Leadership / 09.15.21
Wendi Yanez of accesso: Personable, Professional, Accessible
This story is brought to you by the INTIX Women in Entertainment Technology Program.
Those who work in the ticketing and live events business are generally personable people. And they don’t get more personable than Wendi Yanez. When asked to describe herself in a brief bio to get the ball rolling on our recent interview, accesso Technology Group PLC’s Sales Director described herself as a wife of 28 years, a mother of two great kids (Aaron and Jack), an animal lover, a theatre enthusiast and a “wannabe backup singer/dancer — the only thing holding me back is actual talent!”
Yanez is being modest. She may not be able to hit the high note, but her talents are many. After working with several sports teams, performing arts centers and major college campus venues, Yanez is now among the lead executives at accesso. “I’m proud to say that I signed the largest deal ever in accesso ShoWare history so far [ShoWare is accesso’s customizable ticketing platform that is now installed in more than 600 theaters, arenas, casinos, concert venues and attractions worldwide],” she says.
Yanez started out in the ticketing business back in 1999 and has held many different roles, including legal contracting, marketing and promotions, customer support, hardware, inside sales, team training, financial planning and sales team management. “I’ve always preferred to take on a consultative role to ticketing solutions,” she says. “There is always a creative solution to meet any need. And if there isn’t today, how do we build it for tomorrow?”
Her main duties and responsibilities in her current position range from competitive analysis and strategic planning to contract negotiations and account management. But the pandemic era has definitely thrown its share of challenges at her and the accesso team. How has she personally been able to cope?
“I worked from home for nearly 10 years before the pandemic hit,” she says, “so it wasn’t too significant of a change for me — at least in comparison to others who may have experienced that shift for the first time. I was already accustomed to the nuances of working from home: dealing with dogs barking, doorbells ringing and kids interrupting, as well as the ‘perks’ such as working in more comfortable shoes!”
She continues, “The way we have engaged with and communicated to our clients and team members has changed dramatically. Suddenly, there was no more hopping on a plane to meet with clients or attending industry seminars. I miss my ticketing people! Those events gave way to more on-camera, Zoom-type meetings. I’ve had more virtual get-togethers in the last 18 months than in the entirety of my work-from-home career.”
With virtual meetings becoming the norm, Yanez says she has had to tweak her day-to-day routine to ensure she is presenting herself the way she would in a physical office. “Doing your makeup and hair every day takes time,” she says. “How we service our clients has changed, as well. Our support has had to ebb and flow with the ever-changing policies and procedures of our client’s venues, and every day has brought new challenges that need to be solved. We’ve also been really helping our clients learn how to do more with less, whether that be less resources, fewer staff or slimmed-down content.”
On the positive side, the COVID-19 crisis has accentuated one of the things Yanez loves most about the work she does. “Solutions!” she exclaims. “I enjoy working through problems tied to our customers’ ticketing challenges or goals and finding unique ways to meet their needs. I’ve also had the opportunity to take in some incredible entertainment experiences, and I’ve met and worked with people that I will forever consider my friends.”
On the flipside, the part of the job that she still finds difficult is the “dreaded RFP [request for proposal] process. By nature, it can be a bit impersonal and bureaucratic. It doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as having a real conversation about a client’s needs and priorities, but it is all part of the job.”
Her work philosophy has long revolved around prioritizing and balancing. Yanez says she has been successful because she has been able to identify and focus on what is most important and has generally not gotten distracted by the small stuff. “Balance your time and spend it where it can provide the biggest benefit or make the greatest impact,” she says.
To those women new to the ticketing business, Yanez has five words: “You’re in the right place! The ticketing industry has a great set of women leaders and role models to look up to. That being said, however, there is still tremendous room for growth and opportunity for women to rise to the highest ranks in this business. Equality and inclusiveness for all people in all aspects of this industry is so important and so achievable. When a leader opens a door, don’t be afraid to walk through it. You’ve got this. And when you get the chance, be a mentor and open the door for another woman who needs it.”
Yanez’s enthusiasm and energy are infectious. She knows what the industry has been through, and she is not blind to the challenges and pitfalls she and so many of her colleagues are still facing. Through it all, though, she has remained a forward-thinking leader. And she is hopeful looking ahead to the last part of 2021 and into the next year. “We’ve seen that the pandemic has accelerated the technology of ticketing,” she says, “and I see new developments around self-service, distribution and automation as the byproducts of those needs. Ticket sellers and ticket buyers are only getting more technologically savvy, not less. As more venues and attractions return to full capacity and full schedules, we will have to meet those technical needs and expectations. And that will present many exciting opportunities” And solutions!
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Tags: Leadership , Women in Ticketing