We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Gates and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Helping others enjoy what matters most, was the driving force in starting East Valley Concierge (EV Concierge). The entire business idea was the result of the challenges I faced in the corporate world. My career was built around supporting corporate executives by helping them meet their goals and objectives.
In other words, I did my best to make the c-suite look good! I was the gatekeeper, the personal and executive assistant, liaison, organizer, negotiator, project coordinator, marketer, communicator and diplomat. I sat in the back of meetings to observe, or presented slides to a packed room of suits.
I loved helping new or seasoned CEOs look their best walking into a board meeting with crisp, shiny materials. No one needed to know the binding machine broke half way through preparing crucial board packets, or that a paper cut on my forefinger bled little red droplets on the precious pages ten minutes before the materials were needed, only to require rushing back to the already occupied copy machine and starting over.
Or the time I greeted an important customer and walked him down the office hallway to meet my boss. As we walked, one of my shoes flew forward about 15 feet. I nervously chuckled, scooped up my shoe and kept walking. The customer never said a word!
Also the time I was leaving a voicemail for my boss and ended the call with “I love you” before hanging up, only to immediately call back the voicemail service, enter my boss’ password and delete my message. I was so scared he would hear the message before I deleted it.
Oh the rush and pressure! I loved it. Well, not every day. But, most of the time, I loved my job.
I knew my efforts made a difference in helping others, but I knew my experiences could be better served helping more of my community, then just supporting one organization with their key performance indicators (KPIs).
When I started EV Concierge, we started helping small business owners with hiring, recruiting, organization, data structure, marketing strategies, communications, and trade show logistics. We also provide senior companionship, cleaning, shopping and event planning for busy families.
I knew we could help others through our talents and experiences, but we needed a social impact to find our true calling and purpose.
We decided to partner with a local charity (AZCEND) making a big difference in the lives of lower income families in Chandler. We organized a month-long food drive in March 2022 to support the charity. The experience was so wonderful and impactful that we pledged to host an annual food drive going forward!
The food drive sparked other ways to make a social impact within our community. We donated to a local water drive, volunteered at food pantries, and I decided to volunteer with teenagers every week at our church.
Helping busy people focus on what matters most is one thing, but giving our time and attention to those in need, is everything. Once we shifted our focus from just generating an income to including volunteer efforts, our business grew even more, and our hearts were greatly filled.
Another interesting outcome was the burning desire to start a nonprofit. I didn’t think EV Concierge could meet the needs of those that really needed our services, so my best friend, Jackie and I started Golden Roller Skates, a 501c3 organization that benefits senior adults through excitement, engagement and purpose.
Golden Roller Skates is planning and developing programs to benefit seniors that want to tell their stories and fulfill their bucket list adventures. Jackie and I have both provided caregiving for our loved ones. From our joyous and stressful experiences, we felt it was important to help other families going through similar situations.
EV Concierge and Golden Roller Skates have helped me balance necessity with charity, and I feel blessed to be involved in the lives of so many people. It has helped me prioritize the needs of my family but also the well-being of others.
On a personal note: my husband and I have four awesome kids and a 98-pound rescue mutt. We are active in our church, enjoy doing home projects, novice gardening, and talking about new business ideas for the future!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
After 25 years in the corporate world, and running two previously successful side businesses, I knew it was time to venture out on my own, with a brand-new idea. East Valley Concierge was started to help busy executives and busy families focus on what matters most.
But first, I needed to finish my college degree.
I had plenty of great opportunities in my corporate career, but I wasn’t hired at a few companies, simply because I didn’t have a degree.
In 2017, I decided it was time to finish school. I still worked full-time, so I took college courses through John F. Kennedy University’s online program. In December 2020, I completed my coursework and received my Bachelors of Arts in Business Management with an emphasis in Leadership. When my diploma arrived in the mail, I cried!
Algebra hit differently than when I was in high school. Algebra made me cry, but through those tears and plenty of lost sleep, I made it….through blood, sweat and tears!
Every paper I wrote, every class I studied for, and all the proctored exams I took, reinforced my desire to push through the difficulties and finish strong.
I previously had started college a year after high school, but then…..life happened, and college wasn’t my focus anymore. If I could’ve turned back time, and told my younger self something really important, it would have been this: (1) stay in school, it will be worth all the hard work; and (2) don’t let THAT boy distract you!
Unfortunately, I went through the worst experience of my life back then with domestic violence. I lost my sense of worth, and no longer believed in my dreams. The individual in my life back then, almost broke me. I hated life. I no longer had a voice and definitely lost my sense of purpose.
But thank God! I emerged from those awful years with a fresh sense of determination with the most amazing friends and family that encouraged me to keep moving forward!
None of it was easy. I learned so many life lessons, practical frameworks and overcame mental challenges that made me even stronger. I put my trust in God and received much needed healing.
And, finishing college gave me the right set of tools to venture into business ownership with the confidence and willpower to succeed. My family gave me the gracious support system I needed when I wanted to give up.
Side note: I encourage women and men who are experiencing domestic violence to seek help. Make an appointment with your doctor and tell them you need resources to help you. Reach out to a local church that supports people with hurts, habits and hang-ups like Compass Christian Church in Chandler. Tell a trusted friend or family member that can help you. No one should lose themselves because of the damage inflicted by someone else. Get help – it won’t necessarily be easy, but I guarantee it will be worth it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many fantastic places to visit, shop and yummy places to dine in Phoenix Metro! I love having breakfast at BLDs in Chandler, or at Snooze in Gilbert. There is a small cafe in Chandler called Sunny’s for Breakfast and Lunch – large plates of food, so arrive hungry! I love Pita Jungle on Ray Road and Dobson Road, with outdoor patio views of a beautiful man-made lake. One of my favorite dining spots is Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen on Chandler Boulevard and the 101 highway. The salmon with buttered mashed potatoes is delish!
Aside from food, the Chandler Festival Shopping Center is fun to browse, along with so many options (in the Spring and Fall only) for outdoor farmer’s markets, like the one held in downtown Chandler, Uptown Farmers Market in Phoenix, and the one my dear friend runs called: Artisans at the Ranch in Gilbert.
If you enjoy western art, there is a fabulous collection in the Bashas Art Gallery in Chandler. The Arizona Science Center and the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park are must-see family-friendly entertainment spots.
The Phoenix Zoo, Golfland Sunsplash and the Tempe Beach Park are all fun outdoor activities in the Spring and Fall. Dave & Buster’s is a great place for indoor fun when it’s blazing hot outside.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is a spectacular networking organization in Chandler called the Chandler Business Alliance (CBA). The group is an incredibly loyal, supportive and caring bunch of amazing people! I am honored to be a CBA member and love supporting other members. The group includes a wide variety of organizations with the main purpose to support local charities within the community. I feel valued and welcomed every time we meet! Most of my business referrals are a direct result of CBA. I highly recommend checking out their online directory to learn more: www.chandlerbusinessallliance.com.
Other: www.goldenrollerskates.org Instagram: golden.rollerskates Facebook: Golden Roller Skates LinkedIn: Golden Roller Skates