The Queen of Collaboration: Amanda Fishburn is Changing the Game in Events

The 10 Most Empowering Women Leaders in Business to Watch in 2024

Amanda Fishburn, MB4 Productions

Echoing former First Lady Michelle Obama’s view, “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” Amanda Fishburn exemplifies leadership driven by purpose. As founder of The Function and Head of Strategy, Events & Nonsense at The Function @ MB4 Productions, she champions meaningful impact over mere wealth accumulation.

Over the past two decades, Amanda has discovered and honed her passion: empowering individuals and teams to achieve their goals. Whether working with clients or internal teams, she thrives on active listening, understanding aspirations, and guiding them toward solutions.

Her diverse background spans 10 years in sports events and festivals, coupled with 17 years in the fast-paced agency environment. Holding roles like project manager, account director, and senior vice president of operations, Amanda has cultivated a unique skillset: adaptability, problem-solving prowess, and a deep understanding of team dynamics – all delivered with a signature sunny disposition.

She believes that exceptional service extends beyond technical expertise; it prioritizes the client’s emotional experience. This philosophy underpins her approach to change management, project management, client service, strategic direction, and event production. Amanda and her team are passionate about transforming dreams into tangible realities.

Recognized as one of “The 10 Most Empowering Women Leaders in Business to Watch in 2024,” Amanda embodies the essence of ‘COURAGEOUS.’ It’s this trait, confirmed by her team, that fuels her resilience and inspires others to embrace bravery in their journeys.

This cover story explores Amanda’s impactful legacy, offering valuable insights for aspiring leaders. Her wealth of experience serves as a treasure trove of guidance for navigating the path toward leadership success.

What is Success for Amanda?

At The Function @ MB4 Productions, their guiding principle is simple yet powerful: ‘happy people create better outcomes.’ This belief permeates every aspect of their work, from client interactions to team dynamics.

For Amanda, success wasn’t solely about creating an events agency but rather fostering an environment where experts can thrive and create innovative, high-quality experiences collaboratively. This approach has given her, her company, and her team the dexterity to carve a unique niche in the industry.

The Story of Inception: Powerhouse Partnership of MB4 & The Function’s Winning Duo

Over two decades ago, Bill Hetzel laid the foundation of MB4 Productions, built on the pillars of innovation, exceptional quality, and dedicated customer service. Amanda, with her 11 years of experience leading at the executive level, joined forces to establish The Function @ MB4 Productions.

Driven by a deep understanding of client needs and a yearning for greater solution-oriented action, Amanda felt constrained by limitations within established structures. Recognizing the gap between promises and realities, she embarked on a bold venture of starting an events agency that would ‘give employees and clients what other agencies only promise.’

By partnering with the established reputation of MB4, Amanda’s agency was able to make a splash quickly. They attracted both large-scale business and top talent, driven by their commitment to exceeding expectations and delivering true value.

The Operations under Amanda’s Leadership at MB4 Productions 

Since Amanda’s arrival at MB4 Productions, the operations team has undergone a remarkable transformation. In just 18 months, they’ve built a diverse and high-functioning team capable of tackling new client segments with strategic event programs that deliver exceptional results. At MB4 Productions, this adept professional nurtures a collaborative environment where inclusivity reigns supreme. Each team member is empowered to bring their unique perspectives and talents to the table. This commitment to open communication and diverse viewpoints translates into a dynamic learning culture. Here, insights are readily translated into action, ensuring continuous improvement and propelling innovation.

The Journey So Far!

Amanda views her journey as more than just riding the right road; it’s about having the best people in the driver’s seat, navigating together toward a shared destination. It echoes the timeless truth: “Teamwork makes the dream work.” This philosophy forms the bedrock of her journey. She creates a space where everyone grows and thrives by nurturing an atmosphere where synergy flourishes. They all move in unison towards common goals, fueled by a culture of achievement and mutual support.

Amanda’s Greatest Roadblocks of Challenging and Changing the Status Quo

Have you ever tripped over threatened turf professional wars? Amanda did, not just once, but twice! And here she is shining as a victor with justified pride.  Facing opposition from insecure leaders who saw her people-centric approach as a threat, she realized some folks clung to the “limited seats” mentality, pitting women against each other instead of cheering them on.

This orthodox mentality fueled her fire to build something different. “There’s room for all of us,” Amanda declares, championing women’s advancement in business.

That’s why she took the leap and started her own company, a haven free from the “dog-eat-dog” mentality. No more navigating corporate labyrinths filled with outdated thinking. This time, she’s setting the rules, and guess what? Collaboration is mandatory, not optional. Inclusiveness sits at the core of values.

Greatest Achievement as A Leader

The presence of several former colleagues on her current team is one of Amanda’s highest achievement areas. This is a testament of her mentality of creating a community that believes in lasting relationships. Seeing their continued trust and willingness to work with her serves as a powerful validation of her leadership style and effectiveness.

Vision on Empowering Women, Strengthening Progress

This veteran female leader is acutely aware of the differences women face daily. However, she believes that united action can lead to overcoming them. Amanda emphasizes the crucial need for equitable pay structures and culturally embedded representation, going beyond merely a movement or something to post on the internet. She urges a focused approach to making a tangible difference, embodying the “Onward and Upward” spirit in her pursuit of progress and inclusivity.

Vision for The Function @ MB4 Productions

Imagine an event production company where employees tap-dance on Mondays, and ideas sparkle like confetti. That’s The Function @ MB4 Productions! Here, through a people-centric approach, they envision becoming the industry’s most sought-after agency to work for and with. According to Amanda, instead of getting caught up in competitors’ moves, they collectively focus on carving their own niche as a company and value proposition.

A Typical Workday

Every day throws a curveball, but Amanda thrives in the dynamic. Emails ping, the phone clamors, metrics dance on the screen, and the symphony of a busy workday begins. Yet, amidst the professional whirlwind, Amanda stands calm, a beacon of grace and determination.

One moment, she’s deep in the trenches of utilization data, then pivoting to dissect performance metrics, always pushing for improvement. The next, she’s building connections in one-on-ones or strategizing with clients – all with a smile that belies the constant dance between focus and flexibility.

Striking a Harmonious Work-Life Balance

Amanda thrives on a “work hard, play hard” philosophy, giving her full attention and energy to every aspect of life. When she’s working, she’s laser-focused on delivering the best results. When vacation beckons, she disconnects completely to enjoy the moment fully. Driven by a natural desire to excel, she consistently strives to deliver the best. In her words, “The motivation to provide the best services is something that is innate in me.”

Amanda has also curated a digital ‘sunshine jar’ on her phone, collecting ‘all the good things’ that happen throughout the year. On tough days, peeking into this jar serves as a potent reminder of life’s abundant blessings.

Personal Goal

Like Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Amanda embodies this Jedi wisdom in her work practice. Unlike many, she chooses quality over quantity, limiting herself to adding just two large-scale clients annually to the business. It allows her a deep, 6-month involvement with each, ensuring she fully understands their business. She firmly believes and advocates that it is and will be helpful for The Function @ MB4 Productions team to deliver what they promise in the sales phase. This selective model creates a selective demand, attracting clients who resonate with the company’s commitment to excellence and personalized service. It’s not about “trying” to excel; it’s about doing so with relentless dedication, one client at a time.

Message to Aspiring Businesswomen

Amanda encourages aspiring businesswomen to pursue their dreams with determination and excellence. She emphasized taking action when they can sense their calling, striving for quality, and be in the company of people who can fuel their passion, growth, and success. She puts it articulately and says in simple words, “When you feel called to do it, do it, do it well, and surround yourself with the right people while doing it.”  To illustrate the spirit of embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure, she quotes: “Off we go, where we stop, nobody knows,” highlighting the open-ended nature of the journey and the potential for boundless possibilities.