Jodi Harris: Creating a difference in the entertainment industry with Sight & Sound Events

The Most Admired Women Leaders in Business, 2023

Jodi Harris, Founder and CEO of Sight & Sound Events, believes that success is not all about fame or fortune. Instead, it is about doing what a person loves as it brings joy to life.

She adds, “If you don’t LOVE what you do and phone it in, you’ll never be successful. If you are loving what you do and giving 110+% success will find you, and the opportunities will open up for you.”

Laying the foundation of Sight & Sound Events 

The beginning of Jodi’s career began with a relationship. She met her husband in California while on vacation. He was a DJ and she would go with him to events.

Before Sight & Sound Events, she spent ten years with the ABC television network in public relations, specifically in the Audience Information division of ABC, which dealt with viewer feedback on the TV programming.

Later she moved into the production part of the company where she worked on the award-winning television show, “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,” as a production secretary. She assisted the team of producers with production and was the liaison between the public and the show.

She would often attend business networking events with other event professionals and saw how she could take her corporate working with ABC and blend it with this special event industry.

She started Sight & Sound Events as a side hustle or side gig. Having a full-time, 9-5 job made things a little more complicated and she was forced to miss some elements while handling her side hustle. As she realized that there was a demand for services through Sight & Sound Events, she decided to push it as the main career option. So, with a few bucks in her pocket, she decided to go all-in with her side hustle and create something bigger.

Crossing the obstacles on the way

Jodi agrees 1000% that challenges make a person stronger and one grows and learns from them.

Her biggest challenge has been confidence. No doubt, she is a super-confident personality while working and delivering her service, but till the project is landed, she feels nervous. She adds, “All the little games that people play and industry cliques can really affect your confidence.”

However, she believes that a person should not lose focus and deliver to the best of one’s capabilities.

Redefining the production and entertainment industry with Sight & Sound Events

Sight & Sound Events started in 1994 as a DJ and Videography company in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jodi adds, “It was my husband and myself. As we grew, our clients asked for more services like photography, photo booth, celebrity impersonators, lighting, design, and event production, so we built our team. All the pieces of producing an event just fell into place. We create FUN events for FUN people.”

People in the industry believe that entertainment jobs are simple and not tiring. However, it is not far from the real truth. Jodi states, “We have to be in our office Monday – Friday 9 to 5 to book the events and plan out the events.

Then on the weekends, we have to perform at the events. It was crazy because when we were locked down, we had clients asking for refunds on their deposits (retainers), and they felt they were owed that because we hadn’t performed for them yet. But the retainers keep our businesses running because we are a business with rent and utilities and employees! So, changing the perception for me through interviews like this, podcasts, and posting on social media is the way to do it.”

Staying in the race with evolving industry

Right now, it’s all about social media and creating content consistently. Everyone lives in an INSTA-world, and everything is digital now.

Jodi adds, “It’s a world where you can see reviews, go live into a party, and experience what a company or brand has to offer from the comfort of your own home. DJs can mix on digital platforms like Twitch. We’re having ZOOM meetings now. Contracts are being sent digitally. If you’re not on any social media platforms consistently creating content for your ideal client, you’re on the road to nowhere.”

The vision of the company as it moves forward is to invest in people and technology to pave its way to the top.

Jodi expresses, “Our business is not only about creating connections to land our biggest events but also creating a fun and caring environment that people will want to be part of our unique team.”

Steering the company’s Wheel Forward

Being the CEO of FUN at Sight & Sound Events, she has to wear multiple hats, focusing from sales to the successful execution of an event and everything in between, including checking emails and taking calls.

Owing to her hectic schedule, she keeps her Mondays with a light routine as they are already handling several requests that come over the weekend and plan for the next week’s work ahead. All Tuesdays, she holds office visits and meetings, be it hotel venue site meetings, association meetings, and a lunch with an industry colleague, while her Wednesdays are absorbed in preparations for the weekend events. On Thursdays, she caters to sales and marketing, and weekends are typically the event days with a light schedule to keep everything in control.

However, the balance gets off when they need to juggle office day with an event day. With an aim to rebuild their business after the pandemic, Jodi is working passionately to create her new brand name and spread the company’s message ahead.  She is eager to learn more and produce events that keep their clients delighted.

Managing a team with honesty, appreciation, and sharing all good news with them is her way of keeping her team motivated. She adds, “I’m never too busy to talk to them about what is on their minds and their input. I’ll treat them to a fun day of something like bowling or burgers at lunch. In this way, I have created a team and family environment.”

Owing to her remarkable efforts, she was even awarded the industry’s national award for NACE (National Association for Catering and Events) member of the year. She describes it as an Oscar award in her field.

Balancing personal and professional fronts

As she and her husband both are business partners, it is quite challenging to take out business talks while they are alone. Even their social media handles revolve around “the business,” which makes it more difficult to stay untouched with work at home.

For taking a work break, she says, “I need to make a HARD decision to just turn off the phone. Our phones are so distracting because they are mini-computers, and with all our apps, it’s so hard to want to check your email, or you get a text message, it’s always something.”

Future Roadmap

To take Sight & Sound on the top in the industry, especially in handling the event production side of the business, Jodi is striving hard to reach out to the customers via social media channels and establish a long-term relationship with the hotel partners. Further, she is working to produce more educational content via the podcast and YouTube shows.

Personally, she looks forward to inspiring and leading others by sharing her experiences in industry educational conferences and interviewing successful business owners in the new podcast ‘Boss Time.’ Further, she is planning to mentor new entrepreneurs entering the event industry and manage interns on the team.

Sharing her message for aspiring business leaders, she states, “Do what you love and love what you do! There are always going to be bad days, but the bad days far surpass the great days. If you truly find your passion, you’ll never want to stop, you’ll always want to be learning, and the success and accolades will follow you.”