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2024 BizBash 40 Under 40: Chelsea Sullivan

Chelsea Sullivan, 33, is vice president of people experience for Power Home Remodeling.

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Chelsea Sullivan, 33, is vice president of people experience for Power Home Remodeling. She's based in Philadelphia. A quote from her nomination: "Chelsea educated herself on the psychology of human experience, like how colors evoke emotions, and wanted to reframe the way people perceived 'events' in general. She grew a team of one to what is now 33 people strong—a 3,200% increase from 2013."

My career journey: "My story is unique. I never worked anywhere else besides Power, but I feel lucky to have grown up in this business. After graduating with my marketing degree, I started at the company in 2012 as an intern in the contact center. Power only had eight territories and 1,100 employees at the time. A year in, I felt a calling to pursue something else that would allow me the opportunity to use my creativity more. I had such a passion for this business that in 2013, I started the company’s Special Events division, convincing the executive team that this would have major impact on Power’s bottom line and its people, and that it would deliver real ROI. 

Starting out as a small but mighty team of one, I set my sights on architecting a team of passionate individuals who wanted to be a part of not just planning events, but positively impacting people’s lives. We started to integrate smaller, more intimate group breakouts that connected co-workers on a deeper level, and I shadowed employees across the business to understand more about the challenges and triumphs they faced.

As Power continued to grow, innovate, and expand across the country, the caliber of events and the growth of the Special Events team leveled up too. I helped rebrand the department to reflect our growing responsibilities, and in 2022, the Special Events team was renamed to People Experience (PX), comprised of three specific teams: Special Events, Meetings Planning, and Travel. I’m proud to have grown a team of one to what is now 33 people strong. The team now plans and executes over 210 annual events, meetings, and employee engagement touchpoints for what is now a billion-dollar organization with over 3,500 employees across 21 U.S. territories."Sullivan recalled Power's year-end Quest event in Mexico as her most memorable to date for the live music and ability to share it with family and friends as well as co-workers.Sullivan recalled Power's year-end Quest event in Mexico as her most memorable to date for the live music and ability to share it with family and friends as well as co-workers.Photo: Courtesy of Power Home Remodeling

What my day-to-day looks like: "Each day is always different, whether it’s traveling for site visits, meetings to plan and strategize upcoming events, mapping out budgets, or being in event execution mode. That’s why building a routine has been very important to me both in the office and on the road. I always start my day off with 6:45 a.m. meditation. This has really helped me stay grounded each day while working in such a fact-paced, chaotic industry. I'll typically wrap up the morning with a 7 a.m. workout before getting myself prepared to take on whatever’s on my schedule that day."

My most memorable event: "In December 2023, we hosted our year-end Quest event—a three-day music festival in Cancun, Mexico—to celebrate the hard work of our employees. Our staffers were even allowed to bring a significant other or family member to come spend those three blissful days of listening to music from some of the biggest acts, diving into health and wellness activities, and immersing themselves in the art that outfits the beautiful beach where the festival happens."Dance gave Sullivan a creative escape throughout her childhood. She quickly realized that her love of a dance production could translate into event production.Dance gave Sullivan a creative escape throughout her childhood. She quickly realized that her love of a dance production could translate into event production.Photo: Courtesy of Power Home Remodeling

What inspires me: "I've struggled with anxiety since I was little, and an outlet that was life changing for me was dance—contemporary, modern, and ballet. Seeing the beauty in a dance production makes me see an 'experience' through a whole new light. The amount of grit and hard work you have to put in for months to build a masterpiece; the importance of decorating a space whether with costumes, lighting, or stage backdrops; and seeing the audience’s face while they watch all of your work come to life before their eyes made me fulfilled in an indescribable way.

I was never book smart in school and it really killed my confidence because I knew I was still smart, but I was struggling on how to show that to others and feel it myself. When I saw that I could use my strong people skills and street smarts to be successful and contribute to something bigger than myself, I realized the kind of smart I was is exactly who I wanted to be."Sullivan started Power Home Remodeling's Special Events unit—now called its People Experience unit—as a team of one. She now leads a team of 33.Sullivan started Power Home Remodeling's Special Events unit—now called its People Experience unit—as a team of one. She now leads a team of 33.Photo: Courtesy of Power Home Remodeling

What's next for me: "Power is opening up two offices this year. What’s next is to continue to work side by side with the best leaders in the company to make sure we are scaling our events in the best way while cultivating employee engagement and happiness in intimate and impactful ways.

And maybe after all of that, one day I’ll go back to my roots and open up a small dance studio with my mom!"


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