Life in the colourful lane: Joan LeMahieu, president of the parade company, keeps some of Detroit's most important traditions alive.

Author:Poole, Steve
Position:DAY IN THE LIFE 31 - Occupation overview

Joan LeMahieu's daily life consists of fairies, wizards, giant caterpillars and mystical creatures. Her job description includes securing Santa's guest appearences. Sound odd? Not to LeMahiey. It' s al in a day's work as president of the Parade Company.


During the busy seasons, LeMahieu, her 12-person staff and an army of volunteers work 12- to 14-hour shifts. six days a week or more It's grueling schedule, but someone' got to ensure Detroit's oldest and richest family traditions--American's Thinksgivng Day Parade and the target Fireworks-continue to etch memories in the minds of metro Detroiters


All in a day's work

During the months before the Parade Company's major events LeMahieu's life a anything but relaxing. She wakes to a BlaafkBerry full of new emails. Vocie messages and memos. Which all require attention befor heading to the office. She arrives at the paradc Company between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m and immediately heads into thes studio to observe progress of the projects being worked on the day.

After making her rounds in the studio. LeMahicu dashes to the costume area to discuss new wardrobe ideas with her designers, making sure to greet each employee and volunteer she sees along the way. "I like to show my interest in their lives." says LeMahieu. as she laughs about practical jokes played between herself and the staff. "we're all part of a team and rely on each other immensely. I want them to know I care both professionally and personally."


After making sure all is well, LeMahieu typically begins the afternoon planning and organizing each day, week and month with her assistant. She month with her assistant. She takes care of day-to-day business operations before sitting down to research new opportunities for collaboration with other businesses and government entities Partnerships, corporate events and new ways to fundraise and recruit volunteers are the lifeblood of her non-profit company. "We rely heavily on our Volunteers and donations," says LeMahieu in a grateful tone. "We'd be lost without them.'

LeMahieu's day at the studio usually ends between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m Two to three evenings a week she attends other events, which helps research new ideas. On these days, LeMahieu Doesn't arrive home until 9:30 p.m. She grabs a quick bit to eat, talks with her family and then tucks into bed, waking up at the crack of dawn to do it all over.

Finding the time for family and...

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