For any event planner—even the most experienced ones—the thought of organizing three events in three different cities, all held on the same day, probably sounds incredibly daunting and chaotic. But for myself and my team at Randi Events, it’s just another day in the nonstop music industry and another opportunity for us to rise to meet a new challenge.
To promote his new album, Life Changes, Thomas Rhett and his record label, Big Machine Label Group, decided to host listening parties in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago on the day of his album release. When they contacted Randi Events to execute the plan, we were all excited about the opportunity to take our expertise to three different cities and plan events that Thomas Rhett and the label would be proud of. Additionally, I took pride in knowing that I could safely delegate many of the tasks to my team.
But I wasn’t always so comfortable sharing the load.
Delegation: The Not-So-Secret Sauce Behind Any Successful Business
If you’re planning to start your own business, in any industry, you must understand that you’ll never be able to do everything yourself. And if you’ve already been in business for any length of time, you already know this.
Delegating is key in all business deals. By delegating, you empower your immediate team member to delegate to their team members. You then have an entire network of people, with an aligned vision, working together to achieve the same goal.
But if you don’t learn to delegate, you become overworked and you burn out. Meanwhile, your work will suffer because of your inability to focus on the details in your business. You’ll be focused on staying afloat instead of excelling and going above and beyond your client’s expectations. The growth of your business will suffer and, eventually, cease.
My breast cancer diagnosis was a turning point in my career. Once I told my family members and adjusted to my new health reality, my immediate concern was my business. Up to that point, I involved in every single aspect of Randi Events, from booking clients, to rolling tables and placing centerpieces at the actual events.
Having cancer forced me to take a step back and learn to really trust in my staff, and I can honestly say that if I hadn’t gotten cancer, I would still have a hard time delegating. But when I was going through one of the most difficult times of my life, wondering if I would ever be healthy again or be around to meet my grandchildren, my staff stepped up. They told me to focus on myself and to let them worry about the business. And I listened.
While I was going through treatment, my staff did all of the planning and designing for each event. The only area I retained control was the accounting. I obviously didn’t have much of a choice in this—I had seven three-week rounds of chemo, so there was no way I could physically be present for much of the work—but I was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing fell apart in my absence. In fact, the business was doing better than ever.
The Art of Delegating
With the help of my husband, I built Randi Events from the ground up, so it was always hard for me to entrust certain aspects of the business to other people. And that’s a perfectly normal feeling that most entrepreneurs experience. If you’re an entrepreneur, “Nobody can do it like I can,” and “I don’t have time to teach someone, so I might as well do it myself” are two statements that you will likely hear yourself sat over and over again. But the best business leaders know that delegation in a skill they must master. Their success depends on it.
And the best part about delegating is that, once you learn how, you can equip your other team members to become better delegators and then watch your business achieve things that you never thought possible.
Early in my career, I would have loved to have someone tell me the benefits of delegating. I enjoyed being involved in all of the events, but I also knew that my involvement was slowing us down. Now, by empowering my staff, we are able to achieve what most people deem impossible—like planning three events in three cities on the same day.
So how did we do it?
I sent three of my designers to each of the cities to plan and execute each concert. The trust I have built with my clients over the years helped them to feel comfortable that if anyone could pull off such an ambitious series of events, it would be my company. I also communicated with the owner of the record label as well as my staff to make sure the activation was executed and completed successfully. My staff then reached out to the venues for floor plans and designed the entire event based on what the venues sent them. The three concerts were executed seamlessly, and I couldn’t be prouder of my team.
Again, our success with the Thomas Rhett events wouldn’t have been possible without delegation. So for those of you struggling with delegating, I have five rules that I live by that will help you feel comfortable delegating as well.
1.Hire the right staff.
You’re obviously not going to trust your staff to execute in your absence if you feel like you haven’t hired the best people for the job. At Randi Events, we try to hire the right staff for each position in our company, and we have a very lengthy interview process to help ensure this happens each time we have an opening.
We receive hundreds of resumes every year, so after we weed through those, we schedule first interviews to get a basic understanding of their background and experience to see if they can handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. After a candidate has completed the first round of interviews, we then send a questionnaire or sample task based on the job they are applying for. And because we are a close team, it is important that we have buy-in from all senior staff before we proceed through subsequent rounds of the interview process.
Finally, we require that all candidates take a test that determines whether they are an Earth, Wind, Water or Fire personality. I am a double fire, so this test is important in determining how well the individual will get along with me and the rest of the staff. The ultimate hiring decision is made by me, so I meet with every potential candidate. And even if an individual isn’t the most qualified for the position, I always hire them if I can sense something special about them that will turn them into a star eventually.
2. Trust your gut.
Trusting your gut is important in every aspect of your business, but it is critical when you’re trying to build the right team. If my intuition is telling me that a potential candidate is right for the job, I have to trust myself. Likewise, if a candidate is perfect on paper, but I don’t feel right about them, I say no every time. And I can proudly say that I’ve built a very successful business trusting my gut in this way.
3.Delegate small tasks first
Before delegating anything major to a team member, you want to make sure you’ve given them small tasks to start. Empowerment leads to trust, so you must be able to hand over certain responsibilities to your staff if you’re ever going to learn to trust them completely. But it wouldn’t be smart to trust them with a large or important task if they’ve yet to prove their competency. Give staff members the chance to fail on something of minimal importance so that you can identify any mistakes or errors in judgement, ensuring they won’t happen again with bigger responsibilities at stake.
4.Identify when you need help.
If you feel like you’re need help or that you’re “drowning,” this is the first sign that you need to delegate to your team. Drowning in your company and responsibilities can cause you to burn out. Fast. (You should also always be on the lookout for other team members who may be struggling under the weight of their responsibilities.) It’s naturally hard for entrepreneurs to ask for help, so the first time you feel that you should is a clear indication that you need to empower your staff to make bigger decisions and delegate more work to them. You’ve hired them for a reason—use them.
5.Identify your staff’s passion
When you take time to identify the areas of your business that each of your staff members love the most and are best at doing, you can feel more confident that they will more effectively execute those tasks. Everyone has strengths, and leveraging the strengths of your team members will keep from growing frustrated or burning out, and it will also make your company better than ever.
The Academy of Country Music Awards are one of the highlights of the year for the Country community. Fans, artists and radio personalities take over Las Vegas to celebrate another fabulous year of great music, incredible songwriters, show-stopping tours and storytelling music videos. This year’s show promised to be something special, and we were thrilled to be along for the ride. My involvement with the ACMs this time around was the biggest in Randi Events history, with 5 events throughout the weekend. My fabulous team and I flew to Vegas to make the impossible possible in the party capital of the world.
It all started with a party for Big Machine Label Groups’ own Thomas Rhett, one of the newest spokespersons for the General Mills organization, Outnumber Hunger. The radio remote and private performance went off without a hitch – it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. Our crew spent the next few days getting ready for the big event, Sunday’s awards, walking through venues to make sure everything was ready to go. Load-ins started across the city as our great partner vendors got to work bringing our designer’s plans to life.
The first event on Sunday was a pre-show party for aviation mogul CESSNA, backstage at the TMobile arena. Blue couches and lighting and beautiful draping provided the perfect setting for staff to mix and mingle before the awards began. The highlight of the event were the Big Machine artists who stopped by to say hello.
Once the Awards show let out it was time for us to really do our thing. Thousands of show attendees flocked to after parties, and we threw two of the biggest ones. Sony Music Nashville artists, staff and friends headed to the HYDE lounge in the TMobile arena, where we partnered with Hostess Snacks to create a delicious and creative display of their best products. The folks from Big Machine Label Group enjoyed their own party with food, drink and music at Sake Rok on the Vegas strip. Everyone had a great time celebrating the night’s winners and looking back on a stellar year.
I’m so proud of our involvement with the ACMs this year. Thanks to every Las Vegas vendor, venue and partner who helped make this happen. Until next time!
I love doing all types of events in and around downtown Nashville, but the music industry parties hold a special place in my heart! I was honored to plan a multi-day event for Sony Music to celebrate the release of country superstar Brad Paisley’s new album, “Love and War” this past April. Radio personalities from 30 outlets across the country came to Nashville to be a part of the occasion, and we were there every step of the way.
The weekend started off with a special event at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the heart of downtown. Guests had a private viewing of the “Brad Paisley: Diary of a Player” exhibit that tells the story of a prodigy turned superstar through never-before seen drawings and illustrations from Paisley’s childhood, alongside a collection of instruments, performance clothing, awards, and mementos from his life and career. Everyone then proceeded downstairs to the CMA Ford Theater for an early screening of the Love and War Visual Album, a compilation of music videos for every song off the new record. Brad spoke, welcoming guests, thanking them for celebrating with him, and announcing a surprise pop-up show that evening at the World-Famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in the heart of the Broadway strip. The crowd headed upstairs to the famous Hall of Fame rotunda for dinner, sponsored by Sarah Cannon and Band Against Cancer. The rain couldn’t stop this celebration, and once dinner was over, everyone boarded the buses to head to Tootsies. The special concert was also announced on social media, inviting Brad’s biggest fans to join in, and soon the intimate iconic venue was packed. But the surprises weren’t over yet – Brad invited music legend John Fogerty on stage to join him in singing current and old classics. Even hip hop producer Timbaland, who is also featured on the Love and War album made an appearance. It was truly a once in a lifetime musical experience for everyone inside the bar.
The high from the night continued the next morning when the radio personalities returned to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a live radio remote broadcast. Each outlet got a chance to talk to Brad about the new record, the pop-up show the night before and all things Love and War. It was a busy few days, but I couldn’t have been happier with how it all turned out. Congrats to Brad and the whole Sony team on a fabulous record and celebration.
I always pull out all the stops on Country Music’s Biggest Night and this party for BMLG, during my 20th year of during CMA, was no exception! We took over Marathon Music Works to celebrate the incredible work this label and their artists have done throughout the past year and man was it something to see! The 7-foot-wide custom BMLG chandelier in the center was a standout piece, but there were plenty of special touches throughout the black, red and gold décor. I had multiple couch areas, a charging station, portable fireplaces, DJ’s all the way from NYC and of course, a red carpet entrance area. Everyone definitely felt like a celebrity. The artists, label staff and guests had so much fun enjoying the great music and incredible food that we partied until 3 o’clock in the morning! I don’t know how we’ll go bigger next year but I’m excited to make it happen.
It’s always special to use our services to help the community and this year’s Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was no exception. On a night that brings together thousands of people from around the Nashville area to raise awareness and money for such an important cause, I was honored to design the VIP Bright Lights area. I chose linen, décor and comfortable furniture, all in the official colors of the walk; bright yellow, red and white and the giant tent looked amazing when the lanterns went on. We had multiple food options from two fabulous caterers, a bar featuring a delicious specialty drink named “The Survivor” and a coffee and cookie station from Starbucks – clearly no one left hungry, thirsty or disappointed! I’m so thankful to all the sponsors who donated their time and services to help us celebrate this important organization.
It was all about Garth in the month of October! We kicked it off with a celebration at the famous AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX as Garth and Frito Lay announced their partnership to promote Garth’s new song, “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”. Two of our team members were onsite to make sure everything ran smoothly, including a cocktail reception, listening party for the new single and a radio remote on the field the next day. It was a whirlwind, but it’s always great to be part of such a highly anticipated launch. We got to enjoy a Nashville celebration a few weeks later when Garth brought his 7-diamond status home to Tennessee, an honor that has never been given before to a solo artist! I was thrilled to work with my team to coordinate a special experience for the VIP guests before and after the concert at the Ascend amphitheater downtown. Congrats Garth!
I always say I can throw a party anywhere, so when Florida Georgia Line asked me to do an event for them in New York City, I was more than happy to jump on board! After all, what better place to kick-off the “Dig Your Roots” album launch and tour than in a historical venue that houses the ancestral records of so many of us? Ellis Island was the perfect backdrop for this event and everyone in attendance could feel the energy in the room. A private sunset cruise around Lady Liberty provided breathtaking views of the statue, the Manhattan skyline and Ellis Island. Once inside the main function hall, guests got to meet the performers, enjoy delicious American fare and watch the premiere of the new “May We All” music video. There was also a Google cardboard station to view a special virtual reality behind the scenes experience from the making of the music video. The “Dig Your Roots” album played on a loop during the evening and everyone had such a good time that it was hard to get the ferry boarded and on route back to the city! The next morning, radio personalities from around the country got a chance to speak to the artists about their inspiration behind the record and what it was like to create. It was a fabulous weekend, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.
I had a great time celebrating Rascal Flatts’ No. 1 hit “I Like the Sound of That” with our good friends at Big Machine Label Group. It was only appropriate to host this celebration at First Tennessee Park, home of our very own Nashville Sounds. Playing along with the baseball theme, we have ballpark food for the guests and a great view! Congrats to all of the talented artists & songwriters who were a part of hitting this one out of the park!
People often ask me where it all began and how I got to where I am now. I simply smile, and reply: “It’s all about the drive.” Throughout my journey, I have always carried one thing with me: My drive to be an all-around success. A mother, a businesswoman, whatever it may be – I knew I would succeed. It all started with my mother, who will always be my absolute biggest inspiration. She taught me that hard work; selflessness and drive can get me just about anywhere in life.
I first watched this unfold while she, a single parent for the majority of my life, juggled three jobs and was on a mission to give my older sister and I everything. And, that she did. She made it. She used her drive to find her direction and I admire her tremendously for being such a success in business, while still managing to always put her children first. So, that’s how I’ve modeled my path.
Finding your direction isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. I had the drive, but I needed the direction. You have to have the determination to work endless hours and to try different things to find where you thrive. I did a lot of moving around, I worked in different fields and I met a lot of people along the way.
I truly thought I had it all figured out. I had a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. But, something was missing. I knew that I couldn’t be the greatest mother without having a balance in my life.
That brings me to the day that changed my life forever…
My plans to be a stay-at-home mom to my then 2 1/2-year-old son and my newborn were suddenly intervened by fate. It happened at a birthday party that I attended with my son. I heard that the birthday boy’s father was going to work for a new label and was having a huge grand opening party – that’s all it took. I knew it was my time to follow my direction. And, that’s where my event-planning career began. At the time, I was a “one-man show.” I produced the grand opening of “DreamWorks Records” in 1996, and since, have grown my company to a full-time staff of 11 operating on the historic Music Row in Nashville.
By finding that balance, I found my direction and my passion to be an event planner and, in turn, it made me a much better mother and entrepreneur.