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Charessa Sawyer’s going on tour to celebrate cancer survivors

Photo courtesy: Charessa Sawyer

Photo courtesy of Charessa Sawyer

The brainchild of Charessa Sawyer, the Charge Up! Campaign is a survivorship campaign that supports, empowers, and celebrates men, women and youth who have fought against health, social, and economic concerns (i.e cancer, bullying and homelessness). The campaign will bring awareness and support to those affected through its support cards and celebratory events.

Sawyer is a certified event producer and CEO of SC Visionary Planning & Production who develops and coordinates events and productions primarily for cause-based organizations, including fundraisers and information conferences. A native of North Carolina, she has worked as the event manager with T.I. & Tiny’s nonprofit, For the Love of Our Fathers; as the event manager and media relations support for The Beverly Cunningham Outreach Program; and also worked with I Care Atlanta; Black Celebrity Giving; The Still Standing Foundation; Film Atlanta Media Center; and Mrs. Georgia U.S.

On Saturday, June 4, 2016, SC Visionary Services and Charge up Campaign will host the second annual Charge Up! Charge Pynk Pink Champagne Gala — bringing awareness and celebrating cancer survivors and their caregivers. The pink-tie event will feature performance, speakers, and special presentations honoring a cancer awareness advocate, cancer survivor, and a cancer awareness nonprofit organization. Guests will be treated to an experience akin to the Oscars.

Here, we learn more about the entrepreneur behind this empowerment venture.

How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?

As a child, I always loved making people happy. I loved how others smiled because they felt good about what you did for them or from their experience. As I became a young adult I realized that I also love developing, producing and I wanted to be a film maker. I had a thing for the entertainment industry but I wanted to be unique and share my talent and vision in my own way. To compliment my vision, I received my degree in Social Work and also received certifications in nonprofit management, event planning and production services. This afforded me the opportunity to merge my love of people and entertainment and develop my business, SC Visionary Planning and Production Services which focuses on events that makes sense in the community. I then developed the Table Talk Series & The Charge Up Campaign to support and celebrate survivors of health, economic and social issues such as cancer-related illnesses. The Charge Up Campaign was inspired by my experience with my mother who is a cancer survivor. My sisters and I as children and caregivers only thought of making sure that she remained healthy and received all of the medical attention that she needed; however, I later realized that along the way we forgot to celebrate her. When we did take the time to not focus on the cancer and instead celebrate her we began to see an amazing positive change in her spirit. I want that joy that we saw in my mother for others, so the campaign was developed as a way to simply celebrate the life of others. The decision to become an event producer was both gradual and a natural evolution.

What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?

SC Visionary Planning & Production Services focuses primarily on events that make sense; meaning there is a meaning behind them which serves the good of the community. These are projects and events that support others through entertainment and also campaigns and workshops that are not only knowledge based but is also positive entertainment.

The Charge Up Campaign is one way we continue to separate our company from others in the event planning field. The campaign hosts an amazing Charge up, Charge Pynk-Pink Champagne Gala that encourages everyone to charge up and celebrate survivors of Cancer and their caregivers. Our goal is to focus on the survivor and not the illness.

We recently launched our Charge Up Road Trip, which is a tour that travels across America celebrating survivors in every state with a day of celebration. The Day of Celebration includes makeovers, photo shoots and The Table Talk Series Mixer for the survivors and caregivers to share with everyone how we can continue to support them after cancer. Our next Pink Champagne Gala presented by Alexcius Branch State Farm will be held on June 4, 2016, at Atlanta Metropolitan College (www.chargeupcampaign.com).

For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success?

For those considering event planning and production it is important to maintain your focus on your specific area of specialty. We recommend developing skills in sponsorship development, fundraising and logistics management. We also recommend communication and social skills that helps you to interact with others in both the helping field and entertainment industry. Know your strengths and where you are challenged, learn how to master it and never be afraid to outsource.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?

I am always a student. I am always open to continuing education and seeking mentors that will provide honest feedback and guidance. This is how I continue to grow as a business owner and an event producer.

How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?

I love Flip Chart paper! I used it to note my web diagram that includes each part of my business and its brands. I also create business and personal monthly and weekly goals that include specific objectives and activities. This allows me to see what, when, where, how and WHY I am doing certain activities for the week. My measure of success is by the testimonials that we receive from our clients and also from the survivors that we support. It is also measured by our company growth. We are paying more attention to the company and brand analytics.

Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.

One of my role models is Tyler Perry who I always say is my “uncle in my head.” I consider his consistent persistence and ability to think outside of the box to be inspiring and masterful. His strong belief in God and God’s ability to work through him is simply amazing. I also consider my mother as a role model. My drive to push and never give up even during times that I want to give up comes from her. She told me as a kid to always remember that “I am Somebody,” now I say this to myself everyday when I wake up and I tell myself why I am somebody. There are so many others that I have met in my field and outside of field that I continue to learn from and grow around.

What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?

My daily affirmation is “I am somebody because God lives through me” “I am somebody because I am beautiful and successful.” I start my day with prayer and affirmations that start with “I am somebody …” These affirmations remind me that I am who I am and I can do and will do all things that God said I will do.

What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?

Social media has been mine, my company’s and its brands best friend. We have grown tremendously through the blessing of social media. Most of our clients find out about us on social media outlets and the survivors that we celebrate are generally those who find us or we find them on social outlets.

Please define your personal brand.

I am a determined event producer that focuses on developing projects that make sense for the community and celebrates life. The projects that we produce will meet the hearts of our guests and participants and not just their hands. I offer an experience from me to our clients, participants and guests that create a positive walk in life. My end goal is to share excitement and to be a help to others through an entertaining, profitable and goal driven business that gives back to the community. I am on a journey and excited to share it with the world.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I would like to help find a cure for cancer and work to garner financial assistance to support survivors and caregivers in maintaining positive mental health. I feel like the world often forget about the survivors and the caregivers and I want to fill that void. The Charge Up Campaign Road Trip is where filling the void starts. We will celebrate survivors. We will provide them with outlets and resources to help maintain their mental health. We will encourage them to be social and express themselves. We will organize celebrities and community notables to be a part of the journey. We are working towards building our first Charge Up location that mimics what we are doing in each of the states that we visit. The world needs more positive talk that encourages positive walks.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I don’t know of anything that I would change. If this was a questions 5 years ago I could have given a list of things, but as a 34-year young goal driven and purpose minded person I have grown to love the woman who I am. I know that I am Somebody and I love that about me. If I had to say anything I would laugh and say my age! lol, I wish I knew then what I know now and I would be 25 again.

What keeps you inspired?

My vision of life keeps me inspired. There is something in me. It’s a desire in me that I didn’t see clearly just a few years ago, but now I see what my mother and others who have cheered me on for years see. They see the love that I have for people and the world. I am no longer intimidated by what others see in me. I now embrace it and just keep swimming. Keep swimming because the world needs to see the vision that God put in me.

What Scripture(s) are you leaning on?

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

What’s on your playlist?

India.Arie, Beyoncé, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, Tamela Mann. … So much!

Visit her websites and social media sites to join the journey. SC Visionary Planning & Production Services- www.scvisionaryservices.com Charge up campaign: www.chargeupcampaign.com @scvisionaryservices @simplycharessa @chargeupcampaign @thetabletalkseries Email: [email protected]