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A DECADE OF SLINK EVENTS

  • Writer's pictureLindsay Jordan Reisert

A Decade of Slink Events

A Decade of Slink Events: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Entrepreneurship 


As I reflect on the journey of Slink Events over the past decade, words seem inadequate to express my gratitude. I am so grateful to have surrounded myself with amazing individuals who have supported me through thick and thin. The saying "it takes a village" resonates deeply with me, and indeed, my journey in running a business has been a collective effort. 

Ten years ago, after concluding another season with Marvin Lewis, I started contemplating what my next move would be once Marvin left the Bengals. Despite spending a decade with him, what many didn't realize was that, at MLCF, we weren't employed by the Bengals. With Marvin's departure, we would all lose our jobs. While it was the only job I had ever known, it never felt like work. It was a unique position that I hadn't envisioned during my college years, and I had the privilege of having incredible mentors in Sharon Thomas and Marvin Lewis to guide me through it. Together, our team was unstoppable, blending dedication with camaraderie as we worked towards a shared mission. While we loved ideating on the events and coming up with fun ways to raise money, the best part was seeing the kids in the school during Learning is Cool appearances, interviewing students for scholarships, watching the smiles on the kids’ faces at the youth football camps, watching the city come together to build a playground for Hometown Huddle, presenting a breast cancer survivor with the pink football award – that’s what it was all about! 

  

How was I ever going to find another job that was as much fun AND as impactful than the one I had at MLCF.  I was convinced that the best years of my career were behind me.  However, my long-held dream of running my own business persisted. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs – my dad having run several businesses throughout his life – I had doubts about my capabilities. Were my ideas valuable enough? Was I smart enough to run a business?  Was I creative and detail-oriented enough to handle the responsibilities of running multiple events on my own? 


While still working for Marvin and anticipating another one-year deal with the Bengals, a couple of companies asked me to consult and assist with their events on the side. I decided to test the waters and went for it. I put the modest earnings into a separate account and dreamt that one day I could use that money to start my own company. 


In 2014, after an organization copied my ideas for a fundraising event I had run for Marvin, my competitive spirit kicked in. It was then that Marvin encouraged me to follow my dreams.  So, with two kids already and a desire to grow our family, I embarked on this entrepreneurial journey. Despite the less-than-ideal timing, I took the leap, hiring a lawyer and my talented graphic designer, Melanie, to kickstart the process. With $3,000 from a couple of events, I invested in the company. 


Deciding on a name was a thoughtful process. The formal name became Sports Link Events, aiming to connect sports and fundraising events. Wanting to simplify, my dad suggested Slink Events – a nod to my childhood nickname, Slinky. It made perfect sense, encapsulating the essence of the mission. 


While still working for Coach Lewis, I started taking on side projects for other athletes and coaches, most of them recommended by Marvin. Balancing a full-time job, raising a family, and nurturing my side hustle was challenging, but my strong work ethic kept me going. I would dedicate countless hours to ensuring every detail was meticulously planned and executed. 


Things were progressing well until an unimaginable tragedy struck. I went into premature labor before Christmas, resulting in the loss of our son, Gabriel. Besides the death of my mentor in 2009, this was the most challenging experience of my life. The support from my MLCF family was invaluable, helping me navigate through grief and return to work when I was ready. Slink Events took a backseat as I needed to hit the reset button. 


Post-Gabriel's passing, my focus shifted to living in the present, embracing life in faith, not fear. I slowed down to savor moments with my kids and reflect on what truly mattered. Then our family was blessed with another baby boy, Austin, after a challenging period on bedrest. I savored this time, appreciating family life and adopting a more deliberate pace. 


By the end of the year, it became apparent that Marvin's time at the Bengals was drawing to a close. We transitioned Slink Events into a consulting company, allowing me to continue with his fundraising events and marketing efforts while handing over my other responsibilities to the remaining staff at MLCF. 


Energized and excited, I resumed building Slink Events. Taking on new clients and events, I continued to grow the business, though the absence of a supporting staff and the isolation of working from home presented challenges. The adjustment from the daily office routine was tough, but the passion for my work kept me going. 


In 2019, Slink experienced its best year, and 2020 was poised to be even busier. However, the onset of COVID-19 forced a sudden halt. Events were postponed and eventually canceled, making event planning particularly challenging during a pandemic. I decided to take a sabbatical, putting the business on hold once again and focusing on my family during these unprecedented times. 


Thankfully, Slink bounced back in 2021, and 2022 marked a record year. Without any marketing, to my pleasant surprise, new clients came knocking on our door, and existing clients sought additional services. I saved enough money to hire a staff in 2023, and now Slink is operating at full capacity. 


I am incredibly proud of the team I've built, overcoming adversity to create a collaborative and impactful work environment. We enjoy working together, leveraging our individual talents, embracing non-traditional work hours to achieve a semblance of balance between careers and family, and, most importantly, making a positive impact in the community.   

 

The past decade has been a whirlwind of highs and lows, each moment shaping me both as an individual and as a business owner. Every twist and turn has been a valuable lesson, propelling me forward on this exhilarating journey with Slink Events. As I reflect on the challenges overcome and the milestones achieved, I am filled with gratitude for the growth and evolution experienced along the way. 


Yet, amidst the accomplishments and setbacks, there remains an unquenchable excitement for what lies ahead. The prospect of the next ten years brims with endless possibilities and opportunities for Slink Events. With a steadfast commitment to innovation, excellence, and community, I eagerly anticipate the adventures that await. Here's to embracing the future with open arms and unwavering determination, ready to write the next chapter of the Slink Events story. 

 

 

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