Graduate Feature: Awilda Lalande
We’re excited to introduce our newest graduate feature! Meet Awilda Lalande, an event planning extraordinaire! Awilda recently founded Enchanted Dreams by Design, a fabulous event planning company near Boston, Massachusetts. Taking a few moments out of her busy schedule, Awilda spoke to us about what it’s like to spearhead her own event planning business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am currently employed as an Operations Manager at the number one hospital in the nation. I have over 24 years’ experience streamlining business processes, developing innovative strategies and improving workplace productivity as well as team collaboration in the healthcare industry. I enjoy leading and mentoring a diverse workforce while displaying unwavering patience and optimistic disposition in resolving issues.
I am an energetic, and enthusiastic person with the ability to interact and effectively communicate with many different personalities. In addition, I was born in Puerto Rico, yet raised in Boston. I am able to English and Spanish fluently, providing the ability to expand my customer market. I now have the pleasure of being certified as an International Event and Wedding Professional; I also have an Associate’s Degree in Accounting as well as an Undergraduate Degree in Business Management and a Master’s in Business Administration.
What inspired you to go into event planning?
My passion for event planning began many years ago as I truly enjoy hosting. I would have Thanksgiving dinners at my house as well as Easter dinners and so forth. Also, I have planned many outings: get-togethers for friends and families. The biggest event I had planned, prior to taking the QC Event and Wedding Planning course, was a Minnie Mouse themed baby shower for a very good friend of mine for over 200 guests.
I received so many compliments and had people actually tell me that “I missed my calling,” and that “I’m in the wrong field” – that I “really should consider becoming a party planner.” So, that’s what I did!
What is one thing that you wish someone had told you before your very first event?
I’m extremely hard on myself and seek perfection in everything I do. I wish someone told me that event planning is not a perfect science and that I need to adjust to every situation as it presents itself and not be so critical. Especially, when the details are so subtle, no one else has noticed.
We’ve seen photographs of the wonderful décor you have created for your events! What is that process like?
I find it enjoyable and have so much fun as my creativity takes over and finally comes to life. The most important thing I find that helps me a great deal, I’m not a procrastinator and like to get things done in advance. I’m very organized and start every project by creating a ghantt chart, which is simply a detailed spreadsheet of every task needed to be done throughout the entire planning process to the actual day of the event.
Once I’ve completed a task, I place it in a bin/box and it gets placed in a corner with everything else that I need for each individual event. This process keeps me from stressing or becoming anxious and I’m not worried about forgetting anything regardless of how small or large of an impact it may have on the success of the event.
How do you think QC Event School has prepared you for working in the field?
Interestingly, many of what the school teaches regarding starting your own business is similar to some of the courses I took during my Master’s degree. The primary difference was that QC focuses on the career the student is interested in; in my case it was starting my event planning business.
Congratulations on becoming a QC Event School graduate! What do you think the future holds for you and Enchanted Dreams by Design?
I see the future of Enchanted Dreams by Design growing out of my home within the next three to five years and into a nice location with employees running the office, along with project managers and decor consultants, as well as offering inner city youths an opportunity to learn the trade and earn some extra cash while keeping them off the streets. The ultimate goal is to become a luxury wedding planner.