Many people attempt to embark upon their passion but most don’t succeed. Every blue moon you meet an individual who is able to take their creative expressions to the next level. Take for example event planner I’na Saulsbery of The Starfire Group. Celebrating almost 10 years in the business, I’na Saulsbery has beaten the odds.
I met Saulsbery over a cup of tea late one sunny day. Her electric blue hair and beaming smile illuminated the dimly lit bistro, making our meeting most pleasurable. During our chat, it became evident that Saulsbery is passionate about her business. Her out-of-the-box approach to meeting the client’s needs is priority. Being an event planner is more than knowing logistics. It is a sequence of things which separates the mediocre from the cream of the crop. One has to be extraordinary, exuberant and explosive. I’na Saulsbery of The Starfire Group is the trinity.
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
It was definitely a deliberate decision. I have always had a love for event planning but I never realized I could make a living working for myself. I’m so thankful that I believed in myself and took that leap of faith.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I like to believe we truly listen to what our clients’ needs are as well as understanding how to effectively communicate with them. Learning the correct way to manage your clients’ expectations. I think that is something that can be oftentimes overlooked. It is always our goal to take the worry out of event planning. We want our clients’ experience to be fun and memorable.
For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success?
For those considering a career in event planning, I would suggest that one is kind, extremely patient, loves what they do and are quite creative.
Do you think that there are any widely-held misconceptions about what you do?
I think there are a lot of misconceptions that people can’t afford an event planner. I like to say, you cannot afford not to have one.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I like to do research on what’s hot.
What elements must be considered before you start planning an event?
There is a lot to be considered and each event is different. While there are some basic elements that will always be consistent, the client’s vision, their goal or reason for having the event, and budget are the top three elements to consider.
How would you manage stress as the date of an event draws near?
I’m a very cool and mild mannered person. I don’t allow stress in. It’s important to always keep a level head.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I like to do things the old fashion way. I write everything down and cross them off as I hit them.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
My top two role models would be David Tutera and Oprah, she is just the best to ever do it.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
The Four Agreements, Boss Women Pray, and of course the Bible.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life and/or career?
There are a number of event planner apps out there. I like this new software out there called Honeybook. It has streamlined quite a few things for me.
Please define your personal brand.
My personal brand is fun, creative and unique.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would make the world a kinder and more loving place.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m a work in process, but I tend to take things too personally. So that is what I would change. Not to take things so personally.
What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
It takes a lot to be iconic. There are many greats who have achieved icon status: Michael Jackson, Oprah, Beyonce. I mean, the list goes on and on.