Work Friends

Liz Hart

Producer & Entrepreneur

“It is rehearsal day, I hope you like Usher,” Liz Hart tells us when we chat over Zoom. It’s a little over a week before Super Bowl Sunday, and she’s overseeing the special projects department of the live Halftime Show—a role, in years past, has found her troubleshooting flying platforms, launching drone sculptures, and organizing audience stunts in 60,000-person stadiums. The Usher performance marks the seventh Halftime Show she’s helped come to life and follows just weeks after she was a producer on the Golden Globes.  It seems we may have caught Hart in her busiest season, but really, she’s right in her element.

Hart’s 20-year career began primarily in production and events, and—as some of her credits might suggest—specifically ones that shape culture and bridge together a wide range of participants, physically or through a screen. Some of her proudest to date include four presidential campaigns, three Democratic Conventions, and in 2021, being appointed the White House Deputy Social Secretary, becoming the first Asian-American to hold the role and, after three years, one of the longest-serving.

Now operating independently, Hart continues to span the worlds of government, entertainment, sports, and more, as she continually shifts her skills from one industry to another. But, as she tells us, the common thread running through it all is being where she can make the biggest impact.

"There is almost what feels like a ‘no-fail’ scenario…that's where I want to be."


I realized I loved the idea of convening people to experience something together as early as high school. At a college visit to Virginia Tech, I asked an advisor about event courses. At the time, production curriculum didn’t really exist yet, and she suggested Communications as a field. Tech customized a program for me with wide-ranging but relevant courses: business, marketing, and hospitality, but also design, psychology, and philosophy. Learning why we gather, and why we need connection to each other as a society led to interesting [classroom discussions, such as]: “Let's talk about the Olympics, and why it exists. What is this phenomenon, where humans need to be together? And, from a business perspective, who is interested in that?" 

The approach opened the doors to everything. I started appreciating the basis of how business and human interest combined could make the world work, and discovered where the jobs that specialize in knowing that were: in broadcast and media, partnerships and sponsorships, international relations, economic impact, sports and entertainment industries…I got specific in logistics, communication, design, and diplomacy. I began relying on all those things soon after; I was in my senior year when I was accepted into a management training program at Disney, where I began learning entertainment production. Actually, I’ve relied on those exact four specialities throughout every single career move. 


I began to understand the unifying power of events after many moments where I saw strangers bonding over a shared experience, one that made them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. I remember thinking: “This is the purpose of life: To connect with each other.”

Most frequently, I see this happen when there is some mechanism to pull people together. I love Halftime as much as I do simply because 125 million people watch the same 13-minute show. They can even each think something different about it, but they still have one collective thing they can all reference, that they can all have a conversation over. I saw this while working on the Olympics, too, the sense of community there is like nothing else because no matter where you’re from, it’s about the triumph of the human spirit. 

I’ve always wanted to create opportunity for connection to happen, and then find ways to share the stories that come from those extraordinary moments. Today, I ask myself the same question: What can I make, produce, write, or organize for, that will help people see each other and feel seen, themselves?


I love a campaign for this same reason if it brings people together to move in the same direction, work together, or even just spur conversation. That's how I felt when I saw President Obama run, watching all of that momentum for change. Thinking about how much work we, especially women, put in every single day to do all we do, I asked myself, “What if I put all of this energy, all of these hours and this effort, into the world I want to live in?” That's when I jumped head first into politics. I was so inspired by Michelle Obama that I wrote a letter to the campaign asking to join her team. A few weeks later, I was on the road for her in New Hampshire.

There were questions I asked myself at this stage of my career because it was a pivot from one world (entertainment) to another (politics). First, I assessed my current career, which was production: Here’s something that I do, and a network that I have, with these skill sets that I know. Then I asked: How can I serve in this new field, using this existing set of skills? And as much as I love a pivot, it started to feel more like an expansion. 

But that's something that I think people get wrong about careers as a whole: thinking a set of skills is only for [one industry]. My favorite thing to encourage students to do is to think about the cross-section of skills that they have relative to something they’re passionate about. Even if you think those aren't necessarily aligned, what if they were, and what does that look like? That helps define niche areas to bring unique value to. And on top of that, it's probably where you're about to have the most fun. I’ve been liaising between the entertainment and political worlds, translating between the two, ever since.


In my ideal work world, we are all able to have agency over how we spend our time and our effort—that is the beginning of finding joy in our work. I found when we were choosing projects and partners based on values, compatibility, even sense of humor(!),  the outcome was even better. In fact, that’s when it was the very best. It’s because when we all mutually believe in the goal and each other, that’s when innovation happens, that's when “blue sky” thinking happens. That’s when people working together who are like-minded start moving a needle because the teamwork generates enough capacity to not just to get the work done, but to be creative about it. I wanted to be able to create collaboration like that and only take work that moved us, knowing we would put 200% behind every project, since we chose it for the right reasons.


It is high impact? Will it reach as many people as possible? And are we sharing something of value and good with all of those people? That's where I find myself gravitating towards the right work. Generally, I enjoy working in high-stakes environments. When I feel the sense of pressure, I channel it as a positive thing, because it means what we are doing matters. So, I somehow have found myself in these really high-pressure scenarios. If there is almost what feels like a “no-fail” scenario… That's where I want to be.


I absolutely believe aesthetics and practicality can go together. I love that both things can be true. When I put on an outfit that makes me feel good because each piece complements (can you tell I’m a separates person?!) and the outfit will also efficiently work with me comfortably through a work environment, I get joy out of it all day. When I can tell other people put thought into their own style as a personal art form, I get joy out of their style, too. There is a pride in what we wear, in how we show up to work, or to anywhere, that tells the story of who we are, and how we have arrived to accomplish our missions.

When I work on projects—particularly ones that require a fight for something new, especially for women—if I'm wearing something that also tells that story, I feel like I'm going in with the force of other women. That's why I very consciously choose my clothes, products, and things that are on my body. Every single piece is related to things that I believe in, so I feel like when I show up, I don't show up alone. If I'm wearing Argent, I know that Sali [Christeson, Argent’s founder and CEO] believes in the same kind of effort that I'm about to put forth for something I believe in. I love to think about the essence and the momentum of everything around us. It’s in the story: the thoughtfulness of design; the origin story of the designer; the inspiration, heritage, or values behind everything we put on ourselves. There’s nothing more personal than that, especially when knowing the connection of all behind the piece, and me. I'm going to go in there and represent someone else's story, in addition to my own. 


We need to evolve in order to lead. To take big risks, we need two things to help ensure we have the ability to get there. One of them is having an incredible team that not just believes in the mission, but is being seen for what they do best as contributors to it. No one person can go it alone, we need others who also can share their own expertise, with their own superpowers. Spending the time to find out what those are, what makes people tick, and what makes them motivated to come to work every day has paid dividends for the mission of the whole, and for me as a leader.  It also just makes people—all people, me included—feel validated. Taking care of each other is the baseline, so we can then expand into taking care of others, having new ideas, and trying new things.  

There needs to be a healthy perspective—a balance—of the creative and the logistical. There are times to be resourceful with what we have in front of us, and there are times to do something with a specific kind of quality or hold ground. Having the wisdom to know when to make those calls is so crucial. Knowing that life is balance of both of those things has been helpful. It’s about always being optimistic, but also realistic. The sooner that we can be realistic about parameters, the sooner we can find solutions that are going to help us all be successful. 

Cropped Flare Trouser in Textured Linen Twill | Midnight
Cropped Flare Trouser in Textured Linen Twill | Midnight
$275 View Product
Collared Sleeveless Knit in Merino Wool | Black
Collared Sleeveless Knit in Merino Wool | Black
$195 View Product

"We need to evolve in order to lead."

She’s Worth a Follow

Find Liz on Instagram.