Portrait of a DAM Professional: Lisa Christy of Portland Japanese Garden

Portrait of a DAM Professional: Lisa Christy of Portland Japanese Garden

A Job That Bridges Natural Beauty With the Digital World

Imagine for a moment that your job is encouraging people to experience the serenity and tranquility of nature based on philosophies from Japan. How might you convince an audience that trees and stones hold Taoist spirits? What would it be like to work as a leader at an organization dedicated to nature and peace? Lisa Christy, Director of Marketing at the Portland Japanese Garden, will tell you that the job is just as much about the digital world as it is about nature.

Lisa heads up marketing and communications at this non-profit, which is in the midst of a $33.5M site-expansion project. In line with this transition, the Garden has begun offering more festivals and events for guests to enjoy, all of which are being recorded in high-quality media. As Lisa explains: “The Garden is a living piece of art, and the photos and videos that record it aren’t static. As the Garden grows, the assets grow too.


Sapporo Lantern in Late Summer Dusk - Photo by Roman Johnston

At the Heart of Digital Assets is the Story of the People Behind Them

Lisa has her own story of growth, which brought her to her current position. She decided on a career in marketing just like many of us do – when she was 20 years old and attending university. “It turns out that I wasn’t that far off when I was 20,” she said. “At the time, I wanted a career that would allow me to interact with people, but I was also passionate about intellectual projects. Marketing seemed like it would provide a nice balance of both.”

Her path led her to the Garden, and she says: “These days, I love my job because I get that social aspect with different groups of people, from the Garden’s visitors to the press, and I get to do lots of other projects, such as budget planning or collaborating on design, which are also fun for me.” No doubt, Lisa finds professional inspiration in growth opportunities, and the fact that she learns something new every day is the #1 thing she loves about her job.

The Garden, however, is not her only source for learning. Lisa also told us that her personal network inspires a sense of what is possible when trying to balance family and work life: “Honestly, my biggest professional inspirations are my female friends. They constantly strive to be the best they can be professionally while also having a life personally. They challenge themselves at work, but they take care of themselves, and they make the time to take care of their families.”

Obviously, a deep sense of community is not only present in the Garden itself, but also in their marketing leader. In fact, when we asked about how she works with digital assets, Lisa wanted us to hear it directly from her brilliant team.


Flat Garden and Pavilion from Beneath the Weeping Cherry - Photo by Joanthan Ley

It Takes a Team to Build a DAM Garden

An integral part of the Garden is Marketing Manager, Tyler Quinn, who told us that: “the Garden is very photogenic, which makes it both natural and digital.”

Because of this strong bond between the beauty of the garden and the digital assets that help preserve a record of it, the Japanese Garden has an intriguing story of transition to a cloud-based digital asset management system (DAMS).

Tyler explained: “We had a backlog of beautiful photos that were historical, and as we moved forward with our expansion project we began to increase the number of more recent photographs used for marketing purposes. Photos are really important to our organization because they allow us to show people the Garden. Previously, we had an open-source solution hosted on our own server that was no longer cutting it. It had bugs, and it was on our to-do list to find another solution when MediaValet started helping us learn about the DAM world. Instead of continuing to ask ourselves, in somewhat of a panic, ‘What if we lost all of our photos,’ we started developing a feasible path forward.”

Take a tranquil tour through the Portland Japanese Garden

Words of DAM Wisdom

Lisa offered some wise words for other professionals struggling with digital assets who are still uncertain if they want to make any significant changes. She said: “Making the decision to adopt a cloud-based system can be hard to accept, but the time invested to make the switch will pay off in dividends on the backend. Our DAMS now saves us so much time. Making the switch seems overwhelming, but it’s worth it.”

Tyler echoed that and added: “It’s never going to be the right time to make this kind of change.” To which Lisa emphasized: “Look at us – we switched in the midst of a $33.5M expansion project. We didn’t have time to do it, but we just couldn’t lose these assets that are so central to the Garden. We made the change anyway and would do it again in a heartbeat.”

If you’d like to hear Lisa speak directly about the expansion of the Garden, have a look at her interview by Garden Time TV.


You May Also Enjoy

Get the latest content on marketing, design and digital asset management
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.