Time for another installment in our series Lessons from Legends. In these periodic interviews we will talk with people who have not only survived, but thrived in this unpredictable, and at times quite turbulent, industry. This time we were fortunate to chat with Lisa Parrish, self-proclaimed “Chief Creative Chick” of Team PMP.
Lisa Parrish: The Trailer *
(* Editor’s Note: since we are talking with an awards-gala extraordinaire, we thought we’d use ceremony/television performance-themed headers.)
One simply has to say, “housing awards” and immediately Lisa and her family come to mind. What started out as an idea to boost the LA-area housing industry has turned into a multimillion dollar enterprise, a multistate phenomenon, and a multigenerational business.
For over 40 years, Team PMP has produced landmark national competitions and awards events for the National Association of Home Builders, Pacific Coast Builders Conference, and a multitude of Home Builders Associations across the country. You want a credible awards competition and memorable award gala ceremony? Then no need to look any further than Team PMP.
What’s interesting about Team PMP is, not only have they been successful for almost five decades, but that the success has been a truly family affair. After Lisa’s father retired, Lisa and her husband picked up the baton. And in recent years, their three adult children have joined in the business.
We are so pleased she agreed to talk with us and share her story and some of the lessons she’s learned throughout her career.
LD & Co: If you had to say what you do in 10 words or less what would you say? What is your own personal elevator speech?
LP: I am the producer of extraordinary events for the home building industry.
LD & Co: How did you get started in the industry? Is this something you always knew you wanted to do?
LP: Sort of. I was born into it and it really is all I’ve ever known. My dad was the publisher of the Home Buyers Guide in California. He decided he wanted to create an awards program to rival the Oscars.
We lived in California and were surrounded by these types of events for the movie and TV industry. It was the culture of my youth. My father thought, why not do something like this for the building industry? This was in the mid-1970s. It had never been done before.
LD & Co: What was the reaction?
LP: Incredibly positive. It caught on like wildfire! Builders, developers, designers…they were all craving this type of recognition. They all worked hard and wanted a chance to show off, to share what they had done, and frankly to be rewarded for their efforts. It inspired the Gold Nugget awards to become what they are today.
When my father started the MAMEs the Gold Nugget awards ceremony was just a small breakfast “ceremony” with a handful of attendees. Eventually we took over the Gold Nugget awards which are now seen as “the Academy Awards of the building industry.” There are now 45 MAME awards across the country. The MAMEs are now seen as the most prestigious awards program in the industry.
LD & Co: Wow, what an impressive legacy your father built. When did you “officially” take over?
LP: From 1987 to 2005 Dad and I worked side by side. Then in 2005 Shane and I purchased the firm to continue the legacy of recognition.
LD & Co: And your children? They are also involved with the business, yes?
LP: Yes. All three children, in one form or fashion are now working with us. It’s so gratifying to see them appreciating the industry and finding joy in recognizing all the hard work involved by all these professionals.
LD & Co: How is everyone involved? Do they have official positions, or is it more of a ‘voluntold’ kind of situation? (Voluntold = being told you are volunteering for something)
LP: Ha, well it’s a little of both, I guess. Our oldest daughter is doing graphics for us – it’s really her side hustle at the moment (she is works in sales in Texas) – but she’s quite good, and we are so busy now we need her help. Our son has a film and media degree and is helping us with our film needs while he looks for his dream job. And our youngest daughter is starting her career in entertainment, but again we are so busy these days, we are using our “parental leverage” to have her help.
LD & Co: That’s so wonderful.
LP: I feel very fortunate to be able to do this type of work with my family beside me.
LD & Co: What is your favorite part of what you do? What keeps you motivated?
LP: Judging. I love judging! It’s so gratifying seeing the award entries come in and truly spending 2-3 days pouring over them with industry leaders who serve as the jury. I truly enjoy learning and listening to the discussions. I feel like it’s a master class in collaboration and innovation.
Oh, and walking the product is my absolute favorite thing! Seeing great ideas and innovations come to life. It is incredibly rewarding.
LD & Co: Your business is very much an “in-person” endeavor. How has COVID impacted the awards programs?
LP: You’re right. We are an event-based business that thrives on in-person interactions. I will admit that COVID first hit we did have a moment of “oh god, how are we going to do this?” However, we learned to adapt. We have pivoted how we run our business and it has continued to be successful. As of today, we have produced eight incredible virtual awards events and the response has been gratitude for the opportunity to continue receive recognition and share good news.
We conduct all judging online. It may require full, 8-hour days online, but we are making it happen. We have found a way to promote interaction and foster the collaborative spirit. Our clients realize we are all in this together and we will do whatever it takes to make their event successful.
LD & Co: Yes, you have quite the reputation to preserve. People expect only the best from your events.
LP: Exactly. And, we have no intention of letting anyone down.
LD & Co: Do you think that awards programs are still relevant?
LP: Absolutely. Awards programs matter. We know that. They push everyone to work harder and do better. They shine a light on excellence and inspire others. Everyone is empowered by a gathering of great ideas. Awards mean visibility, credibility, and marketability.
LD & Co: What is next for you and Team PMP?
LP: We are constantly evolving. None of us know what’s going to happen. But we do know that we’ve learned that we can roll with the tide and continue to provide exceptional awards programs.
LD & Co: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
LP: My dad used to always say, “nothing is as bad as it seems.” And as usual he was right. We see that every day. We thought COVID would destroy the company, for a brief moment. But then we realized nothing is as bad as it seems, and we can make it work. And we have and are! And in fact, we are busier now that we have ever been.
LD & Co: Fantastic advice. Any parting words of wisdom?
LP: Change can be scary, and it can be hard, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.
When COVID first hit things that we thought we would do in three years we had to make happen in three months. It was scary, and exciting. We figured it out. I am extremely proud of our team. So far this year we have completed six virtual judging sessions, eight virtual award shows, and made money for our clients. In addition, we took on four new clients and were able to save their events. We just keep going and evolving as we go.
LD & Co: And we are all so glad you do and are. Thank you so much Lisa for sharing your story and wisdom with us.
For more information about Lisa Parrish and Team PMP, please visit their website.