When it comes to large-scale events, the biggest names in luxury and tech turn to executive producer Laurie DeJong and her team at LDJ Productions. A former Calvin Klein executive, DeJong has been a major player on the scene since founding her acclaimed full-service event management and production firm in 1999. “My favorite aspect and the most challenging aspect of event management are the same: taking a large, logistically complicated project and breaking it down to manageable pieces,” she says.
Though DeJong is based in New York City, her work has made waves across the world, from her innovative global conferences for Yahoo! to her high-profile site management at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. “We specialize in large, complicated events and conferences,” she says. “It takes an army of people to make these types of events happen, and our teams are central coordinators to all involved with the operation. For instance, our lobby team can orchestrate the move of hundreds of people in and out of the Fashion Week facility with great ease, while our venue teams work with the designers and their teams to put up 12–15 shows in four venues each day.”
For the past 13 years, DeJong has worked tirelessly to get her firm to the high-profile position it finds itself in today. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become a major player in this industry and in this competitive environment; it takes even more effort to remain a major player. “I believe it’s not only important but absolutely necessary for all our employees to engage in professional development,” DeJong says. “Learning not only helps us stay current in an always-evolving industry; it also keeps people engaged and motivated.”
To this end, DeJong and her team members often participate in professional development conferences and programs. It’s a necessity. Technology is rapidly changing, and LDJ Productions’ clients look to the firm to keep them current.
DeJong’s carefully selected team is composed of the best in the business—each with a passion for the business that allows them to endure the long hours and high stress. DeJong says that potential employees must have the control and poise necessary to stay calm under extreme circumstances. Producing live shows can be a very stressful experience: there is no second chance and execution must be flawless each time. As LDJ Productions continues to grow, the company works to nurture its junior team members. “Each of our junior team members has a senior team member to mentor them as they progress within the company,” DeJong says. “We constantly tell them that there is no such thing as a dumb question, and that the only mistakes are the ones you don’t learn from … However, at the same time, it’s also competitive. We all strive for excellence, and a bit of competitiveness within an organization is not only healthy, but necessary to achieve great results.”
As the firm grows, DeJong hopes to attract similarly stellar team members—including the hard-working freelancers she often employs—and to continue to work with her exciting roster of clients, a list that includes L’Oréal, Victoria’s Secret, and Live Person. “I use the term ‘think big, act small’ all the time,” DeJong says. “Those words define where I want us to be as we progress over the next couple years.” DeJong talks with her team a lot about corporate culture and about what defines them and sets them apart in the industry. “Our superior team is a reflection of our strong culture and I count on each of them to proudly represent us in the industry,” she says. “I would challenge anyone to find a more capable, dedicated, or passionate team out there. This is what sets us apart from the competition and is instrumental in our success.”