As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need to Be a Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Liron David.
Liron David, luxury special event planner, producer & designer, may be the best-kept secret in New York society. The owner of Eventique, Liron is a visionary, masterminding cutting-edge and classic happenings for A-list clientele. Meticulous, yet refreshingly charming, Liron’s vision transforms events into fantasy worlds of exquisite taste. In short, the man simply loves a great bash.
A native New Yorker, Liron has managed to stay below the radar…until now. His reputation amongst the “who’s who” of New York is slowly being exposed. He has been recently featured on CNN and Bloomberg TV. Attention to detail, superb inventive style and a hands-on approach — it’s the formula for a party of the ages. Vast capabilities and resources can bring nearly any client’s event vision to life. Impeccable taste helps please high-profile clients, keeping them in the lap of luxury. Never the stiff official in the background, he can often be found mingling amongst guests, using his effervescent personality to set the evening’s tone.
Today, his clients remain loyal, highly sophisticated and independent people who are passionate about their parties, most especially the creative concept and design. Liron has built powerful and trusted relationships with a variety of professional companies within the industry. His clients include fortune 500 corporations, global non-profit organizations, international fashion labels, entrepreneurs, socialites, executives, celebrities, parents, and professional athletes.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I was always the go-to party guy out of my group of friends — everyone always asked me where to go, when to go and how to get in. When I was in college (Boston University), I was asked to DJ a friend’s party. I didn’t have DJ equipment, so I DJ-ed off CD mixes from my car. I made $500 as my first paying gig and I got to make people happy. When I graduated, I moved back home to New York City and DJ-ed at parties for my parents’ friends kids birthday parties and mitzvahs. When I was interning at (music PR firm) Susan Blond, I had the opportunity to help with the Hot97 Summer Jam festival, and that’s where I got inspired, to really love being in live experiences. I realized that’s what I needed to do. Around that time, I was asked by a friend to throw a company holiday party, including to DJ at the party. I couldn’t do both, and I had to make the tough decision in the moment hire someone else to DJ. In the end, I made more money producing a party than spending a week DJing, but more importantly, I learned that being able to roam the room and interact with people was key. About a year-and-a-half after college, I started Eventique.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I hear amazing ideas from my team members all the time, but I’m always the one that checks them. I can be the naysayer in the room, but it comes from lessons learned. One time I was pitching a job to a global company who asked how we were going to differentiate a plenary session from a gala dinner from an atmospheric perspective. I had this idea of spotlighting all the tables with colors that coordinated with the respective team sitting at that table during the dinner and they loved it in the pitch. Then, it turned out we only had 45 minutes to flip the room, and the only way to execute the idea was to get on a lift and change all the gels 30 feet up from the floor in a ballroom full of tables and chairs. Everyone wanted to kill me.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My mom was always planning epic events for my family and taught me how to follow my gut and heart, and not focus on money being the primary factor in doing what I love. My father taught me how to work hard and appreciate celebrations.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When I started Eventique, I was guided by the years of entertainment and social experiences I had, and to create something that people would never forget. I pulled the best experiences I had in the hospitality industry into the private event sector.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
I am the first person to dive in and do the dirty work before I ask anybody else for help or to do it with me. I don’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do. Trusting in my team that they believe what your decisions are during a challenging moment are decisions that they buy into. Tasks in the event space can seem very meager, but every detail matters, and I am the first person to peel a piece of gaff tape from the floor. I don’t believe in micromanaging or babysitting, and hopefully that’s what keeps the team together and following my lead. Staying humble is one of the biggest pieces that makes a big difference. It’s being selfless during the challenging times and being mindful of the people around you and what they’re going through. What’s their breaking point?
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?
No. I was not raised that way. I lost both of my parents at a young age; I had to support my family and giving up was not an option. I take that same experience and apply it to everything that I do. My motivation is always making sure my family and the people around me are taken care of at home and work.
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
To be aware of realities, staying humble, and being truly mindful of taking into account the people on your team and who they interact with on a daily basis that you can make it through as a unit and not an individual.
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?
Smile. Don’t preach doom and gloom. Focus on the positives to keep everyone motivated, no matter how small. It’s celebrating the small wins that get you through the tough times, so give people challenging but attainable responsibilities so that you can celebrate those wins when they come in.
What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?
Before you give them the news, be open and honest in the beginning and ensuring that no matter what you tell them, you have their best interests in mind and you are always looking to protect them no matter what. Make sure that your intentions are in line and communicated ahead of time. I’ll try to make someone laugh or smile because it changes how challenging situations are experienced but whether or not I have a joke or light hearted comment I always have solutions to present. You have to deal with the unexpected as an event producer 24–7, so I’m wired to always communicate a situation with a solution.
How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?
Hope that everything will go right, but plan for things to go wrong. I’m the first person to react to a wild idea with a smile, but I know you need to back up the idea with a realistic plan. You save yourself, and your team, a lot of headache and heartache in the long run.
Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?
In the events industry, there were a lot of people who could not pivot to virtual events. Everyone was on edge, it was like we were all witnessing a car crash together. It was the most turbulent time I have ever seen in our business, and it’s not done. Emotions can easily flare up, but you have to remember to treat everyone that you work with with respect and mindfulness.
Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
Not sticking with decisions, not speaking the truth, and being tone deaf. I saw a lot of people not be open-minded during the pandemic, focusing instead on their own survival, and that will destroy relationships in the long run. You’ll just wind up starting from scratch.
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Any business has to be progressing but be willing to be reactive when the unknown happens. I found that a lot of people just stopped and complained during the pandemic, they just gave up, they were not willing to open up their minds. And I get it, not every business is going to be easy to pivot, but there’s always going to be a solution. If you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, spend the time and energy to figure what you can do that will be beneficial to clients you may have never tapped into before.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Stay positive
- Communicate expectations clearly
- Create goals that are achievable
- Join in on the workload
- Be accessible
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Carpe Diem. I believe in celebrating life every day. If you can do that, you’ve won. Normally someone is not able to tap into that unless they’ve gone through a major loss or challenge in their life, and only then are they able to appreciate it every day.
How can our readers further follow your work?