Jan Levie is the CEO and Creative Director of Handy Entertainment, your go-to for exciting event entertainment. Handy Entertainment creates hi-touch, customized activations for social, corporate and promotional events. We are currently offering Virtual Sessions of Tarot, Palm Reading, Handwriting Analysis, and Lip Readings.
Clients include Cirque du Soleil, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Hay House Museum, Macy’s, and a multitude of marketing, advertising, media, transportation, and technology companies.
Jan earned her B.A. from Indiana University in Theater and Journalism. She has worked professionally in stage, film, television, voiceover, industrials, as a print journalist, and translator. Jan has worked with corporate, legal, educational institutions, and government entities, both in the U.S. and internationally.
An educator at heart, Jan has taught French, German, English, Hebrew, Literacy, and Theater to students of all ages and nationalities.
Jan currently serves on the Marketing Committee of the Greater Women’s Business Council, and is a member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Out Georgia Business Alliance, and the Georgia Production Partnership. Jan speaks to professional, civic, and special interest groups on a variety of topics ranging from events and the entertainment industry, non-verbal communications, building your non-profit’s membership and reach, to Networking for the Socially Challenged. She is a regular guest lecturer at Georgia State University’s School of Hospitality.
Jan and Handy Entertainment have been collaborating with the Bobby Dodd Institute since the beginning of March 2019 to create more opportunities and positions for people with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities in the live events industry.
Jan lives with her husband and family in Atlanta, and was used to spending her free time in traffic.
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:18] Lee Kantor here. Another episode of GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. And this is gonna be a fun one. I’ve got with me today. Jan Levie. And she is with Handy Entertainment. Welcome, Jan.
Jan Levie: [00:00:30] Well, thank you, Lee. It’s really great to be here with you.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:33] Well, before we get too far into things, tell us about Handy Entertainment. How are you serving folks?
Jan Levie: [00:00:39] What we do normally before this is we create event entertainment that is unique to the corporate or social circumstances, and we bring people together.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:52] So, you create events customized to whatever the needs of your clients or do you have kind of standard events that you do that your customer chooses?
Jan Levie: [00:01:01] We customize what we offer for each event depending on its needs. If they want to reach out to more prospects or clients, just increase their revenue, get their message out, or actually bring people together to speak with each other to learn more about each other. And it’s the entertainment that we used to do that.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:24] Now, how did you get into this line of work?
Jan Levie: [00:01:28] Well, apparently, what happened is a journalism and theater background collided. And this is what came out of it.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:38] Now, what was your first event you did?
Jan Levie: [00:01:43] The first event I did, apparently, was throwing off some people who were trying to cajole a friend of mine in Paris and me into joining, and our French wasn’t that good. And I said to them, “Here, let me give you a palm reading.”
Lee Kantor: [00:02:04] So, you start-
Jan Levie: [00:02:04] And-
Lee Kantor: [00:02:04] So, it was through palm reading was your first foray in this?
Jan Levie: [00:02:10] It was. And it was because of my French.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:13] Did you know how to palm read?
Jan Levie: [00:02:14] Not really, not really. So, that’s what was so strange about it. And they were shocked not at what I told them but, apparently, that it was really, really resonating with them, and they left us alone. And I didn’t even remember the story until I heard it from this friend last week.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:38] That’s funny. Now, for your business, historically, I’m sure it’s been a lot of in-person, face-to-face. And now, you, as well as a lot of other businesses, have had to kind of reconfigure your business. How have you adapted during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Jan Levie: [00:02:58] Well, what we’re doing right now is moving our entertainment to virtual sessions for the time being. That means that our fabulous handy beverage or anything you wanted to be squirt with 93 three-ounce test chips is a no go. We can’t use any of those high-touch items that we’ve created over the years – the lip cards for lip readings. And so, we’re creating individual and group handwriting analysis, lip print readings, coffee cup readings, tarot readings, palm and more. And one of the exciting things that’s going on right now is that some large caterers in Atlanta have been reaching out to us and asking if they can attach our menu to their menu, so that they’re not only delivering food for big events, big celebrations around town, but they’re also giving people a way to truly interact.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:55] So, you’re forming partnerships with people that historically you hadn’t been partnering with?
Jan Levie: [00:04:03] I would say that we have worked with them in the past, we just haven’t worked with them in this format. We do get hired by caterers, and event planners, and venues all the time, but they’re looking at ways of pivoting, and we’re looking at ways of pivoting, and this is working out for both sides, I think.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:25] Now, is there any advice you would give other business owners on ways to kind of creatively pivot while still staying in your lane, but you’re still kind of expanding your offering?
Jan Levie: [00:04:38] What I would look at if I were a small business who has operated in one specific area in one specific way over time is to sit down or stand up and write the things that are most important to you, write down the things that are most important to your clients, how you’ve served them, and do a mind map of sorts where you look at different ways to recreate those things that are meaningful to you and to your clients.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:11] And did you have kind of a support to help you do this, or are you doing this by yourself to your partners or advisors?
Jan Levie: [00:05:21] I do have advisors. I do have people that we work with. I have a trusted circle. And what I’ve done, on one hand, is reach out to people, and I’ve created surveys to see what they’re interested in, and trying to really find a way that we can get the people that we’ve worked with over time back on board and involved. And that’s really what’s so chilling about this time is that it’s not that simple. First of all, you’ve got the limited touch capabilities. How are you going to reach someone? How much time do they have? And how can you get all those pieces together for the same time? And that’s what a lot of our planner friends are experiencing, and venues, and caterers in terms of rescheduling or postponing events. There’s nobody who knows what’s coming.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:20] Now, do you have kind of an ideal client? Is there an industry that you serve a lot? Or can anybody hire you or does anybody hire you?
Jan Levie: [00:06:31] We have worked historically with a lot of social events, and we have begun working over the last four years with lots of corporate. And corporate is something that I personally believe is going to come back faster and larger than social because, basically, they have the option of putting things in place, so that they can follow recommendations and provide the resources that, then, people need in order to successfully execute.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:09] Now, let’s talk a little bit about your relationship with GWBC. How have they helped you through this pandemic because they’ve been available for support in terms of education, networking? How have you leverage that group?
Jan Levie: [00:07:27] Well, GWBC has been an incredible boon. I am so grateful for the fact that, initially, before people were even aware of what was going on, and what was happening, what was coming down, and what to expect, they reached out. There were phone calls made, and I believe to all members, seeing what they needed. They fed an incredible resource in terms of education, in terms of networking, in terms of connecting. They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to include everybody and to make sure that people have the tools that they need as soon as they come up. For example, I believe, Friday evening, they sent out information about another PPP loan server that was available and still had funds, things like that. Last minute up-to-date information that we can rely on. I’m very thankful.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:25] Now, if you were to kind of encourage a woman business owner to get involved with GWBC, how would you kind of make them aware of the organization and maybe share some tips that you use to leverage it?
Jan Levie: [00:08:43] In terms of getting a third-party certification as a woman-owned small business, I personally believe that GWBC, as a part of the greater women’s … I’m sorry, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council is uniquely positioned to really help women take their businesses to a national and international level. The breadth and the depth of the contacts, the conferences, the networking opportunities, the ability to really engage top executives in all different markets and bring them together is extraordinary. I’m privileged right now to serve on the marketing committee for the Greater Women’s Business Council, and I get the acronyms mixed up sometimes. And the people I’m working with are amazing. I’m really, really … I’m shocked. I’m shocked at how great they are at what they do. And I’m really happy, really honored to work with them.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:49] Now, going through this crisis, have you learned anything about yourself? Has anything you’ve done surprised you in terms of kind of rising up to handle this crisis?
Jan Levie: [00:10:01] One of the things that I see happening, not just for me, but for people around me is that things come in cycles. And I think that resilience is something that is really an American trait and that we have an abundance of resilience. For me, I go through moments where I think, “Oh, my gosh, I’m starting all over again.” And then I think, “Well, okay, that’s that’s an opportunity.” And it’s that grounded optimism, I think, that for me has been essential and that I see reflected by so many of my really valued, trusted colleagues.
Jan Levie: [00:10:49] And we’ve reached out to each other, whether we’re women-owned businesses, whether we’re minority businesses, whether we’re just colleagues or friends. And people are really supporting each other in all different ways, sharing information about government forms, about timelines, about regulations, about business opportunities. It’s just it’s been a great coming together that I wouldn’t have ever expected in this mass and as quickly as it’s happened.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:22] So, now, through this pandemic, have you developed any superpowers you want to share?
Jan Levie: [00:11:29] Well, this is really not on point, but I’m not a gardener, and I finally found myself ripping ivy out by the roots, tons of ivy. And I was sort of shocked that I was out there weeding. And I realized that when my daughter asked me, “Why are you doing this?” I said, “Well, it’s it’s really finite. And I can see my progress. I can see what I’m doing, and where it begins, and where it ends, at least, until the next rain.”
Jan Levie: [00:12:03] And the other superpower I have is being able to reach out to people. And that’s what I did a lot of at the very beginning. I called friends, and acquaintances, and community members who were elderly and sick, or alone, or caring for someone else. And just just doing that, for me, really gave me an incredible amount of strength. And really, it helped me just find some happiness in really scary moments.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:35] Now, what could we be doing to help you? Is there anything that you need in order to help you grow your business through this difficult time?
Jan Levie: [00:12:45] Which we are we talking about?
Lee Kantor: [00:12:48] Just the listeners.
Jan Levie: [00:12:51] Listeners. What I would love for people to do to the extent they’re able is to support small businesses, which most people are already doing by ordering food through them directly or finding a way to patronize your local businesses, if you can, safely to purchase things. For me, personally, I’m going to put some links in the landing page out this week, and I would love to help people find their happy spot with palm readings, and lip readings, and tarot readings, and handwriting analysis. That’s something that I would really love to do.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:37] Now, if somebody wanted to learn more, is there a website?
Jan Levie: [00:13:40] Yes, there is, www.handyentertainment.xyz.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:52] That’s handyentertainment.xyz.
Jan Levie: [00:13:57] Yes, and it’s a www in front of it because I transitioned from one platform to another recently.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:06] Now, do you think, is there a silver lining when we all get through this? Is there anything you’re gonna be able to take that you’re doing now during your pivot that you might still continue doing after the pandemic’s over with?
Jan Levie: [00:14:22] I am sure that there are so many things that not only I am doing but that other people are doing that will prove to be really great blessings, that they will show us ways to do things better and in a more meaningful way, and that it won’t be over in just one day, or one week, or one month. A lot of the changes are the kinds of changes that better creative destruction. If you look at how the world has changed over time, there are always going to be things that are successful and things that fade away. And the question is, how can we use this to learn things that really help bring people together even when they can’t be together?
Lee Kantor: [00:15:11] Well, Jan, thank you so much for sharing your story today.
Jan Levie: [00:15:15] Thank you so much, Lee, for having me. It’s been a real pleasure.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:18] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We will see you all next time on GWBC’s Open for Business.
About Your Host
Roz Lewis is President & CEO – Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®), a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and a member of the WBENC Board of Directors.
Previous career roles at Delta Air Lines included Flight Attendant, In-Flight Supervisor and Program Manager, Corporate Supplier Diversity.
During her career she has received numerous awards and accolades. Most notable: Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion award; 2017 inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame by the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and 2010 – Women Out Front Award from Georgia Tech University.
She has written and been featured in articles on GWBC® and supplier diversity for Forbes Magazine SE, Minority Business Enterprise, The Atlanta Tribune, WE- USA, Minorities and Women in Business magazines. Her quotes are published in The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business book by Susan Wilson Solovic and Guide Coaching by Ellen M. Dotts, Monique A. Honaman and Stacy L. Sollenberger. Recently, she appeared on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s BIZ on 11Alive, WXIA to talk about the importance of mentoring for women.
In 2010, Lewis was invited to the White House for Council on Women and Girls Entrepreneur Conference for the announcement of the Small Business Administration (SBA) new Women Owned Small Business Rule approved by Congress. In 2014, she was invited to the White House to participate in sessions on small business priorities and the Affordable Care Act.
Roz Lewis received her BS degree from Florida International University, Miami, FL and has the following training/certifications: Certified Purchasing Managers (CPM); Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Institute for Supply Management (ISM)of Supplier Diversity and Procurement: Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta (DLAA), Negotiations, Supply Management Strategies and Analytical Purchasing.
Connect with Roz on LinkedIn.
The Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC®) is at the forefront of redefining women business enterprises (WBEs). An increasing focus on supplier diversity means major corporations are viewing our WBEs as innovative, flexible and competitive solutions. The number of women-owned businesses is rising to reflect an increasingly diverse consumer base of women making a majority of buying decision for herself, her family and her business.
GWBC® has partnered with dozens of major companies who are committed to providing a sustainable foundation through our guiding principles to bring education, training and the standardization of national certification to women businesses in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.