How Did You Get Into This Field? Creative Writing Sample
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Interview with BLISS Events
BLISS Events in Toronto, Ontario is fortunate to have two talented and professional wedding designers in tis employ. Tara O’Grady (TO) has been building beautiful events for over a decade. O’Grady has won coveted awards such as the Canadian Event Industry Award for Best Wedding and she has been featured in dozens of popular and esteemed publications in both Canada and the United States. O’Grady pairs with event planner Lisa Garofalo (LG), who is an expert in fulfilling customer requests with her knowledge of the fine arts, sales, and marketing. I was fortunate enough to be able to have both of them give me the time to answer a few questions about what it takes to be in the wedding planning and designing business.
LG: Unlike Tara, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do as I entered college. I studied fine art and loved the whole art scene. I traveled quite a bit to see great art, and still do, but somewhere along the way, I realized that I had to do more than admire beautiful things to make a living. That’s where BLISS came in – I am able at BLISS to combine my love of all things beautiful with my learned skills of sales and marketing to be part of the team that creates stunning events for our clients.What skills are most critical to this job?
LG: There are so many skills that can be incorporated into event planning. Great organizational skills are really important. I guess these are the details Tara was walking about! To me, organizational skills entail more than just keeping a calendar on a smart phone. Organization includes time management, appointment management, preparing for client meetings and running those meetings flawlessly, keeping everyone involved in a particular even appraised of any changes, and coordinating vendors. Vendor coordination is probably one of the most difficult parts of this job. If they aren’t organized well, nothing works on the day of the event. Vendors tend not to talk to one another and look to us for overall communication, even if they are standing right next to one another.What weakness would negatively affect ones success in this job?
LG: Again, not having organizational skills would not help in this business. Clients have a lot of choices for event and wedding planning, and appearing unorganized can make them flee to the guy down the road.
How do you put a budget together for an event? How you manage the budget?
LG: These two planning worksheets can also help us amend a budget if a client suddenly wants to cut their expenditures or add more things to the design of the event. They are great for working on the fly and can provide quick yes or no answers to the client’s “can I afford this” question.
LG: True.When you hire an employee or intern, what do you look for?
LG: I look for a willingness to anything and everything to first get the internship and then to complete the tasks of the job. We’ve had intern candidates come to us and one of the first things they have asked is, “What does it pay” or “Will I be able to go on my family vacation in June?” Because we are considered a prime internship partner, I like the intern candidates to be appreciative of the opportunity to have the chance to learn with us.
What do you enjoy about this industry?
LG: I enjoy the diversity of tasks that I get to do on a daily, or even hourly basis. I get bored easily, and in this industry, that rarely happens because there is always something to do, and usually there are several things to do at once. Multitasking a million things at once really makes the days go by quickly.
Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
LG: I think we did.How did you get your job? What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
LG: My early experiences were pretty routine. I worked as an administrative assistant when I was in college and then when art became more important to me, I focused on that, which led me here.Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?
LG: Offer to volunteer. Be willing to do anything that is needed. If you have good computer skills, offer to do some graphic design for a firm you want to get an internship or job with. If you are strong, offer to help set up and tear down an event to learn more about it. We definitely notice people who offer to learn and are eager and willing to help do things in exchange for learning with us.
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