Executive profile: Lisa Norris

Lisa Norris, commercial director at Amscan International, chats about sustainability, fashion, and planning for the future.

  • How long have you been at the company?

I have been part of the Wonder business for approaching 23 years now, joining in 2001. For

18 years of that time, I held the position of managing director of the Christy Garments and Accessories business. Almost five years ago now, I transferred to my current role; commercial director, Amscan International.

  • What is your greatest achievement at the company?

Our people. I am a real people person and strongly believe in surrounding yourself with an amazing team.

It’s all about empowering the right people. Allowing them to share their strengths and skills, to exchange their passions, ideas and learnings between each other.

All this alongside helping to steer and guide them to progress, not only within our business, but their own development plans too, is really the most rewarding achievement there is.

I’m lucky enough to have curated an exceptional team at Amscan HQ.

  • Favourite part of your job?

As you can probably deduce, it’s mainly the people, but in combination with their passion and our products. No two days are the same and it’s always exciting to face new challenges and projects and see all the team effort to continuously deliver incredible results.

  • Who is the unsung hero of the company?

Presently, I would have to say our vice president of international distribution and logistics, Rob Branigan. He has just steered the Wonder Group through a multi-million-pound logistic development project, seeing us introduce a brand new logistics centre in Milton Keynes.

Bringing all the Wonder distribution in to one location, as well as adding in an auto store system and still maintaining our trading service levels throughout is no mean feat, so hats off to Rob and our project team, and here’s looking forward to a fantastic Halloween peak season.

  • What is the biggest change within the party industry that you have seen since you have worked in it?

Consumer purchasing habits are certainly up there in the changes which are more noticeable, however over recent months, it must be the matter of sustainability. We are really fortunate at Amscan to have a dedicated team for this topic and have a clear We Care philosophy across everything we do. From our manufacturing plants, right through to our retail hubs, from products through to people and everything in between, sustainability is at our workforces’ heart and becoming increasingly relevant and topical each day.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice is that to always remember there is no I in team. People underpin a business and without everyone playing their part, we couldn’t deliver the results we do. So, it’s always important to remember, that every single person in our organisation matters and is important as the next.

  • Biggest lesson you’ve taken away from the last year?

The biggest take away from the last year would have to be always plan for the future.

Make decisions collectively. It’s a team effort so an open forum is always the direction to take. Embrace ideas, be open and accessible and ultimately be fearless. Believe in the process.

  • If you could change one thing about the party industry, what would it be and why?

I think one of the biggest challenges within our industry is a slight legacy approach to some of the categories. It isn’t necessarily as swift to evolve and develop its handwriting as other sectors, and then when there is innovation, it seems to be easily mimicked within the market, which can sometimes make it challenging to stand out.

  • If you didn’t work in the party industry, what industry would you work in and why?

If I didn’t work in the party industry, I would have a role in either the fashion or homewares sector. As a design graduate, I love product; the creative nature and the dynamic, fast paced environment of that process is certainly something I enjoy.

Also, the fashion world is somewhere I thrived for many years prior to this sector, so that’s where I think I would return to if not within the party industry. . . or if not an ultra runner … you can ask me more about this any time.

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