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Gen. Contractors: Champions of Workplace Culture

Pictured L-R Tricia Fox and Julia Slocombe

by Haley Wilson Freeman

The surge of millennials in the workforce, along with social movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, have brought fresh perspective to conversations about corporate culture and diversity. Laborers have increased expectations around company values, wage equality, community action, job flexibility, professional development and potential for advancement.

Industry contractors are responding as champions of workplace culture—honoring workers and engaging communities while delivering better value to customers.

Smart City Networks

Smart City Networks is a leading provider of telecommunications services to major events and venues around the country, including Walt Disney World, 30 major convention centers and three NFL stadiums. Smart City has a set of business principles and “Daily Basics” that team members review each day to ensure that customers receive top-notch service. Internally, Smart City focuses on promoting growth, accountability and empowerment while standing for integrity, efficiency, problem solving, equity and character in all relationships and interactions.

Meet Julia Slocombe (pictured above right), vice president of Western Region Operations. She has more than 27 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, with a concentration in the telecommunications event industry. Smart City has been her professional home since 1997.

Slocombe says that people are the main ingredient in Smart City’s extraordinary culture. “We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy. We seek the best from all backgrounds to make Smart City a well-rounded place to work, and give all employees a stake in the company’s success.”

Slocombe lights up when she speaks about her role as chairperson of this year’s International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Women’s Leadership Forum, and she says that having the opportunity to participate in this and other industry organizations is in line with long-established company principles. “It’s not just IAEE, but all the other things I endeavor to participate in as a woman in leadership. From a budget standpoint, funds are there for me to attend because our company sees the value. These are our customers and industry partners. We feel it is essential for us to participate and be visible, and to support the industry.”

She continues, “The 2018 program was an overwhelming success; the event was sold with over 220 attendees, and the overall feedback was positive. It was an experience and journey to remember, giving our industry women the opportunity to recharge, renew and reconnect!”

Extending this spirit of service outside the industry also bolsters the employee experience. “Smart City stands for something beyond simply increasing profits,” explains Slocombe. “We provide services and serve causes that clearly add value in the world, making it possible for employees to derive a sense of meaning from their work, and to feel good about where they work.”

Global Experience Specialists

GES delivers comprehensive event services and experiential marketing experiences to companies around the world. Managing more than 4,000 live events annually from locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, GES maintains a workforce of thousands who share the values of honesty, passion, curiosity, service and team spirit.

Trisha Fox (pictured above left), chief human resources officer, led human resources at several Fortune 500 companies before joining GES. She says the company’s core values influence culture across the industry because they “guide our behaviors every day in how we interact with each other, as well as with customers, suppliers and industry contacts. We believe leading with our core values sets the right tone and contributes in a positive way to the industry as a whole.”

According to Fox, it’s the people that make GES a great place to work, a sentiment echoed by employees. “Based on the results from a recent Employee Engagement Survey, the strongest aspect of our culture is the affiliation that our employees have that they are a family,” says Fox, adding that “having that strong sense of family also is reflected in their high levels of commitment to their teams, our organization, our clients and most importantly, each other.”

Fox describes GES as a diverse and growing company that strives to provide all people with opportunities to learn new skills and advance in their careers, including providing alternative work arrangements to help them balance work and family. “We are continuously working hard every day to ensure that GES is a great place to work, provides a nurturing environment and reflects the diversity and inclusivity of a diverse marketplace. Through our Management Associate programs, on-campus efforts and a robust Employee Referral Program, we look for great talent wherever we can.”

Fox summed up well the far-reaching value of strong workplace culture: “We are fortunate to have an organization comprised of diverse and talented individuals who bring a wealth of creativity and knowledge to all that we do. This allows us to incorporate diverse and creative solutions into our services, our interactions and ultimately how we serve our customers. Using our global footprint enables us to approach the needs of our clients with a broad and fresh perspective, providing solutions that are specific to their needs.”

This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, p. 30. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septemberoctober_2018_o?e=16962537/64174552

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