlets are reporting the price tag to be in the vicinity of $20 million a year for 20 years.
The reported deal from multiple sources is in financial line with another NFL stadium which has two tenants — MetLife Stadium in New York that is home to the Giants and Jets.
The LA stadium will open in 2020 and has been named host for the 2022 Super Bowl, 2023 NCAA Football Championship Game, and the 2028 Summer Olympic Games, which it will share with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
As for Social Finance (SoFi), it is a major dip into sports marketing for a company which just last year finalized a deal to serve as presenting sponsor of the Big Ten Conference men’s basketball tournament. The company has also sponsored the Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball tournament, the Winter X Games and the 2019 NBA play-offs.
The district already has its first tenant in the west coast headquarters of NFL Media, which will occupy 200,000 square feet next to the stadium. Other development in the district to be completed includes retail space, numerous restaurants, movie theater, hotel, and residential property.
SoFi was founded in 2011 and at the time began a business refinancing student loan debt that has grown to now include mortgage loans, personal loans, and wealth management.
Healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente became the latest partner for the Golden State Warriors when the NBA team moves into its new Chase Center for the 2019-20 basketball season. The company secured naming rights for the team’s 11-acre plaza.
Before the venue opens for hoops, it will play host to a Metallica concert slated for September 6. Golden State hosts its first-pre-season game versus the rival Los Angeles Lakers on October 5.
Kaiser Permanente is no stranger to the team as it is a current commercial partner with Thrive City, a community gathering place designed to bring people together from all over the Bay Area and provide health programs and services. Thrive is Kaiser’s health and wellness slogan.
The name Thrive City carries over as the official name of the district surrounding Chase Center, while Kaiser Permanente has been named official team physician of the Warriors. Perhaps best of all in contrast to the team’s current Oracle Arena, which is limited in attracting fans outside of the venue itself, Thrive City will provide year-round health and wellness programming, including Get Fit clinics, yoga sessions, farmer’s markets, and ice skating.
Thrive City will also be highlighted by public art, including a signature piece by international artist Olafur Eliasson located at the East Entrance of Chase Center. “The first year of Chase Center will be an incredible year of discovery for the community as we’ll continuously roll out new programming, retail, restaurants and entertainment at Thrive City,” said Rick Welts, Warriors president and chief operating officer.
“We could not have chosen a better partner to activate the surrounding district at Chase Center as Kaiser Permanente’s focus and commitment to the community runs parallel with our vision for the project and this entire district. We know this will become a gathering place for everyone and are excited to see it come to life over the first year of operation.”
Thrive City will tip off later this summer with a Get Fit clinic and will continue with ongoing programming throughout the year. Thrive City will now be home to the retail stores and restaurants planned for the surrounding district, and will be unveiled over the course of the first year of opening.
“The Golden State Warriors are one of the most impactful brands in professional sports, and we are thrilled to join with them to improve the health of the Bay Area communities we serve through Thrive City, which will serve as a flagship presence and destination for total health,” said Bernard Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.
“Additionally, broadening our partnership with the Warriors to become the official team physicians demonstrates our excellence in sports medicine. Our leading team of sports medicine specialists will bring expert care to support the ongoing good health of the team.”