Paula Sage: COO, Speaker's Spotlight

Written by: Chloe Corona Yan

Paula Sage is an expert when it comes to the entrepreneurial attitude. She understands what it takes to generate creative work, motivate those around her, and ensure that projects are done on time and above standard.

Career Path

Beginning her career in corporate events management, Paula Sage found that she was too ambitious to stick with planning individual events. As time progressed, Paula’s passions were recognized, moving from manager to director. Yet, regardless of her professional success, Paula needed a further challenge.   

Working with Speaker’s Spotlight since its start-up days, Paula enjoyed the fast-paced, multi-disciplinary environment it offered. Making the jump from her prior stable corporate environment, Paula came to Speaker’s Spotlight to continue its steady growth as their Chief Operating Officer. 

“...taking risks is a big part of it, if you don’t take risks you’ll never grow and accomplish anything, it has to be calculated but still risk taking…” 

Drawing on her background in management and strategy, Paula realized that her tasks were more fulfilling in a smaller organization. No day is the same Sage says, and by affecting the evolution of the Speaker’s Spotlight organizational structure, Paula’s ability to wear several hats at once has led to considerable success.

Entrepreneurial Mindset 

Believing that an entrepreneurial mindset is one of the most valuable traits to have, Sage stresses that big ideas don’t just come from one person. Instead, idea generation is part of a company’s culture. 

“I just feel like that the entrepreneurial mind and entrepreneurial spirit starts big and then it sort of narrows down… but I think that’s the most important thing, just keeping those big ideas coming...” 

Creativity vs. Innovation 

According to Sage, the creative ideas we generate are a form of innovation. When we have crazy, big ideas, we can use them to our advantage as part of a strategy to lead disruption. How can you disrupt a business and allow it to grow? Although frightening, Sage ensures us that even though things move fast, in the long run, you will be thankful that you took the leap. 

“...Not everybody can be creative and not every single person has to be… but I think when you’re surrounded by it it’s almost like osmosis.”

Perspective on Leadership 

On leadership, Sage puts it all on the table. Honesty, transparency, communication, trust, empathy, top-notch listening, and problem-solving skills are the key characteristics you need to have. Keep these in mind and consistently ask yourself, are you ready to be a leader yet? With leadership, comes relationships. 

If you want to grow your career, your network is vital. The relationships you make enhance your everyday operational efficiency. Sage tells us that suppliers, speakers, and client relationships are the core of Speaker’s Spotlight. 

Definition of Success 

So what does success mean to Sage? Being genuinely happy and comfortable in who you are whether that’s in work, life, or whatever it is. 

When asked to give three pieces of advice, Sage gave us 5. 

1. Build your network. 

2. Get out there. 

3. Make connections. 

4. Try new things. 

5. Dabble.

“Being entrepreneurial when you’re young just sets you up for your whole career, it shows drive and initiative and it doesn't matter if it’s a startup, or if you go into a company that’s been around for 100 years, it’s just that attitude.”