EPA Membership Spotlight

Sekia Jackson

How long have you been in the Event Planning industry?

I’ve been planning events for 14 years. My business On this Day Events was officially established in April 2019.

Why did you become an Event Planner?

I don’t think I actually became an event planner, I evolved into an event planner. I planned my first event in 2000 and I was instantly addicted to that feeling of bringing joy and happiness to others through a successful event. Since that day, I’ve been chasing that same emotion with every event that I plan. Long story short I evolved into an event planner, because I like all things nice, I’m all about the details, and I feed off of the excitement and emotions of my clients.

As an EPA member and mentee under David Tutera how has the mentorship program affected your business and personal life?

The mentorship program has turned my life upside down. In a good way! I often refer to the mentorship program as “boot camp” when I speak with my family and friends. This mentorship has surpassed my expectations in so many ways. Every class I try to listen intently so that I can absorb every word that comes out of David and Joey’s mouth. This program has helped me to identify areas of opportunity within my business (of which I’ve found many) and has also given me the “Ah-Ha” moments, and the “I’ve been doing this all wrong” moments. I’m currently in the process of working with a business consulting and software application firm so that I can rebrand my business so that I can engage customers and expand my market outreach. Without the David Tutera mentorship, I would have never taken these necessary steps to grow my business.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in the field?

I have 2 tips that I would love to share because they’ve worked well for me thus far. First and foremost, building relationships and sustaining relationships has been essential for the growth of my business. To date, the majority of my clients have been through referrals from relationships that I’ve established throughout the years. My 2nd tip is to always be humble. The market is saturated with event planners today and I’m grateful for any and every opportunity that I get to meet or work with new clients or colleague

What do you look forward to learning about in the mentorship?

I am truly a hungry student holding on to every bit of knowledge that David is willing to share with us. I’m really looking forward to the next 6 months of the program and learning more about how I can expand the design side of my business. In addition, I strongly believe that mentorship is all around us. Every mentee in the program is a mentor for me. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn more from everyone in the group.

Are there any fun tips you have for event planners?

The older I get the worse I get with remembering names. It can be overwhelming when you have several events going on at the same time, you don’t want to make the mistake of mixing the names of your clients. In the very beginning of the planning process for an event, I create a contact folder for my clients with names and photos (if possible) of everyone that I’ll be working with (including vendors). I like to be able to put a name with the face so that I can address everyone professionally. Trust me, it goes a long way. I borrowed this idea from the movie The Devil Wears Prada!

How do you balance being a mom and a business owner? What advice would you give to other parents?

It’s not as hard as you think when you love what you do! I am a mom to an 8-year-old little girl whose social calendar is busier than mine. You hear a lot of people say that they place God first, family second and work last. That’s pretty much how I try to balance my life, however, I am always reallocating my time based on the need. I no longer set unrealistic expectations for myself. You live and you learn, and I make sure that I don’t bite off more than I can chew. My daughter is starting to acquire an interest in event design now, so I allowed her to be present for the set-up of one of my events. I loved having that quality time with her while at the same time exposing her to the business. My recommendation for working moms is to always remain flexible and willing to re-allocate their time in a way that will make you be successful. Establish very strong time management skills or surround yourself with someone that can help you with your time management and lastly, be realistic!

What was one of your favorite events you’ve planned? Do you have pictures? Can we share them on our wedding Wednesday spotlights on Instagram?

I would have to say that the hardest event that I ever planned turned out to be one of my favorite events. I planned a 60th Anniversary Banquet for 400 people. It was very challenging, and there were many obstacles and hurdles that I was faced with and had to overcome but I can honestly say that I learned THE most from planning that event. I remember the day after that event I literally could not move my body. I was physically and mentally drained however the hard work really paid off because I received a lot of accolades, after the event and it solidified any questions that I ever had about my ability to be successful in this industry.

Tell us one fun fact about you that no one would guess!

I absolutely love to attend concerts. I think I’ve been to over 100 plus concerts and have seen over 50 plus artists live in my lifetime. I drive my husband crazy with my constant requests for concert tickets. The last concert that I attended live before COVID was Anita Baker. I think the person that I’ve seen the most in concert is Frankie Beverly & Maze. I enjoy all types of music, but I tend to gravitate more towards Old School R&B, Old School Hip Hop and Gospel.