Lisa Parsons was freaking out. It was her first time speaking to a crowd at a major indoor tanning event and she was scared nearly to death, unsure of what to do. In that moment, the irony that she was voted “biggest chatterbox” of her high school class was lost on her, no doubt replaced by the terror of having to speak to hundreds of complete strangers. Eventually, Lisa did step out on that stage and deliver an engaging tanning product presentation. Where she found the courage to do this is something ist Magazine had to find out…
As compassionate as she is competitive, Lisa Parsons gives 100 percent to everything she does… allowing this tanning industry diva to do a great deal in a short time.
Given her way of making herself seen and heard, nearly everyone in the indoor tanning industry knows Lisa. As Devoted Creations’ National Sales Trainer, she spends most of the year on the road, providing product education and sales training to salon staff and tanning product distribution company personnel across the country. When she’s traveling, she gives her all to her job and this is why she never trains a stranger twice. Effortlessly turning everyone she meets into an instant friend, Lisa enjoys revisiting these salon professionals each year to see how they’ve progressed with the skills she’s taught them. These visits also give Lisa the opportunity to catch up with everyone she’s befriended. No wonder so many people love this blond bombshell with a bright smile and penchant for taking “selfies.”
Who’s That Girl?
Lisa Katherine Parsons was born August 27, 1985 in Renton, WA. She was the first of Karen and Mark Parsons’ two daughters, and the family lived in Tukwila. Between her father’s job as the Water Superintendent of King County and her mother’s position in her grandfather’s hotel development business, Lisa and her sister Kelly lead a rather comfortable life. “We lived in one of the motels my grandpa owned,” she said, “but he took four of the rooms and knocked down the walls to create one huge house. We moved into a home of our own about four years later.” Lisa says that she’s always been a “mama’s girl,” which seems to be a family tradition. Her mom was close to her own mother, and the Parsons girls grew up with grandma being at the house a lot. “I still talk to my mom on the phone at least twice a day,” she added.
Lisa’s parents divorced when she was 12 years old, and her reaction to that set the tone for her teen years. “At first it was kind of a shock,” she said, “but after that wore off, it didn’t affect me in a negative way. I remember thinking that their split was for the best; they were much happier apart and with their new partners. Plus, my sister and I were able to have double everything, from Christmas and birthday presents to bedrooms.” By the time she reached high school, she was captain of the drill team and a varsity swimmer all four years. Being such a popular person, her fellow students at Mt. Rainier High School had a pretty good handle on Lisa’s personality. “During our senior poll, the entire class of 500 kids voted me ‘biggest chatterbox,’” she laughed. “I also tied with one other girl for ‘biggest flirt.’” Some might say Lisa hasn’t changed much!
Finding Her Way
Before graduating in 2003, Lisa also took a job as a bed cleaner at a local tanning salon. Her naturally-talkative and friendly nature served her well at work, especially on the day that a regular salesperson called in sick. “They put me behind the counter,” Lisa said, “and I sold about $900 worth of product in a five-hour shift! I’m a bit competitive and always want to give 100 percent, and it all came out that day.” While Lisa’s experiences as a tanning salon employee were largely positive, being robbed at gunpoint was both frightening and a bit humbling. “It happened one day while my sister was visiting me at the salon,” she recalled. “A guy ran inside, pointed a gun at me and told me to give him all the money.” Lisa handed him the cash then collapsed to the floor while her sister crawled into the back room and called the police. This incident, as well as losing a friend and her grandmother around the same time, taught Lisa that she’s not invincible.
After managing the salon for a few years, Lisa’s boss sent her to Los Angeles to manage the new store there. For nearly two years, she lived and loved the L.A. lifestyle, which included plenty of exciting nightlife, a little modeling on the side and an appearance in a Snoop Dogg music video. During this time, she was offered the job of product sales trainer for a tanning lotion manufacturer, an invitation to the “big leagues” that came at a time when she needed a change. “My first tanning event was a distributor symposium in Washington,” she said, “and I started freaking out right before I was supposed to go on stage. Jerry Deveney (Four Seasons Sales & Service) happened to be at that show and he really helped calm me down and convinced me I’d be all right.” During Lisa’s presentation, Deveney stood at the edge of the stage and this helped give her the confidence she needed to get through her presentation. This became a tradition of sorts, helping Lisa mature into the confident public speaker she is known as today. “I’m so thankful to Jerry and everyone else who’s helped me along the way!” she added.
Every time Lisa put herself out there, opportunity just had a way of following her around. So when the time came for her to take another step in her professional journey, she made a smooth transition into her current position with Devoted Creations/Ed Hardy Tanning. “I had a great time living in L.A.,” she said, “but I missed my family in Washington. Becoming a part of the Devoted team allowed me to move back home while also continuing to travel around the country, which I love. I was also excited that I would continue to work with all the wonderful friends I’ve made in this industry.” As the company’s National Sales Trainer and Supervisor, Lisa is on the road about 240 days each year, educating tanning salon and distribution company personnel to effectively sell the company’s exciting new products. “I love visiting everyone a year later to see how well they’re doing with the techniques we’ve taught them,” she said, “and to catch up on what’s going on in their lives.”
These days, it appears that all the time spent on the road has finally caught up with Lisa. After years of living in Seattle yet working for the Florida-based Devoted Creations, the “sunshine state” is her new place of residence, officially. “This is where I spend most of my personal time,” she said, “lying by the pool with my dog, Ashley Bronzer. She’s a Bichon mix who came into my life rather accidentally and became the best thing that’s ever happened to me!” Now, she uses her native Seattle as home base for West Coast trainings, while continuing to envision her future in indoor tanning, though her role might change in time. “I can see myself getting married and having children in the next five years,” Lisa said, “and I’m looking forward to that new chapter of my life.”
Lisa Parsons is one of those people for whom self-expression has become an art form. It’s more than just her ability to put words together, though she’s plenty good at that; her entire life articulates a driving philosophy of enjoying each day, making the most of every moment and cherishing everyone who matters along the way. If anything can be learned by studying her story, it’s that we all could and should do a better job of just being happy. This is the ultimate lesson she imparts to those who know her, and we can look forward to seeing more from this vivacious industry veteran. In the meantime, where’s that Snoop Dogg DVD…?
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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