ELITE WOMEN

IN BUSINESS

2021

Jodi Harris

Founded in 1994 by Jodi Harris, Las Vegas, Nevada-based Sight & Sound Events is a professional multi-award-winning event production and entertainment company in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sight & Sound Events is best described as an all-inclusive entertainment and event production company. It is a one-stop for all event production needs from a DJ to party band, celebrity impersonators, Las Vegas Showgirls, photography, videography, photo booths, lighting, A/V productions, and more.

We caught up with Jodi Harris self-proclaimed CEO of FUN at Sight & Sound Event to learn how they create unforgettable events that are one of a kind. Here, she shares how a quick pivot helped them sail through the pandemic, why she loves Stephanie McMahon, as well as the only thing that takes her mind away from work.

Aspioneer(A): Every company has its own story to tell. What is the story behind your company? What inspired you to build it? What is the philosophy behind it?
Jodi Harris(J): “Before I started Sight & Sound Events, I was in television production. I worked for the ABC (television network) as a secretary (that’s what administrative assistants were called) in the most unglamorous department BO&E (Broadcast Operations & Engineering). I knew that was my foot in the door in the company. I spent 1 year in that department and used the internal job postings to get to my next move in public relations. I learned all about the world of public relations and working with our celebrity talent which helped me on my next internal job move. That move was TV production and again using our internal job postings, interviewed and landed a dream job on the award-winning production team of “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee”. I knew I loved PRODUCTION. Especially LIVE event production. 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 later was introduced to our local cable company where I was hired to produce local origination TV. All while working side by side with my then fiancé on events. We later got married and moved to Las Vegas, the wedding and event capital of the world, and that is when I went ALL in with the entertainment and event production. While others in my field were doing this as a side hustle 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.

Our philosophy is simple WE CARE. We are very hands-on with our clients and events. We get personal with our clients and truly show them that we CARE about their events' success. Our clients are not just a date on our calendar it's a relationship and bond. It’s about TRUST that our team will deliver a flawless and fun event based on their needs. The team that works at Sight & Sound and our clients are just that, a team and it's our job to give them the best experience ever.”

“I have the word “BELIEVE” tattooed on my right forearm as a reminder that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything!”

(A): What are some of the professional challenges you faced in the special event industry?
(J): “The most significant barrier I’ve had to overcome is being a woman in a very male-dominated industry which is the DJ entertainment side of what I do. Female DJs are still perceived as a novelty act because many just want someone sexy (eye candy) behind the sound system like a supermodel YET they want a DJ who knows how to ROCK the dance floor. The public on the social side of our events has seemed to embrace the idea of a female DJ better than our corporate clients have. Many of our social clients, like our wedding clients, have the idea that by having a female DJ they are getting the wedding planner and DJ all in one. Which is not exactly wrong. There is a lot more work with being a wedding DJ than a corporate event DJ with timelines and making sure activities get done on your timeline. Whereas with a corporate DJ event, you show up on time, play music, and read the audience with not a lot of talking on the mic. I’ve overcome this perception by focusing on what is important and that is being a DJ. Always looking my best using my talent and knowledge. I choose to focus on creating FUN events for FUN people.”

(A): Now that you have mentioned the pre-conceived notions/ stereotypes female DJ face in your industry. Can you also discuss what holds back women from climbing leadership ladders in other male-dominated industries?
(J): “I feel CONFIDENCE and IMPOSTER SYNDROME/MINDSET are the challenges women feel because it’s been a man’s world for so long. Most of the players in leadership roles have been men. Women feel the pressure now to not only play in the sandbox with the men leaders but also how they stand out. Women have to go back and think of those unique super skills and qualities that brought them to the table, to begin with. If you do that, you’ll realize that you are NO IMPOSTER and you belong to be at the table.”

(A): Who were or are your female role models?
(J): “My female role model is WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie is living proof of a woman thriving in what can be considered a man's world - professional wrestling and bringing it mainstream and into pop culture. I love what she's done for the company's brand which includes using modern digital technologies to reach their audience. It's essential now. She is also behind the movement for giving female athletes more visibility. Stephanie is highly visible with her company’s culture. She is raising awareness on today’s most issues while being a mom. Another female role model was early on in my career when I worked on the LIVE WITH REGIS & KATHIE LEE show. I worked with an amazing Emmy nominated segment producer, Victoria Lang who was just the most organized individual I’ve ever met.”

(A): With the rapid emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, many businesses were finding themselves in survival mode. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your company? How did you breakthrough?
(J): “2020 was a year that we ALL broke down personally and professionally. My year started out strong and it was taken away from me and the rest of the world. I chose not to “turtle-up” but to stand out. I immediately went to work on our social media channel CONSISTENTLY reminding people that we will meet again and it will be an epic celebration. My team and I made educational videos on our company’s services. Our team DJ-ed themed dance parties on Saturday nights virtually like our epic FUN HOUSE dance party complete with puppets and stuffed animals on our set. Clients and colleagues loved our themed dance parties because they didn’t know what to expect. I made sure we were consistent with our message and branding during the pandemic.”

(A): What is next in your life?
(J): “My current goals are to step out more and speak at trade and industry conferences to be the expert in my industry and mentor others in the hospitality industry. My podcast “Boss Time” is in production. It will be launching very soon on all podcasting platforms. I’m so excited for others to meet these amazing bosses in all professions! I’m ALWAYS learning from finding the right people to surround myself with to watching YouTube videos and webinars. The pandemic has given us all a clean slate to reset by building the business you want, not the business you had. My 2021 goals also include opening a social media agency to help those struggling with content and posting.”

(A): Lastly, how do you unplug from work?
(J): “My husband would say, I never really UNPLUG from work. However, I do LOVE anything that has to do with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). It’s an escape. I’m always looking at the New York Times Best Selling business books list. “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk is a favorite and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I watch a lot of YOUTUBE. It's the best! You can find everything on the platform. Here are my favorite business YouTubers Vanessa Lau and Scott Friesen with Simpletivity.”

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