We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Wieting and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work-life balance used to mean – work hard, play hard. The best way I can describe it is like an “on/off switch”–when at work it was head down for 8-10 hours. When the workday “ended” that switch was turned off and the “play” switch flipped on. Thinking about it now, it never actually felt all that balanced…no matter how many additional vacation days were accrued over the years. Work-life balance in this format is actually pretty unachievable when you think about it. Now I look at work-life balance as more of a “dimmer.” Adjusting the day/week based on priority and need; e.g., – Working on a deadline–push the dimmer up. Kids weekday holiday program–push the dimmer down. – Morning packed with meetings–dimmer up. Feeling like a midday run–dimmer down. – Vacation mode–dimmer down but not off. Creative inspiration hits at 10 p.m. on Saturday–dimmer up. A few years ago, our agency instituted flexible PTO, which means we no longer allocate a set number of PTO days but instead empower our team to manage their time in a way that allows for more freedom while maintaining a high level of productivity. I think this shift has resulted in a “reframe” of the traditional 9-5 for us and encourages a more guilt-free “dimmer” approach. There is a high level of trust and respect for each member of our team’s work AND life. Now, instead of feeling completely drained at the end of the week, I really do feel quite balanced and like I was able to give everyone–colleagues, clients, family…myself–the best of me each day.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One of my favorite quotes is from Tina Fey: “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” I’m not a risk taker in the traditional sense. I’m not itching to go skydiving or placing large bets at the blackjack table. However, I have little fear in taking on risk when it has to do with running with an idea or theory. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Someone laughs at you? An idea fails? My ego may be a little bruised but I’m still here, healthy and just fine. I’ll take those odds! My first career move was also my first big “risk.” I moved to NYC after graduating college…just two weeks after 9/11. While it may seem “bold” (naive) to go from a town of 8,000 to New York City during that time, I had a support system behind me ready to help pick up pieces if it failed. That cushion gave me the confidence to act on that first “big idea.” I was fortunate. That risk paid off. I landed a dream job working for NBC Sports. I got to experience my first taste of international travel when I worked as a “runner” at Wimbledon in 2002. I worked with and learned from some incredibly influential storytellers from John McEnroe to Jon Bon Jovi to Bob Costas. I was only at NBC for a couple of years but that experience gave me thick skin, confidence and perspective I carry with me today. And when I look back on that part of my life, I’m pretty proud of that small town girl who took a leap. I’ve been at COHN for 14 years (after a few wrong fits, layoffs and pivots in my career). I started in PR at COHN but have moved up, down and sideways across every service area (except design!) experiencing first-hand the ins and outs of account service digital media, content, social media, business development and beyond. I call it “sticking my nose in everyone’s (work) business but in all seriousness, it was the best thing I did for my career as it has given me invaluable perspective on the art of marketing as a whole. Those are my secrets! 1) Take calculated/informed risks. 2) Immerse yourself in aspects of the business outside of your expertise/comfort zone. 3) Don’t be afraid of a few bruises to the ego. 4) Sometimes you just need to ask for forgiveness later and go with your gut.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My pre-kids self would be much more prepared for this question. We would have to visit Red Rocks. Any concert at Red Rocks is a mind-blowing experience but there is one concert in particular I would plan our schedule around: 1964 is a Beatles cover band that frequently plays the venue. It’s a tribute to the actual concert that the band played at Red Rocks in August 1964. It’s just pure fun and nostalgia. Cool Fact: Red Rocks is only one of four original concert sites still remaining from the Beatles first American tour. I love hanging out on The High Line Canal Trail that runs behind my house. There is a spot near Blackmer Lake that is one of the most tranquil and beautiful hidden gems for running, strolling or riding. You forget that you are minutes from a city as you are surrounded by trees, meadows, lakes and unobstructed views of the mountains. I’m not a foodie but there is something about Marquis Pizza on Larimer that is an absolute requirement before heading into a Rockies game. Another favorite is Pino’s Place, a little neighborhood Italian spot in Englewood. And finally, the Denver Beer Company patio on a warm summer evening. If my friend is bringing the whole family, we would definitely go to the Denver Zoo. I LOVE our zoo. It’s the perfect size. The staff is amazing. They have great craft beer and food trucks. The exhibits are so well done. Their Instagram account is my favorite thing to follow. I swear the animals are starting to recognize us! And finally, I would end the trip with a night out on South Broadway just hopping from spot to spot. I’m not cool, but hanging out at the bars, restaurants and shops on South Broadway makes me feel like I am for just a minute!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Jeff Cohn. For 14 years you have given me both an open lane to explore–ideas, life, roles and inspiration–and the luxury of being able to make mistakes, stumble and learn along the way, Thank you!
Other: https://ourresponseability.com/ Over the last several months, we’ve seen incredible displays of community spirit, crowdfunding and togetherness that dominate our news and social feeds. But there still remains an overwhelming reality, that if not addressed now, may forever change our cities, communities and commerce. The economy needs our help. We should know. While business development is starting to pick up for us, it’s still going to take some time to fully recover economically from this pandemic. Meanwhile, some of our favorite restaurants, boutiques and small businesses are shuttering daily. That’s why it’s time to put our ability to action and be a partner to businesses in need. We’re rallying the collective talent of local businesses to pay it forward in an initiative we call “Our Response: Ability.” Our Response: Ability is a community call to arms to roll up our sleeves, volunteer and donate our individual skill sets to vulnerable businesses in our backyard. Think of it as a volunteering program. What can YOU volunteer to a local business to help them cut expenses? What abilities can you offer that might boost that neighborhood business you love? Whatever you specialize in can be harnessed to help the economy rebound.