All posts in “Student Highlights”

Student Highlight – Julie M. Jones, That’s A Wrap! Events

Julie M. Jones  - That's A Wrap! Events

Julie M. Jones – That’s A Wrap! Events

SEI has given me the opportunity to further my career as an event planner through their online courses, which provide priceless education from highly-acclaimed, International Special Events Society (ISES) certified professionals.  For anyone who has event planning in their blood (like me), the suite of courses offered by SEI is a must!  My life as an event planner, wife, and mother make it difficult to attend formalized “brick and mortar” classes.  The flexibility offered by SEI within their online programs allows me to “do it all” within my schedule demands and constraints.  I cannot say enough about how invaluable this education has been for the goals I have set for myself and my company.”

What made you choose SEI?

I happened upon SEI while performing an internet search on ways I could further my knowledge as an event planner.  I never do anything half-heartedly and event planning is no exception.  I wanted to make sure that I was fully informed and on top of current trends, planning, operations, and management in relation to event planning.  SEI was the perfect option for me.  Not only were the program topics right on point, the flexibility offered by the online classes allowed me to work them into my hectic schedule as an event planner, wife, and mother.

What do you do currently for work and how does education fit in with your career goals?

Event planning is my encore career and although I have years of hands on experience, I want to differentiate myself through knowledge and expertise and ultimately through certification as a CSEP.  SEI is the perfect starting point for this journey.

What do you like most in your courses?

I truly appreciate the interaction and feedback from the instructors during the courses.  They really want their students to understand the material and ultimately succeed in this industry.  Having the opportunity to review and speak to the other students’ work is another facet that I enjoy.  Sometimes it is difficult to open yourself up to new ideas and think “outside the box”.  The student to student interaction opened my eyes to other concepts and strategies that I might not have previously considered.

What do you wish to gain from your certificate?

Achieving certification from SEI will show my clients that I am completely serious about event planning and that I am not satisfied just resting on my laurels.  I am constantly striving for more knowledge within the industry, not only to remain relevant, but ultimately to bring additional value to my clients and their events.  My goal is to become a CSEP through ISES and, in my opinion, the classes offered by SEI are a very necessary part of that process.

Would you recommend this to others?

Absolutely!!  There are so many moving parts within any and every event, big and small.  SEI is teaching their students how to effectively and efficiently manage every aspect of the process. Their programs offer invaluable information from some of the event planning industry’s most trusted and acclaimed professionals.  This truly is a priceless education!

Here’s a look at some of Julie’s work at That’s A Wrap! Events!

Buffet Setting

Ceremony Arbor

Favor Cart

reception

 

Congratulations to our Scholarship Winner – Kimberly Doell!

A big shout out to Kimberly Doell, Conferences and Special Events Coordinator at Bryant University for winning the International Special Events Society Rhode Island Chapter scholarship for a complementary course at the Special Events Institute. We asked her a bit about her background and why she wanted to enroll.  She’ll be joining our Event Marketing Course which begins on January 5th.  Here’s what she said…

Kimberly Doell

Kimberly Doell – Scholarship Winner from Bryant University

Why I wanted to win –

I love learning! I am excited to increase my event industry knowledge and participate in one of the Special Events Institute classes!

Why I am in events –

I was lucky enough to realize at a young age that I wanted to be in events. Despite knowing this, I did not go to college for event management. I decided to attend Bryant University and major in finance to gain a solid business background. I had jobs and internships in the event industry during college and was fortunate enough to land my current event job at Bryant.

What I love about events –

What isn’t there to love? Okay, that’s a joke. I’m organization freak, so I really enjoy the logistical side of events. What I love most is watching people experience the events we create. That’s what makes all the hard work worthwhile.

But really, my favorite part is blinging out my event binders. See below:

 

The Event Team at Bryant University

The Event Team at Bryant University

Event Binders created by the team at Bryant University

Kim’s “Blinged-Out” Event Binder for Commencement 2014

Why I value education –

I try to soak up as much knowledge as possible; whether it be from a formal channel, such a class, or from industry articles or even people. My favorite quote is from Bill Nye – “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” There is always something new you can learn from people or resources. If you can take away just one new concept or idea, it is worth it. I think the only way to enhance your knowledge and career is to continually learn.

Student Highlight: Chaylene Thorne

Chaylene Thorne, Events with Vizability

Chaylene Thorne, Events with Vizability

 

Why do you want to become an event planner?

I’ve always been creative, and I love doing unexpected things. Event planning is a constantly evolving career that allows me to push my creativity and I’m always learning something new and exciting. I began my love affair with event planning in university where I took Hospitality & Tourism Management – this is where I realized that this was the industry for me!
 
 
Why did you choose Special Events Institute to get your certification?

SEI was the perfect fit for me because as an online course, I was able to work at my own pace – which is helpful because I am currently an event coordinator, so I can’t always schedule my time consistently! I had heard great things about the course load and the instructors, and that definitely held true.

 
 
What has been your favorite SEI course so far and why did you enjoy it?

I would have to say my favorite was Event Production and Logistics. There was a lot of content and terms that I hadn’t heard of before, so I learned a lot – and that has helped me so much in my professional career. It was great to learn the in’s & out’s of this side of the industry because it is all of those details that really bring together your event.
 
 
What advice do you have for future SEI students?

Utilize the forums and ask as many questions as possible! Take the time to read your classmates’ work to see someone else’s point of view – I found that my classmates would bring up some points that I hadn’t even thought of, so it was a bonus learning experience. Also, get comfortable reaching out to your instructors! They provided me with so much great feedback and suggestions, it allowed me to develop my ‘events’ over time and really make the most out of the course experience.
 
 
What do you hope to accomplish as an SEI graduate?

I want to use the information I learned in the last year and apply it to my current career as an event coordinator, so far it has already helped me grow professionally! I plan on completing the specialty courses through SEI to get my master’s certificate! Eventually, I’d like to become a CSEP – and I now have the tools to be comfortable having that become a reality.
 
 

Student Highlight: Nimota Baruwa

Nimota Baruwa

Nimota Baruwa

Why do you want to become an event planner?

I decided to go into event planning because I love organizing and coordinating special events especially events that have positive impacts on my immediate community. So I decided to take it a step further by getting a formal education in this area.

 

Why did you choose Special Events Institute to get your certification?

I came in contact with SEI through Jill Moran’s book “How to Start a Home-Based Event Planning Business.” I found the book to be very useful with a lot of practical tips however I felt the need to learn more about the subject in a classroom environment and the book directed me to SEI. Going through the five courses with an array of industry experts, I succeeded in enriching myself with up-to-date knowledge about the industry,then I knew I made the right choice by joining the SEI team as a student.

 

What has been your favorite SEI course so far and why did you enjoy it?

My favorite course was Course Five: Event Leadership and Management.

 

What advice do you have for future SEI students?

My advice for future students is that if you want to take your education in special events to the next level, the Special Events Institute is your best bet because the courses are designed in such a way to make you learn step by step with up-to-date information about the highly creative and innovative subject of special events.

 

What do you hope to accomplish as an SEI graduate?

In the nearest future I intend to bring into practice the knowledge I have gained as a graduate of SEI and establish my own special event business. I will also use my knowledge as a graduate of SEI to help my community organize special events  that will have a  lasting impact on the community.

Student Highlight: Venus Hines

Venus Hines, SEI Student

Venus Hines, SEI Student

 

Why do you want to become an event planner?

Bringing someone’s dream/vision to reality can be quite challenging. The design and the implementation of the plan has to be strategic, which makes the entire process rather fun! On several different occasions you’re able to bring out some of your most memorable and artistic expressions, inspired by a diverse group of clients. You definitely have the opportunity to learn from and expose yourself to different cultures. Being an event planner has the potential to expand your thinking. 

 

Why did you choose Special Events Institute to get your certification?

I always felt like I was not as qualified as I should be when it came to coordinating certain events.  I was in search of a program that would give me the professional training I felt was needed to become a successful planner.  Often I believed that people in need of a planner would only hire someone who appeared to be a professional with an extensive list of credentials.  During my quest, I checked out books from the library and found one that I thought would give me the best insight into the business.  How to Start a Home-Based Wedding Planning Business by Jill Moran CSEP: what a wonderful book!  I read only the chapters pertaining to my situation, skimming through the section that discussed the need for additional training.  Then I began surfing the web for schools that offered training in event planning—there were several. Trying to find out which would be the best was a tiring task, and I started to feel overwhelmed.  Finally, I stumbled upon a few helpful blogs, as well as question and answer sections.  In response to one of the questions, someone advised, “if you are really serious about event planning and quality training, check out your local ISES”.  And that is exactly what I did.  Disappointed that the closest chapter was in Atlanta, I read the information on the ISES site and discovered the Special Events Institute.  I later went to the SEI website, and found a course that I believed would give me genuine training in this area.  Although it took me about a year to register, I eventually did and have not been disappointed.
 
What has been your favorite SEI course so far and why did you enjoy it?

I am in the first course of my certification training and so far it has been very informative and helpful.  The textbook reading assignments have provided excellent insight on event planning. Also, it is wonderful reading responses from the instructor and the different individuals about their experiences.    
 
What advice do you have for future SEI students?

If you desire to receive enlightening, detailed, and comprehensive training, take the courses from the Special Events Institute. You will learn practical skills from seasoned professionals, while still enjoying yourself.  Always keep an open mind so that you can continue to learn and grow.
 
What do you hope to accomplish as an SEI graduate?

My desire is to receive the training needed to take my event planning skills to the next level; to become a dream maker, an idea achiever, and a creator of captivating experiences.

Student Highlight: Haley Goetz

SEI Student Haley Goetz from Billings, Montana

SEI Student Haley Goetz from Billings, Montana

 

Why do you want to become an event planner?
Oh my gosh, there are so many reasons! I want to plan social events; mostly weddings and parties.
I love that I’ll be able to use my creativity to help people host an event that they wouldn’t be able to do on their own. I like getting to know people’s personalities, hobbies, tastes, etc. and then creating a theme and décor to coincide.

Also, I love the challenge of being given a budget and doing as much as I possibly can within the budget.

 

 

Why did you choose Special Events Institute to get your certification?
I researched event planning programs for a good two years before actually committing to SEI. I think what sold me was that the instructors are actual event professionals who have had success and are passing their knowledge on to the students. Also, when I was doing research on SEI, Jill S. Moran actually reached out to me and made herself available to me. I love how invested they are in helping you learn and succeed. She actually cares.

 

 

What has been your favorite SEI course so far and why did you enjoy it?
I just started the program in March, so am just wrapping up the first course: Foundations of Event Planning. Within this course, my favorite assignment has been to create my own event proposal.

 

What advice do you have for future SEI students?
You get as much out of the program as you want. Reading the assigned material goes a long way!

 

What do you hope to accomplish as an SEI graduate?
I hope to have the tools to begin the journey toward owning my own [successful] event planning company.

Student Highlight: Sheri Gordon

Sheri Gordon, Salt Lake City, UT

Sheri Gordon, Salt Lake City, UT

Why do you want to become an event planner?

 I hadn’t planned to become an event planner. I was employed as an operations manager for an intellectual property office. There were very few events, but in my capacity, I was responsible for those that we did have. A few years ago, a new director determined that our office needed more events, and I was given a new job title as Director of Marketing and Events. I didn’t have a lot of experience and only a basic knowledge of how to plan and execute events. These were corporate events and most had not been done before, so I had no history to work with and relied mostly on common sense. I hired a team with marketing, graphic design, and social media expertise and experience. With our combined skill sets, our team has planned and executed many events. Most have been very successful, and we have learned much through each one.  I have discovered that there is much more to becoming an experienced and successful event planner than I had ever realized and it has been a very challenging, yet fun and worthwhile journey.

 

Why did you choose Special Events Institute to get your certification?

While setting goals for the new year, one of my team members mentioned the SEI course and we discussed the benefits it would bring to us individually and as an event planning team. We learned all we could about the course and presented it to our director. We received approval and began the SEI Course last Fall.

 

What has been your favorite SEI course so far and why did you enjoy it?

I am just finishing up Course 4 – Production & Logistics, which has been my favorite topic. The information I have received in the areas of entertainment, technology, food and beverage, and many other important elements, has been very valuable to me. Not only are these topics of special interest, but many things I have learned can be implemented immediately into my upcoming events for added success. I have enjoyed planning my own event and seeing it all come together adding the elements as I went through the course.

 

What advice do you have for future SEI students?

I would advise anyone considering taking this course to be prepared for a very challenging and fun experience. If you are willing to give the class the time and attention required, you will learn a great deal that will be most valuable in the pursuance of your event planning career. There is a great sense of accomplishment at the end of each course, and upon completion, you’ll have greatly increased your knowledge and skill set, helping to make you much more prepared to be successful as an event planner. You’ll be amazed at the creativity that is within you, and you will learn things that you didn’t know you didn’t know. J

 

What do you hope to accomplish as an SEI graduate?

As an SEI graduate, I hope my increased knowledge and skill set will help me to raise the level of my events to be even more professional and polished.  I have learned many things that are critical elements to incorporate for more upscale events. I am also much more prepared to handle problems that will surely arise. Personally, this course has already helped improve my confidence in my abilities. I’m excited and very enthusiastic about my future as a much more knowledgeable, enthusiastic and dedicated event planner.