Graduate Feature: Jessica Gabrysz
Meet Jessica Gabrysz; wife, mother, Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator, creative nut, and QC Event School graduate. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Jessica loves travelling, learning new things, and is always looking for a new project! But above all, loves to lend a helping hand.
We caught up with Jessica, who graduated from QC’s Event & Wedding Planning course, to see where she is today and how completing her education with QC Event School has helped her in her career so far. Follow along as Jessica tells the story about how she finally uncovered that being an event planner was her calling and what the future holds for her!
Tell us, did you always see yourself as an event planner?
Not initially. My first career was as a Colour Technician in a hair salon in Toronto. I loved it. It was creative, fun and of course, colourful. I loved my clients, they taught me much about life and I grew up quickly listening to their stories…. We’d share conversations about happy times and sad times. Over the years of listening to life stories, I was able to lend an objective perspective to my clients. I felt like I was helping them to see the other side sometimes and funny enough, they listened and appreciated the help.
A number of years went by, and I was struggling for change. I wanted a big change and went from being a Hairdresser to an Executive Assistant. My friends thought I was crazy… “You’ll hate it,” they said, “an office!?!?” But something was telling me I had to try it.
One day someone asked me about my change and if it was something that I really wanted. He asked me: “What do you want to do with your life?” The funny thing was, I didn’t know how to answer the question. It was borderline scary. I thought, did I make a mistake changing careers, will I be happy? In the back of my mind, all I heard was “help others.” I wanted to help others? What kind of answer was that?! I thought I was truly crazy and didn’t think that was the “right” answer. Years later and I kept thinking about that question, and the answer that nagged me… But how can I “help others?”
As I started my job, I realized the answer to the question was to help others. I loved helping my boss and fellow associates. It was the right answer. To help others. That’s what I want to do.
Event management really came into mind 5 years ago when I started planning my own wedding and all the events that went along with it and the events after marriage. People would tell me “This is your calling, Jess. It just comes so naturally, I don’t know how you do it.” I entertained the idea of planning but thought nothing of it. But the idea brewed in the back of my head—maybe this is how I can help others?
It wasn’t until I was on Mat Leave that I took the first step I needed to investigate this thought. I registered myself in QC’s Event & Wedding Planning course. I thought after all this time I need a new challenge and I want this. I wanted to help others create events of their dreams. The itch was there. So during my daughter’s naps, I would do my homework and submit my assignments.
Finishing the course was very rewarding. It really kick started the desire to move forward into helping myself and my future as an Event Planner.
Today, I know this is my calling. I love events. It’s how I can help others and still express my creativity.
What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
I work for a Commercial Real Estate firm in Toronto. I do tons of projects relating to Canada and retail. I create presentations for our clients who come from anywhere around the world to learn about retail in Canada. Aside from creating packages for clients, I plan their visits too. Providing them with travel, hotel, dinner and transportation arrangements. I create appropriate itineraries during their stay so they always know where to be and at what time, with the comfort of knowing they will have enough travel time between everything.
At the office I also take care of the corporate events. We host two external events. The first being a Retailer Spotlight where we feature a selection of our clients and give them a platform to express their future plans. The second is a massive cocktail party during our Toronto Convention. We also have 4-5 internal events which include two annual All-Hands presentations, to get the company in a cohesive flow between all of our offices. Then the fun corporate socials. One in the summer, having an outdoor themed event with something fun and the next during the winter holiday season to celebrate a successful year. I also assist with the planning of our Toronto Convention, booking the booth, private rooms, registrations, hotel bookings for our out-of-towners and scheduling meetings… About 100-120 meetings to be exact.
My Event & Wedding Planning Certification has helped me a great deal in taking care of all the tasks mentioned previously. Understanding clearly the behind-the-scenes details is what makes my current career rewarding and not to mention easier!
Currently, I am in the midst of designing a blog. It will be of my projects; whether it be DIY’s or hints of current events I’m managing. I want to try something different by getting exposure through my blog first, in hopes my followers will become clients.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
I get to learn. I get to express my creativity. I get to help others.
What does the future hold for you?
I hope that I will be able to grow further helping others through Event Planning. My love for Event Management and the creativity I possess is what pushes me to be more and more ambitious.
The future is a funny thing though, things can change in a snap. I’m letting things happen naturally without force. My intentions will manifest naturally.