August 17, 2022

7 leadership lessons in 7 years

Sydney Peck
7 Communications
Group Account Director

It was 7 years ago this spring that I walked into the 7 Communications offices for my first day of work as an Account Coordinator. I was as green as I was eager, armed only with preconceived notions about the events industry I’d gleaned from multiple screenings of The Wedding Planner starring Jennifer Lopez.

On paper, my duties were to support the planning and logistics of events and programs, but in truth I spent most of my first week laboriously putting together my IKEA desk. (I must’ve missed the part of the film where JLo has to assemble her office furniture).

An organized arrangement of bolts, screws, and nails placed on an IKEA instruction book.

Since that epic effort, I’ve tackled hundreds of events and marketing projects with the 7 Communications team, rising from my position as Coordinator to Executive, Supervisor and now Account Director. In working alongside some of the sharpest professionals and most forward-thinking brands in the world, I’ve picked up countless lessons and tools about being both an employee and a leader.

Understanding that I have much more to learn (and that I can always be more efficient with an allen key), here are 7 leadership lessons I’ve learned in 7 years at 7 Communications.

A team of individuals in matching uniforms, smiling together while looking confidently at the camera at a BMW motorsport event.

A team of individuals in matching uniforms, smiling together while looking confidently at the camera at a BMW motorsport event.

1. Ask for help and never try to take it all on yourself.

Sometimes we feel like in order to prove we have what it takes, we must face all of work’s challenges by ourselves. But we don’t have to go it alone, and in fact shouldn’t. Over the years I’ve learned that there’s always somebody available to help carry the load if you just ask—maybe they've even done something similar before and can provide insight into the best way forward.

We’re never as big or as small as one person. We work as a team, we grow as a team, and we win as a team.

Scenic shot of two pairs of people kayaking down a river.

2. Lead by example.

It’s cliche, but as an employee there is nothing more motivating than seeing your manager or direct report helping do the thing that you’ve been tasked with. Inversely, nothing takes the wind out of your sails like a boss asking you to sweep the floors while they cover it in peanut shells.

At 7 Communications, we all do it all. No task is too small and no person is too big. Our President and CEO Larry Futers is the first person to get on his hands and knees to mop up a spill, and I’ve seen him crawl under cars in his suit on multiple occasions to hook up the power packs when the technician was struggling. He leads by example. I lead by example. We all try to lead by example. Think of it as professional humility.

Four friends sitting on a bench,  engaged in a book amongst the pairs of individuals.

3. Read the room and adapt, because no two clients are the same.

One thing I learned while working in the hospitality industry during my university years – and that I believe holds value in the events industry – was how to approach different types of people. Before I walked up to a table, I’d read the room and adapt my approach to what I thought would work best, asking myself who wanted to chat, who was in a rush, and who would need extra assistance. Today, I employ the same skills with our clients and partners, attempting to gauge how best to interact with them on a case-by-case basis and support their business needs.

Another thing I took away from my serving days is how to manage multiple groups in different ways, all at once. In the event space, every client likes to feel like they’re the only one on your mind, but usually we’re managing a number of projects for a number of factions simultaneously. The key is delivering personalized service, even when facing a crowd.

Group of professionals seated around a table in a boardroom, equipped with laptops, sharing laughter and smiles during a meeting.

4. Learn from your team.

Another benefit of remaining humble in your seniority (should you be so lucky as to achieve it), is learning from your team.

For example, I’ve never seen somebody pore over contracts, quotes and details the way my colleague and Account Supervisor Sarah Callaghan does. Sometimes I think there’s a tendency when you’re busy and you receive a proposal or a contract from a vendor, supplier or partner, to assume the details are correct. But Sarah never makes any assumptions. She doesn’t take anybody’s word at face value—she goes through it all with a fine-tooth comb, examining every line. It’s a thoroughness that serves us very well, and a habit that I’ve now picked up. Thanks, Sarah!

A joyful group celebrating in a colorful room, tossing confetti into the air.

5. Respect everyone’s time.

We always try to be respectful of people’s time, whether it's that of our clients, our partners or our coworkers. But when the pandemic struck and forced many to work from home, it blurred the work-life boundary like never before, causing many employees and leaders (self included) to feel like they had to be accessible 24/7.

It’s hard to log off and respect our own off-hours and vacation, let alone those of our business contacts. But it’s now more important than ever as work-life balance remains at the fore. So respect your contact’s out-of-office reply and hold that inquiry until Monday whenever possible.

Two people leaning casually on a vehicle, posing and smiling in MINI branded clothing.

6. Manage individuals, not teams… and don’t be afraid to send a compliment just because.

Just as no two clients are the same, each team member is bound to respond to different management styles. That’s why I like to adjust my leadership and management approach for each individual. Not everybody likes to be led the same way. Some people respond to constructive criticism. Some people need more positive acknowledgment. It’s about understanding and identifying what your team needs in order to feel supported, respected, and like they’re being encouraged to grow professionally. And it’s not easy, especially when you’re connecting through a computer screen rather than in person.

One thing I like to do, whether it’s digitally or verbally, is give random compliments. It’s a small thing, but I’ve noticed just how impactful it is when my manager checks in for no reason or sends me a note of encouragement out of the blue… especially on a Friday! It can absolutely light my fire and keep me going for months when I’m in the trenches.

Close-up shot of a person in an office setting, holding chopsticks.

7. Stay one step ahead.

Marketing is not a horse-drawn carriage: you can’t lead from behind. By staying one step (or two or three) ahead of your clients, you’re demonstrating an understanding of their business and objectives, that you know where things are going and why that’s important. As soon as they’re starting to ask for the next thing or they’re unsure of what’s going on, you know you’ve fallen behind.

Our VP Natalie Maurice often reminds us to repeatedly ask our clients and ourselves the simple question of ‘why’, so that we can keep an eye on the right objectives. It’s easy for clients operating at a national level to focus on the checklist of global objectives, even if it doesn’t fit with their local goals. Asking ‘why’ continually brings it back to their KPI and helps us predict the needs of our customers before they even have to ask.

It was in this quest of ‘why’ within the automotive industry that Natalie and a number of other 7 Communications’ professionals recently traveled to Long Beach California to attend the Electrify Expo. Click here to read about what we took away from the event and how it’s helping us anticipate the needs of our luxury automotive clients.

What other leadership lessons do you employ with your team? If you have an insight that you know works well to inspire employees and clients, I’d love to hear it. You can reach me at