Tag Archives: Lisa Jansen

Welcome to Reno, Uber!

John Cobb Photo

Photo Credit: John Cobb, Unsplash.com

September brought exciting news to the Reno-Sparks area…we finally have Uber! If you don’t know what Uber is, click here.

It is official! The State of Nevada has finally approved ride sharing companies. We are all thrilled, especially because we have been stuck using two main taxi companies in town that have rude drivers and charge ridiculous rates. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a few nice cab rides in town but I’ve also experienced some real doozies. My favorite experience was the time the cab driver yelled at me about politics on the drive home because when he asked what I did for a living, I told him the truth that I produced a political talk show. Huge mistake! Then when he finally dropped me off the fair was $50 and he felt he deserved a big tip for driving me across town. The drive took 15 minutes!

Reno is a tourist town. We want visitors to feel comfortable here and have a good time. Every time I take a taxi in Reno I pray that they take better care of the tourists than they do locals. Recently I went to a wine event in downtown Reno. I didn’t want to drive so I hired an Uber vehicle to drop me off and a taxi to take me home. Uber is going to take all the business away from cab companies if they don’t get it together. The ride sharing service is also going to be a big benefit to local tourism, especially when we are targeting millennial generation travelers.

My initial experience with Uber was fantastic. Uber Driver, Spencer, picked us up in a nice clean vehicle. He was friendly and easy to talk to on the short drive downtown. He dropped us off right where we requested and he was grateful when we paid the fare and added a tip.

On the way home that night we decided to take a cab since there were so many in downtown. We had two rude taxi drivers stop to pick us up. Each driver did the same thing. They wouldn’t open the door until we said where we were going. Once we told them we were going to a neighborhood about two miles away they refused to pick us up. It was unbelievable. Finally we walked another block and found another driver to pick us up. We didn’t tell him where we were going until we got into the taxi. This driver was nice but we were so frustrated by the experience that it didn’t really matter. That was the night I really became a big fan of Uber.

If the taxi companies want to compete and not lose business to Uber they need to change their business model. Here are a few things for starters…

1. Get an App! Everyone has one!

2. Make customer service a priority.

3. Institute a new policy that drivers must pick up customers no matter where their requested destination.

4. Invest in the product. To compete with Uber taxi companies will need to buy new vehicles that are more energy efficient.

5. Encourage your drivers to be ambassadors for Reno-Sparks and to be welcoming to customers.

Uber will add a new dynamic to the Reno-Sparks transportation scene. Taxi companies will need to adapt and find a new way to position their company or they will lose lots of customers. The service won’t be everyone, and some will still feel safer taking a traditional taxi, but it will definitely make everyone reconsider the business model.

Have you used Uber yet? Please share your story in the comments.


Making Lemonade out of Smoke

Photo Credit: http://www.photl.com

Every summer smoke from California wildfires causes hazy conditions in Reno. The smoke reduces visibility and has a serious impact on Northern Nevada’s air quality. This is a common problem during the summer months when wildfires are most prevalent. The smoke rolled in this weekend and it put a damper on the Reno Balloon Races special event on Sunday. This reminded me of the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off when the whole valley was covered in smoke and there was little visibility because of the poor air quality. We were afraid it would wreck our event, but we made it through and learned these valuable lessons.

1. Pay Attention
Looking back at the 2013 event I wish I had watched the weather patterns closer and paid more attention to the news about the wildfires. We took a lets pray and see how it goes attitude. In hindsight I wish we would have paid more attention leading up to the event and been more proactive, especially with our communication with the public about event contingency plans and how we planned on continuing even if the smoke hurt air quality in Reno.

2. Over Communicate
The news didn’t do us any favors, that is for sure! During the event local news kept telling viewers to stay inside and avoid smoke. They didn’t have one expert on to scientifically discuss how the smoke would affect viewers, they just said stay inside, don’t go outside. Period. Then it got worse. The news in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area started announcing the Rib Cook-Off was canceled due to the smoke and the fires. This was not true. We had hotel guests calling upset we canceled the event and received several nasty emails. As soon as we calmed the guests down we started reaching out to the media to let them know the event wasn’t canceled and that we wouldn’t cancel the event no matter what happened with the smoke and the weather. It was very challenging to get them to run corrections and share the correct information. In hindsight we should have been more proactive and sent out several press releases right away and increased our social media activity to let everyone know the event was going on as planned.

RibSmoke2013-1

Photo Credit: RGJ.com

3. Make Lemonade
The first day of Rib Cook-Off 2013 our beverage sales were up 12%. I’m not sure if it was because the smoke made people want to drink more, or if attendance was up in general that day but we used this information to make lemonade out of lemons. We knew we needed some positive press to encourage people to attend the event in the smoky conditions. We looked at the event financial results after the first night (as we always do) and we realized they were great! We sent a press release announcing our record sales and that was newsworthy. Right away our local media gave the event positive coverage and shared the economic impact the event has on the community. Our community takes pride in special events and their great economic indicators. We make lemonade out of lemons, and so does the whole community.

Nugget Casino Resort Rib Cook-Off - August 2013

Nugget Casino Resort Rib Cook-Off – August 2013

4. Keep up the Good Fight
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this was don’t give up. When the media is out there with bad information you need to keep fighting to get the accurate information out there. Half of the event attendees come from California, that is a few hundred thousand visits to the event. We needed to fight to get the information out there that no matter what happened with the smoke from the wildfires the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off would still be there for our attendees. Our team did a great job fighting to get accurate information to California media outlets. Our fearless PR Manager, Lauren Garber, wouldn’t give up until she got through, she kept fighting because it was the right thing to do.

5. Adapt
When you plan special events things will happen that are outside your control. Mother Nature loves to torment event planners. It is important to adapt to whatever is thrown at you when you are an event planning professional. It isn’t always pleasant, but you need to look at the threats that might hurt your event and find ways to adapt and work around the threats. A good event planner can adjust so quickly and gracefully that most guests won’t even realize there was a problem.

I learned many valuable lessons during the 2013 Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Even though at the time it was extremely challenging, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned and hopefully this will help other event planners think about these types of challenges and adapt quickly. Wildfire smoke and other natural events are out of your control, but you can control the way you respond and adapt.

Additional Reading:

Smoke, new layout not expected to dampen Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks – RGJ Article

Looking Back at the Rib Cook-Off – Sparks Tribune Article


Rib Cook-Off 2015 Entertainment Lineup Announced

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is September 2 – September 7, 2015. The six day BBQ festival offers a wide variety of FREE live entertainment. The West End stage has about 40 bands playing throughout the event, there is a DJ in the plaza, and the Main Stage is where all the big nightly shows take place. Last week we were lucky enough to visit with our radio sponsors and announce the lineup. One of the perks of being a radio sponsor is you know who the bands are before everyone else. We announce the bands on the sponsor radio stations so they can help break the exciting news to our community.

We always have a lot of fun announcing the entertainment. Here is our radio interview with Max Volume added to a nice picture montage. We made the announcement on 5 stations, but this was the only interview we have saved in an audio file.


Want more information about the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off? Check out the website at www.nuggetribcookoff.com.


Star Spangled Sparks Event Recap

Following a long tradition, this year the Nugget Casino Resort hosted the 16th Annual Star Spangled Sparks 4th of July fireworks show. This event was a tradition started under the Ascuaga family ownership of the Nugget Casino. The Nugget began hosting the fireworks show after several other shows in the area were canceled due to a lack of funding. Local legend is that John Ascuaga stood up after other fireworks shows were canceled and declared someone needed to provide fireworks, so he volunteered to put on the fireworks show to save the community’s Fourth of July celebration.

The fireworks were a success this year, we shot them at 9:49pm which was only a 4 minute delay. I’d call that show on-time. Not too shabby for a show with 5,000 pounds of fireworks. About 50,000 people filled Victorian Square to enjoy the FREE fireworks show. We had a good crowd this year. The police report for the annual event is usually about three pages long, this year it was only one page. Everyone enjoyed the show and the cooler weather helped keep everyone calm and relaxed.

Fox 11 Morning Show - Star Spangled Sparks

Lisa Jansen & Lauren Garber talking about Star Spangled Sparks with Bill Frankmore on Fox 11 Morning Show

The weather was a little rough on us leading up to the event this year. Our pyro team had to work around the daily thunder storms. Turns out it is a little dangerous to put together explosives on the roof of a casino in thunder storms. The rain is also an issue. The techs couldn’t put the explosives together if they got wet. So the crew worked around the weather and then at the last minute we had additional pyro team members show up to help finish the last part of setup. It was a challenge but it all turned out well in the end. The event attendees enjoyed the show and were delighted with some of the new types of fireworks.

We are already making plans and discussing next year’s Star Spangled Sparks event. The event has become extremely expensive. It costs approximately $150,000 to host this event. We’ve been lucky to have sponsors help cover some of the expenses over the years, but in the end the Nugget has spent about $100,000 each year to make sure Reno/Sparks has a great fireworks show on the 4th of July. The Nugget plans to continue hosting Star Spangled Sparks, but is looking for more community support in the form of local business sponsorships.

Drone Video:

July 4, 2015

Director of PR Lauren Garber & Director of Special Events Lisa Jansen AKA Team #NuggLife

Next year the event will look quite different. There are two new housing developments going into Victorian Square that will change the look and feel of Star Spangled Sparks. The Nugget has worked with the City of Sparks on these developments and made a land-swap to guarantee there is still room for special events over the summer.

The community doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate it yet, but at some point they will wake up and realize the new owners of the Nugget are committed to supporting a vibrant downtown area and keeping special events alive in the old rail city. The new owners continue to donate to local causes and support the community, they may not have a public image like the Ascuagas with their involvement of these causes, but they are there in the background supporting area programs, special events, and charitable organizations. Both Star Spangled Sparks and the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will continue to grow and be events locals can be proud of that make our community a great place to live.

If your company would like to become a sponsor of Star Spangled Sparks please contact me at Lisa.Jansen@NuggetResort.com


Salute to Women of Achievement Luncheon

Honoree Lisa Jansen and sponsor Carlton Geer, Nugget Casino Resort

Honoree Lisa Jansen and sponsor Carlton Geer, Nugget Casino Resort

I was an Honoree at the 2015 Salute to Women of Achievement, the annual Nevada Women’s Fund luncheon. The experience was amazing! I was honored with 57 other women, including many women I look up to in the community, such as our Mayor and one of my favorite County Commissioners.

The Nugget nominating committee wrote a list of candidates and I was chosen to be honored. The award means a great deal to me, especially because I’ve known many of the past and present Nevada Women’s Fund board members and honorees. They are truly remarkable women that I’ve looked up to as I’ve developed my career.

One of these women that has inspired me is Fritsi Ericson. I joined Rotary Club of Reno at the ripe old age of 23. Upon joining the club I noticed there weren’t that many women, but one of the few women I met was Fritsi Ericson. Fritsi is a brilliant doctor (retired) a community volunteer, a philanthropist, and someone I look up to for her grace, sophistication, education, sense of humor, and authenticity. Fritsi is not only a Rotarian, she was one of the founding board members of the Nevada Women’s Fund back in 1982. Her desire to inspire women to achieve has touched thousands of lives and she has made a difference in the world. I’m honored to be acknowledged by this group that Fritsi helped found.

Another member that has inspired me is my former boss, Beth Cooney. She is also a board member for the Nevada Women’s Fund. When I first started working for Beth at the Nugget she taught me about the charity organization. I’d always heard about the organization but never really knew how much of a difference they made in the community until Beth opened my eyes. Beth was one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. She worked in the casino gaming industry, which is still a profession dominated by men, and she exceled! Beth was a great leader and role model. She has been extremely supportive, and someone I look to as a mentor. Although I don’t work for her anymore, I’m blessed to still have her as a friend and mentor. One of the biggest lessons I learned from Beth was that I could embrace my feminine side, out-work, and out-smart those that judged me as a young woman not capable of being in charge. Being an honoree meant so much to me because of Beth’s connection and all that she had taught me about being a professional woman working in a male driven industry. The example she set has motivated, inspired, and helped me move to the next level in my career.

The Luncheon…
Being an honoree is a great experience. The day starts off with a continental breakfast and networking with other honorees and Nevada Women’s Fund volunteers and board members. The whole day is essentially a special event. After the networking games there was a workshop on leadership by Meggin McIntosh, a 1992 honoree. The workshop focused on leadership skills and our habit of living in the past, present, and future tense. It was a fantastic workshop, and Meggin is incredibly funny and entertaining.

After the workshop we attended a reception with our sponsors where we were treated to mimosas, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. All my favorite things! We enjoyed the reception while all the luncheon attendees were being seated. Then it was our turn to be presented as women of achievement.

2015 Salute to Women of Achievement Luncheon

2015 Salute to Women of Achievement Luncheon

They had us walk out in a precession line to Katy Perry’s song “Firework.” My boss and I were last in line. We walked in with the other honorees and sponsors to a standing ovation of over 1,000 event guests, and a line of Nugget servers, chefs, and our banquets team cheering for us. Then I saw my family-friends and coworkers at the Nugget table cheering for us. It was really fun! After the precession we were introduced on the main stage with our sponsors and then seated for lunch.

Lisa&Dr.Connie

Honoree Lisa Jansen and Dr. Connie Mariano, author of “The White House Doctor”

Dr. Connie Mariano, author of “The White House Doctor” was the guest speaker. Her presentation gave us a sneak peek at her life and what it was like to be the doctor who treated three presidents. Dr. Mariano was a dynamic guest speaker and a little bit of a firecracker, just like you’d expect from a retired Navy rear admiral. During her program she spoke about being authentic and finding your authentic voice, it really stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since the award ceremony. Authenticity is one of the most important characteristics, yet often overlooked or covered up with fakeness.

After the lunch was over we were able to meet Dr. Mariano and have her sign our complimentary books. I’m looking forward to reading her book this summer.

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Family-friends Gail & Jim Pfrommer and Bob & Jennifer Pohl

The Nevada Women’s Fund 2015 Salute to Women of Achievement Luncheon was an exceptional event. The event was well planned and everyone enjoyed the experience. We all walked away after the luncheon feeling inspired. I myself was inspired to keep striving for excellence and to help other women along the way, just like I was helped throughout my career by many great ladies that cleared the way and made it easier for my generation.

Since 1982, the Nevada Women’s Fund has distributed $6.3 million to worthwhile community organizations and funded 1,350 scholarships. For 32 years they have been inspiring achievement. For more information about the Nevada Women’s Fund or to donate to the cause, please visit their website at www.nevadawomensfund.org.


The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in Dr. Bret’s Personal Branding Class

Yoda Social Media Advice

Image Credit: MemeGenerator.net

During my last semester of grad school I was lucky enough to take Dr. Bret Simmons Personal Branding class at the University of Nevada. Dr. Bret, as he is known fondly by students, is a business professor, business speaker, a management trainer and consultant. He has done extensive research in social business and management. He teaches courses at the University of Nevada, Reno and blogs about leadership, management, social business, and personal branding. He is a the curator of TEDxUniversityofNevada and one heck of a social business motivational speaker.

If you are a grad student in the UNR MBA program, or taking under grad classes at the UNR College of Business, I highly recommend you take his class. The class isn’t just about Personal Branding lessons, but it is also about developing yourself and your brand as a professional. This blog is about the most important lessons I’ve learned and utilized from the class.

The Top 15 Lessons I Learned in Dr. Bret’s Personal Branding Class

1. Attract, convert, then transform is the name of the game in social media marketing.

To be a successful social media marketer you need to be able to draw attention to your website, convert strangers into consumers or customers, then transform by turning your success into a way to attract more traffic and start the cycle over. A great way to do this is to use social media platforms to share your success stories about your clients. For example, if you are a realtor don’t forget to post pictures and success stories on your social media platforms to celebrate your clients. You will celebrate the success, and in the process attract more business.

2. Content is King

To succeed in social media marketing you need to provide valuable, relevant, and compelling information. Make sure you bring legitimate and worthwhile material to the table. The more original and useful your content the better the results will be.

3. Blogging is Important

Blogging is the hub of social media strategies. It is a great way to share content and provide your knowledge and skills as a useful resource. Blogging allows you to interact with people and show them you are a credible resource. Blogging enables you to bring all social media platforms together to interact. This is why every time I post a blog on MadAboutEventsBlog.com I post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +.

4. SEO is a big deal!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to any social media strategy. You cannot succeed unless you learn about SEO. The best way to increase your results in SEO is to maintain well organized content and have a site with good structure for optimal results. I have found that Google+ has increased my SEO results and improved the positioning and visibility of MadAboutEventsBlog.com in search engines.

5. The World Has Gone Social

We have moved from the Industrial Age to the Social Age and the progress being made with social media platforms is amazing. The industry is moving so fast it is hard to keep up. You must adapt, challenge yourself to learn new techniques, or you will fall behind and lose your competitive edge.

6. Social Media is a valuable tool.

The #1 reason people use social media is to showcase their own identity, #2 reason is they crave community. This is important! When you consider the motives of people on social media you can understand where they are coming from. You can gain a better understanding of your customers and what they need. You can also tailor your content to your audience or desired demographic that you’d like to attract to your business. Don’t be afraid of social media, embrace it as a tool.

7. Social Media Consequences Move Fast

Don’t be an idiot on social media. Okay Dr. Bret may have said it nicer than that, or maybe not, take his class to find out for yourself! Social media is a great tool but it also can bring unintended consequences into your life and it can be a threat to your success if you aren’t careful. There is a social lynch mob culture that has formed online. If you are an idiot and post inappropriate material you can be attacked by the lynch mob. The most famous stories usually involve some employee posting something incredibly stupid and then the mob goes after them and their company has no option but to fire them. The biggest lesson here is that there is no longer a line between your personal and professional life. Social media and technology have completely changed the dynamic of a personal and professional life.

8. Friend-of-Mind Awareness

Personal and commercial relationships have merged on social media platforms. Your customers see your posts as well as their friends in their news feeds on social media. Do your best as a social media marketer to gracefully slide into customers’ personal space on social media by being amazing and interesting at all times, or by being useful to your customers online. The best part is this is the kind of marketing that customers and potential customers want, and they will seek it out.

9. Be Useful!

Use social media platforms to be useful to your customers. Build loyalty through interaction and information. We live in a world ruled by research based consumers. Customers’ needs change so you must adapt to them!

10. Always respond and be relevant in real time.

No question is unworthy of an answer. Radical transparency will help your company develop loyal customers. It is important to respond in a timely fashion. Customers expect you to respond almost immediately. I can tell you this is true from my own experience at work. I had a customer post comments on two of my companies social media platforms, and then slam us on an online review site because we didn’t respond immediately to their complaint. The problem was that they posted in the middle of the night and no one was working. I was surprised how customers expect a response 24 hours a day on social media, whether it will make a difference in their situation or not.

11. Be nimble – Nano is good!

Large organizations are challenged to adapt to these fast changing times. They are challenged to respond and react to fast moving social media platforms. If your company is nimble they can adapt to changing markets and have a better chance at being successful.

12. Crowdsourcing

There are new opportunities through crowdsourcing to work temporarily with a network of people for a common mission and then disband when finished. Keep your skills sharp and continue working to become an expert in your field so you can capitalize on these opportunities. Crowdsourcing allows ordinary people to make an extraordinary network.

13. Be a Social Leader – Blue Unicorns Are Cool!

It is important to embrace social media and have a social leader in your company. Set the example of being a listener to social media and your employees will pay attention as well. This can give you insight to the customer experience, what they think, and your company’s short comings. Rare leaders who are connected socially, and social media champions, are considered blue unicorns because they are so unique. They are able to engage the workforce, engage customers and learn what customers think about their company and their competition. This can lead to an advantage!

14. More Social, Less Media

It is important to be more social on social media platforms and less media / marketing. Be useful but don’t be pushy with your marketing messages. It is annoying to your customers and potential customers if all you do on social media is preach your marketing message.

15. Personal Brands Open Doors

You should always work on enhancing and protecting your personal brand. Since today there is no separation between professional and personal identity it is important to take care of your image and reputation. Personal branding can help you develop your image and connect with new business contacts. Social media is a great tool for personal branding. The people that do well on social media tend to be the people that were already doing well to begin with, it is easy to see the correlation and social media can help them showcase their success. You are a product whether you like it or not, so you must make sure to develop and protect your brand. Success attracts more success.

Going forward with my personal brand…

Developing a personal brand is a lifetime mission. I plan on using the tools I learned in Dr. Bret’s class to continue to develop my personal brand. Using the lessons above I will continue to develop as a marketing professional.

Suggested Reading:

Dr. Bret’s Blog
Follow Dr. Bret on Twitter

A World Gone Social – Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt

Youtility – Jay Baer

The Zen of Social Media Marketing – Shama Kabani

If you enjoyed this blog post please retweet and follow me on Twitter: @LisaJansenNV


Rodeo Idol Event Recap

Rodeo Idol

Image Credit: Reno Rodeo Idol Finalists Facebook Page

Reno Rodeo held the ‘Rodeo Idol’ contest on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Gilley’s inside the Nugget Casino Resort. The event was a success and five National Anthem singers were selected.

The event was planned by the Reno Rodeo Advertising and Marketing Committee. They worked with Bre Reinhardt as the Special Event Coordinator for Gilley’s and the Nugget. They worked well together. It is always odd for us as venue operators when outside event planners come onto the property because it feels like someone else is having a party at your house. You are always trying to figure out how to help them without becoming over bearing or intrusive. This was Bre’s first time being the coordinator for an event and she did a great job. I’m very proud of her!

A few lessons we learned from the event…

1. Communicate, better yet, over communicate. We had a few issues with Security not letting some of the contestants in because they were under 21 years old. They had their parents with them and an area designated so they wouldn’t violate any age restrictions at Gilley’s. We communicated with Security weeks earlier but we should have checked in with them again three hours before the event and then again a half hour before just to remind them.

2. When working with musicians it is important to find out what equipment they have and relay that information to the audio visual team. We had a few guitar players that we weren’t prepared for so we couldn’t plug them in and the crowd could barely hear them.

3. Make sure to get the song list in advance. We had a flash drive with all the songs that worked well but it would have been better if our DJ had time to put the songs in the system in advance.

Here are the interviews we did with Gianna Giorgi on Fox 11 morning show. We also received coverage from KOLO News Channel 8. We are grateful for all the coverage of this special event!

‘Rodeo Idol’ contest wraps up at Gilley’s – KRXI Reno NV Mornings on Fox 11 Segment

Related Posts:
Rodeo Idol at Gilley’s

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