Why I Became an Event Planning Tutor (Part 1)
This week, our QC Event School tutor, Heather Vickery, shares the reasons why she became an event planning tutor. Heather is the Owner and Event Director of Greatest Expectations Special Events and Weddings, one of Chicago’s most celebrated event planning and design firms.
I have been in the event industry for over 20 years. Before starting my own business, Greatest Expectations, I worked for a couple of national non-profits, corporate event production companies, and luxury hotels. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would not be the planner I am today had it not been for the vast training I received at all different types of events.
When I meet with new clients, I tell them that there is no replacement for experience and hands-on knowledge. I explain that I can tell when a vendor is truly doing the best they can and when they are trying to pull a fast one. I know what acceptable limitations are and when we can push a little harder. I know that my planning fees are higher than many others, and I also know I am worth it. I have the experience to back it up.
I love the event and wedding planning industry. I am passionate about it. It is a delight to help people plan joyful occasions and it challenges me in so many ways and, for me, a challenge is a wonderful thing.
Throughout the years, I have seen a large number of new planners come onto the scene. Many of them started with planning their own weddings and “just loved it”. Some planned events in college or for friends. I started to notice a pattern that was harmful to the entire events industry. These new planners were not all working off of the same playbook — many of them were flying by the seat of their pants and not following basic event planning guidelines. They were also charging so little that it was causing confusion for clients. How on earth can one planner be charging $500 and another $10,000? How is this possible and where are things getting lost in translation? And they were not banding together. When there is an “us vs. them” mentality, no one wins.
When the opportunity arose to become a tutor at QC Event School, I became really excited. I am a leader and teacher by nature and this seemed like a beautiful opportunity to help mend the gap between experienced planners and new ones – to be part of writing the playbook for planners across the globe and use my real world experience to help someone else get a leg up.
I am also a life and business coach with Vickery & Co. I help people all over the world figure out what they really want. We identify what truly makes their hearts sing and where their talents lie and then take intentional and powerful action towards their dreams. In my role at QC I am able to use so many elements of my personal skill set and help others grow and develop.
Ask any of my students and they will tell you I am hard-nosed and to-the-point. But I am also friendly, kind and encouraging. I want to see each and every student succeed beyond their wildest dreams and, in order to help them do that, 100% honest and straight talk is required. One thing life has taught me is that being soft, from an educational standpoint, makes us all less successful. I call things as I see them and when I am grading QC students’ work, I want to help them gain as much insight, knowledge and experience as possible.