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Rail City Profile: Hitting the ground running
by Garrett Valenzuela
Oct 03, 2012 | 4081 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Lisa Jansen, Special Events Manager at The Nugget, stands outside the casino Wednesday morning in Sparks. Jansen began working at The Nugget in May planning major downtown events behind the scenes.
Tribune photo/Garrett Valenzuela -- Lisa Jansen, Special Events Manager at The Nugget, stands outside the casino Wednesday morning in Sparks. Jansen began working at The Nugget in May planning major downtown events behind the scenes.
SPARKS -- “A little intense,” does not even begin to describe the situation Lisa Jansen dove head first into when she began her job as Special Events Manager at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, though that was the modest way she put it.

The 30-year-old Reno native endlessly smiles as she recalls her first few months working in downtown Sparks. Her first week on the job was spent planning Star Spangled Sparks before moving on to Arts in Bloom, which provided just enough breathing room before the famed Nugget Rib Cook-Off came her way. With Street Vibrations now in her rear-view mirror, Jansen said she has just enough time to appreciate and be proud of the events she constantly plans before moving on to the newest one.

“It’s almost surreal. I feel like I didn't even notice it in the moment,” Jansen said of experiencing major Sparks events. “I feel like it’s almost a dream because you are going so fast the whole time, fixing things and handling everything and then all of the sudden it’s over. It’s a weird feeling. You don’t really basque in the glory of it all, you just acknowledge it and it’s on to the next one."

Jansen has hit the ground running since catching on with The Nugget in May, straight out of her previous job producing Nevada Newsmakers, a political television show, which she managed for eight years. When she decided to become Special Events Manager, Jansen said she left her previous job at 5 p.m. on May 29 and began at 8 a.m. the following day at The Nugget.

“This has been a very strange year for me because I have been running at this speed of 100 miles an hour,” Jansen said jokingly. “My transition was very unusual. Usually you take a few days off. I didn’t. And I came in when it was event season so I was always on the go. After the Rib Cook-Off, the pace changes, but that is right when school started.”

Jansen was accepted to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Business to obtain her Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree just two weeks before The Nugget extended her a job offer. After eight years in the political production game, Jansen’s need for a change found her hunting for jobs that required a MBA. Sure enough, she found one in her backyard.

“When I began job hunting I found that some of the applications I was putting in were not being considered because I didn’t have a Master’s degree,” she said. “Even when I had plenty of experience I still needed that degree and when I found out UNR has one of the top business schools in the country I knew I had to go there.”

Jansen, who received her undergraduate from the UNR business school in 2005, had several of her graduate-level classes waived and will continue taking two classes each semester and receive her MBA in three years.

One of the classes she is enjoying this year has come as an unexpected surprise. Jansen said her studies in mindfulness and meditation have been most beneficial to her thus far in her career.

“This class I'm taking now teaches you to meditate and how to stop and stay in the moment, which is not something I am good at because I am a planner,” Jansen said. “At first I kind of made fun of it, but it has been the most amazing thing. Before, I did get bogged down. I did get stressed out and I handled it with exercise and sleep and I could get through it. I have seen a huge difference in my life.”

Jansen has followed in the footsteps of her family not only by staying in Nevada her entire life, but by becoming part of The Nugget team. Her uncle, Leonard Batchelder, worked in the Celebrity Showroom for 33 years and her mother, Connie Batchelder Jansen, worked as a Lodge Desk Clerk during college. Jansen called it “a little bit of a family tradition,” but said that she needed to prove herself before exposing the details to her coworkers.

“I never mentioned it to anyone at the Nugget until a few months after I had the job because I wanted to earn the job on my own and have time to prove myself,” she said. “I don’t think it would have helped me get the job, but it is nice to know I got the job based on my own merit. I love my family ties in Nevada and I think it is pretty special that I am the third person in my family to work at the Nugget.”

Jansen said she grew up going to Nugget events, such as Hot August Nights, and continues to work with various groups around Reno and Sparks as an event planner, including the Reno Rodeo and the Reno Rotary Club.

Jansen credits her deep roots in The Nugget and the community to her desire to improve the community around her. She does not meddle in defining Reno or Sparks as two separate entities, she only worries that the entire city continues to be the place she has loved to be for her entire life.

“I want Nevada to succeed and I want things to go well here and I think events and tourism are a big deal. I think we still have a lot to offer,” Jansen said. “If we give great customer service, have great events and have a great community people will keep coming to visit us. There is just a special thing about us that not everybody has. It’s my state, my family and it’s part of who I am. It’s all one town to me and we are one team and we have the same goal.”

Jansen's Favorites

Food: Chocolate

Book: Game of Thrones series

Movie: My Life in Ruins

Hobby: Traveling, Wakeboarding

Sports Team: Wolf Pack
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Bonnie McCorkle
October 06, 2012
That's our Lisa. Sorry she's left us at Nevada NewsMakers, but, glad for the Nugget...they got a real gem. Nice article.
Sam Shad
October 05, 2012
A very nice article about Lisa
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