Lisa Stokes took a career leap nearly 15 years ago into the world of entertainment brokerages and has made her mark in the industry.
In 1999, Stokes acquired Bruce Rohrbach Productions, now Dauphin County-based B.R.P. Entertainment. The firm has grown from having no casino business to casino work being the majority of the work B.R.P. does.
As with many other industries, the entertainment brokerage industry is male dominated. Stokes said that might be because male musicians with business sense often transition to agent or broker roles after their on-stage careers are over.
“They are still in their passion and they can keep doing something with it. And most of them are men, for whatever reason,” she said. “It’s probably a great study for one of the entertainment programs in college.”
Stokes attributes her success in the industry to her marketing background and experience within the gaming industry, having a great staff and other support, and being able to see the big picture.
B.R.P. takes over booking acts for clients, who are dealing with a lot of other needs.
“Entertainment is just a little part of it,” she said. “So when I go in, that’s what I say. ‘I want to be an extension of your team.'”
At the same time, once on the ground at an event, Stokes and her staff leap in to help with whatever needs to be done, whether it’s helping a stressed employee deal with a long line or even setting up a buffet.
Before taking the leap into business ownership, Stokes was marketing director for Penn National Gaming and worked for the company for 18 years.
After a while, Stokes said, she started getting restless, even though she enjoyed working for the company. In the late 1990s, the opportunity came up to look for a business to buy with the help of an investor, she said.
A business broker introduced her to Bruce Rohrbach. He and his wife, Holly, ran the business with a lot of integrity, she recalled. As part of the agreement, she arranged for Rohrbach to stay on for the first year so he could introduce her to the client base he had built. Her marketing background taught her the importance of relationships, she said.